Is Quinoa Good for Weight Loss? Unraveling the Nutritional Benefits

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Christina Ross
Christina Ross
I'm a human being on planet earth. I've lived hundreds of lifetimes. In this incarnation I'm here to advance medicine.

You must have heard about the popular western grain, which replaces rice for weight loss. The mild chewy substances are rich in fiber and protein, so they could be the best diets for weight loss.

So, is quinoa good for weight loss?

Quinoa is considered a superfood for weight loss due to its distinct and unique nutritional profile. It contains the nine key amino acids, exceptionally high fiber, healthy carbohydrates, high protein, healthy fats, and balanced macronutrients. All these nutrients play a substantial role in weight management and fat loss. It mainly contains a great amount of protein and fiber, these are the primary weight management agents. Moreover, it is a versatile food. You can eat it in salads, main course, or comfort food.

Nevertheless, it is still a source of calories, so you should take it in a balanced diet. Read more on how to add quinoa to your diet for weight loss.

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa is a nutrient-dense grain-like seed that comes from the Chenopodium quinoa plant. It is native to the Andean region of South America, where indigenous people cultivate and consume it.

Quinoa is often viewed as a superfood due to its naturally rich amount of nutrients, particularly protein; it contains nine vital amino acids, making it a complete protein source. It has a chewy texture and a mildly sweet, nutty flavor.

Moreover, it is an ideal protein option for vegetarians and people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. It can be cooked and eaten as salads, side dishes, soups, and desserts.

Quinoa and its Nutritional Benefits

Quinoa is popular due to its wide and dense range of nutrients. Here is the complete breakdown of 1 cup (186 g) of cooked quinoa’s nutritional profile. 

Energy 71.6 g
Total Fat3.6 g
Total Carbohydrate40 g
Total Sugar8.2 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Protein8.2 g
Iron2.8 mg
Calcium32 mg
Potassium318.2 mg
Sodium13 mg
Magnesium 30% of RDI
Phosphorous 28% of the RDI
Manganese 58% of the RDI
Iron15% of the RDI
Zinc13% of the RDI
Vitamin B611% of the RDI
Dietary Fiber5.2 g
Caffeine 0 mg

Quinoa is actually nutrient-dense; besides containing the complete range of protein and essential nutrients, it also includes potent antioxidants like flavonoids and quercetin, which works to kill free radicals within the body.

Moreover, it is a good source of fiber which helps in digestion and stomach health. Iron and magnesium help to support blood and muscle health, while its unique combination of healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and antioxidants makes it a weight and heart-efficient diet.

Also, it contains a good amount of zinc, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins which are vital for many metabolic functions and general health. In short, it is completely healthy food for almost everyone, particularly vegetarians.

Understanding Weight Loss Basics

There is one basic and simple role for weight loss: “Take fewer calories, and expend more calories.” 

Intake of calories refers to consuming fewer calories through food and drinks, whereas expenditure is the amount of calories your body burns during rest (metabolism) or physical activity.

You should consume a few calories (not more than 1500 to 1800 per day) to make your body calorie deficit and lose weight. Alternatively, you can burn more calories through increased physical activities and weight loss workouts. Ideally, you can follow both strategies for sustainable and faster weight loss.

However, most weight loss enthusiasts become malnourished in order to follow calorie-deficient diets. They skip their daily requirement of macro, micro, and trace minerals not to exceed their calories. This is also not recommended; when you are trying to lose weight, it is equally important to take fiber, protein, and other nutrients. These nutrients play a role in making your muscles and improve your metabolism, immunity, and body health. 

In short, understanding the basic concept of calorie intake and expenditure is fundamental, and incorporating adequate amounts of daily nutrients such as protein, fiber, probiotics, vitamins, and antioxidants supports healthy weight loss

Is Quinoa Good For Weight Loss?

Quinoa is good for weight loss. It is a complete source of key proteins, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and essential minerals, which help support weight loss by nourishing you.

However, quinoa is calorie-dense; a single serving of quinoa contains almost 200 to 250 cal, but it provides a wealth of other nutrients in a small serving which is an ideal option for people trying to lose weight while staying in optimal health.

