Food prices are expected to rise a whopping 9% this year -- with the biggest hit coming to the meat department.
Celebrity chef and Cookenomics creator Susannah Locketti gives you five reasons to head straight for the bean aisle. There you can save your hard earned bucks, but can still get your family all the protein they need ... and then some!
Beans are High in Protein
Beans are bad asses in the protein department. Most beans boast at least six grams of protein per ½ cup serving -- which is fantastic. Beans are a great supplement to a meat diet, or as a stand alone protein for vegetarians. Canned varieties are more convenient for busy moms because you just open the can and eat. Experiment with different varieties to see what your family likes. Another plus -- canned beans are always cooked through so you'll never have to fuss with a darn meat thermometer again!
Beans are Inexpensive
Whether you buy them canned or dry, beans are an inexpensive staple when you want some healthy protein in your diet. Be sure to rinse canned beans thoroughly through a strainer. Black beans and kidney beans are great for Mexican dishes like chili or veggie tacos, black eyed peas are great in bean salads with vinaigrette and Japanese soybeans (edamame) are great in stir fries or steamed as a little snack during the day. Baked beans are also a great standby for kids who love the sweet flavor and parents who love the sweet price.
Beans Fill You Up
Beans are high in fiber and take longer for your body to digest -- meaning they fill your family up. Keeping that in mind, I try to make one vegetarian dish a week to save money. Slowly incorporate these high fiber friends into the family diet too. Be sure to drink plenty of water when eating beans. High fiber foods require a lot of water to digest and you could end up constipated (yuck!) without the H20. Bottom line -- ease into these bad boys.
The Fun Fart Factor
Rinsing canned beans will eliminate some of this problem, but it won't erase it completely. My kids are intrigued by the "fart factor" beans provide. I have two boys and they know beans mean good farts. It's a boy thing. Hey ... your kids may even look forward to beans now. My kids now sing the beloved "Beans beans the miracle food, the more you eat the more you poop, the more you poop the better you feel ... now I'm ready for another meal." Who knew beans could be so fun?
Longer Shelf Life
Canned and dry beans last long on the shelf, unlike meat which expires faster. Always keep your pantry stocked with a few different types in case you are running low on meat or meat prices reach a ridiculous new high. I always keep a can of garbanzo beans on hand to whip up a quick hummus which is high in protein. It can even be used in place of mayo on a sandwich for the added protein bonus.