We could all use more beans and lentils in our lives whether it is to lose weight, reduce cholesterol, manage diabetes, or simply to eat less meat. In fact, the benefits of beans are almost endless! Here are 5 good reasons to make beans and lentils the starring role of your next meal:
They are high in soluble fibre
This slows digestion, blunts the glycemic response, helps you to feel fuller longer, AND can help to lower bad LDL cholesterol. Black beans are particularly high in soluble fibre.
They are an excellent source of vegetable protein
This applies to vegetarians and carnivores alike! A ¾ cup cooked serving of beans will get you about 11g of protein (14 grams if lentils and 22g if soy beans) for 200 calories or less.
They are nutrient-dense
Most beans are high in folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron. Legumes are also a good source of many phytochemicals (think colour).
They are versatile AND inexpensive
You can buy legumes dried or already cooked in the can. If you buy them dried, you need to cook and soak them first. If you prefer the convenience of canned legumes, simply drain them in a colander and rinse well under cold water to remove sodium and the carbohydrates that are known to produce gas. Add to:
- salad, stir-fry, curry, pasta sauce, soup or casseroles for a quick protein option
- cooked grains for a boost of protein and fibre
- tacos, burritos, fajitas and cut back on meat and cheese portion
They are delicious!
It’s just a matter of knowing what to do with them. Here are my 4 go-to blogs when I need a little inspiration for a healthy and tasty recipe with beans: