Have you ever told your kids to “finish your peas…eat your vegetables”? Peas are green and veggies are green, right? Peas, alfalfa, lentils, soy, peanuts, and beans are not vegetables, but legumes. Although legumes are often mentioned as vegetables, they are not veggies.
A vegetable usually refers to an edible plant or part of a plant other than a fruit or seed. Therefore, any edible plant with seeds or a pod is not a veggie.
Many put legumes are in their own category, because they are counted as a carbohydrate and a protein. Answers.com says legume is “a pod, such as that of a pea or bean, that splits into two valves with the seeds attached to one edge of the valves. Such a pod or seed used as food.”
Legumes are the staples of many diets. The good news with a tight economy, legumes can help keep your grocery bill low. They are inexpensive while they are an excellent source of protein and high in fiber.
Although Kaliyah eats legumes all the time, she’s not sure what they are!
Legumes are low in fat. Most varieties provide half our folate requirements. They are a good source of phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, calcium, and selenium and contain Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), B5 and B6. Furthermore they are low on the Glycemic Index.
Eat More Legumes:
> Use beans as your protein source instead of high priced meats or dairy products.
> Purchase dried beans, green peas, and lentils. They make great pantry items. Soak beans overnight and then cook them. A pressure cooker will speed up the cooking process. Lentils and peas don’t require pre-soaking and the cooking time is less than for beans.
> Change your favorite recipe by replacing half of the meat with legumes.
> Stock your pantry with a variety of canned legumes and beans for a quick meal or side dish.
> Prepare soups, stews and casseroles with added beans.
> Have a vegetarian day once each week.
> Try a new legume each week–most supermarkets stock a wide variety of both dried and canned.
> Vary your lunches with a bean soup or salad.
> Use pureed beans as the foundation for dips and spreads.
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