For most of us, eating just half a cup of legumes 2 or 3 times a week will ensure we benefit from these nutritious little powerhouses. But a recent analysis of research showed that over 65% of Australians aren’t eating the recommended amount of legumes needed for good health, with two out of three of us simply not thinking to include legumes in our diet¹.
Rebecca Williams, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutrition Manager of the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC) says:
"Our research shows most Australians don’t come close to eating the recommended amount of legumes, but they’re extremely versatile and it’s easier than ever to incorporate them into your diet - in ways that may just surprise you!”
Dietitian nutritionist Lyndi Cohen is a big legume fan and recently shared her tips and tricks for eating more legumes with foodies and health bloggers at a food styling event GLNC held alongside McKenzie’s Foods and Edgell Australia. Ms Cohen says:
“Legumes are such an easy nutrient-rich food to add to our diets - they’re packed with fibre, are a great source of plant based protein and also contain essential nutrients like iron, folate and zinc.”
“I like to mix things up and get creative by adding black beans to a breakfast bowl with scrambled eggs and veggies, blend butterbeans into falafels or add cooked lentils to sweet treats like energy balls or brownies.”
These Super Lentil Bites are a great way to pack lentil power into your snacks or enjoy the goodness of chickpeas and butterbeans in these herby Falafel Balls - simply stuff into a wholemeal pitta with salad and tzatziki for a truly tasty lunch.
You too can enjoy legumes more often with these top tips…
- Vary the legumes you eat and add half a cup wherever you can - try mixing cooked lentils into an omelette, add chickpeas to a tomato sauce or blend cannellini beans into your next batch of hummus for a super creamy result.
- Using dried legumes is easier than you think! To save time during the week, soak, cook and then freeze them in bulk so they’re ready to go for quick and easy meals.
- Canned legumes are ready to go in an instant - just don’t forget to rinse them to reduce the sodium content by up to 40%².
- Cooked legumes keep well in the fridge for up to three days or store in the freezer for 2-3 months. Simply allow to cool before storing in a sealed container.
- Gas is a good sign! It shows that the good bugs in your gut are feeding on the fibre from the legumes. To help ease any discomfort, introduce legumes gradually, allowing your gut bacteria time to adjust. Drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly will help too.
Ms Williams says:
“To benefit from their impressive nutritional profile, try eating just 2-3 half cup serves of legumes a week. And there are so many ways you can eat them - they can be ground into flour, dried, cooked, frozen and incorporated into both savoury and sweet recipes - there really is no excuse not to give legumes a try!”
How will you eat your legumes today?
1. GLNC. 2014 Australian Grains and Legumes Consumption and Attitudinal Report. Unpublished: 2014.
2. Jones J, Mount J. Sodium Reduction in Canned Bean Varieties by Draining and Rinsing. Institute of Food Technologists Conference Poster; Anaheim, California 2009.
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