Food Trends: Beans, Beans, Beans

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Every year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the organization responsible for 100,000 credentialed food and nutrition experts, including Registered Dietitians) holds its annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition (FNCE). Spotted on the exhibition floor were a number of food trends. One in particular was beans — those fiber-filled, protein-rich gems that normally appear in chili were now everywhere! Here are a few of our favorite finds:

Biena Chickpea Snacks: These crunchy little nuggets are packed with protein and fiber and are naturally gluten-free. They have a similar flavor to nuts, but are lower in fat. Biena Chickpea Snacks are available in both sweet and savory flavors, ranging from Cinnamon Crunch and Honey Mustard to Barbecue and Habañero. Sea Salt is also available. They are a perfect on-the-go snack!

Banza: This is not your usual pasta. It’s made from — you guessed it — beans! Chickpeas to be exact. Banza claims that they took your household favorite and made it even better. By using chickpea flour, this pasta is gluten-free and has double the protein and four times the fiber of traditional pasta. Banza is available in a number of pasta shapes, as well as four macaroni and cheese flavors.

Enlightened Roasted Broad Bean Crisps: Who knew that broad beans, aka fava beans, could taste so good? The folks at Enlightened sure did, because this new protein-rich, flavor-packed snack is delicious! A serving of these beans has 100 calories, 7 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber. What it doesn’t have is gluten, animal products, or soy, making it a nice snack for those with dietary restrictions. Broad Bean Crisps come in 7 flavors, including Sea Salt, Cocoa Dusted, and Sriracha.

If you love the idea of beans as a snack, try creating your own at home. Roasted chickpeas are easy to make! Simply use canned beans: drain, rinse, and put them into a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil. Then you can toss them with your favorite flavor combinations, such as a ½ teaspoon each of cumin and garlic powder, cinnamon and allspice, or parmesan cheese and dried rosemary, along with salt and pepper to taste. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 F for 30 minutes or until crispy and you will have yourself a crunchy bean snack!

By Beth Rosen, MS, RD, CDN

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