Diet

Discovering legumes

Contrary to popular belief, legumes are not only for vegetarians!  These meat substitutes are excellent for your health; they’re cheap and they're delicious!

 

What are legumes?

Legumes are not only the traditional split pea soup or baked beans we know and love. You will find several varieties from all around the world and they take different shapes, tastes and colors. They are classified into three categories:

  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Lentils
Did you know that peanuts are not part of the nut family but rather, they belong to the legume family? Fortunately, people who are allergic to peanuts are not usually allergic to legumes and they can enjoy beans, peas or lentils anytime they want!
 
Buying and conserving legumes

You can find legumes at the grocery store and they are available in three formats:

  • Dry: Will keep for up to a year in a sealed container. The most economical. Requires a longer cooking time.
  • Canned: A long shelf life, economical and reduces cooking time. We recommend that you rinse them under cold water before incorporating them in your recipes to reduce the amount of salt.
  • Frozen: Can be stored for several months in the freezer. Contain less salt than canned legumes and cook quickly.

Cooked legumes will keep in the refrigerator for between 1 to 3 days and several months in the freezer. Don’t forget to cool them completely before freezing them.

Nutritional values

In addition to their wonderful taste and the opportunity to vary our sources of energy and protein, legumes provide several benefits:

  • Low in fat, no cholesterol or saturated fat
  • High in fiber
  • Rich in carbohydrates
  • Excellent source of iron, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
To allow your body to better absorb the iron from legumes, eat foods rich in vitamin C like broccoli, tomatoes or oranges during the same meal and avoid drinking tea, coffee or soft drinks as these drinks reduce iron absorption.
 
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