Smoothies are a delicious and convenient way to pack in a variety of nutrients, but have you ever thought about adding beans to your smoothie?
Yes, you read that right – beans in smoothies! While it may sound unusual at first, adding beans to your smoothie is an easy and tasty way to boost its nutritional content and provide lasting energy.
Beans are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a perfect addition to any healthy diet.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of adding beans to smoothies, share tips on how to properly prepare them, and provide some delicious recipe ideas for you to try. Get ready to blend up some bean-tastic smoothies!
Why Add Beans To Smoothies?
Beans are a highly nutritious food that can offer many health benefits when incorporated into your diet. Here are some of the key nutritional benefits of beans.
High in Protein
Beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein, making them a great option for vegetarians and vegans. Protein is important for building and repairing tissues, as well as maintaining muscle mass. Additionally protein is an important satiating macronutrient.
Rich in Fiber
Beans are also high in fiber, which can help regulate digestion, lower cholesterol levels, and improve blood sugar control. Like beans, oat bran is a rich source of soluble fiber. If you are looking for other recipes to lower cholesterol, try these oat bran recipes.. Fiber also helps to promote feelings of fullness, making beans a great addition to smoothies as a way to increase satiety and promote weight loss.
Packed with Vitamins and Minerals
Beans contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. These nutrients are important for a healthy immune system, strong bones, and optimal functioning of various bodily processes. Magnesium and potassium are specific minerals needed for the DASH diet.
Low in Fat and Calories
Most beans are low in fat and calories, making them a great food choice for those looking to manage their weight. Additionally, the high fiber and protein content in beans can help reduce the overall calorie intake by promoting satiety and reducing hunger levels.
Overall, beans are an excellent source of nutrition and a great food to incorporate into your diet. By adding them to your smoothies, you can increase the nutritional content of your drink and enjoy all the health benefits that beans have to offer.
Types of Beans
There are many types of beans that can be added to smoothies, each with their own unique nutritional profile. Here are some examples.
Black beans are a great source of protein, fiber, and iron. In fact, half a cup of cooked black beans contain 7.5 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein in just 114 calories (1).
They also contain antioxidants and phytonutrients that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
These beans are black in color, so they may throw off the color of the smoothie. This is a great bean to pair with chocolate.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a good source of protein, fiber, and folate. They also contain antioxidants and have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties.
These are great in smoothies because they are beige in color and mild in taste, which doesn’t alter the end product of the smoothie.
Because they are rich in soluble fiber they can actually make the texture of the smoothie thick and creamy.
Edamame beans are young soybeans that are a good source of protein, fiber, and iron. They also contain antioxidants and phytonutrients that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
They are green in color, so best paired with leafy greens which result in a bright green color.
Kidney beans are a great source of protein, fiber, and iron. They also contain antioxidants and phytonutrients that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Kidney beans are earthy in flavor, so it’s best to pair these beans with sweet fruit to complement their taste.
Lentils are a good source of protein, fiber, and iron. Half a cup of lentils contains a whopping 9 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber (1).
They also contain folate, magnesium, and potassium, and have been shown to have cholesterol-lowering and anti-inflammatory properties.
Navy beans are a good source of protein, fiber, and iron. They also contain folate, magnesium, and potassium, and have been shown to have cholesterol-lowering and blood pressure-lowering properties.
Like chickpeas, they are white in color so won’t alter the final product, except make the end product creamier in texture.
How To Prepare Beans For Smoothies
Before adding beans to your smoothie, it’s important to properly prepare them to ensure they blend smoothly and are easy to digest. Here are some tips on how to prepare beans for smoothies:
Prepare Beans From Scratch
Soak the beans: Soaking beans before cooking helps to break down complex sugars that can cause digestive discomfort. Rinse the beans and soak them in water for several hours or overnight before cooking.
Cook the beans: Once soaked, drain the beans and rinse them again. Cook the beans according to their specific instructions, either on the stove or in a pressure cooker, until they are tender and fully cooked.
Cool the beans: After cooking, allow the beans to cool to room temperature before adding them to your smoothie. This helps to prevent the smoothie from becoming too thick or lumpy.
Freeze the beans: This is a fantastic shortcut to use when making your beans from scratch. Once beans and cooked and cooled, separate them into 1/2 cup portions and freeze them in zip lock bags, or airtight containers to be pulled out when you want to make a smoothie.
Purchase Cooked Beans
This is a more expensive option – although not as expensive as purchasing protein powder. You can purchase cooked beans that have been canned or frozen.
When selecting these options at the grocery store be sure to look for the “no salt added” claim on the front of the package, or ensure that the only ingredient on the ingredient list is “beans.”
This will ensure there is no salt added to the cooked beans which may throw off the taste of the smoothie.
Use a high-speed blender to ensure your beans blend smoothly and evenly into your smoothie, use a high-speed blender. Blend the beans first with some liquid (like milk) until smooth, then add the remaining ingredients and blend again until fully combined.
By following these simple steps, you can easily prepare beans for use in your smoothies and enjoy all the nutritional benefits they have to offer.
Recipes For Bean Smoothies
Here are four smoothies made with beans:
Nutrition summary: 276kcal, 11 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber
Nutrition summary: 166 kcal, 9 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber
Nutrition summary: 327 kcal, 20 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber
Nutrition summary: 194 kcal, 8 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber
It may sound weird, but incorporating beans into your smoothies is a simple and delicious way to boost the nutritional content of your favorite drinks, without the added cost of protein powders.
Beans are a great source of protein, fiber, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals, and can offer many health benefits when included as part of a balanced diet.
Whether you prefer black beans, chickpeas, edamame, kidney beans, lentils, navy beans, or any other type of bean, adding them to your smoothies can help you meet your daily nutrient needs and support overall health and wellness.
So why not give it a try and start experimenting with adding beans to your smoothies today? Try them out for breakfast, snack or post workout drink. Your body will thank you!