The school holidays are nearing, your annual leave is just around the corner, and with the festive season in full swing who doesn’t want a homemade biscuit or two to share in the name of love, family and cosy celebration? Come January, grandma’s Christmas cookies might have overstayed their welcome leaving your jeans just a little tighter than they were last month. Enter Imbo lentils; the nutritious, healthy answer to your holiday eating woes.
By Jana du Plessis
The health benefits
Since the United Nations declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (http://iyp2016.org/ ) the spotlight was being put on finding creative ways to incorporate more beans – especially lentils – into the average family’s diet. Here are just a few reasons why the humble lentil should not be overlooked as a nutrient-rich, health-boosting powerhouse:
1. Lentils are high in protein and fibre.
2. One cup of cooked lentils provides 16 grams of fibre and 26% of it’s calories to protein, making it the third richest legume in protein.
3. Lentils contain more folate than any other plant food. Folate, also known as folic acid or B9, supports the generation of new cells and are particularly essential to a pregnant woman’s diet. It has also been shown to prevent certain types of cancer.
4. The combination of fibre, folic acid and potassium in lentils makes it a heart-healthy food choice. Bonus: a ¾ cup of cooked lentils contains more potassium than a large banana!
5. Lentils cook faster than other dried beans and do not have to be soaked beforehand.
6. Lentils are versatile and inexpensive, which makes them an easy ingredient to incorporate into everyday cooking.
How to eat more lentils
Since lentils are such an adaptable legume, it’s very simple to make them a part of your regular recipe round up:
1. Bulk up your mince and burger patties with them or use them entirely in veggie-based patties or meatballs.
2. Cooked and puréed, they thicken soups, stews and sauces without any unhealthy extras
3. Lentils are delicious in desserts! They are mild in flavour and add plenty of moisture to baked goods, from cakes to brownies. No one will be able to tell that you sneaked in some wholesome goodness into a supposedly indulgent treat.
To kick you off, we suggest baking these scrumptious lentil and raspberry chews for tea time!