Legumes

Legumes include:

  • split peas
  • beans (e.g. butter beans, kidney beans, soybeans, broad beans)
  • chickpeas
  • lentils.

Legumes can be dried or tinned, and they include products like baked beans, lentils, chickpeas and 4 bean mix. Tinned varieties are quick and easy and save on the preparation time.  Make sure you go for no added salt varieties, or rinse and drain them before adding to dishes.

Legumes are a great source of plant protein, and they are also low in fat. They’re full of fibre and they have a low glycaemic index (GI) which means they can help you feel full for longer. Beans and lentils can also be a useful source of iron and zinc for vegetarians (along with tofu, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and green vegetables).

How much to eat

Try to include legumes in at least 2 meals a week. A serve of beans, peas or lentils is 1 cup.

Legumes and beans are protein foods. Aim for 1–3 serves of protein foods each day (lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, or legumes). Read more about serves of protein foods 

Tips for eating legumes

  • Add legumes to soups, casseroles, salads and meat sauces to extend the meal and add extra texture and flavour. This means you can use less meat, which makes the dish lower in fat and cheaper.
  • Beans have a reputation for causing wind, especially when cooked from dried. To help with that, soak them overnight before cooking them in fresh water.
  • Baked beans make a great snack or breakfast option. Choose the reduced or no added salt varieties.
  • Add beans or chick peas to salads.
  • Tinned varieties are quick and easy and save on preparation time. Make sure you go for no added salt varieties, or rinse and drain them before adding to dishes.

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