So if you decided that you are on board with making a permanent change to healthy eating, you want to start making sure all your meals are perfectly balanced.
If you’re on a limited budget though, this may present a challenge. There’s a reason why most people eat too much carbohydrates, fats and too little protein.
Most types of protein can be on the expensive side. Animal protein and some vegetarian options such as cheese are two of the best sources of protein, but can also be two of the priciest ingredients you can buy.
So, if you want to eat healthily on a budget that most folks can afford, what is the answer? Well, it may or may not surprise you. The answer is to implement more beans in your diet.
Beans are a economical crop, readily available in large quantities for not very much money at all, and yet they are an excellent source of protein, and when cooked in a variety of recipes they taste good too.
There’s no shortage of variety, either: you can get everything from kidney beans to butter beans, all lined up there in the same section for you. If you’re not sure of what to do with them, find some vegetarian recipes, which tend to be very bean-heavy, and give them a try.
Depending on where you shop, you'll find a decent variety to choose from when grocery shopping. However, if you ever want to experiment with a unique variety of beans you can find some cool heirloom varieties here at this online site featuring beans such as Cassoulet Beans & Christmas lima beans.
It can even be nice to mix together a few different kinds of beans and create a bean salad with a tasty dressing to implement a simple side dish, but is also an easy way to add protein to a meal.
Pasta with a plant based or dairy-based pasta sauce containing beans is an example of an ideally balanced meal, as long as you don’t overdo it with the pasta, as is rice with bean curry.
Beans are a good way to get protein that is healthy and the possibilities are endless on how to use them. Try using black beans in hummus, white beans in a simple tomato based pasta dish or a delicious corn salad with beans of your choice, tossed with a zippy apple cider vinaigrette with the addition of oregano and olive oil or the good old standby of a delicious chili!
As you can see, beans can be a creative and economical way of implementing healthy plant based protein into your diet that will keep you full and satisfied. One good habit is to try to replace one of your meals a few days a week for protein with the addition of beans.
By doing this healthy habit regularly, you’ll save a lot of money without affecting the balance of your meals.
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
Vanessa LaBranche/Chef Instructor-Culinary Educator