Jena DeMoss: Cool Beans!

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Cool beans!

That’s right, beans are not only easy on the wallet waistline, beans are also brimming with culinary potential. Beans have almost as many varieties as they do uses in the kitchen. All varieties of beans are rich sources of protein, fiber and the essential amino acid, lysine. Beans also contain folic acid and many minerals, such as iron, zinc and magnesium. Beans also contain disease-fighting antioxidants.

  Beans are also considered a “superfood” because they are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. As a result of their high fiber content, beans help protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease and maybe even some cancers. The soluble fiber in beans can help lower the harmful LDL-cholesterol and help regulate blood sugar levels. It can also help us feel satisfied after we eat, and therefore help with weight control. The plant protein content in beans helps improve the dietary quality of a meal and can take the place of meat.

Here are the top four reasons why to incorporate beans into your diet: 

Economical: Beans are a low-cost alternative to animal protein sources such as beef, chicken and pork.

Nutritious: Beans are an excellent source of plant protein and provide nutrients such as iron and zinc. They’re naturally free of fat and cholesterol; dry beans are sodium-free as well.

• Filling: Fiber-rich beans fill you up, not out. A ½-cup serving is less than 130 calories. Also, beans provide the body with energy slowly, so blood sugar levels don’t spike and drop sharply, causing lethargy and hunger.

• Versatile: Versatility is a hallmark of beans. Use them to make hummus or vegetarian burgers, to “beef up” a salad or as the star in your next pot of soup or chili!

Also, as mentioned previously, beans come in a variety of options, benefits and uses. 

BLACK BEANS: With smooth texture and mild flavor, black beans are easy to incorporate into a variety of dishes.

BENEFITS: Black beans are high in potassium, which may aid blood pressure.

• BEST USES: Mexican, Caribbean and South American recipes including quesadillas and tacos; also vegetarian burgers, salsa and wraps.

PINTO BEANS: Pinto means “painted” in Spanish, owing to the rust-color specks on the skin. They have an earthy flavor.

BENEFITS: Pinto beans have a lot of fiber and protein.

BEST USES: Their tenderness is well-suited to Tex-Mex dishes such as refried beans, dips, nachos or frijoles charros (cowboy beans).

CANNELLINI BEANS: Also called white kidney beans, they have a slightly thicker skin and hold their shape well.

BENEFITS: A quarter cup supplies 43 percent of daily fiber and 20 percent of daily potassium needs.

BEST USES:Minestrone or kale soup, pasta fazool, tuna salad, bean salads and brownies.

Mexican Skillet Dinner

All you need

• 1 tbsp. Hy-Vee canola oil

• 1 lbs. 85%-lean ground beef

• ½ c. Hy-Vee Short Cuts chopped white onions

• 1 (1.25-oz.) pkg. Hy-Vee taco seasoning mix

• 2 (14.5-oz. each) cans Hy-Vee diced tomatoes, undrained

• 1 (15-oz.) can Hy-Vee black beans, drained and rinsed

• 1 c. Hy-Vee long grain white rice, uncooked

• 1 c. Hy-Vee no-salt-added beef broth

• 1 ½ c. Hy-Vee finely shredded taco cheese, or finely shredded Mexican cheese

• Desired toppers, such as: Hy-Vee sour cream, fresh jalapeno slices, chopped avocado, tomato, and/or cilantro

All you do

1. Heat canola oil in a large skillet. Add ground beef, white onions, and taco seasoning. Cook until meat is browned, stirring occasionally. Drain off fat and return meat to skillet.

2. Stir in diced tomatoes, black beans, uncooked rice, and beef broth. Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and let stand until cheese is melted.

3. Serve with desired toppings such as sour cream, jalapeno slices, chopped avocado, tomato, and/or cilantro.

Recipe source:

Whether you’re looking for more guidance on basic nutrition, are hoping to lose weight or want an easy weekly meal plan, your Hy-Vee dietitians can help. Visit to set up an appointment for a FREE Discovery Session. This session allows us to learn more about your health and wellness goals and discover which of our many services will be the best fit for your needs. Let us be your guide this New Year to a healthier YOU!