For instance, eating cooked quinoa can provide up to 5 grams of dietary fiber. Fiber helps in satiation, so you can feel full for a long time which helps to reduce your overall calorie intake. Moreover, fiber also helps in food digestion and cleansing of the gut, which assists in reducing belly fat and a bloated stomach. Besides helping stomach health, quinoa also helps metabolism.

Unlike other foods and grains, this super grain is a rich source of protein; it contains nine essential amino acids that the body can’t synthesize on its own. Therefore, it acts as a complete source of protein for almost everyone. Not to mention the evident benefits of protein for weight loss; this macronutrient helps remove excess belly fat, reduce appetite, build lean muscles, and improve cellular function. 

Quinoa also provides adequate vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and folate. Moreover, it is also naturally rich with powerful antioxidants such as quercetin, flavonoids, and kaempferol; these antioxidants have high potency in protecting the body from chronic disorders, including obesity. 

Unlike rice and pasta, it has a low glycemic index, which measures how quickly food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a low GI cause a gradual increase in blood sugar levels, which helps to regulate appetite and prevent blood sugar crashes. Stable blood sugar levels can reduce cravings for sugar and high-calorie foods, making maintaining a balanced and calorie-controlled diet easier.

Quinoa is considered best for weight loss compared to other grains and foods due to its dense nutritional profile. Compared to other grains, such as rice or pasta, it has more vitamins, amino acids, essential minerals, and antioxidants. Moreover, it is an excellent protein and dietary fiber source compared to most grains.

Nevertheless, you should only eat quinoa on a balanced diet (preferably one or two cups because it is also calorie-dense. Side effects of eating quinoa every day in higher amounts may cause high-calorie intake (weight gain).

7 Ways Eating Quinoa Helps You Lose Weight 

Quinoa is a versatile food; you can use an array of ways to prepare quinoa; you can add it to salads, soups, and even side dishes. Here are our seven best and top quinoa recipes for weight loss:

Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Veggies:

This recipe is particularly rich in fiber and protein, which makes this salad a satisfying and nourishing meal.

Calories per serving: Approximately 300–350 calories


  1. Start by cooking the quinoa according to the package directions.
  2. Boil the chickpeas until softened. 
  3. Cut vegetables of your choice (bell peppers, broccoli, carrot, cucumber, etc.) and onion. 
  4. In a separate bowl, combine all these ingredients. Pour the olive oil on them, and add lemon juice, Dijon mustard, black pepper, and salt. 
  5. Toss it well to coat. 
  6. Serve your comfort salad chilled or at room temperature.
  7. Bon appétit!

Quinoa and Grilled Chicken Bowl:

This unique combination of quinoa with lean protein from grilled chicken and veggies is a filling, nutritious, and balanced meal.

Calories per serving: Approximately 350–400 calories


  1. Clean and rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer. 
  2. Add the water, quinoa, and some salt (as per your taste) to your saucepan and boil over high heat. 
  3. Reduce the heat to low-medium, and let it simmer for the next 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked thoroughly.
  4. Fluff this mixture with a big spoon and set it aside. 
  5. Stir fry green bell pepper, red onion, and red bell pepper (or any other veggies you choose).
  6. In a separate skillet, heat some olive oil and season your chicken with basic seasonings (black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cumin powder, onion powder, and some salt)
  7. Cook the chicken per side until both sides are cooked through. 
  8. Remove the heat and set it aside. 
  9. Combine your cooked quinoa, grilled chicken, veggie mix, cilantro, avocado, and lime juice in a separate large bowl. 
  10. Serve fresh!

Mango and Black Bean Quinoa Salad:

Mango and black bean quinoa salad is an excellent source of fiber from the black beans and the natural sweetness of mango. It satisfies your mid day snacking or lunch break while being low in calories. 

Calories per serving: Approximately 350–400 calories


  • Take 1 cup of quinoa, rinse it well, and cook according to the instructions. 
  • Take one can or 15 ounces of black beans, rinse, and drain it.
  • In a separate large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, black beans, canned corn, diced red onion, one mango (cut into cubes), cilantro, salt, pepper, lime juice, and olive oil.
  • Give it a good mix, or toss it gently to coat well. 
  • Serve it immediately or store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Preferably eat it fresh.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quinoa and Turkey:

This is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense, and highly satiated dish with incredible taste. This recipe combines lean ground turkey, veggies, and quinoa. 

