Legumes: Nutrition Superstars

Yay!! I’ve lost 25.6 pounds total so far with 54.4 pounds to go to reach my goal!  My BMI has dropped from 36.9 to 33.1 and my goal is 24.9.

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Legumes: Nutrition Superstars

Like whole grains, legumes – beans, lentils, peas, soybeans, and other seed pod plants – are high in antioxidants and fiber.

They’re also a good source of folate, an essential nutrient which helps prevent birth defects and lowers levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in your blood.

Although results from clinical trials are mixed, lowering homocysteine may reduce the risk of heart disease.

In addition, legumes are loaded with protein, making them a good alternative to meat, which is higher in calories and fat.

An entire cup of cooked black beans has only 225 calories and 1 gram of fat, but 16 grams of protein.

By comparison, a 6-ounce serving of lean broiled sirloin has 51.6 grams of protein – but also has 316 calories and a whopping 10.6 grams of fat, almost half of it unhealthy saturated fat.

Most dried beans require presoaking (you can soak them overnight) for several hours to reduce cooking time.

We prefer cooking our own legumes, because their flavors stay rich when freshly cooked.

But if you’re on the go, canned beans can be just as healthy, and an increasing variety of canned beans are available in the grocery store.

Just be sure to choose low-sodium versions.

Unlike beans, lentils need no soaking and can usually be prepared in less than an hour.

Like beans, lentils are legumes – but because they’re small, they cook much more quickly.

Lentils are also a nutrient powerhouse:  they’re not only high in fiber, iron, and protein (like other legumes), but they also have lots of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B1 (thiamin), which helps keep nerves and muscle tissue healthy.

Recipe of the Day:  Rigatoni with White Beans and Wilted Chard

The bright colors and flavors of fresh vegetables shine in this simple pasta dish.

The hearty texture of whole grain pasta combined with protein-rich legumes makes for a light yet satisfying meal packed with nutrition . . . and flavor, of course!

Makes 4 (3/4-cup) servings

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or drained canned no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini or great Northern white beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

3 cups chopped Swiss chard or 1-1/2 cups thawed frozen spinach

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

4 ounces dry whole wheat rigatoni pasta, cooked until al dente

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

*Use as many organic ingredients as possible.

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.

Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender.

Add the chard, pepper, and salt, if desired, and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the chard just begins to wilt.

Add the pasta, coat well, and cook until heated through.

Serve hot, topped with the Parmesan and basil.

Per serving:  140 calories, 4 g total fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 385 mg sodium, 24 g total carbohydrates (2 g sugars), 5 g fiber, 6 g protein.

If you have any questions, send us an email!

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Have an awesome day!

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Dick and Lenay

email: lenay@dickandlenay.com – 715-431-0657

from Flavor First by Cheryl Forberg, RD

P.S. If your diet isn’t working for you, join us on our natural weight loss journey.


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