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Legumes: A Little Food with Big Benefits

Legumes offer a wealth of health benefits and can be a great choice for Meatless Monday.  Get ideas for how to use them below, including a recipe for Curry Spinach Chickpea Salad from Cuisinicity.
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Legumes are a little food with a big effect!  They’ve been in our kitchens and on our plates for thousands of years and are only becoming trendier, thanks to the growing popularity of veggie-rich diets and plenty of related health benefits.  From the red lentils in your curry and the black beans in your burrito to the chickpeas in your hummus  and the edamame next to your sushi, legumes are a go-to ingredient for Meatless Monday or any day of the week for these top three reasons:
  1. Budget Friendly – Providing all the flavor while leaving you with a little extra spending money, legumes bring the nutrition without putting a dent in your budget.
  2. Protein Packed – Beef, chicken, pork and fish may be the big names in the protein world, but they’re not the only players.  Legumes are loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 
  3. Full of Fiber – Just like fruits and veggies, legumes have plenty of fiber to help fill you up and keep you fuller longer.  In addition, studies show that this same fiber can help lower blood cholesterol, reduce your risk of diabetes and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Learn more about legumes at  Look for an ever- growing number of legume options at restaurants large and small to try something new, get ideas for home or to add some extra nutrition to your diet this week. 
At home, add recipes like this Curry Spinach Chickpea Salad from Cuisinicity to your weekly menu.   Cuisinicity’s Catherine Katz says:
“This vegetarian salad reminds me of the makings of a typical creamy chicken salad, with grapes and celery and walnuts…except without the chicken or the mayo!! Instead, I use chickpeas and my Simply Spinach Dip with a little curry as its creamy dressing. The result is deliciously filled with nutrients and is very satisfying!”
How do you incorporate beans, lentils and other legumes into your diet for flavor and health?
Look for dietitian-recommended menu choices like these featuring legumes at restaurants coast to coast:

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