PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF VEGETARIAN VENTURE
It’s the dead of winter. And that New Year’s resolution to have salad for lunch every day—though well intentioned—just isn’t cutting it. Nope, this time of year calls for soup. Hot, steamy, soul-warming soup.But not just any soup. We’re talking about bean soup. When it comes to a meal-in-a-bowl that’s high on the heartiness factor and will keep your belly filled for hours, it just might be the perfect choice.That’s because beans are one of the only foods out there that are loaded with both protein and fiber—a combination that packs a serious satiety punch. They might even be more filling than meat. One recent Danish study found that participants who feasted on bean-based meals ate 12% fewer calories at their next meal compared to those who dined on pork or veal.So grab your wooden spoon and pull out your stockpot. It’s time to make a big batch of one of these hearty bean soups.
PERFECT SPLIT PEA SOUP
1/6 PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MOSTLY VEGAN
Split peas might not be trendy like chickpeas, and they don’t show up in nearly as many recipes as lentils, white beans, or black beans. But they’re delicious in The Mostly Vegan‘s simple split pea soup with onions, carrots, and potatoes. And with an amazing 16g fiber and 16g protein per cooked cup of peas, they will keep you full all day long.
2/6 PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FEASTING AT HOME
Most recipes for the Tuscan soup ribollita are more vegetables and bread than cannellini beans—making them great for an appetizer, but not for an actual meal. Feasting at Home‘s version is big on the beans, so it’s way more substantial. And a drizzle of rosemary lemon garlic oil makes it taste extra special. (Try one of these 10 slimming soups that still satisfy.)
3/6 PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF CAFÉ JOHNSONIA’S
A cup of cooked lentils serves up a whopping 16g fiber and 18g protein. But if you’re bored with your usual lentil soup, try Café Johnsonia‘s Thai-inspired version. It’s loaded with warming spices like ginger and curry powder, and gets a rich, velvety texture from full-fat coconut milk. (Follow these tips to sneak more fiber into your diet.)
4/6 PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF VEGETARIAN VENTURE
A generous amount of white beans isn’t the only thing that makes Vegetarian Venture‘s chili stick-to-your-ribs delicious. It’s also got two cups of whole milk, which won’t just help you stay full (thanks, protein and fat!). Full-fat dairy products might also keep you leaner, suggests Journal of Nutrition research.
5/6 PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ALEXANDRA COOKS
Yup, chickpeas are good for way more than just hummus and salads. They’re downright delicious in this North African-inspired soup loaded with tomatoes, cumin, paprika, cilantro, and fiery harissa, says Alexandra Cooks. And at 13g fiber and 14g per cooked cup, they’ll stay with you for hours after your meal.
Carbs get a negative rap because so many people are eating the bad ones—refined carbohydrates in white bread, candy, cookies, sugary cereals, and all sorts of other junk food and drinks. In fact, research has shown that 95 percent of the grains we eat are refined. Eating too many foods with these adulterated ingredients isn’t just bad for watching your weight; it can also raise your risk of heart disease and diabetes, plus raise your levels of blood fats called triglycerides, putting you on the fast track for a heart attack, stroke, or other health issues.
The good news is that working the healthiest grains into your diet can help prevent these health problems. Healthy, whole-grain foods are made from cereal grains that include the whole kernel, and research shows that they can protect you from ticker trouble, diabetes, colon cancer, and possibly asthma and Alzheimer’s disease. These 11 grains are worth keeping at the top of your shopping list.
This one is pretty easy, as long as you don’t let food marketers trick you. It can be readily found in bread and pasta products, but make sure the label says “100 percent whole wheat.” Terms like “multigrain” and “wheat” don’t cut it. As when you’re shopping for any whole-grain product, look at the ingredients and make sure the whole grain is at or near the top of the list. Each serving should contain at least 2 or 3 grams of fiber.
