Fish and beans are two great sources of protein that can replace fattier meats. Fish is an especially helpful addition to the diet, because it has nearly the same level of protein per 100 grams as lean red meat (both have about 30g/100g serving), while being higher in unsaturated fats and lower in saturated fats. For instance, salmon has more than double the “good” fats (unsaturated) and less than half of the “bad” fats (saturated) as lean beef. Fatty fish like salmon can provide a good portion of the recommended Omega 3 Fatty-Acids, with just 2 servings a week. Fish can also provide important minerals, especially calcium and selenium.
The one big concern for fish is heavy metal content from pollutants, especially mercury. However, the science clearly shows that the health benefits outweigh the dangers. As I mentioned in my first post in this healthy eating series, I don’t eat enough fish. My first choice is to replace some of my meat protein consumption with fish protein for optimum nutrition.
I tend to like fish lightly cooked and fresh. We have plenty of fresh fish here in the northwest. I was surprised to find, when looking for recipes, that the Washington State, Department of Health even has a whole section dedicated to fish recipes. I have included one of those recipes in the three that I liked best.
Beans are not only a good source of protein, but they also are one of the best sources of dietary fiber. Beans are a staple food in much of the world and the reason is obvious, they provide a little of everything. While not anywhere near red meat in protein content (only a third of red meat or fish), they also add good fats and complex carbohydrates. Beans, however, don’t generally offer the full range of essential amino acids, like red meat and fish do. In poor countries, beans are often combined with whole grains and this provides a complete spectrum of amino acids. One issue I have with true vegetarianism is that protein is often lacking in vegetarian diets. Vegetarians need to make sure that they are both eating enough protein and all the essential amino acids. For those of us that aren’t vegetarian, beans are a great addition to a healthy eating diet. They have plenty of carbs, a good amount of protein and are rich in some B Vitamins, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Manganese. The complex carbohydrates in beans take time to digest, so they provide longer lasting energy and are low on the glycemic index.
Bean Tips: Soak beans overnight and cook slowly. This will reduce the gas produced when consuming them. Yes! They can make you toot, especially if you generally don’t have a high fiber diet. Also, if you want to increase the protein content in beans, sprout them! Sprouting converts a portion of the carbohydrates into protein. Just soak the beans until little sprouts appear and then cook them. It will not change the flavor of the beans.
I love chili, so I found a turkey chili recipe to try. I also wanted a basic bean soup recipe, so here they are;
Now, I have several recipes to experiment with over the next month. Next week, I will be sharing my ideas about good fats to add to the diet. Salute!