The Beauty of Beans (Part 3)

Who knew there was so much to say about beans? We’ve taken an in-depth look at legumes over the past two[1] weeks[2], and we’ll wrap things up this week with some suggestions as to how to fit beans into your eating plan.

As I previously mentioned, beans are one of those foods that get little respect. People make jokes about them. Or they turn up their noses, considering them to be peasant food. Still others have made up their minds that they couldn’t possibly like beans; that they must taste awful. Years ago, I, too, had decided that I didn’t like beans. My primary exposure to them was on nights when my mother served hot dogs and baked beans for supper; not only did I dislike hot dogs (and still do), I didn’t like the sweet taste and mushy texture of baked beans, let alone the chunk of fat that was nestled on top of them in the can. To this day, I don’t like baked beans. However, after dining with one of my dietitian colleagues who regularly brought beans and rice for lunch, I decided to bite the bullet. I researched some bean recipes and whipped up batches of beans and rice and vegetarian chili. Soon, I too was hooked.


Not convinced? Well, here’s a list of some fairly well-known dishes that are “bean-based.” See if any of these might appeal to you:

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a multitude of recipes for both traditional and innovative ways to prepare beans. You’re probably eating some of these already. And since the Dietary Guidelines for Americans urge us to eat beans several times a week for good nutrition, what are you waiting for? Here are some ways to get started:

You can probably think of many other ways to boost your bean intake. Be creative! The Internet is full of bean ideas and recipes, too. Check out[3] and[4]. And if you use your slow cooker or Crock-Pot frequently, there are many recipes that call for beans. So do your heart, your weight ,and your diabetes some good. Enjoy!

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Amy Campbell: Amy Campbell is the author of Staying Healthy with Diabetes: Nutrition and Meal Planning and a frequent contributor to Diabetes Self-Management and Diabetes & You. She has co-authored several books, including the The Joslin Guide to Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association’s 16 Myths of a “Diabetic Diet,” for which she received a Will Solimene Award of Excellence in Medical Communication and a National Health Information Award in 2000. Amy also developed menus for Fit Not Fat at Forty Plus and co-authored Eat Carbs, Lose Weight with fitness expert Denise Austin. Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Simmons College and a master’s degree in nutrition education from Boston University. In addition to being a Registered Dietitian, she is a Certified Diabetes Educator and a member of the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Amy was formerly a Diabetes and Nutrition Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center, where she was responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of disease management programs, including clinical guideline and educational material development, and the development, testing, and implementation of disease management applications. She is currently the Director of Clinical Education Content Development and Training at Good Measures. Amy has developed and conducted training sessions for various disease and case management programs and is a frequent presenter at disease management events.

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