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Pulses Are The Healthy Solution You Didn't Know You Needed
Even if you’re a seasoned home cook, there’s one food group you might still be sleeping on—pulses. Although many people aren’t familiar with the term, most have heard of the major members of the pulse family, which include lentils, chickpeas, dried beans, and dried peas. They’re foods that often aren’t given too much thought.
That could be about to change. More and more, pulses are being recognized as the superfood they are. They have tons of fantastic benefits for your body, your budget and are a savvy addition to your family’s grocery list. And with so many delicious ways to use pulses in your everyday meals, beans, chickpeas and lentils could quickly become staples in your pantry.
Take some time to get acquainted with your new favourite food group.
Great for your health
Pulses are packed with all kinds of essential nutrients for your body. An excellent source of protein, beans and lentils are the perfect substitute for red meat on your next Meatless Monday. They’re also high in vital minerals such as iron and zinc, and they’re a great source of B-vitamins, which are key to maintaining your brain health, energy levels and metabolism. Plus, pulses are rich in fibre, which means they make you feel full longer and keep your blood sugar stable. Research shows that regularly eating pulses can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels over time.
Good for the planet
On top of the health benefits, pulses are an environmentally friendly option for your table. Thanks to their drought-resistant structure, beans, lentils, and chickpeas use much less water in their growth cycle than other protein sources. They also have a lower carbon footprint because they require so little fertilizer to grow—they actually pull their nitrogen straight from the air. Feel good eating pulses, knowing that you’ve made an environmentally sustainable choice.
Tasty and versatile
There are so many delicious ways to enjoy pulses. Add them to your favourite soups and stews for a hearty shot of flavour. Toss chickpeas in a curry for a crowd-pleasing weekday dinner, pop white beans into your next salad for a flavourful twist, or use black beans as the base for a stellar veggie burger. You can even try subbing in lentils for ground beef in your family Bolognese recipe—you would be surprised by the richness they add to a sauce.
Pulses even work as a snack food. The next time you have a mid afternoon craving, try roasting chickpeas and tossing them in your favourite seasonings for the perfect pick-me-up.
An affordable option
Pulses aren’t just tasty—they’re also great for the pocketbook. Especially as a substitute for meat, beans, chickpeas and lentils can help you keep your grocery haul under budget. In a time of so much uncertainty, an economical menu option is something we can all appreciate.
With so many benefits, there’s no better time to add pulses to your grocery list. You’ll be glad you made the shift.
5 Healthy Winter Comfort Foods
At this time of year, we all have go-to comfort foods to help us survive the chilly weather and shorter days.
But it’s not always easy to enjoy your favorite comfort foods while also maintaining a healthy diet. If you’re looking for more healthy options this winter, here are some comforting—but surprisingly nutritious—meal ideas to warm up your body and your soul.
Nothing feels cozy and decadent like breaded fish, chicken, and vegetables. To keep your crispy favourites healthy, try baking instead of frying. You’ll still get that crispy texture, but without the extra oil.
To bread virtually anything, dab your meat or vegetables dry with a clean cloth. Then coat it with flour, followed by an egg wash, then breadcrumbs and spices—we love thyme and paprika. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet and enjoy!
Spoon up some soup
Soups can be an incredibly comforting—and shockingly healthy—winter meal idea. They just require a few simple tricks. Look for recipes that avoid fatty ingredients such as heavy cream, and substitute in low sodium soup stock for the regular store blends.
To add a rich restaurant feel to any soup, top it with a dollop of Greek yogurt, fresh herbs, or toasted seeds.
Make it cauliflower
If you haven’t jumped on the cauliflower trend yet, now is the time. Try substituting cauliflower in your favourite go-to dishes—you may be surprised by the delicious and satisfying result!
Of course, cauliflower rice is a great way to keep your stir fries and curries low carb. But if you’re ready to take your cauliflower game to the next level, give cauliflower mac and cheese a go! That’s right—make your mac as you normally would, but instead of noodles, use cauliflower. And don’t forget about cauliflower wings, a wildly satisfying alternative to everyone’s pub favourite.
Stuff your veggies
If you have never made stuffed squash, peppers, or potatoes, you’re missing out. A satisfying and simple technique, stuffed vegetables can make for a decadent weekday meal.
An easy place to start is the good old stuffed pepper. Cut off the tops and fill up the peppers with whole grain rice, sauteed onions, cheese, and anything else that strikes your fancy. Then, slide them in the oven to roast. If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, try stuffing a squash—our favourite varieties are acorn or spaghetti.
And as always, you can’t go wrong with stuffing a baked potato. For extra flavor (and nutrients) try using sweet potatoes and add bold toppings like curried lentils or roasted chickpeas.
Perfect your veggie chili
Who doesn’t love a satisfying bowl of chili on a frosty winter night? Making your family recipe guilt-free is surprisingly simple—just take out the meat. Without ground beef, chili is a wildly healthy comfort food.
To keep that creamy chili texture, try this: take one cup of your completed batch and pulse it in a food processor for a few seconds. Then, mix it back into the chili for a richer, more satisfying consistency.
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