Calories per serving: Approximately 300–350 calories


  • Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat it over medium flame. Heat the onion until caramelized (roughly for 3 to 5 minutes). Next, add the ground turkey meat and cook it until done (about 10 minutes). If any grease is present, drain it off. 
  • In the same skillet, stir in quinoa, parsley, cilantro, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, and salt. 
  • Cut the bell pepper into half and stuff it with the quinoa mix. 
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Place these quinoa stuffed bell peppers into the baking dish.
  • Bake it for 20 minutes or until the peppers are tender. 
  • Serve hot!

Quinoa and Vegetable Stir-Fry:

This is the best recipe for vegan people. It is nutritious, protein-dense, and highly satiating. Moreover, it is also easy-to-cook, but you may require some time for vegetable cutting, but it is fun if you love cooking.

Calories per serving: Approximately 250–350 calories (1/4 of the recipe)


  1. Clean and rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer thoroughly. 
  2. Add water to a saucepan and let it boil. Next, add quinoa and stir it well to combine. Let it simmer for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is completely cooked. 
  3. Fluff the quinoa with the help of a fork and let it rest.
  4. In a large skillet, pour some olive oil over medium heat. Fry your veggies (preferably red onions, green pepper, red pepper, squash, peas, broccoli, and zucchini). Stir it occasionally for 5 minutes or until veggies are tender and crisp.
  5. Next, prepare the sauce. Add soy sauce, honey, cornstarch, rice vinegar, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and ginger powder in a small bowl. Give it a good whisk. 
  6. Pour the sauce into the cooked veggies saucepan and give it a good stir to coat all vegetables.
  7. Constantly stir it for 1 minute until the sauce thickens and the aroma arises. 
  8. The final step is to add your cooked quinoa to the skillet and stir them to combine.
  9. I recommend serving right after the pan!

Quinoa and Avocado Sushi Rolls:

Sushi with rice is no doubt a great combo, but switching rice with quinoa in a sushi roll is a perfect combination for weight loss while not compromising the taste and quality of sushi rolls. It offers more protein and fewer carbs and is even more satisfying than a sushi meal. 

Calories per serving: Approximately 250–300 calories per roll


  1. Rinse and cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. 
  2. Cut smaller pieces of avocado, cucumber, carrot, red onion, and cilantro.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine your cut veggies and pour soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, salt, and rice vinegar. 
  4. Spread the quinoa mix on the nori seaweed sheet, and top it with the avocado mix and veggies. Roll it up with the nori seaweed tightly. 
  5. Cut the roll sheets into eight pieces. 
  6. Serve it with soy sauce.

Blueberry and Almond Quinoa Breakfast Bowl:

Blueberry and almond quinoa breakfast bowls can be your ultimate option when looking for something quick, cheap, rich in antioxidants, low in calories, and good on taste buds.

Calories per serving: Approximately 300–400 calories


  1. Clean and rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer. 
  2. Add water, quinoa, blueberries, almonds, cinnamon, salt, and honey in a saucepan.
  3. Bring this to a boil over high heat.
  4. After the first boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked.
  5. Fluff it with a fork.
  6. Top it with blueberries, almonds, and honey.

Scientific Research Supporting Quinoa for Weight Loss

Quinoa has been treated as a weight loss remedy since ancient times. Moreover, scientists have done a lot of research on its benefits to general health. Research “Jiang GJ” put his research work on NIH in which he stated that “quinoa has potential beneficial effects on the metabolic defects such as in obese or in overweight people. Eating quinoa instead of rice promotes healthy gut microbiota interaction, which further assists in reducing the high-fat diet-induced obesity and inflammatory disorders.” He recommends quinoa as a weight loss-supportive food.

Another journal paper by Safiullah Pathan (Department of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Lincoln University of Missouri) and Rafat A. Siddiqui (Agricultural Research Station, Virginia State University) also put a detailed discussion and reference on the nutritional properties of quinoa where they concluded that “Quinoa is a high fiber, and protein diet, both factors are highly satiating and potentially helpful for weight loss,”

A team of researchers also conducted a controlled trial experiment to investigate the effect of quinoa on the Markers of CVD risk. They also put their abstract on the National Library of Medicine journal board, where they mentioned that “consumption of quinoa may have potential benefits on modifying glucose response, and also appears to minimize the other effects of CVD biomarkers.” The CVD risk factors are often related to unhealthy weight gain; therefore, these parameters may also benefit weight loss. 

