A Beginner’s Guide To Eating More Beans
If you’re like many people who are trying to make better diet and lifestyle choices, then you’ve probably heard of the benefits of eating more plant-based protein such as beans, peas, and lentils. Not only are they a good choice for high-quality protein, but they are packed with fiber and nutrients our bodies need. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, a diet rich in beans and legumes may help to reduce cholesterol and aid in the prevention and management of several health conditions such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
So, what exactly does it mean to have a diet that is rich in beans and legumes? You don’t have to worry about eating beans at every meal —just a ½ cup, three times a week is what the USDA recommends. However, for those who rarely eat beans or don’t even think they like beans, one and a half cups a week may sound like a lot. That’s why 21st Century Bean is here to provide you with resources on how to cook beans, give you ideas for recipes, and more. Check out this beginner’s guide to eating more beans and then shop our website to order premium dried beans directly from the farm.
Dried Versus Canned Beans
Most people buy their beans from the grocery store in cans. This is a very convenient way to get your beans, but in our opinion, it’s really not the best option. Dried beans are not only healthier, they’re actually much less expensive. That’s because you don’t have to pay for all of the added water that comes with canned beans.
Ordering dried beans from 21st Century Bean and preparing them yourself means that you won’t have all of the extra sodium commonly found in canned beans. That’s because canned beans, unless purchasing no salt added product, contain large amounts of sodium. Plus, you control the cooking process so dried beans cooked at home often have a better texture. When it comes to cost, a pound of dried beans may cost a little more, but they’ll also yield three times as much.
Although many agree that cooking dried beans offers more advantages, most people still resort to canned beans because they think cooking them at home will be too time-consuming or difficult — but we’re here to tell you that this just isn’t the case. In fact, it just takes three simple steps to cook dried beans on the stove. Since everyone seems to own a pressure cooker nowadays, you can also choose to cook your beans, peas, or lentils this way in a fraction of the time. Check out this handy guide for cooking using a pressure cooker.
Sometimes you barely have 15 minutes to put together dinner let alone have enough time to cook your dried beans from scratch. On particularly busy days having pre-cooked beans, peas or lentils ready to go can be a real time-saver. Fortunately, you don’t have to resort to mushy canned beans, all you have to do is pull some of your home-cooked beans from the freezer. That’s right — the next time you cook some dried beans, just make a few extra and then place them in sealed, airtight containers in the freezer. They’ll last for up to six months and you’ll always have a fast and healthy protein on hand to add to soups, stews, salads, and more.
Even if you enjoy having beans as part of a soup, salad, or side dish, over time you might get bored and want to know if there are other ways that you can enjoy them in your healthy diet. When it comes to coming up with new meal ideas, the most important thing to remember is that you’re only limited by your imagination. That’s because beans, peas, and lentils have a mild flavor that works well in just about anything.
For instance, there are many ways that you can lighten up some of your favorite dishes and make them more healthy just by swapping out some of the ingredients for beans. Want to eat less beef? Swap some or all of your ground beef for pinto beans to make an equally delicious hamburger. Love dessert but want to make them more healthy? Simply add pureed black beans to cookies and brownies for a punch of protein and fiber.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to enjoy more beans in your diet is to get inspired by browsing through some new recipes and meal ideas. How does Orange French Toast sound? Or a Spicy Sausage Skillet? What about an easy homemade pasta recipe? Would you believe that all of these recipes contain beans and have a higher amount of protein, fiber, and nutrients than their beanless counterparts? Just about any of your favorite recipes can be made even better with the help of these little nutritional powerhouses.
Check out all of the recipes at 21st Century Bean or visit the USA Pulses website for more ideas.
There are so many reasons to incorporate more beans into your diet — just try a few of our suggestions and we’re sure that you’ll find new ways to enjoy them that you never knew existed! Make sure that you always stay stocked up on high-quality, midwest-grown beans by ordering them directly from the farmers who grow them. Shop 21st Century Bean today.