Finding healthy foods that improve your diet, and that you enjoy is an essential part of looking and feeling great. A quick way to improve your diet that many people don’t know about is replacing some of your red meat consumption with legumes like beans. Beans are high in protein and don’t contain much saturated fat.

Beans are a great source of fiber, which is important since most Americans don’t get the 25 to 38 grams that Nutritionists recommend they get each day. Fiber also helps to keep you regular and can protect against heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and digestive illness.

As mentioned in an earlier post, beans have a long shelf life, which saves trips to the grocery store and also saves money.

If you don’t eat a lot of beans, it can be intimidating incorporating them into your diet as you may be unsure about the taste and texture. Nutritional Therapists recommend introducing beans to your diet by adding different types to dishes and recipes you already love.

In addition to improving your diet, beans are also a great source of protein, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Keep in mind that zinc plays an important role in immune health.

Some of the healthiest beans and legumes you can eat are:

  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Kidney Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Soybeans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Peanuts

Beans and legumes are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Eating more beans and legumes as a source of protein instead of meat is also environmentally friendly. You can add beans to soups, stews and salads, or just eat them on their own for a nutritious vegetarian meal.

Try this bean salad recipe and you will be in love!

Antipasto Chickpea Salad
Adapted from: Delish

For the Dressing:

  • ¼ C extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ C red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Dab of honey (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad:

  • 2 (15.5-oz) cans low sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 C. artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 2 C packed baby spinach
  • 8 oz. mozzarella balls
  • ½ C quartered grape tomatoes
  • 2 oz. salami, halved
  • 2 oz. low sodium ham, halved
  • Sliced black olives, ¼ C or per your preference
  • ¼ C sliced pepperoncini peppers
  • ¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced

Note: Try and limit red meat intake to 1-2x/week for optimal heart health.

Nutritional Therapy Services

Improving your diet by finding foods you enjoy is essential to a healthy lifestyle and plays an important part when it comes to looking and feeling great. If you’re trying to eat healthier, there’s always room for improvement. If you need a little help, a Nutritional Therapist can help guide you and identify places where your diet can be improved. Schedule an appointment with a Dietitian at Behavioral Nutrition today to make meaningful changes to your diet that can be sustained. When you find foods that you love, eating healthy is easy and can be built on with very little effort.