Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Boosting the Meal Power...With Beans

The New Year always energizes me to make better choices in several areas. One area I am looking to improve is serving my family more nutritious meals. Since my guys are "meat and potato" guys, it works best to introduce new and improved techniques rather slowly!

I've done some research on beans and their nutritional value. Beans offer a rich source of nutrients such as protein, fiber and important, vital vitamins and minerals. To achieve maximum benefits, they need to be eaten with a quality carbohydrate - brown rice, potatoes, etc. They are also very cost efficient. Here are a few tips and recipes I'm planning to put to use.

Beans need to be soaked:
Phytic acid is naturally found in all grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Phytic acid blocks the absorption of minerals in your body. To neutralize phytic acid (it will also make them easier to digest) you need to soak your grains and beans. It takes a little more time and effort to soak beans, but it an important step. The evening before you need the beans, put 2 cups of beans in a pan and cover with lots of water. Leave to soak. The next day dump the water out and cover the beans again with water and add 2t of salt. Cook beans for 2 to 4 hours or until they are soft.

Beans are versatile!
Here are a few recipes to use beans found at The Family Homestead.

Refried Beans
Red Beans and Rice
Italian Pinto Beans
Ranch Beans

These are a few recipes that I"ll be testing out at my home. I'm looking forward to adding some value, nutrients and creativity to me meals with beans!

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