The New Year will soon be here and this often marks the making of resolutions for the months ahead. It’s not surprising that one of the most popular resolutions is to eat healthier. But making a resolution to consume a healthy diet is easy, sticking to a plan is the hard part. By providing positive messages about what foods to include in a healthy eating pattern, along with simple meal ideas and recipes, you can help consumers with long-term success. Start by encouraging shoppers to make small steps like adding more beans to meals. Beans are an inexpensive, versatile and sustainable food that provides a powerful nutritional punch. As you communicate with your customers online, in-store and during consultations, be sure to discuss the key health reasons for adding more beans to meals along with simple menu ideas.
- Nutritional “beanefits” – Beans have noteworthy nutrition and are an amazing source of plant-based protein, along with being an excellent source of fiber and providing nutrients like iron, zinc, potassium and folate.
- Beans support digestive health – The nutrients and fiber in beans help replenish healthy intestinal bacteria which supports the immune system. In addition, beans are rich in two kinds of fiber – soluble and insoluble.
- Beans promote healthy weight – Research shows that people who eat more fiber tend to weigh less. The protein and fiber content of beans both contribute to feelings of fullness and satiety which can help with weight management.
- Beans are budget-friendly – Beans are an affordable ingredient that can be widely used in a variety of dishes. Cooking just one 16 oz. bag of dried beans yields 12 (1/2 cup) servings for approximately $1.80 or less. That’s only $0.15 a serving! Canned beans, while a bit more expensive, are still very healthy, affordable and convenient for shoppers looking for a quick meal ingredient.
- Versatile meal options – To reap the many health benefits of beans, encourage your customers to add them to the foods they already enjoy. Since beans have a neutral flavor, they go well with many dishes.
- For breakfast: Add beans to scrambled eggs and wrap in a whole grain tortilla with low fat cheese, avocado and salsa for a protein-filled breakfast sandwich.
- In salads: Top salads with beans to add beneficial protein and fiber. Bonus – the beans soak up the tasty dressing and add texture for a satisfying salad. This Tuna and White Bean Salad can be eaten on a bed of greens or in a pita sandwich.
Make a dip: Share the recipe for this Baked Buffalo Bean Dip which can be served on game day with crunchy vegetables or whole grain tortilla chips. It’s so delicious that no one will miss the chicken.
- Side dishes: Instead of potatoes or pasta, suggest a side of baked beans, beans and brown rice or beans seasoned with garlic, olive oil and cumin.
- Easy assembly meals: Simply top corn tostados with beans or refried beans, cheddar cheese and corn. Heat in the microwave, then add additions like avocado, salsa, onions, tomatoes and shredded lettuce.
- In hearty soups: Beans are a great addition to any soup from vegetable to chili. Encourage your customers to add them to their next batch. Suggest this delicious Michigan Bean & Vegetable Noodle Soup.
- Add to pasta: Suggest adding white beans to pesto pasta or to jarred pasta sauce instead of meat.
- Blend with meat: Support a flexitarian eating pattern by helping shoppers create this delicious Plant-Powered Black Bean and Beef Blend. It can be used in a variety of recipes including Burrito Stuffed Peppers, Mexican Lasagna or as a topping for nachos.
- In dessert: Promote substituting some of the flour in brownies with pureed beans! These Michigan Black Bean Brownies will definitely satisfy a chocolate craving, and since the beans add fiber and protein, there’s no guilt needed.
For more ways to promote the healthy and sustainable goodness of Michigan Beans to your shoppers, download our Michigan Beans Dietitian Toolkit.