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High fiber and high protein; I love adding beans to as many dishes as I can during the week. Studies show that eating a serving of beans at least 4 times per week, can help to reduce your risk of heart disease. I’m actually just learning to be a better bean cooker. So for many years I just opened cans. I still use a canned bean in a pinch. I have a least a dozen different types of canned beans in my pantry at all times.
Canned beans: If I use canned beans, I just dump them into a colander and rinse the canned beans to reduce sodium. Rinse them for about 20-30 seconds.
I add garbanzo beans to salads. I add black beans to my ground beef or ground bison and then use it for taco salads.
Sort the kidney beans the night or morning before cooking. Rocks and small pieces of debris are often mixed in with the beans, and it is essential to remove these to avoid complications while eating.
Dump the beans in a colander and rinse thoroughly. Although cooking the beans will destroy germs, they may hold an earthy taste if they are not cleaned. Place the beans in a pot and cover with water. Allow them to soak overnight or for several hours.
Drain the water from the soaked kidney beans and replace with clean water. The USDA recommends using 1.75 quarts for each pound of beans that you prepare. Add salt or oil to taste and bring to a light boil.
Add hot water as needed. According to the California Dry Bean Board, the kidney beans should always be covered with water. Allow beans to cook for at least 1 to 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally. Verify that the beans are tender before removing from heat.
Yield: 7 servings. One 1-cup serving (prepared without added salt) 198 calories, 295 mg sodium, 0 cholesterol, 38 gm carbohydrate, 11 gm. protein, 1 gm. fat.
Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home recipe November 1993
So easy to cook up and then use in a variety of recipes from taco salads to spaghetti sauce. I also cook it and then freeze it in ziplocs or Snapware for use during the busy work week.
It is a great cheese choice when you’re looking for more great taste with fewer calories. With only 35 calories in each individually wrapped wedge, you can add a lot of cheesy goodness to your active lifestyle without adding to your waistline.
I like to add a wedge in with my scrambles eggs to add extra protein and flavor.
*Recipe courtesy of www.thelaughingcow.com/recipes.
Low fat sour cream is a simple way to add low fat creamy flavor and texture to soup and stews. The good news is that a little goes a long way, so use sparingly!
I add it to my favorite chili recipe and I stir into soups.
Spinach is low in in calories and high in vitamins. One cup of the leafy green vegetable contains vitamin K, and vitamin A, manganese and folate. Popeye was onto something, it contains iron to build up your muscles.
Spinach is great to add to a wrap or salad instead of a romaine or iceberg lettuce.
Spinach can be added to many dishes, pizza, an omelet, soups, or just cooked up with a little olive oil and chopped garlic.
Low in fat, butternut squash is a great source of dietary fiber. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. It’s a heart healthy fruit (yes, it contains seeds, so therefore it’s a fruit) because it adds a daily dose of folate.
I love to slice it and bake it in the oven to prep it to add to salads, risotto, and other pasta dishes.
My favorite part of Fall is this yummy fruit. Butternut Squash is my favorite.
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light, Nov. 2008
Including a small handful of almonds (a little less than an ounce, shot-glass size) throughout your weekly diet has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. I’ve read some additional studies that show almonds may protect you from heart disease and diabetes.
Almonds are a quick, healthy snack. My favorite almonds are the lightly roast almonds from Costco. It’s a large container so make sure you store it in your fridge so they don’t spoil. I also keep a shot-glass inside the container. This makes it easier to measure the appropriate serving size.
Ounce for ounce, they contain more protein than any other nut or seed. A quarter cup has about 8.5 protein grams and is a rich source of many other vitamins and minerals. Studies show that the phytosterols they contain reduce cholesterol levels, enhance the immune response and may even decrease the risk of certain cancers.
Pumpkin seeds are an easy on the go snack. I carry a bag of them with me or in my car. I also love to sprinkle them on my salads.
They are high in fiber and water. They are very filling and studies have shown they can wake you up as much as a cup of coffee.
Slice and dip in Greek yogurt for a tangy snack.
Core or slice an apple in half and then bake it at 350° F for about 20 minutes. Add 1 Tbs. of chopped nuts, 1 tsp. of coconut oil (or butter), a drizzle of honey or some dried cranberries or cherries & a little cinnamon, nutmeg, or (a smidge) of brown sugar is also a nice touch.
Studies have shown that the skin of pears contains at least three to four times as many phenolic phytonutrients as the flesh. These phytonutrients include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and potentially anti-cancer phytonutrients like cinnamic acids. The skin of the pear has also been show to contain about half of the pear’s total dietary fiber. Of course, the meat of the pear is also great fiber and contains Vitamins C and K.
I love to add pears to salads; mix spring greens with walnuts and pears, a delicious salad.
Pears are also a good paring, no pun intended, with different cheeses.
American Cancer Society recommends an intake of 20-35 grams of dietary fiber per day; Dates are a good source of fiber. Including 2-3 Dates/day can help to increase you daily fiber intake. I also find that since Dates are so sweet, if I eat one or two at the end of the meal it can help to kill my sweet tooth.
Dates are yummy just eating them alone or chopping them up and putting them in a salad or healthy cookie recipe.
One cup of couscous provides 6g of protein, and 2 g of fiber, and the anti-oxidant selenium, and, BONUS: it’s lower in calories than a cup of white rice or quinoa. I love Wild Roots Pure Harvest Couscous.
I keep it on hand to use as a tasty side dish, in which you could add chopped peppers, spinach and a little onion to the mix to make it look colorful.
It’s a refreshing and no calorie treat at the end of the day.
I make a healthy after work mock tail.