November 2, 2009

Benefit of Beans

Dietitians spend a lot of time convincing clients not to eat out of cans: canned vegetables have fewer nutrients than their fresh or frozen counterparts do and canned soups are high in sodium. But legumes - dried peas and beans - are great sources of fiber that are most convenient when canned.

On average, a one-half cup serving of dried or canned peas or beans has 5-6 grams of fiber and 5-6 grams of protein.  Canned beans can pack up to 500 mg of sodium per serving, but you can rinse them off under the sink to help reduce sodium or choose lower-salt canned varieties. Try interspersing beans throughout your diet:
  • Sprinkle garbanzo beans on your salad
  • Make chili with half the meat and other half kidney beans
  • Try lentil soup instead of cream-based soups
  • Order whole pinto or black beans with Mexican food instead of refried beans
Dried or canned peas and beans are not only high in fiber, but they are a good source of nearly-complete protein...and they're low in fat too. If you're trying to lose weight or are concerned about cardiovascular disease, try making one meatless meal per week. Canned beans - like pinto, kidney, garbanzo, black beans or lentils make great high-protein, high-fiber meat substitutes in many entrees.

Click here for a great crock-pot chili recipe from Registered Dietitian Wendy Jo Peterson and her Edible Nutrition blog.