Grass Roots Nutrition: Beans

Grass Roots Nutrition: Beans

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Dear Holly: Are beans really healthy? – Musical Fruit


Dear Musical Fruit: In honor of Eat Beans Day on July 3rd, I would love to take the opportunity to praise the humble bean.


Dried beans, such as lentils, black beans, garbanzos and kidney beans are incredible choices. They are a sustainable choice for protein, are inexpensive, store well (thus reducing food waste), are gluten free and vegetarian and can be prepared 100’s of ways.


For the critics who claim not to like beans, try them in a new recipe. They can be tossed into your favorite chili recipe, pureed into a delicious hummus, stuffed into a burrito or even snuck into brownies. Beans belong on our plates!


Beans are also a great way to stretch your favorite soup, stew or casserole. For those of you considering the environment with your food choices, reducing meat, especially that coming from grain-fed animals is wise. Complementing your other protein choices with beans is great for your wallet and your budget. So weather you are a vegetarian, a flexitarian or simply participating in Meatless Monday, beans make a great foundation to any meal.


The USDA recommends we eat 3 cups of beans per week. One half cup of cooked beans provides a lean source of 7 grams of protein and a whopping 7 grams of fiber. It is also an excellent source of minerals from iron and manganese to magnesium and copper. Lastly, beans offer much of the folate we need daily in a single serving.


The fastest way to eat beans is to open a can. Starting with dried beans takes a bit more time. Lentils are the fastest to cook, ranging from 10 to 30 minutes depending on size. Soaking beans overnight is not required, but it does decrease the fuel and time required for cooking.


You can even cook extra beans and freeze for later. Just be sure to mark the container with the date and plan to use within 3 months.


And as for the “musical” nature of beans? Incorporate beans into your usual menu rotation slowly. Rinse canned beans well. If you do soak your beans, use fresh water for the cooking time.


Ready for a Real Food Wellness Challenge? Start the month with 21 Days of Real Food! Click to enroll in the challenge; we launch the 1st of each month.


What’s your question for Holly? Send them to For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!