By Kristin M. MacDonald, MS, RD, LDN
Owner, Healthy Appetites Nutrition Counseling, L.L.C.
Legumes, a great addition to healthy diets, are an often neglected culinary delight. Beans, peas and lentils are very nutritious and add variety, texture and flavor to dishes. Legumes are rich in protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber. Complex carbs are a great source of fuel before working out and protein is beneficial for muscle recovery. Fiber is important for digestive health. All three of these nutrients contribute to feelings of fullness, which can help with weight management, and have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar.
Hummus, a bean dip usually made of chickpeas, is a dish where legumes are truly the star. Hummus also contains tahini, a ground sesame paste, and olive oil. Sesame seeds are high in compounds that are linked to lower blood cholesterol. As discussed in this month’s article on the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is a source of healthy unsaturated fat, and is associated with health benefits such as heart disease and cancer prevention.
In addition to the health benefits of hummus, it is a delicious snack paired with fresh veggies, whole-grain crackers or pita bread. Spread it on your sandwich as an alternative to mayo, or keep the sandwich vegetarian with hummus and layers of fresh vegetables. It has a savory, umami flavor and the varieties of hummus available on the market today are many. I’ve enjoyed flavors including roasted red pepper, pine nut and garlic. I have also seen hummus made from different legumes, such as white bean or edamame hummus. Some brands offer individually packaged servings for a healthy, on-the-go option. You can read the nutrition fact label and ingredients list to pick a variety that is lowest in sodium and contains the most natural ingredients.
1 whole pineapple, sliced into steaks
juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoons ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1) To prepare the pineapple, cut off the top. Place pineapple on flat, cut surface and cut into quarters. Carefully remove inner core and outer skin. Leave pineapple in quarters or cut into smaller strips if you prefer.
2) In a large dish combine the lime, honey, olive oil and spices. Place the pineapple in the dish and turn to coat.
3) Marinade for several hours or overnight.
4) The pineapple can be grilled on a stovetop grill pan or on your outside grill. You can brush the grill lightly with olive oil to prevent sticking. Cook about 1 to 2 minutes per side, until grill marks begin to develop.
Stay tuned - next month Kristin will prepare a homemade roasted red pepper hummus on our new video blog!