National Eat Your Beans Day – July 3, 2019

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Eating more plant-based protein, like beans or legumes, is a small step you can take towards following the Mediterranean pattern of eating, or eating the Med Way! Mediterranean-style eating patterns are remarkably well-linked with lifelong good health and decreasing the risk of many chronic diseases including some forms of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Beans and legumes are lower in calories and higher in fiber than other sources of protein, meaning that they are more likely to provide a sense of satiety and fullness. They can also be a very budget-friendly alternative to meat-based sources of protein.
Try these tips to save some calories and eat more beans:
  • Replace half of the ground meat in your recipes with beans and vegetables to decrease the meat while still enjoying familiar flavors.
  • Cook beans and legumes in bulk to use in the next few days or freeze for later use.
  • Use hummus: as a bread spread for sandwiches in place of butter or mayonnaise, or as a dip for snacks in place of cream-based dips.
  • Choose ‘No Salt Added’ canned beans or rinse canned beans before using to reduce about 30% of the sodium added for packaging.
  • Use a slow cooker or pressure cooker to cook dried beans.
  • To reduce gas, soak beans for 48 hours and cook until very soft.
 Try this Med-friendly Black Bean Salsa recipe as a refreshing side for your 4th of July festivities!
Ingredients: black bean salsa
  • 1 (15-ounce) bag of frozen white corn (or white and yellow mixed)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped Vidalia onion
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the frozen corn according to package directions and chill.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Serve immediately (with chips, or as a condiment), or chill until serving.
Nutrition Information per Serving: (Based on ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper)
  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Vegetables: ¾ cup
  • Fruits: 0 cups
  • Calories: 320 calories
  • Carbohydrates: 45 grams
  • Fiber: 11 grams
  • Protein: 11 grams
  • Fat: 13 grams
  • Sodium: 214 mg
For recipes and more information on the Mediterranean Diet, visit  Med Instead of Meds and keep an eye out for upcoming Med Instead of Meds programming with N.C. Cooperative Extension in Burke County.