Last week was one of the weeks I look forward to the most every year. Two other woman and I hosted a camp for kids ages 5-12. This camp focuses on mindfulness, yoga and cooking, with the kids rotating through each area every day. I am responsible for the cooking part of the camp so every year I have the challenge of finding recipes that the kids will like but that don’t activate any of the kids food allergies. In this day and age, with 24 kids involved, this is a big challenge. However, this year I found two different recipes that used black beans- one a savory recipe and one a sweet recipe. After the kids seemed to enjoy both of them, it made me want to explore the nutritional benefits of beans. These are the facts I discovered.
Black beans are a food everyone should keep in their cupboard. They are a cheap, easy to prepare source of protein, regularity producing fiber, disease fighting antioxidants, and numerous vitamins and minerals.
Black bean’s rich, deep color point to their high anti oxidant content that is especially helpful in the fight against color cancer.
One cup of black beans provides 15 grams of filling fiber. This fiber helps to keep us regular and provides a feeling of satiety after meals. The fiber is also helpful in blood sugar control.
Black beans are low on the glycemic index because they are a complex carbohydrate that the body is able to slowly digest and use for energy without spiking blood sugar levels.
Black beans are an excellent source of numerous vitamins and minerals including magnesium, iron, phosphorus, folate, and B vitamins.
One cup of these beans provides about 14 grams of fat-burning protein, making them an excellent source of protein for vegans and vegetarians and carnivores.
There are so many ways to make these a healthy addition to any type of diet. I love the recipe below as a sweet option to try. (The campers loved it too.)
Black Bean Brownies
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min. + coolingYIELD:12 servings
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided (we used vegan baking chips)
3 tablespoons canola oil
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
- Place the beans, 1/4 cup chocolate chips and oil in a food processor; cover and process until blended. Add the eggs, brown sugar, cocoa, vanilla, baking powder and salt; cover and process until smooth.
- Transfer to a 9-in. square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 1 dozen.
Photo from flickr.
1 brownie equals 167 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 53 mg cholesterol, 131 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein.