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Beans: The Protein Source You Forgot About

This month our theme for Grow Cook Learn is beans! I don’t know about you but I tend to forget about beans when I’m cooking. After doing some research on beans, their significance to Canadian agriculture and their many uses, I’m inspired to start using beans more often. As a bonus, they are a relatively cheap, filling, and a protein rich food source.

Did you know? Canada is the largest exporter of pulse crops and navy beans are the largest bean crop

Canada and Beans

Over a dozen different bean varieties are produced in Canada. Everything from cranberry, pinto, light red kidney to Dutch brown, pink and small red. Beans are mostly grown in Manitoba and Ontario, but Alberta and Quebec, along with Sasketewan also grow some varieties.

Why incorporate beans into your diet?

Do you find yourself getting hungry between meals? Beans are a source of complex carbohydrates, which breakdown slowly allowing one to feel fuller longer and avoid unhealthful snacking between meals. Furthermore, beans provide soluble fibre which aids in lower blood cholesterol levels and controls blood sugar levels.

Did you know? 175 mL (3/4 C) of beans (small white, yellow, cranberry, adzuki, black, pinto, kidney, navy, Great Northern, white, refried) provides 8.6-13.8 grams of fiber!

Perhaps you’re looking to cut down on your meat intake. Beans are a great source of plant protein. A carefully planned diet can provide most nutrients found in meat. Refer to this guide for planning a vegan diet.  In addition, beans are low in saturated fat which is a great benefit for your heart. Remember adults over 19 require 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or a child your protein needs vary. Always talk with a Registered Dietician regarding your nutrition questions to receive credible evidenced based information.

Cooking with Beans!

You may be aware of the traditional uses of beans such as for chili or baked beans. Have you ever considered making a smoothie using beans, hummus, a breakfast burrito or adding beans to your favourite pasta or salad? The Bean Institute has excellent recipes and tips for cooking with beans.

I hope you feel inspired to incorporate beans into your repertoire more often!

Leave us a comment on how you incorporate beans into your cooking, we’d love to hear your suggestions!

Sources:

Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). (2017). Pulsecanada.com. Retrieved 8 February 2017, from http://www.pulsecanada.com/about-us/what-is-a-pulse/bean

Bean Nutrition Overview | Bean Institute. (2017). Beaninstitute.com. Retrieved 8 February 2017, from http://beaninstitute.com/bean-nutrition-overview/

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