Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Published November 6, 2023

Quinoa is not just to use in a salad. Get your greens, grains and fruit all in one easy to make meal.

This breakfast bowl is not only packed with nutrition but also offers a symphony of textures and tastes that will leave you craving mornings. From the earthy notes of quinoa and the sweetness of ripe apples to the warmth of cinnamon and the richness of maple syrup, each spoonful is a delightful journey for your palate. 

Topped with nutritious greens and powered by the natural goodness of Amla Green Tea, this breakfast bowl is the ultimate recipe to fuel your body and energize your spirit.

Apples: Nature's Sweet and Nutrient-Packed Diabetes Ally

Apples are a popular and nutritious fruit that offer a range of vitamins and minerals, making them a wholesome choice for people living with diabetes. 

Apples provide several essential vitamins and minerals, contributing to their nutritional value. Some key nutrients found in apples include:

  • Vitamin C: Apples are a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports immune function, skin health, and wound healing.

  • Dietary Fiber: Apples are notably high in dietary fiber, particularly in the form of soluble fiber called pectin. Fiber is crucial for digestive health, helps maintain a feeling of fullness, and plays a significant role in blood glucose management for individuals with diabetes.

  • Potassium: They contain potassium, a mineral that assists in regulating blood pressure and supporting heart health.

  • Vitamin A: While apples are not a high source of vitamin A, they do provide small amounts, which contribute to eye health and immune function.

Apples have a moderate glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL), making them a suitable choice for people with diabetes. The GI measures how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose levels, while the GL takes into account both the GI and the portion size.

The exact GI of apples can vary depending on the variety and ripeness, but it generally falls within the moderate range (around 28-44). Their glycemic load is relatively low due to their moderate GI and modest carbohydrate content. This means that apples typically have a mild impact on blood glucose levels when consumed in reasonable portions.

The high fiber content in apples further contributes to their diabetes-friendly profile. Fiber slows down the absorption of glucose in the digestive tract, helping to maintain stable blood glucose levels and prevent rapid spikes after meals.

In summary, apples are a nutrient-rich fruit that can be a valuable part of a diabetes-friendly diet. Their moderate GI, low GL, high fiber content, and various vitamins and minerals make them a nutritious choice for individuals with diabetes when consumed as part of a balanced meal plan.

Popeye's Favorite: Spinach - A Diabetes Superfood for Strength and Wellness

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable renowned for its exceptional nutritional value, and it can indeed be a beneficial addition to the diet of people living with diabetes. 

Spinach is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritional powerhouse. It provides:

  • Vitamin K: Spinach is particularly high in vitamin K, which plays a crucial role in blood clotting and bone health.

  • Vitamin A: It contains vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, which supports vision and immune function.

  • Folate: Spinach is a good source of folate (vitamin B9), an important nutrient for cell division and DNA synthesis.

  • Vitamin C: While not as abundant as some other fruits and vegetables, spinach still contributes vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports immune health and skin integrity.

  • Iron: It contains iron, although the iron in plant-based foods (non-heme iron) is less easily absorbed by the body than iron from animal sources. However, consuming vitamin C-rich foods with spinach can enhance iron absorption.

  • Potassium: Spinach is a source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and supports heart health.

Spinach is extremely low in terms of glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL), making it an excellent choice for individuals with diabetes. Spinach's GI is virtually negligible, as it contains minimal carbohydrates. As a result, its glycemic load is also very low, indicating that spinach has essentially no impact on blood glucose levels.

Spinach's minimal carbohydrate content, along with its wealth of vitamins and minerals, makes it an ideal component of a diabetes-friendly diet. It can be incorporated into salads, smoothies, omelets, and various other dishes to add nutrients and flavor without affecting blood glucose levels. Additionally, its high fiber content contributes to a feeling of fullness, which can aid in weight management—a crucial aspect of diabetes care.

Spinach is a nutrient-dense leafy green vegetable with a multitude of vitamins and minerals. Its exceptionally low GI and GL, coupled with its nutritional richness, make it an excellent choice for individuals living with diabetes. By including spinach in a balanced diet, you can enjoy its numerous health benefits while effectively managing blood glucose levels.

Quinoa: A Diabetes-Friendly Super Grain Packed with Nutrients

Quinoa is a versatile and nutrient-rich grain that can be a valuable addition to the diet of people living with diabetes. This ancient grain offers a wide range of vitamins and minerals, making it a wholesome choice for overall health. 

