Beans, Beans, they make you…….healthy!
Often known as the poor man’s meat, these are more than just a student lifesaver. We are on a super tight budget at the moment (we move house in a week), but luckily we have a fully stocked cupboard that is over flowing with a variety of different dried beans. There are over 13,000 different varieties of beans, I think I only have about 6. As well as making my slow cooked baked beans, I am using them to fill out pasta dishes in the place of meat, to pad out Mexican dishes, adding to soups and casserole, making hummus, and served simply with brown rice and a mix of herbs and spices. A handful of dried beans (soaked and pre-cooked of course) are so versatile and can be used in almost every cuisine.
Being cheap and versatile is not the only reason I love beans. They are healthy too. They are full of protein and a rich source of fibre. Most people stick to grains when they are trying to cut down their food budget, but beans, whilst having the same number of calories as grains, they have about 4 times as much protein. This is great for vegetarians that don’t get any protein from meat, or for meat eaters that are cutting down on meat due to fat content.
Other health benefits of beans include reducing the risk of many cancers, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels and preventing bowel problems (I think this is what they are most known for).
Coloured beans like kidney beans are high in antioxidants and actually have a higher rate than blueberries.
The main thing to consider with beans is to buy them dry, rather than in a can. Dried beans are so much cheaper, and they don’t come with all the added salt and sugar that tinned do. Dried do take a little while to prepare, but if you are planning your meals a day in advance (which is advisable anyway), then you can soak them over night so they are ready to cook the next day.