Another publication on Google Scholar by Alexander Little (Assistant Professor, McMaster University) also put forward his research on quinoa by stating that “quinoa has potential to increase the dietary management of type 2 diabetes and obesity in young and kids.”

Moreover, clinical nutrition specialist Dr. Andrew Weil has also recommended that eating quinoa is healthy. Its nutritional values and potential health benefits can help weight management and general health. Dr. Andrew Weil is an integrative medicine physician; he is well-known for using natural medicine for broad use of health and spirit purposes. 

Research has also mentioned potential quinoa benefits for females, such as lowering serum triglycerides, reducing calorie intake, protecting heart health, reducing inflammation, and improving overall digestion. Quinoa benefits females in their weight loss journey.

How to Incorporate Quinoa into Your Diet?

As I mentioned earlier, quinoa is a versatile food item. You can use it in your desserts, savory items, side dishes, bakery items, fried goods, boiled veggies, salads, and even lentils. Actually, Quinoa has a mild taste so it goes very well with not only sweet but also savory foodstuff. Although we have mentioned our top 7 quinoa recipes in the above section, here are some easier and highly flavorful ways to include quinoa in your diet plan without making it boring. So here we go!

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Cook your quinoa in milk or water and top it with fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and anything else of your choice. Dazzle it with honey or maple syrup and enjoy!

Calories content = Approximately 350 to 400 calories (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used)

Protein content = Approximately 12 to 15 grams (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used)

Quinoa Pudding

This recipe is very much similar to rice pudding; just swap rice with quinoa. Cook the quinoa in milk along with vanilla, a dash of cinnamon, honey, or any preferred sweetener. Top it with fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, or veggies of your choice. 

Calories content = Approximately 200 to 250 calories (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used)

Protein content = Approximately 5 to 7 grams (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used)

Boiled Quinoa

It is the simplest quinoa recipe. Just rinse and boil one cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water. Cover it and simmer for next 15 minutes; when the water is absorbed and the quinoa becomes fluffy, it is ready to eat. 

Calories content = Approximately 200 to 250 calories (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used)

Protein content = Approximately 8 grams (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used)

Quinoa Burgers 

Quinoa burgers are best for vegetarian people. You can make the quinoa patties by combining quinoa, finely grated veggies, seasoning, breadcrumbs, and eggs (use whole flour if you avoid eggs). Give them a good mix and form patties, bake or pan-fry your quinoa patties and make the burger as usual. It is nutritional, healthy, and delicious!

Calories content = Approximately 150–200 calories per patty (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used)

Protein content = Approximately 5 to 8 grams (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used)

Quinoa Stir-fry

You can use the cooked quinoa in your stir-fry veggies and protein and enjoy it with the dazzling sauce for a quick and healthy meal.

Calories content = Approximately 300–400 calories (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used)

Protein content = Approximately 10 to 15 grams (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used)

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa can be your best base for any salad recipe. Just combine your cooked quinoa with finely chopped or cut veggies, chickpeas, herbs, seasonings, and any dressing of your choice. Enjoy it as your low-calorie, high-protein salad. 

Calories content = Approximately 250–400 calories (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used)

Protein content = Approximately 8 to 12 grams (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used)

Quinoa Stuffed Vegetables

This is our unique and addictive recipe that you would love to make and eat over and over again. It is also so simple to make. Just saute your already cooked quinoa with sauteed vegetables, herbs, and seasoning, and make a good base for filling. Hollowed-cut the vegetables like bell pepper, tomatoes, or zucchini. Add the cooked filling to the vegetables and bake them in the oven until tender or pan-fried with low oil.  

Calories content = Approximately 250–350 calories (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used).

Protein content = Approximately 8 to 12 grams (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used).

Quinoa Soup

You can enjoy quinoa in your favorite soups, such as vegetables, chili, tomatoes, chicken, or hearty stews.