Quinoa is notably high in protein, making it an excellent plant-based source of this essential nutrient, crucial for muscle maintenance and overall well-being. Additionally, quinoa is a good source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps regulate blood glucose levels by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates. Fiber also promotes a feeling of fullness, supporting weight management—an important aspect of diabetes care.

In terms of its glycemic impact, quinoa has a moderate glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL). Quinoa's GI varies depending on factors such as variety and cooking method, but it generally falls within the moderate range. Its glycemic load is also relatively low, indicating that quinoa has a mild impact on blood glucose levels when consumed in reasonable portions. 

This combination of protein, fiber, and a moderate glycemic profile makes quinoa a diabetes-friendly grain. It can help individuals with diabetes maintain stable blood glucose levels while providing essential nutrients, contributing to a balanced and satisfying diet.

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Beverly Verwey
Servings 2 people
Calories 486 kcal


  • 60 g baby spinach chopped into strips
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dark balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup oat milk or your favorite alternate milk beverage
  • 298 g apple sliced (about 2 small apples)
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 2 servings favorite Amla Green tea
  • 136 g bananas sliced


  • Prepare the spinach, banana, and apple. Set aside.
  • Mix in a medium sized bowl, cooked quinoa, ground cinnamon, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, vanilla and oat milk. Divide this mixture into 2 serving bowls that have 30 g of chopped spinach in the bottom.
  • Top with apple slices, banana slices, ground flaxseed, Amla Green tea.


Cook your quinoa ahead of time. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use when needed. Warm up the quinoa in a small pot, add a little water when heating up.
You can also eat the quinoa mixture cold or at room temperature.
Use nuts instead of flaxseed.


Calories: 486kcalCarbohydrates: 94.5gProtein: 13.2gFat: 7.9gSodium: 361.5mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes.

He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise.

Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications.

He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference (ACLM), Plant Stock, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on The Doctors, NPR, KQED, Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Fast Company, Diet Fiction, and the wildly popular podcasts the Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof, MindBodyGreen, and Nutrition Rounds.

Scientific Publications:

Sarver, Jordan, Cyrus Khambatta, Robby Barbaro, Bhakti Chavan, and David Drozek. “Retrospective Evaluation of an Online Diabetes Health Coaching Program: A Pilot Study.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, October 15, 2019, 1559827619879106. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619879106

Shrivastav, Maneesh, William Gibson, Rajendra Shrivastav, Katie Elzea, Cyrus Khambatta, Rohan Sonawane, Joseph A. Sierra, and Robert Vigersky. “Type 2 Diabetes Management in Primary Care: The Role of Retrospective, Professional Continuous Glucose Monitoring.” Diabetes Spectrum: A Publication of the American Diabetes Association 31, no. 3 (August 2018): 279–87. https://doi.org/10.2337/ds17-0024

Thompson, Airlia C. S., Matthew D. Bruss, John C. Price, Cyrus F. Khambatta, William E. Holmes, Marc Colangelo, Marcy Dalidd, et al. “Reduced in Vivo Hepatic Proteome Replacement Rates but Not Cell Proliferation Rates Predict Maximum Lifespan Extension in Mice.” Aging Cell 15, no. 1 (February 2016): 118–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12414

Roohk, Donald J., Smita Mascharak, Cyrus Khambatta, Ho Leung, Marc Hellerstein, and Charles Harris. “Dexamethasone-Mediated Changes in Adipose Triacylglycerol Metabolism Are Exaggerated, Not Diminished, in the Absence of a Functional GR Dimerization Domain.” Endocrinology 154, no. 4 (April 2013): 1528–39. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2011-1047

Price, John C., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Kelvin W. Li, Matthew D. Bruss, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Marcy Dalidd, Nicholas A. Floreani, et al. “The Effect of Long Term Calorie Restriction on in Vivo Hepatic Proteostatis: A Novel Combination of Dynamic and Quantitative Proteomics.” Molecular & Cellular Proteomics: MCP 11, no. 12 (December 2012): 1801–14.

Bruss, Matthew D., Airlia C. S. Thompson, Ishita Aggarwal, Cyrus F. Khambatta, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “The Effects of Physiological Adaptations to Calorie Restriction on Global Cell Proliferation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 300, no. 4 (April 2011): E735-745. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00661.2010

Bruss, Matthew D., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Maxwell A. Ruby, Ishita Aggarwal, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “Calorie Restriction Increases Fatty Acid Synthesis and Whole Body Fat Oxidation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 298, no. 1 (January 2010): E108-116.