Tips for using Beans and Chickpeas
Beans, beans the magical fruit.. that 'magical' effect can be less than pleasant, but don't let it deter you! Beans are an incredibly Nutritious food. They're full of fiber, protein, complex carbs, and vitamins and minerals and they're worth including in your diet. I often hear that people don't eat many beans because they either don't know how to cook them in a way that they like, or because they don't like the side-effects they get after eating them. If you fall into one of these categories I encourage you to play around and try some bean recipes - I bet you can find one you like! Check out my Recipes page for some ideas to get you started.
Here are a few tips and things to help your bean (and chickpea) experience be as enjoyable as possible:
- If you're not used to eating beans/legumes, start small - eating a big portion of anything that your body isn't used to can be hard for it to deal with, and beans are no exception. Gradually introduce beans into your diet in bigger amounts more often and allow your body to adapt.
- Drink lots of water! Beans are full of fiber, something many people don't get enough of in their diets. Suddenly increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can be tough on your digestive system, and drinking enough will help keep your system moving. Fiber is another one of those things to increase gradually. Over time your body will adjust, and it will thank you in the long run!
- Rinse, Rinse, Rinse. This helps to get rid of some of the part of the bean that causes gas and bloating. If you're hydrating dry beans, change your soaking water. If you're using canned beans drain them and rinse them well, never use the liquid from the can.
If you've tried these and beans still aren't agreeing with your system, try a product called Beano. It's an enzyme that helps your body digest some of the fiber in the beans, which helps cut back on bloating and gas. It works really well!
Some creative ways to eat more beans:
- Add beans to soups and stews or have chili as a main course
- Have hummus and veggies as a snack
- Make oatmeal with 1/2 oats and 1/2 lentils
- Stir pureed lentils or beans into baked goods
- Try a bean or chickpea flour - mix it half and half with all purpose flour
- Add cooked beans or lentils to salads
- Try them smashed with herbs as a sandwich filling
- Have a mix of black beans and corn with Mexican spices instead of rice at a meal
- Have edamame beans as a snack or appetizer
Here are some recipes of mine to get you started on your bean adventure. Some of the ways you can include more beans in your diet might surprise you!