Searching for the perfect food in your weight loss plan? Tired of the same old same old? If you’ve eaten your last lettuce salad, your willpower is crumbling, and you’re longing for a burger for lunch, look no further than the humble lentil.
A disc-shaped legume and a dietary chameleon, lentils provide taste, nutrition, and variety.
An ancient food, lentils originated in central Asia as one of the earliest cultivated foods. The Bible tells us that Esau traded his birthright away to his brother, Jacob, for a humble meal of lentils.
Lentils find their way onto tables the world over as a staple in Indian homes and a common meat substitute in Catholic countries during Lent.
While many varieties exist, the brown lentil commonly lines American grocery store shelves.
Let’s add up the benefits of lentils.
- Low in calories, fat, and cholesterol
- High in protein, iron, and many other nutrients
- Cook easily and quickly
- Adapt to many types of recipes
- Readily available in regular grocery stores
- Don’t require a specific diet plan
- Don’t spoil easily
- Stretch meat
- Great for diabetics
A dieter’s dream, lentils contain 230 calories, 0.4 grams of fat, and 0 grams of cholesterol per one-cup serving.
In a single one-cup serving, lentils contain 7.8 grams fiber, 9 grams protein, and 6.59 mg.
Unlike beans, lentils require no presoaking or overnight soaking. As a rule of thumb, use 1-1/2 cups of water to 1 cups of lentils. Approximately 20-30 minutes cooking time will suffice. Simply boil on the stove top or in the microwave.
Starving college students take note! A one-pound package of lentils almost always costs less than one dollar, and usually less than 70 cents. Scout the lower shelves where grocers “hide” low-cost products.
Lentils work well in soups, salads, and side dishes. Tired of noodles and spaghetti? Lentils substitute well for pasta. Or a try a comforting bean and lentil chili. Lentils serve warm in soups or cold in salads. The mild, slightly nutty flavor tastes delicious on its own and doesn’t overpower other foods.
No need to go to an out-of-the-way health food store or ethnic store. Look in the dried bean section of any grocery store.
You don’t need a complicated recipe or extensive menu. A simple soup with a ham bone, a bit of leftover roast beef, or a carrot and potato addition makes a great meal.
Lentils last up to a year and need no refrigeration until cooked, so go ahead and stock up! The cooked lentils freeze well, too.
Add a cup of cooked lentils to hamburgers, sloppy joes, or meatloaf to cut cost, lower calories, and stretch your food dollar.
Their high-fiber content works to prevent blood sugar from rising following a meal.
A quick search in any book store or on-line yields many recipes or adapt a favorite of your own. Switch out meat or just substitute half.
Add lentils to your weight loss plan and watch pounds disappear, your health improve, and your budget stay in the black.
-By: Kathy Ferneau
Looking for diet and weight loss tips? http://www.lose-weight-diets.com
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