Incorporate beans into your meal plans

By Pat Brinkman - OSU Extension

Are beans magical?

You may think I mean musical, not magic. And yes, some people have “musical” issues with beans, but if you think of all the nutrition in a bean, it’s like magic. Not only are beans a phenomenal source of lean protein, they also contain:

– Folate

– Iron

– Magnesium

– Potassium

– Fiber

– Zinc

– Polyphenols

– Sodium and cholesterol free

Plus, at just seven cents per serving, dried beans are very economical compared to $1.14 per serving for lean ground beef. Even if you don’t start from scratch with the soaking process, canned beans contain the same health benefits and take much less preparation time.

In addition to the nutrients listed above, your body reaps magical rewards from eating beans. Regular consumption of beans helps you:

– Maintain a healthy weight

– Lower your blood pressure

– Lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels (which helps reduce your risk of heart disease)

– Decrease your risk for developing diabetes

– Reduce your risk for certain forms of cancer

– Keep regular due to the fiber content

Beans can be part of breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks. My favorite bean dishes include burritos, Mexican dishes, baked beans, chili, and bean soup. Snack-wise, hummus can be made from a variety of beans and is an ideal dip for fresh, crisp vegetables. Check out The Bean Institute and the Michigan Bean Commission for some recipes.

One of my favorite recipes is breakfast burritos. Scramble and cook an egg/eggs and then add canned pinto beans, cheese and salsa. Cook until cheese is melted and hot throughout. Wrap in a tortilla and serve. You can easily adjust the recipe to as many people as needed by just adding more ingredients. You can also refrigerate leftovers and reheat in the microwave. What is your favorite bean recipe?

With beans so inexpensive, tasty and nutritious, make a resolution to start incorporating them more into your meal plans. Your body will love the magical result.

Pat Brinkman is the Family and Consumer Sciences Educator for OSU Extension in Fayette County.

By Pat Brinkman

OSU Extension