Oats are particularly rich in avenanthramide, an antioxidant that protects the heart. When you’re shopping for this whole grain, whether you see the word “whole” or not doesn’t matter the way it does with wheat products. Oats in the ingredients list mean the product is made from whole oats. But, if you are buying something like instant oatmeal, avoid those that contain high-fructose corn syrup. Studies have found that it was a source of mercury contamination in oatmeal. We suggest sticking to the good old-fashioned unsweetened kind and mixing in a little fruit or honey.
When you choose white rice over brown, around 75 percent of its nutrients—including nearly all the antioxidants, magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins contained in the healthy bran and germ—are left on the milling-room floor. Always opt for brown rice, which includes brown aromatic varieties like basmati and jasmine. Get even more exotic with red and black rice, both of which are considered whole grains and are high in antioxidants. Though technically a grass, wild rice is also considered a whole grain and is rich in B vitamins, such as niacin and folate.
According to nutritional research from the nonprofit The Organic Center, rye has more nutrients per 100-calorie serving than any other whole grain. It has four times more fiber than standard whole wheat and provides you with nearly 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of iron. The problem is, most rye and pumpernickel bread in this country is made with refined flours. Be persistent and look for “whole rye” topping the ingredients list to get the healthy benefits.
Yes, freekeh has a crazy name, but it has very serious benefits. This Arabic grain is a low-carb form of ancient wheat that has up to four times more fiber than brown rice. Freekeh kernels are harvested while they’re young and then roasted. They contain more vitamins and minerals, such as immune-boosting selenium, than other grains. Once in your stomach, freekeh acts as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria that aid digestion. (This is different than a probiotic, which is a beneficial live bacteria you consume). Look for it in Middle Eastern markets or natural-food stores.
Eating a half-cup of whole barley regularly during a 5-week period cut participants’ cholesterol levels by nearly 10 percent when compared to other participants who went without barley in a USDA study. Add raisins or dried apricots to quick-cooking barley and serve it as a side dish. Just make sure it’s whole-grain barley, not “pearled,” which means the bran and germ have been removed.
7/11 GAMZOVA OLGA/ SHUTTERSTOCK
This common pancake whole grain is one of the whole grains many people living with celiac disease can tolerate (others include quinoa, amaranth, and sorghum). And it’s one of the best grain-based sources of magnesium, a wonder mineral that does everything from ease PMS symptoms to improve nerve functioning; and manganese, which boosts brain power. And thank goodness for that, because who doesn’t enjoy a good buckwheat pancake from time to time?
For all practical purposes, bulgur is considered a whole grain, even though up to 5 percent of its bran may be removed during processing. It’s so good for you, though, we’re putting it on the list. The grain, which is used to make tabbouleh salad, is a great source of iron and magnesium. The fiber and protein powerhouse (a cup contains nearly 75 percent of the dietary fiber you need for the day, and 25 percent of the protein you should get) can be used in salads or tossed in soups. And it cooks in only a few minutes.
Though it’s technically a seed and not a grain, this ancient South American power food is packed with more protein than any other grain, and each uncooked cup of the stuff (about three servings) has 522 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. Your family will likely enjoy its light, nutty flavor for a change of pace at the dinner table.
Most of the couscous you see is a form of pasta, usually made from refined wheat flour. So when you’re eyeing the items in the aisle for the healthiest couscous pick, look for the whole-wheat kind, most easily found in natural-food stores. Skipping the refined version and going with the whole-grain type will gain you 5 additional grams of fiber.
Corn can be extremely healthy for you when it’s whole. A good source of B vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorus, whole corn is also thought to increase healthy gut flora, which can ward off diabetes, heart disease, and chronic inflammation. Yellow corn is also high in antioxidants. The easiest way to eat it? Popcorn. Just skip the microwavable kinds that use harmful chemicals in the bags’ nonstick lining. Instead, buy organic popcorn kernels and pop them in a microwave using an ordinary paper bag, or do it the old-fashioned way on the stovetop. Buying organic is important, as about 40 percent of the corn grown in the United States is genetically modified (GMO) to withstand higher doses of pesticides.
Organic products are available to purchase at SFMart.com
This article is originally posted on Rodal’s Organic Life