Lean, Smart, Healthy and Sweet Potato Quinoa

by Joanne on January 22, 2013

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”.   -Steve Prefontaine"

Based on the book “Mastering the Marathon”.  Leaner is faster, lets just face it.  But perspective is needed. We perform our best at our leanest, healthiest body weight which is only achieved through effective training and proper nutrition.

VO2 max, the ability to process oxygen and convert it to energy, is improved by weight loss. Simply a power to weight ratio.  This is harder to maintain as we get older but it doesn’t mean we have to put on 20 lbs. after turning 40.  A simple tweak in our eating patterns and nutrition will help maintain a constant healthy weight.


  1. Small meals throughout the day to total your own personal daily calorie allowance as well as the 40-30-30 carb – protein – fat ratio.
  2. Count calories but don’t go over board.  Give yourself a range and take into account the amount burned through exercise.  e.g  If you allow yourself 2000 calories a day and you run/exercise to burn approximately 900 calories, you have to account for the 900 lost otherwise you’ll be trying to function on only 1100 calories and No wonder you’re tired!
  3. Don’t be afraid of restaurants. Drink water not liquor. Begin with a salad and light dressing. Order simple meals void of sauces made with cream and butter.  Opt for grilled, broiled or baked NOT fried.  *Avoiding the fats will also be better for your stomach the next day when you run or workout. Less likely to suffer gastrointestinal distress (aka trips to the bathroom).
  4. Hydrate.  Water is best but most liquids, except alcohol help hydrate. Remember if you sweat excessively to balance electrolytes with water, e.g  drink small amounts of Gatorade as well as water.

The following recipe offers a terrific suggestion to get started on your get fit, eat right routine.  You can certainly substitute quinoa for another favorite grain if you prefer or even brown rice.

In a recent email from VegNews.com, there was a delicious recipe suggestion using pumpkin mixed with Quinoa and adding seasonal herbs such as sage, rosemary, and thyme.  The quinoa is boiled with chopped sweet onion and everything is mixed together for a rewarding dish of wholesome flavor. 

Sweet Potato Quinoa3

In my version of the recipe, I use one large sweet potato and leave out the nutritional yeast.  We all enjoyed this dish as a filling side.

Sweet Potato Quinoa1

Serves 6

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red quinoa, rinse and drain
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped small
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large baked sweet potato, peeled and mashed
  • 2 TBS minced fresh sage
  • 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. ground fresh black pepper

Heat the water to a boil in a medium saucepan then add the quinoa and onion. Cover and reduce to a simmer.  Allow to cook 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

In a  medium casserole dish, mix the cooked quinoa/onion with the salt, potato, all herbs and black pepper.  Mix and serve.

Sweet Potato Quinoa4

Gluten Free. Rich in all kinds of good nutrition.  A pleasing taste and texture.

Sweet Potato Quinoa2

What’s your eat right, stay fit routine?

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  • At 2013.01.22 19:53, claudia said:

    You need to move closer and teach me how to eat this healthy this is amazing!

    • At 2013.01.22 21:04, Colleen, The Smart Cookie Cook said:

      Those are some great tips! I’m in love with this sweet potato quinoa. I’ve got a strong love for sweet potatoes, and just recently I’ve begun experimenting with quinoa, so this sounds like a winning combo to me!

      • At 2013.01.23 19:49, Gera @ SweetsFoods said:

        The #4 point you mention is very valid. I’m seeing tons of people drinking Gatorade…without any exercise, just because it’s hot outside 😉

        Excellent recipe with the healthy quinoa!

        All the best,


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