Let’s hear it for the beans!

By Sari Huhtala

Do you remember that cheesy ground beef and macaroni casserole your mom would make for dinner? Or you would make for dinner? Well, just one serving of that meal gave you 75 per cent of your daily saturated fat intake and over 500 calories that are completely devoid of fibre. Go for beans. Your body will be grateful.

Going 100 per cent plant based is not necessarily the name of the game. Instead, try swapping out beans in meals that demand ground beef, or going half and half to lessen the body burden that eating all that flesh creates. I’ve watched people wolf down two quarter pound burgers and wonder how their body is managing following a tsunami of trans fats. You’ll never spot someone going for a run after a meaty meal, but you will after a beany meal. Saturated fats are more difficult to digest. That sleepy feeling after eating a meal means your body is working hard to digest it. Instead, expend your energy on your family and loved ones by choosing more plant-based options from time to time.

White beans offer great versality in meals. Try a vegan mac and no cheese instead of a conventional beef and macaroni meal.  

Try this vegan shepherd’s pie for a yummy healthy twist.

When making spaghetti, be bold and forgo the ground beef and instead mash cooked white pea beans or white northern beans to eliminate bean chunks (to mimic meat) and add beans to your favourite spaghetti sauce recipe.

Love hamburgers? No worries. Beans, with all of their fabulous fibre, will help you digest all that fat. Instead of making a 100 per cent ground beef burger, make it 50 per cent white beans by simply mashing up cooked beans to eliminate visible bean chunks and add to hamburger mixture.

Pump up your mashed potatoes by adding beans and some nutrititional yeast.

Aside from adding fibre and added nutrition to your typical meat-based meals, beans are budget friendly. One cup of cooked white pea beans, if you are cooking your own from dried beans, cost no more than 20 cents. When was the last time you bought a quarter pound of ground beef for 20 cents?

Sari Huhtala is the publisher and editor of Alive and Fit Magazine, which she created in 2007. She has over 25 years experience in journalism and over 15 years experience as a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor. She is an organic farmer, wild-crafter and grandmother, who has spent over 20 years of navigating a holistic, healthy path for her family.

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