Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Legumes or Dried Beans Are an Inexpensive Way to Add Fiber, Protein and Nutrients to Your Holiday Meals

On a Shoestring Budget? Just Want to Get Healthy? Incorporate Packaged and Canned Beans into Your Diet.
The easiest and cheapest way to add fiber to your daily diet is by incorporating legumes.
They are a low-fat, low-sodium product. Dried beans are a plant food so there is zero cholesterol.
But, they are high in fiber, amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and potassium.

Legumes include:
  • black beans,
  • garbanzo beans (chick peas),
  • chili beans,
  • kidney beans,
  • Great Northern beans,
  • split peas,
  • blackeye peas (cowpeas),
  • lentils,
  • lima beans,
  • navy beans,
  • pinto beans,
  • white beans
  • and more.....
The Cheapest way to purchase legumes is dried:
Before bed, pop a cup of rinsed, dried beans in a pot of water to soak over-night. In the morning, drain the water and cook according to package directions. Refrigerate or use immediately.

Don't want the fuss? Buy canned legumes. They are still inexpensive especially if you catch a good sale.
  1. Be sure to rinse canned beans in a colander to remove excess salt.
  2. Purchase refried beans that are labeled "vegetarian" or do not contain lard (of course, you cannot rinse refried beans so you may want to look for "low sodium" as well).
How to incorporate into popular foods: 
  • · Add black beans to spaghetti sauce.
  • · What's a good chili without beans?
  • · Add them to green salads. They add flavor, texture, color and a host of nutrients.
  • · Serve as a side dish.
  • · Serve as a main course. Just mix with fresh, chopped tomatoes and herbs such as chives and basil. Throw in a few cubes of mozzarella cheese.
  • · Blend into a chunky paste with onions, garlic and tomatoes for a bean dip. Options: add cilantro and fresh, squeezed lemon or lime juice.
  • · Top rice with your favorite legume.
The possibilities are endless! Be creative! Start a new habit. Research cooking sites for legume-based recipes.
Precautions: Consult with a physician and a registered dietitian if you have a special medical condition, such as: kidney disease, before incorporating legumes in your diet. 

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