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The Beauty of Beans

The traditional American meal often includes a large helping of meat, right? Just because we have lean turkey or chicken on our plate, we think all is well because it provides us with important muscle building protein!

It's important to know there are healthy nutrients in meat, but too much animal fat, whether it's lean or not, can be detrimental to your health. So how do we get enough protein? It's best to get our protein from a variety of sources like nuts, eggs, low-fat cheese, milk, yogurt, peanut butter, beans, lentils, legumes, fish, lean meat and even whole grains.

Let's focus on beans and lentils—an awesome source of protein you might not know much about. You can get a variety of beans out of a can which isn't bad! There is some extra sodium in this ready-to-eat version, but if the convenience works for you, the nutrition is worth it! The dried bagged beans and lentils are natural and very inexpensive, but soaking them overnight or boiling them for an hour is necessary before preparing your meal.

Add beans to rice, soup and pasta sauces. Red beans are great in chili. White beans and garbanzo beans add filling protein to salads. I actually eat lima beans out of a can for a satisfying snack–ok, I'm weird.

Don't get me wrong, I like a tasty chicken breast or a juicy steak that takes up half of my plate, but not every night of the week. Try to balance your nutrients and reduce your animal fat intake by finding recipes that include a combination of healthy proteins and vegetables.

Below is a super, simple soup recipe that includes lean meat and white beans packed with protein and healthy antioxidants!

Power Soup

1 pound ground turkey or chicken

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning or other dried herb combo

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or other white beans, drained

1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth (you can choose low sodium if desired)

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire roasted or garlic and onion tomatoes, undrained

4 cups chopped fresh spinach

Brown turkey/chicken in pan

Add Italian seasoning/herbs, beans, broth and tomatoes to pan and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

Stir in spinach, simmer 5 minutes.


For more great info on health and nutrition, check out College Basic Training: strengthen your mind and body to leap any college hurdle.

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