Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

Healthy Food Friday!

on May 20, 2011

Every Friday I’ll highlight a healthy food and give some ideas on how to incorporate this food into your daily life.  The first one is one of may favorites:

Black Beans
In the same category: kidney, pinto, great Northern, navy beans, chickpeas, and lentils

Why black beans?  They are an almost perfect food.  Low fat, low sodium, high fiber.  Black beans are also high in folate, which is essential for preventing birth defects so women who are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant should eat plenty of black beans.  If you are beyond the pregnancy years (yay!), folate has also been proven to cut the risk of heart disease.  These beans, along with kidney bean are tops for antioxidants.  Eating black beans helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, moderate insulin levels, and reduce cancer risk.  They are also easier to digest than many other beans (less farting!) 
WOW- see what I mean about black beans a perfect food? Let’s find out how to prepare them.

Black beans can do almost anything, they are a staple in Mexican, Caribbean, Asian, and Mediterranean cooking.  Use them in salads, soups, stew, chili, salsa, and burritos.  I use them to make refried beans and hummus.  Dried beans are preferred, but in the interest of time,  I typically use canned, buying low sodium or organic if available.  Drain but don’t rinse to save the most flavor.

Hummus is typically made with chickpeas, but black beans make this dip even more nutritious. This recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make!

Black Bean Hummus
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 clove garlic, minced. I use the minced stuff in the jar as a shortcut
1/4 cup soft silken tofu.  -or- use fat-free cream cheese.  (not as healthy, but it will give the correct texture)
2 tbs. tahini (this is sesame butter- you’ll find it by the peanut butter or in the Asian section at the store)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbl. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lime juice, fresh squeezed or form the plastic lime
salt and pepper to taste, taking it easy on the salt

Place everything in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.  Or- for a little extra exercise, blend by hand with a potato masher!

Serve with pita chips (I like Amy’s), baked corn chips, or raw veggies.  This will keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
Each 1 tbl. serving has 32 calories, 1 g protein, 3 g carbs, 1.5 g fat, 1 g fiber if you make it with tofu.  Fat free cream cheese will give more calories and slightly more protein.



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