Eating healthy on a budget can seem like a challenge. But one of nature’s most nutritious foods is also one of the supermarket’s least expensive: dried legumes.
Legumes, or pulses — the family of grain seeds that includes lentils, beans, peas and peanuts — are so healthful they’ve been nicknamed The Perfect Food. High in fibre and packed with vitamins and minerals, pulses are also a great plant-based source of protein at a fraction of the cost of animal protein. In fact, a 1/4 cup serving of peanuts and a 1/3 cup serving of dried beans cost about 30 cents each. Even better, dried legumes can be stored in airtight containers for over a year.
If you’re trying to lose weight, eating a serving or two of legumes daily might help. They are filling, low-glycemic and very versatile: use them to make Curries, Salads, Breakfast cereal, Burgers, Brownies and even Cookies.
Lentils are easy to prepare and don’t require soaking. Dried beans cook up just as easily but require pre-soaking first. I usually soak mine overnight, then drain and rinse them in the morning. Then I cover them with 2 inches of water and simmer for the recommended time.