We all know that beans are great. With a single cup of cooked beans boasting 64% of your daily value (DV) for folate, 60% DV fiber, 38% DV manganese, 30% DV protein, 30% DV magnesium, 28% DV thiamin, 24% DV phosphorus, and 20% DV iron, these are some of the most nutrient-dense foods around. Plus, beans and peas can fit into 2 different MyPlate food groups (vegetables and protein) because of their phenomenal nutrient profiles. Beans are simply the bee's knees.
So how can you add more of them to your diet?
That's where today's kitchen hack comes in.
It's easy to add beans to your dishes. So it's time to start doing it.
In salads, adding beans is as simple as draining and rinsing a handful of canned beans and adding them to the rest of your ingredients -- no further tweaks necessary.
For dinners, you can double the bean content of what most recipes call for -- this will help you get more beans into your meal. If you're cooking the beans from scratch, make sure to add more water to compensate for the additional beans. Try this with chilis, taco night, and soups.
Now one of my favorite ways to add beans to my meals is in pasta sauce. I simply stir cooked white beans into the meat sauce I've already prepared. This offers a great way to boost the fiber and nutrient profile of the dish without sacrificing flavor.
Another favorite vehicle I have for beans is my arroz con pollo. Now this is a bit of a teaser since this dish will feature more prominently in the next edition of kitchen hacks, but I like to stir garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas) into the pot to add a bit of a Mediterranean flair to the meal.
Those are just a few hacks to add beans to your meals. What are some of your favorites?
Heeeeeeeeeere's the handout!
Beans and peas are some of my favorite foods. Speaking of favorites, check out these new additions to the Nutrition Education Store!
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.