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Lentils

Background 

Lentils have been grown around the world: in fact, lentils are one of the oldest crops to be grown by humankind, with lots of them being grown here in Canada! There are numerous varieties of lentils such as green lentils, brown lentils or split lentils. Lentils are a great plant protein and can be added to lots of recipes such as traditional South Asian meals like dal or lentil soups. Lentils are great to get creative with; for example, try making cold lentil salads, blending them into dips and spreads, or using lentil pasta as a higher protein alternative to regular grain-based pasta.  

 

Benefits

  • Are a high source of fibre along with being a great protein choice! Fibre adds bulk to food for good bowel health, and makes you feel full and satiated.  
  • Are a good source of iron. Iron plays many roles in the body, such as helping to make red blood cells and to deliver oxygen to your brain, muscles, and more.  
  • Are an excellent source of folate and contain other important B vitamins such as vitamins B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin), and B5 (pantothenic acid). Many B vitamins help your body use energy from food, and ensure your immune and nervous systems are healthy. Folate is very important during pregnancy to prevent birth defects in the developing baby.   
  • Also contain minerals like phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium! These minerals help to build your teeth and bones, as well as keep your body systems balanced and your nervous system functioning normally.   

 

Nutritional Value of ½ cup (105 g) of Boiled Lentils 

  • 122 calories 
  • 21.0 g carbohydrate 
  • 4.5 g fibre 
  • 9.4 g protein 
  • 0.4 g fat 
  • ~60% daily recommended intake of folate 
  • ~16% daily recommended intake of vitamin B1 (thiamin)  

 

Did You Know

From the store, you can buy lentils dried or canned. If they are dried, you do not have to soak them before using them like you would with other pulses (like chickpeas or beans). From dry, they can simply be boiled till tender to use. Canned lentils are ready to be eaten, as they are already cooked. However, canned goods often have added salt, increasing the sodium content of the lentils. Look for reduced-salt or no-salt-added cans to minimize the amount of extra salt you are getting. You can rinse your lentils and other canned beans in running water before eating them to rinse away some of the salt as well. 

 

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