green_lentils-text408Over the past few years, a variety of foods have been touted as “superfoods”—blueberries, gogi berries, acai berries and juice, pomegranate juice, chia seeds..…. Yes these are all healthy foods; if you read the hype, you’d think that you could not possibly be healthy without _____________  insert whatever the super food of the day is.  Yes, these foods do tend to be high in nutrients and/or antioxidants, but you can get those from a wide variety of readily available and inexpensive foods!
A great example: the humble Lentil—this small bean is loaded with nutrients: ½ cup provides only 115 calories, 9 gm protein, 20 gm carbohydrate and 8.5 gm fiber and less than 1 gm fat; they are also high in iron, potassium, and B vitamins, especially folic acid. Best of all, you get all this good nutrition at a great price less than $2.00/lb (1 lb of dry lentils makes about 5 cups cooked, so 10 servings; that is about 20 cents/serving!!)

Cook lentils by placing 1 cup in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook until the water is all absorbed, about 45 minutes. Use the lentils in salads, soups or casseroles. Make a big batch and freeze whatever you don’t need at the moment.

Idea for a one pot meal: Saute onions, garlic, and a couple cups of whatever other vegetables you have on hand (e.g. chopped carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini…) in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 2 cups of cooked lentils and 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken, and 1-2 cups low sodium chicken broth. Season with curry powder, cumin and paprika (or whatever spices sound good to you!) and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro—this will make 4 adult size servings, 1 ½-1 3/4 cups each. Each serving will provide approximately 400 calories, 30 gm protein, 25 gm carbohydrate and 9 gm fiber and about 200 mg sodium (depends on the type of chicken broth you use). This is a very filling, low calorie, high protein, high fiber, low sodium and high vitamin and mineral meal. Chicken Lentil Veggie Salad