Posted by: Kristie Fawkes, Senior Nutritionist/Breastfeeding Coordinator, Plymouth WIC Program
Are you a fan of beans? If so, join the club! And if not, don’t wait any longer to experiment and find ones you love. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least 4 servings a week of these powerful legumes to stay heart healthy, since they are low in fat and high in fiber, protein, folate, and iron. Beans are an option in WIC food packages, so stock up today.
Locally speaking, beans hold great meaning right here in Massachusetts. The official state bean (who knew?) of Massachusetts is the baked navy bean. Scholars believe that the Pilgrims learned how to bake navy beans from Native Americans (the Narragansett, Penobscot, and Iroquois created the first baked bean recipes). Boston became famous in colonial times for its baked beans, and to this day is called "Beantown." Elsewhere, beans are found in just about every culinary cuisine, in different forms and varieties.
There are lots of ways to add beans to your diet. Here are just a few ideas:
- Puree in a blender to make a dip (hummus, anyone?)
- Substitute beans for beef, chicken, or pork in your casserole and stew recipes (Meatless Mondays!)
- Add to soups and sauces for texture
- Sprinkle on a salad for extra protein
- Add to your dessert (Google azuki bean, your taste buds will thank you)
So, the next time you are at the grocery store, pick up some beans. They are budget-friendly and the recipes are endless! What are your favorite ways to eat beans?