Should you add legumes to your menu plan?
It seems like health fads are always coming up with new trends and new super foods. From acai berries to kale, something is always "the new best thing" for your health. Meanwhile, one of the healthiest foods you can eat has been around for hundreds of years as a healthy, nutritious treat... legumes. Legumes are typically classified lentils, beans, peanuts, and peas. These foods are good sources of protein, usually low in fat, have low or no cholesterol, have high levels of folate, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Additionally, they have high levels of beneficial fats and insoluble fiber, making them a good choice for meat substitute that has more fat.
Legumes are versatile. They can be eaten alone as snacks or used in recipes as an add on or an individual side dish. Their versatility makes them popular for those who enjoy creative, healthy cooking. Consider prepping snack packs of legumes you enjoy snacking on for a quick boost that will help keep you feeling full longer. In meals, consider them adding them into your existing recipes. They even make a great addition to a quick and easy salad to add bulk, fiber, protein, and flavor.
Legumes do need to be eaten in some quantity to gain the full health benefit of these nutritious foods. While 2005 recommendations suggests 3-6 cups of legumes per week, more recent studies have indicated that 4-8 cups may be a better amount to gain the full health benefits from this food group. Fortunately, legumes are tasty, easy to prepare, and easy to include in numerous recipes so reaching the recommended amount of intake is as easy as grabbing a handful of peanuts at lunch.
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