When you’re renovating your diet, whether for weight loss or just general health purposes, learning new ways of cooking can feel challenging. It might surprise you to learn that one of the most nutritionally dense foods is also one of the simplest and cheapest: Beans! But they do seem a little boring on the surface. How can you include more beans in your meals, but in interesting and palatable ways?
First, let’s talk about the benefits of beans. Beans are rich in plant-sourced protein, so they’re a great option for those leaning toward vegetarian or vegan lifestyles (or even just those who want to cut back on meat dependence). They’re also rich in fiber, which helps you feel full and promotes healthy digestion. Nutrients like iron and zinc aid your immune system, and potassium can help to control blood pressure. And since beans are low on the glycemic index, they can help to control blood sugar levels, maintain your energy and moods, and prevent cravings for sweets.
Dry or canned? Either option is fine, depending on your cooking style and budget. But dried beans are more cost effective, even if they require a bit of forethought in their preparation. You do want to soak them in cold water overnight first, before boiling them the next day. But if you prepare enough beans to use for the next five to seven days, you only have to remember this step once per week.
If you want to skip the hassle, canned beans are fine. Just remember to purchase the low-sodium versions to avoid excess salt in your diet.
How much? You can’t really eat too many beans. But a good rule is to aim for about a half-cup to three-fourths of a cup of the beneficial legume, at least three times per week. If you use beans as a meat replacement in meals, you can slash your grocery budget while enjoying the health benefits of a more plant-based diet.
How can you use beans creatively? Consider the following ideas:
- Toss a half-cup into salads
- Add beans to soups
- Whip up a black bean salsa
- Try bean and corn salad as a side dish
- Make homemade plant-based burgers
- Combine beans, rice, and other ingredients in a vegetarian burrito
- Include beans in stuffed peppers
- Craft a delicious black bean, mango, and avocado salad with spices and fresh herbs
Just look online for more recipes, and you’ll appreciate the versatility of beans. If you have any other questions about a weight loss plan or a healthy anti-aging diet, call us to schedule a consultation.