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Adding Beans To Diet
by S. Pagnotta
I am not exactly sure what a vegan diet means when it says a portion of your food should be comprised of beans. I mean I know what the different beans are and where to get them but I am not sure how to prepare them so they are a delicious part of my meal. Can someone give me a few examples of how they can be added to my meals and how I would go about preparing them to be just that- delicious! Thank you!
Great question! My best advice is to start with the idea that you want to eat a good selection of beans to get all the benefits from each type. Each bean has an amazing array of nutrients, and if you stick to one, you are cutting yourself short.
You should get about 2-3 servings of beans a day, which equals to about 1-1/2 cups of cooked beans. As a new vegan, I liked to imagine my serving of beans as a substitute for meat. So, when you are putting together your plate, fill about 1/4 with beans, 1/4 with whole grains, and the rest with vegetables. Snack on fruits and nuts, and you have a balanced diet.
There are many ways to add beans to your diet. If you are moving from an omnivorous diet to a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can replace any meat with beans. So, if you usually eat a cold cut sandwich, instead start putting hummus on that sandwich. It's made with white beans (usually chickpeas), sesame seed butter, garlic, and spices, and it's great with any vegetables on nice whole grain bread.
You can also cook beans with garlic and onions, or any other combination of spices you like, and then add them on top of grains and with vegetables for a hearty meal. They are great added into soups and chilis as well.
You also get nutritional benefits from bean-based milk substitutes like soymilk, soy ice cream, and soy yogurt.
Here are some other bean recipes to get you started on the process of adding beans to your diet.