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Here are 5 dietician-approved bean recipes to add more beans to your diet

This article highlights the role that beans play in longevity and overall health, particularly referencing their importance in Blue Zones—regions where people live exceptionally long, healthy lives. Beans are perhaps the only true superfood. They are packed with protein, fiber, and various other nutrients, making them a versatile and important part of a balanced diet.

Bonnie Taub-Dix, a registered dietitian, corroborates this viewpoint, offering practical ways to integrate beans into daily meals through recipes like chili, hummus, and squash soup. She also suggests swapping regular pasta with bean-based varieties and making one’s own hummus to save on grocery bills. Taub-Dix stresses the importance of cooking as a family activity, as it is not just about a healthy diet but also about creating strong social bonds, another key to longevity.

This article also addresses common misconceptions about beans, like the belief that they inevitably cause digestive issues. While it’s true that a sudden increase in fiber intake can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, Taub-Dix advises that this can be mitigated by increasing fiber gradually and staying hydrated.

Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Incorporate Beans in Daily Diet: Blue Zone diets often include at least a half-cup of beans per day.
  2. Variety is Key: Beans come in numerous types, shapes, and colors, which can make them more appealing, especially to children.
  3. Economical and Long-lasting: Beans are relatively cheap and have a long shelf life, making them both economical and sustainable.
  4. Family and Social Bonds: Cooking bean-based meals as a family can be both nutritionally beneficial and strengthen family bonds, which is another common trait in Blue Zones.
  5. Ease into It: For those new to eating beans, bean-based pastas or adding beans to familiar dishes like salads and soups can be a good start.
  6. DIY Snacks: Homemade hummus is cheaper than its store-bought counterpart and provides a nutritious option for snacks.

5 approved bean Recipes

  1. Swap Bean-Based Pasta: Replace regular pasta with store-bought chickpea or lentil pasta for a boost of protein and fiber. This is an easy way to incorporate more beans into your diet without changing the taste too much.
  2. Homemade Hummus: Make your own hummus by blending heart-healthy olive oil, chickpeas, garlic, and tahini (sesame paste) in a blender or food processor. Homemade hummus is versatile and can be used as a spread, dip, or condiment. It’s also a cost-effective alternative to store-bought hummus.
  3. Zesty Bean Chili: Prepare a bean-based chili recipe that’s flavorful and packed with spices, nutritious veggies, and even dark chocolate for added depth. Chili is a filling and nutritious dish that showcases the versatility of beans.
  4. Kid-Friendly Bean Varieties: Choose a variety of beans with different colors and shapes to make meals more engaging for children. Chickpeas, for example, hold their shape well and can be roasted for added crunchiness. Let kids explore different spices and flavors with beans.
  5. Split Pea Butternut Squash Soup: Try a special-occasion meal like split pea butternut squash soup. This vegan soup is hearty and flavorful, featuring beans and veggies. It’s a great way to incorporate more plant foods into your diet, which is a common practice in Blue Zones where people live longer, healthier lives.

Beans are not only nutritious but also versatile, making them a valuable addition to your diet. Whether in pasta, hummus, chili, or soups, beans can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes that promote health and longevity.

Overall, beans are portrayed as an undervalued superfood that everyone should consider adding to their diet not only for the potential health benefits but also for their versatility and affordability.

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