If you aren’t incorporating lentils into your weekly meal plan, it’s time to rethink your menu. While lentils are often synonymous with plant-based diets, they are a versatile and nutrient-packed ingredient that is appropriate for kids, adults, vegans, and meat-eaters alike. Protein, fiber, iron, and carbohydrates are just some of the nutrients found in lentils. So, when asked if lentils are good for you, the answer is, absolutely YES!
Lentils are often a staple in vegetarians and vegan diets because they are a concentrated source of protein and iron. These two nutrients are often under consumed by those following plant-based diets. However, these nutrients are also valuable for those who eat animal-based foods. Protein serves many functions in the body, including aiding in muscle repair and growth, and fluid balance. Iron is essential for blood health and oxygen delivery throughout the body.
Lentils are also a great source of fiber, a nutrient essential for healthy digestion that also increases satiety and may help lower blood cholesterol levels. Fiber is generally under consumed in the Western diet. Incorporating a half cup serving of lentils can get you as many as 8 grams of fiber!
Related to fiber, lentils also contain high-quality carbohydrates. This nutrient is essential to the functioning of your brain and nervous system. It is also the primary form of energy your body uses during higher intensity exercise. With many processed, low-quality carb sources found in the typical American diet, lentils are actually one of the best source of carbohydrate because of their fiber content and minimal processing.
In addition to being nutrient-rich, lentils are also incredibly versatile and easy to prepare. Lentils cook easily in boiled water, often in half the time it takes to cook beans and grains, like rice. They can be enjoyed with a wide array of seasonings and sauces to meet your preferences. Lentils are also a great food to cook in bulk and enjoy in a wide variety of dishes throughout the week. Use cooked lentils as a protein source in a salad or your favorite vegetable soup, or enjoy them as a side dish to accompany your next barbecue.
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