Calories content = Approximately 200–300 calories (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used).

Protein content = Approximately 5 to 10 grams (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used).

Quinoa in Baking

It is the most exciting way to incorporate quinoa into your diet plans. You can make quinoa bread (using quinoa flour instead of regular flour), bake it in your bakery, make cookies, or experiment with it.

Calories content = the content varies according to each recipe and ingredient.

Protein content = the actual content varies according to each recipe and ingredients used.

Quinoa as a Side Meal

You can use cooked quinoa with grilled or roasted meat, fish, or protein. Just cook the quinoa according to the directions and add some salt and pepper; it is ready to go with any main course.

Calories content = Approximately 150 to 200 calories (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used).

Protein content = Approximately 4 to 6 grams (the actual content may vary according to the ingredients used).

Quinoa Weight Loss Diet Plan

TimeMenuCalories (kcal) the actual cal content may vary as per the ingredients used
BreakfastQuinoa breakfast bowl with plant milk, blueberries, and some sprinkling of chia seeds.350 
LunchQuinoa salad with mixed green veggies, cucumber, tomatoes, feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper450
SnackQuinoa energy balls, made with ground quinoa, dates, almond butter, and dark chocolate.  200
DinnerStir fry quinoa with colorful and mixed veggies and seafood (shrimp or tempeh) sautéd in ginger or soy-sauce.550
DessertQuinoa pudding with coconut milk topped with fresh fruits (mango) and toasted coconut flakes. 300

Important note: Quinoa is considered good and beneficial as a part of a weight loss diet, but you should track your portion size and overall calorie intake. Moreover, it is good to include a variety of food, a balanced diet, and improved physical activity for a realistic weight loss goal.

Related Article: Rice vs Quinoa: Which Grain Reigns Supreme for Health, Taste, and Versatility?

Best Time to Eat Quinoa For Weight Loss

You can eat quinoa any time of the day. Some people prefer to eat it for breakfast, others for lunch or dinner. Keep your calorie in check and eat whenever you crave or find it tempting.

How Much Quinoa Should I Eat Daily?

The standard recommendation for daily quinoa intake depends on age, size, diet plan, activity level, and gender. However, as a general suggestion, you should intake between 1 to 2 cups of cooked quinoa daily. It will provide ~200 to 400 calories, almost 8 to 16 g of protein, and 5 to 10 g of fiber.

Caveats and Considerations

Quinoa is a nutrient-dense grain. Still, it is a source of calories. Therefore, it is important to be mindful when you’re eating. You should eat it in a balanced and controlled portion, recommended 1 cup daily. 

Further, not thoroughly rinsing your quinoa may result in stomach discomfort. It contains a natural compound, saponin, that can cause digestive discomfort in some individuals. Hence, it is recommended to eat quinoa in a balanced diet and ensure it is pure and hygienic.


As a whole, quinoa is a worthy and fantastic addition to any weight loss diet plan due to its naturally dense nutrient content. Moreover, it is a versatile food and very easy to incorporate into your daily diet. It allows you to get a high dose of fiber which keeps you full for a long time, and protein, which helps to make and strengthen your muscles while keeping your weight in control.


Does Quinoa Help Lose Belly Fat?

Quinoa helps in losing belly fat. It contains high protein and fiber content, which helps to strengthen the muscles and reduce stomach bloating. Therefore, quinoa can help to reduce belly fat and shape your figure.

Is Quinoa Better Than Rice for Fat Loss?

Quinoa is better than rice for fat loss since it is a complete source of protein and is relatively high in nutrients and antioxidants.

Which Quinoa Is Best for Weight Loss?

Black quinoa is considered best for weight loss due to its relatively high fiber and low calories.

Is Quinoa High in Carbs?

Quinoa has a high carb content; one serving can have up to 40 grams. So, taking it on a balanced and moderate diet is better.

Is Red Quinoa Good for Weight Loss?

Red quinoa has the highest antioxidant rate than other variants. It is heart friendly and can also be used for weight loss diets.

Is White Quinoa Good for Weight Loss?

White quinoa is considered suitable for weight loss in a calorie-controlled and balanced diet. It is a good source of dietary fiber and critical amino acids.

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