Nutrition | Four Healthy Beans For Paddlers

Before you have a good day on the water, first you need to have a good day of nutrition. While it’s easy to forget about eating right, a healthy diet is the ultimate key to paddling harder and faster. While kale may be the first food that crosses your mind when it comes to eating healthy, there are plenty of other healthy options out there too. One such example is beans.

Beans truly are an underrated plant-based food that is perfect for paddlers because of their nutritional profile. Packed with protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and minerals, beans are nutrient-rich for their tiny size and will keep you feeling sustained for those long paddles. Not to mention, beans are also cholesterol-free, have a low glycemic index, and are easy on the wallet. With so much goodness coming from the little legumes, we're taking a closer look at four delicious options that are easy to include in any meal. —Shari Coble

Garbanzo Beans aka Chickpeas

The main ingredient in hummus–garbanzo beans–are delicious and can be roasted for a ready-to-go snack. Magnesium, iron, niacin, vitamin B-6, and calcium are all found in this power-packed bean, as well as healthy fatty acids including linoleic and oleic acids. Garbanzo beans also contain antioxidant phytonutrients, which help the body to function properly and may prevent disease.

Black Beans

Popular in caribbean cooking, black beans boast an earthy taste while packing copper, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamin B1. They're a great substitute for refried pinto beans and are a flavorful addition to any wrap, salad, or rice dish. Plus these little guys score…err…brownie points, because we found that black beans are used to bump up the protein content in a healthy recipe for brownies.

Red Kidney Beans

Named for their shape, kidney beans are rich in iron, magnesium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins. Kidney beans are hearty and like the beans listed above, easy to use in a variety of different dishes. Throw some in a slow cooker with tomato, onion, chili powder or your preferred seasoning, and come home to a nutritious, ready-to-serve chili.

Great Northern Beans

Mild in flavor, these fiber-rich white beans are versatile and contain iron, calcium, vitamin C, and potassium. Add them to cassoulet like the French, substitute them for cannellini beans, toss them in soups and stews, or season and serve as a low-calorie side dish.

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