Nutrition Articles

Beans: The Super Food that Keeps You Full

4 Ways to Enjoy the Tasty Nutrition of Beans

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Simple Ways to Bean-up Your Diet
You know that they are good for you, but how do you begin to incorporate beans into your meals? Here are four simple ideas, along with some healthful recipes you can try!
  1. Incorporate beans into your favorite dishes. Italian and Mexican recipes are easily enhanced with beans. Simply rinse and drain a can of black beans and add them to your favorite homemade or jarred salsa. Use the mixture to top tostadas or tacos. Or, make an easy and hearty traditional Italian pasta dish with sausage, spinach and white beans.
     
  2. Add beans to soups and stews. White beans, also known as Cannellini beans, are prime candidates for the Italian soup called pasta e fagioli. Use kidney or black beans in your family's favorite chili recipe. Make a Cuban-style black bean soup that's packed with bell peppers and a kick of jalapeno; make it vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead of chicken.
     
  3. Add beans to your repertoire of snacks and appetizers. A puree of Cannellini beans, garlic, olive oil and an herb like basil or rosemary makes a simple and flavorful spread for warm pita, flatbread crackers or bread sticks. Spread the puree on a slice of whole wheat bread and top with sliced tomatoes, red onion, red bell pepper, lettuce, cucumber or whatever's in the produce drawer for a protein-packed veggie sandwich.
     
  4. Pack beans for lunch. The high fiber and protein content makes beans a smart addition to your midday meal. Combine a can of white beans (rinsed and drained), a can of light tuna, a bit of scallion, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice to make a Mediterranean-style salad that carries just 125 calories per serving. Or, toss white beans with a pint of cherry tomatoes (halved), a bit of Feta cheese, lemon juice, olive oil and cracked black pepper, then use whole wheat pita bread for scooping.
Nutrition Facts for Popular Beans

 
 Legumes, 1 cup cooked  Protein  Calories  Fiber
 Black beans  15 g  227  15 g
 Garbanzo beans/Chickpeas  15 g  269  12 g
 Kidney beans  15 g  225  11 g
 Lentils  18 g  230  16 g
 Lima beans  15 g  216  13 g
 Navy beans  16 g  258  12 g
 Pinto beans  14 g  234  15 g
 Soybeans  29 g  298  10 g
 Split peas  16 g  231  16 g

If you're feeling adventurous, branch out beyond the navy beans you'll find in your local stores and look for varieties like Borlotti, Scarlet Runner, or Cranberry. If you're lucky, your hometown farmers market may be a good source for unusual or heirloom shelled and dried beans.

Source List:
6 Reasons to Love Beans, from Johns Hopkins Health Alert
Gas in the Digestive Tract, from National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Recommended dietary allowances for meats/beans, from ChooseMyPlate.gov
Review Toxicological and Health Aspects of Bisphenol A, from World Health Organization
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About The Author

Bryn Mooth Bryn Mooth
Bryn Mooth is an independent copywriter and journalist focused on food, wellness and design; she's also a Master Gardener and enthusiastic green thumb. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog writes4food.com.

Member Comments

  • ALICERED
    for Belladonna74:

    Mark Sisson is a quack, and I suspect you're a Paleo troll. Here's an actually scientific article that mentions Mark Sisson) about the Paleo diet. http://www.scient
    ificamerican.
    com/article/w
    hy-paleo-diet
    -half-baked-h
    ow-hunter-gatherer-really-eat/
    Also: You end your bizarre pseudoscience rant with the "radical" suggestion to eat a steak. I agree there. Consumption of an animal corpse is indeed extreme. I'm a slender, fit vegan (have been for 15 years) and I thrive on beans and grains. I have many older and even elderly vegan and vegetarian friends who are also quite healthy. - 7/30/2014 6:31:19 PM
  • Yes I cook my beans in the slow cooker or crock pot as well. While I am doing other things I just let them cook. - 9/18/2013 8:45:28 PM
  • QUAIL480
    Just read the article on beans. Loved it. In order to help with the gas problem my grandmother would bring the dried beans to a boil, pour that water off, add more water then add her seasoning meata d salt then she would continue cooking as normal. Being a good grandson, I do the same. Seems to help with the gas problem. I found out I am in the normal range for gas. I have been thinking I had a major problem. - 9/14/2013 7:15:17 AM
  • The article didn't mention to look for beans in the frozen foods section, but they are great too...I won't eat canned Lima Beans but the frozen ones taste awesome. - 9/13/2013 9:49:24 AM
  • LUCYBRAD
    Thanks for sharing the secret. Beans are fabulous! I have never found canned beans to be soggy and I use them in almost every dish. Perhaps it is the brand I use which is ALSO BPA-FREE - Eden Organic beans. Love them. - 9/13/2013 6:51:52 AM
  • soaking beans before you cook them also breaks up the carbs to make the beans easier to digest. This is especially good for people with ibs or crohnes. - 9/13/2013 3:13:55 AM
  • Thanks for this article. I love beans. They don't cause any gas problem for me anymore. Maybe the body adapts. I use a slow cooker after cleaning and soaking them overnight.

    I sometimes add black or white beans to veggie salads or marinated veggies. It always gets compliments. - 8/17/2013 1:40:53 AM
  • I hope this tastes as good as it looks! - 2/7/2013 5:20:38 PM
  • Belladonna74 - That site you linked to is based on a load of hooey. One study said this or that is no basis for a sound scientific understanding of nutrition. Someone selling something there? Of course they are! I have eaten both a meat eating diet and a vegetarian one and you can be healthy on either as long as you get all your nutrients and forget all about nonsense diets based on creating fear to manufacture markets. - 7/1/2012 1:10:42 PM
  • Even for stovetop cooking, there's really no need to soak beans. I rinse mine and check to see that there's no grit or bad beans, and then put them on to cook with an inch of water over the top, and add onion, garlic and seasonings (a bit of lean ham chunks added when they've been cooking a couple of hours makes them especially savory).

    Set 'em on low, stir occasionally, and add water as needed. Yummy over brown rice with a side of fruit. - 6/30/2012 1:13:39 PM
  • HEARTY SANDWICH SPREAD--I use up leftover kidney beans (cooked with herbs and hot pepper flakes for some kick) by partially mashing them, adding some minced vidalia onion and minced celery--maybe some pickle relish on occasion. That'll fill me up 'way better than peanut butter, with NO fat and LOTS of flavor. - 6/30/2012 9:50:48 AM
  • I use my RICE COOKER to cook up 1 cup of dried beans. Actually, I think of my rice cooker as a mini-crockpot, and use it for many foods besides rice. It's the perfect size for half a bag of beans, and minimizes boilovers. If the cooker flips itself off before I think the beans are tender enough, I just reset it. - 6/30/2012 9:46:55 AM
  • I can't believe there was no mention in the article of using a SLOW COOKER or CROCKPOT to cook dried beans. I find this is the easiest way to cook a big batch, then, I freeze individual portions to use in recipes later. - 6/19/2012 9:26:46 PM
  • i love incorporating beans into my diet. My two favorites are my homemade hummous and homemade Lebanese red lentil soup. So filling with the high fiber. Loved this article! - 5/18/2011 8:19:36 PM
  • I liked this article. Beans are great! I recommend beans from Rancho Gordo. They're beautiful, unique and very fresh dried beans.
    The only way to reduce gas after eating beans is to eat more beans. :)
    Oh, and take a look at the healthiest people in the world.. what are they eating? Grains, beans and legumes, vegetables, soy, and very, very little animal flesh.

    - 1/21/2011 8:14:30 AM

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