Beans, lentils and peas

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One of the best plant protein foods in the world is beans. They are so diverse, delicious and economical that they shouldn’t be overlooked. Let the kids sort them out for you, and then cook a pot of gold.

There are many reasons to include them daily in your diet. They are complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber. Beans helps to lower your cholesterol and to reduce your risk for developing heart disease and diabetes.

Canned beans can be used as well, especially when you don’t have a lot of free time. You can add them to soups, stews, or chili. It is important that you drain and rinse them before using them because that will help remove a large portion (about 36%) of the sodium they are cooked with.

If you experience bloating, cramps, or gas, soak the beans overnight. Make sure that you rinse them thoroughly, drain them and then add fresh, clean water before cooking. Cook them thoroughly, and then enjoy! Remember not to add salt to beans until they are soft.

A half cup of beans provides 104-120 calories, 8-9 grams of fiber, and 7 to 9 grams of protein. They also contain these important vitamins and minerals: iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and folate.

One way to spice up your beans is to make it the Latin way: add a “sofrito” after beans are made to give them flavor.

Sofrito for beans:
1 tbsp of olive oil
1-2 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 tomato, cut in quarters1/2 cup of cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 sweet bell pepper or 1 jalapeño, chopped

Sauté all ingredients in olive oil and let it simmer until all liquid is evaporated. When ready, add this to the pot of gold, ops sorry, pot of beans. Salud!

 Sources: USDA database; Bush Brothers & Company; Mayo Clinic.

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