Eating Flexitarian with Beans

Eating Flexitarian with Michigan Beans – Healthy Bean Recipes

By: Shari Steinbach, MS RDN

It seems like everyone is talking about a plant-forward eating pattern, but what does that really mean? Plant-forward eating habits celebrate plants and emphasize them in meals and snacks. It doesn’t mean giving up meat, poultry and fish, just shifting the balance to enjoy more plant-based foods. Plant foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Plant-forward eating habits do have healthy benefits. This dietary pattern tends to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and higher in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and can positively impact risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, certain cancers, and weight management. But it’s important to consider the type of plant foods and their sources. When adding plants, choose those that have the best nutrition. 

There are many natural plant foods that are delicious and add important nutrients to your diet and these can be found all around the supermarket. Michigan Beans, for example are easy and convenient to add to meals and they help you get the fiber and protein you need to feel your best every day. Adding Michigan Beans to salads, chili, soup, pasta dishes or your favorite Mexican meal is an easy way to add more plants to your meals. 

To get started on a plant-forward eating pattern, think of yourself as a flexitarian – flexing your recipes and snack choices to include more plants. For example, create the Plant-Powered Beef and Black Bean recipe below and serve it over brown rice for lunch or in tacos for dinner. Keep your desk stocked with nuts as an afternoon snack and choose fruit for dessert.

This recipe showcases how you can balance plants with meat in your meals by combining Michigan Black Beans, mushrooms and onions with lean ground beef. The fiber from the vegetables pairs with the protein to provide satiety, making you feel fuller on fewer calories.