Lentils

I didn't jump on board the Lentil Wagon until a few years ago. Lentils weren't a part of my diet growing up so I wasn't sure about them. Wow, was I missing out on these little droplets of pure goodness! Lentils are super low in fat, high in protein, fiber, vitamin B9 (folate), and are CHEAP! They're great on their own, or mixed in to a recipe for added health benefits.

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Lentils come in a variety of colors: red, green, brown, and black. I mainly use green and red when I cook (just because they're more readily available at my grocer). Red lentils tend to cook faster and get a little mushy, so if you're cooking something like Lentil Sloppy Joes, use green, which can stand up to several hours in a slow cooker. Red lentils are also good to use as a thickening agent in soups since they breakdown over longer cooking times.

Lentils are high in protein - 30% of their calories come from protein. They're high in fiber: a 1/2 cup gets you close to about 30% of your daily required intake. And being high in fiber they help with IBS issues, promote digestive health, stabilize blood sugars, and can reduce cholesterol levels.

Here's their overall nutritional breakdown for a 1/2 cup:

  • 115 calories
  • 0.4 grams of fat
  • 0 mg of cholesterol
  • 2 mg of sodium
  • 365.5 mg of potassium 
  • 20 grams of carbs
  • 8 grams of fiber
  • 9 grams of protein
  • 179 mg of Vitamin B9 (folate) - supports nervous system health.

They're super versatile and can be used in lots of different recipes. Feel free to give some of these a go!