Beans, lentils, and peas are staple foods in cuisines around the world and for good reason. They vary in flavor, size, and texture and can be used in many types of recipes. They’re also one of the more affordable and nutritious foods that are widely available. However, most people in the U.S. do not eat enough of them. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating 1.5 cups of cooked beans, peas, and lentils each week based on a 2,000-calorie diet, but more than 80% of people don’t meet this recommendation. Learn how you can enjoy more in your dishes this summer from our Nutrition & Health Sciences team.
Beans, peas, and lentils, also known as legumes, are a nutritious plant-based protein option. Not only do most legumes provide plant-based protein but they also provide essential vitamins and minerals.
For example, ½ cup of cooked lentils provides:
They’re also relatively affordable compared to other protein sources, so they can help manage food budgets and boost the nutrition of your favorite recipes.
Legumes are a relatively sustainable food and are recommended as part of a diet that prioritizes the health of the planet. Legumes release less greenhouse gas emissions compared to other crops. They also make their own nitrogen which improves soil health and reduces the need for nitrogen fertilizers.
You can find legumes throughout the grocery store. From the canned vegetable section to more convenient and innovative products, legumes are everywhere. Chickpeas, black beans, and lentils can be found in flavorful, high fiber pastas. The snack aisle offers roasted and seasoned beans and lentils. Products like Campbell’s Well Yes! POWER Soup Bowls make legumes both convenient and delicious with varieties like Spiced Chickpea with Spinach and Quinoa.
Beans, peas, and lentils are some of the most versatile ingredients you can stock in your pantry. Whether you want to enjoy familiar flavors or try something new, there are many ways to prepare them. Here are some of our favorite recipes you can try at home:
There are many delicious ways and important reasons to enjoy more beans, peas, and lentils as part of your meals and snacks. Get creative with your grocery shopping and cooking this season to include more legumes in your diet. Quick scratch cooking can be a great place to start.
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