Baked beans are perfect for any occasion and a big favorite at cookouts. This hearty dish can be prepared in a variety of ways. However, many recipes tend to be high in calories due to the high sugar and fat content. Prepared the right way, beans can provide a powerhouse of nutrition. Here’s a breakdown of the benefits of BBQ’s best friend…
1. Variety – Baked beans come in several delicious flavors. They’re more than the plain kind in the can with a piece of pork. Now you can have them flavored with honey, barbecue, maple/brown sugar, and more. This can help kids to eat them as well by adding more taste and texture.
2. Fiber – Beans are an excellent source of fiber, which can help lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
3. Protein – contains substantial amount of protein that can help promote healthy muscles.
4. Vitamins and minerals – beans contain variety of nutrients, including iron, folate, potassium, and magnesium. Beans are also a great source of antioxidant power that fight free radicals in the body. Antioxidants are more concentrated in the red bean varieties, such as pinto and kidney beans.
To increase the nutritional punch of baked beans, try using plain canned beans that have been rinsed to reduce the sodium content and make your own sauce to control the sugar and fat content. Dry beans can be used as well, but take longer to prepare. The recipe below contains a variety of beans for texture and color and uses fruit for sweetness instead of traditional syrups and sugars. This version also is free of pork or other meats, which lowers the fat content.
Baked beans 1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
1 can butter beans, rinsed
1 can Cannellini beans, rinsed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. mustard
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
½ cup apple juice, 100% juice, no sugar added
6 oz can tomato paste
1 tbsp. liquid smoke
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and sauté onions for five to six minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining except the beans; mix and simmer five minutes. Adjust seasonings. Transfer rinsed beans to a casserole dish and mix in sauce with beans until well coated. Cover and bake beans for 45 minutes or until thickened. Remove cover and bake additional 10 minutes. Makes 14 half-cup servings.
For a little extra sweetness, you can add about ¼ cup brown sugar. This would add about 15 more calories per serving and 3.5 grams carbohydrates per serving.
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Total Fat 5 g
Total Carbohydrate 47 g
Sodium 608 mg
Protein 5 g
Fiber 3 g
For nutrition or exercise questions, contact
Devine Nutrition and Illinois Dietetic Association Media Spokesperson
Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, CPT
Shannon Center Nutritionist
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