To continue our Food of the Month series, we are focusing on beans for February. As with peanut butter, beans have a long shelf life, they fill an important role in a balanced diet and are easy to prepare. For more information on our most-needed food items, check out our website.
If beans were to compete in the Healthy Food Olympics, they would surely collect many medals at the podium for being extra nutritious. Classified by the USDA as being a subgroup of vegetables, beans have long sustained a good reputation because of their versatility and variety, which can easily color one’s diet for the better. They’re ubiquitous across many cuisines, whether it’s black beans, cannellini beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans or lima beans. These legumes can add texture and richness to salads, baked dishes, desserts, dips, chilis, soups and pastas. From morning to evening, beans can be consumed at any part of your day.
The nutritional value of beans is undeniable. They are low in fat, filled with protein and contain complex carbohydrates that can give you plenty of energy for your day. Not to mention they also have plenty of potassium, antioxidants and folate, a B vitamin that helps with cell development for pregnant women.
According to Janet Hung, our Community Nutritionist, “Beans are a tiny, powerful vegetable with a whole bunch of health benefits. They are high in fiber, which eases digestion and keeps you regular. They also offer an excellent source of protein and iron, especially for vegetarians. It’s no wonder that beans are used in many cultures worldwide. They’re a versatile little legume that packs a nutritious punch while being easy on the budget.”
For more information about the health benefits of eating beans visit the USDA’s MyPlate webpage. For a short and colorful feature on how to prepare dried or canned beans, check out this Real Simple magazine article.
You can help get beans onto the plates of the people we serve in our community! By hosting a drive or mini collection where you live, work or play, you can help the families have more access to nutritious beans. Register for a drive today or drop some off at our San Jose or San Carlos warehouse.