The United Nations (UN) declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. A “pulse” is the edible seed of certain legumes such as dry beans, peas and lentils. Pulses were chosen, according to the UN, to “heighten public awareness of their nutritional benefits as part of sustainable food production aimed toward food security and nutrition.”
Cooked dry beans are an excellent source of fiber, potassium and folate. One-fourth cup of cooked beans counts as a one ounce-equivalent in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Protein Food Group. Other protein foods include meat, poultry, seafood, dry peas, lentils, eggs, processed soy products, nuts and seeds. As an illustration: 1/2 cup of cooked beans and 2 ounces of cooked meat would both be counted as 2 ounce-equivalents of protein.
Some bean facts:
• A 15-ounce can of beans provides about 3-1/2-cup servings of beans.
• One pound of dry edible beans yields about 6 cups of cooked beans.
• The cost of a 15-ounce can of beans ranges from about 33–67 cents per 1/2-cup serving, depending on whether people buy the store brand instead of the national brand.
• A half cup of dry beans, cooked from scratch, costs about 17 cents.
• One type of bean can usually be substituted for another type in recipes. Taste and color may vary slightly.
Source: Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, Extension Educator, Lancaster County Extension, Lincoln, NE