July is National Baked Bean Month.  This is the month when America’s favorite side dish gets to be highlighted as a stand-alone-star. Baked beans have accompanied millions of Americans on picnics, barbecues, cookouts, birthdays, graduation dinners, and so many more celebrations. Whether we’re talking about kidney beans, pinto beans, lima beans, black beans, or navy beans, it doesn’t matter. Why? Because the health benefits of beans are consistent throughout all types, shapes and sizes of this nutritional powerhouse. These small, yet mighty legumes provide essential nutrients such as protein, iron, calcium, potassium, folic acid, and most importantly, fiber.

Fiber is found in plant foods, but unlike other carbohydrates, it cannot be readily digested in the small intestine. There are 2 types of fiber that our bodies can benefit from: soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a thick gel in our stomach. This gel helps with keeping blood sugar in check, lowering “bad” cholesterol levels (LDL) in the blood and slowing down digestion. Food sources include beans, peas, fruits, vegetables, oats, nuts and seeds.

On the other hand, insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It passes through the gut intact, which allows it to provide bulk for stool formation. This type of fiber also prevents constipation by speeding up nutrient transit through the digestive system. Food sources include: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, wheat bran, brown rice, whole grain breads, cereals and pasta.

Both soluble and insoluble fiber increase feelings of satiety so one feels satisfied and full for longer periods of time.

Below is an example of the substantial amount of fiber one can get from only 1 cup of beans:

Black beans, cooked: 15 grams of fiber per 1 cup

Chickpeas, cooked : 12.5 grams of fiber per cup

White beans, cooked: 11.3 grams of fiber per 1 cup

Fava beans, cooked: 9.2 grams of fiber per 1 cup


The Institute of Medicine recommends an intake of 38 grams per day for men (age 14-50 years), 25 grams per day for women (age 19-50 years), 19 grams per day for children age 1-3 years and 25 grams per day for children age 4-8 years. However, a majority of the American population only ingests around 15 grams per day. No worries though, we’ve come to the rescue!

We’ve got the Best Baked Bean recipe for you that happens to be packed with extra vegetables so you can lock in those fiber grams easily.

The Best Baked Beans

Ingredients

1 cup sweet onion, diced

1 cup Swiss Chard

½ cup celery, sliced

½ cup fresh tomatoes

2 peaches, diced into small cubes

½ cup carrots, cut in half and sliced

1 can baked beans

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard

2 tbsp fresh tomato sauce

1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp ginger

1 tsp chili powder

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 tbsp yellow mustard

¼ teaspoon salt + pepper

1 tbsp rosemary

2 tbsp Garden of Life Coconut Oil

Fresh basil for serving

2 tsp pickled chopped jalapeño peppers for serving

How-To

  1. Sauté the onions and celery in coconut oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add all the ingredients together in an oven-safe tin and cook for about 30-35 minutes at 350° or until the sauce has thickened and is bubbly.
  3. Top off the beans with fresh basil and pickled jalapeño peppers.
  4. Dig in!

Healthy Hacks

– Top your dish off with  Rosted Crunchy Lentils , or B’Bites Nut and Seed Mix. Not only will you get a surprise crunch element with every bite, but you’ll also be benefiting from extra protein, fiber, B-vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

-Canned beans are a convenient option but be sure to compare labels for sodium content as they are often packed with salt. Many brands offer low-sodium beans (less than 140 milligrams of sodium) or beans with no added salt.


-Drain canned beans in a strainer and rinse them under running water. This process can be very efficient at lowering the sodium content of the beans even further.


– Dried beans are a great option as they can last up to a year if placed in a closed container in a cool, dark space.


-Always remember to soak your dried beans in water the night before you want to cook them. This will ease and speed up the cooking process tremendously.


-Forgot to soak your beans? You can use a process called quick-soaking. Just place in beans in a pot filled with water, let it boil, cover it and turn off the heat. Let the pot sit for at least a half an hour in the hot water and you’re all set.

 

No time for cooking but still want the benefit of the bean?

Check out our favorite Savorfull snacks filled with these nutrient dense beans:

 

Simply Snackin’ Chicken Breast with Black Bean Salsa, Beanfields Barbecue Bean Chips, Beanfields Black Bean & Sea Salt Bean Chips, Beanfields Jalapeno Nacho Bean Chips, Beanfields Nacho Bean Chips, Beanfields Pico De Gallo Bean Chips and Beanfields White Bean & Sea Salt Bean Chips

 

 

This article was written by Marie Helena Bitar, currently a summer intern at Savorfull. She is originally from Lebanon, but recently moved to the US after completing her BS in Nutrition with a Minor in Psychology, to pursue a Master of Public Health-Dietetics at the University of Michigan. With a lifelong passion for nutrition and health, Marie Helena is an advocate for mental wellness, physical wellbeing and body positivity at every size, age, race and gender.