Beans are a fantastic food to promote weight loss. In a recent study, individuals who ate beans weighed 7 pounds less, on average, and had slimmer waistlines than those who didn’t. Yet they consumed 199 calories more per day if they were adults and an incredible 335 calories more if they were teenagers.
Part of the reason beans are good for weight loss is that they help to stabilize blood sugar. They help your body release a hormone called leptin, which helps to decrease your appetite, while boosting metabolism. Also, due to their high fiber content (about 12 – 15 grams per cup), beans are very filling, take more time to digest, and help promote a healthy digestive tract.
If you’d like to promote weight loss by getting more beans into your diet, follow these tips:
- Start Slow: If you’re a little new to beans, you might want to start adding them into your diet slowly to reduce the likelihood of becoming too gassy. At first, add about a quarter cup of beans into your day. Once you’re used to them, add a third of a cup, and from then on, move up to half a cup per day.
- Clean Canned Beans: Canned beans are convenient and easy for cooking. However, most canned beans are packaged with sodium or other preservatives. As a result, purchase those that are low in sodium, and rinse and drain them prior to use so that you remove some or most of the sodium and preservatives.
- Go International: Many dishes from around the world call for beans, as it’s a staple in many cultures. Purchase cookbooks or look for recipes online that highlight food from Italy, Greece and the Middle Eastern regions. Also, look for those from India, the Caribbean and Latin America, all of which tend to use beans as a main ingredient.
- Easy Additions: Beans are an easy add to many dishes:
- Salads: Add chickpeas (garbanzo beans), black beans or pinto beans to greens and veggies to create a well-balanced salad.
- Soups: Add beans to vegetable broth for a heartier soup. Also, many bean varieties can be pureed for a thick and rich soup base.
- Chili: Add beans to turkey chili or make a three-bean chili as a vegetarian option.
- Dips and Salsas: Beans are great for dips, such as hummus and black bean spread. They can also be added to diced tomatoes for a thick salsa, or to pineapple, mango and red pepper for a fruit salsa.
- Rice and Pasta: Add beans to brown rice or whole grain pasta for a meal that is rich in fiber and nutrients, and that provides a complete source of protein.
- Bean Salads: Make a hearty bean salad using fresh chopped onions and spices, tossed with a can of your favorite beans. Use olive oil, salt, pepper, and vinegar or lemon juice for dressing and seasoning.
Adapted from 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You. Make real, lasting change with this easy to follow, week-by-week guide to healthy change. Get it now at Amazon.com.