The new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include a recommendation increase intake of plant-based proteins, which is perfect, because beans are protein-rich providing approximately 7g of protein per 1/2 cup serving. And when it comes to weight management, incorporating beans into your meal as part of an overall healthy diet will promote satiety and can aid in weight loss.
Beans typically come in two forms: dried or canned. While it's more economical to buy dry beans, many people buy canned beans due to the convenience of not having to soak them before cooking. Which is fine, canned beans are great! Just be sure to rinse well before using to remove up to 40% of the sodium that is added to keep them shelf stable. There are many kinds to choose from - kidney, black, white, navy and chickpeas to name a few - so be sure to try them all!!
Today I had a great excuse to get in my half cup of beans as it was National Chili Day! Yes, yet another food holiday. To celebrate, I made another batch of a new recipe I've been experimenting with. This chili is a little different in that I added quinoa to thicken it up and absorb most of the water. It's sort of a soup, sort of a stew, but 100% delicious and filling! Quinoa and beans are the stars of the show, making this chili rich in fiber and protein.
As an athlete, especially in the winter, I love to have a big bowl of chili after a hard workout. Especially if I've been outdoors, it helps me not only to recover but warms my body from the inside out. Chili is the perfect one-pot recipe for athletes, because it provides both protein and carbohydrate necessary for recovery and it can be easily made in bulk then reheated for a complete meal when life gets busy. And who isn't busy these days?
Celebrate National Chili Day and Healthy Heart Month by whipping up a delicious pot of Sweet Potato & Quinoa Chili!
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add you onions and garlic and mix with oil and allow to simmer for 5-6 minutes until golden and fragrant. Add your jalapeño and stir, sautéing another minute or so. Add sweet potatoes, peppers, beans, corn, tomatoes, broth and spices. Bring entire pot to a simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Prior to serving, add a drizzle of lime juice to each bowl. Garnish with chopped cilantro, cheese and avocado as desired.
Download the recipe in PDF format here.
As my husband likes to sing: "Beans, beans are good for the heart. The more you eat them the more you fart. The more you fart the better you feel, so eat your beans at every meal!"
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and endurance athlete residing in southwest Virginia alongside her husband and dog. Through this blog she aims to share favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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