Eat Local. Eat Healthy. Eat Beans

By: Chef Brenda Wattles, RDN and The Idaho Bean Commission

According to the Idaho Bean Commission, the number one reason to eat Idaho’s beans is due to our rich volcanic soil and clean mountain water that produces the “highest quality, disease-free bean seed in the world.”  If that isn’t reason enough, Registered Dietitian and Chef Brenda Wattles adds five more reasons to eat our local, healthy food.

Beans are Versatile
There are ten varieties of beans grown in Idaho. All of which have their own flavor profile and texture that offer numerous ways to prepare them. Beans can be served as a main course or a side dish. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, beans can be considered as a main protein entree or a side vegetable. That is versatility at its best!

Beans are Easy to Prepare
Whether you are cooking them dried or straight from the can, they are easy! Dried takes a little longer, but the process is simple (*see instructions below). Once they are cooked and ready to go, add them to soups, hummus, salads, or even smoothies! Visit the Idaho Bean Commission’s website for recipes ideas.

Beans are Inexpensive
If you are looking to save money on your grocery bill, beans are a great cost-conscious alternative! Adding them to your menu as a main dish protein can cut your budget tremendously. Chef Brenda recommends making homemade black bean burgers, hearty vegetarian chili, or topping entrée size salads with beans as your main protein source.

Beans are a Protein and a Fiber-Rich Superfood
Most Americans are getting enough protein. However, they are often deficient by about 10 grams of fiber a day. By adding one cup of cooked beans to their diet, they will be adding about 12-16 grams of fiber a day. Additionally, beans are high in antioxidants.  They are also low in calories and saturated fat.

Beans are Excellent for Weight Loss
One cup of canned black beans is only 218 calories! Not only are they low in calories, they provide lots of bulk during digestion. So, they will keep you full longer! Adding beans to your diet is one of the best ways to get a variety of nutrients for such a small number of calories.

*How to Prepare Dried Beans
Rinse and drain one pound of dry beans. Discard damaged beans and any foreign material. Place in sauce pan and cover with 6 cups water. Either soak overnight or boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and soak for one to four hours. Discard soaking water. Replace with clean water and cook beans at a low boil for one to two hours, until beans are tender.

Please like & share:

Enter the Contest!

Healthy Choice

Eating healthy during the summer isn’t always easy – the days are long and families are on the go. Planning a healthy meal can take time away from all the fun. So, let’s make it easier! Do you have a favorite healthy summer recipe?

Share the recipe and its ingredients on this blog and you will automatically be entered into a drawing for one of four sets of two FREE tickets to Roaring Springs Waterpark in Meridian, ID. 

How to play:

Make sure you are registered and logged in to ChooseHealthMatters.com. If you are not already a registered user, please register in the right hand column. Click on the “register” button to get started.

Make a comment on this blog post by answering the question: “What is your favorite healthy summer recipe?”. Be sure to include the ingredients and any special instructions.

Winners will be drawn from all comments on Thursday, 8/8/13 @ 1:30 p.m., Mountain Time.

Please like & share:

Good Eaten’!

Kids in the Kitchen

Did you catch the buzz? There was a big state dinner at the White House on Tuesday…and it was planned and prepared by kids! Sometimes kids have the best ideas and when it comes to food, you know it has to be tasty or it’s all over. You can read about the healthy lunchtime challenge online. Check out the entry from Idaho’s winner, Mac Wirth of Boise. His Veggie Barley Salad with Orange Honey Vinaigrette looks yummy! Browse through the 53 other winning recipes from students across the U.S., ages 8 to 12. To name a few… Nummy No Noodle Lasagne, Sweet Potato Turkey Sliders, Sneaky Chili Surprise, Picky Eater Pita Pizza Pockets, Confetti Peanut Ginger Party Pasta, Super Rescue Soup…and more! For more good eaten’ ideas visit the Featured Recipe Archive and Fruis & Veggies More Matters.

Please like & share:

Healthy Holidays

It happens so quickly… I was in the grocery store this weekend; my mind was full of healthy holiday intentions. Then it happened. I saw the peppermint bark cheesecake. I smelled the bakery… I rounded the aisle and found myself faced with the special holiday cheeses, spreads, and crackers. It was cruel. I took a deep breath and steered my cart toward dairy….the eggnog popped up from out of nowhere, along with the tasty coffee creamers, and on and on… the entire shopping trip was a challenge!!!

How do you keeping your holiday eating on a healthy track? Enter the drawing to win two free tickets to Wahooz Family Fun Zone in Meridian.

Here’s how to play…

  • Make sure you are registered and logged in to ChooseHealthMatters.com  on this blog, if you are not already a registered user, please do so in the right hand column by clicking on the “register” button
  • Make a comment on this blog post providing a copy of one of your favorite healthy holiday recipes including ingredients and instructions…or create a link to it.
  • The winner of the two free tickets will be drawn on Thursday, 12/6/12 at 11:30 a.m., MT.

Let’s see if we can share some healthy recipes with each other!

Remember – for tips on managing your nutrition, check out Health Tools 

Please like & share: