May is Love Your Lentils Month, and since we certainly love lentils, we thought it was a good time to take a closer look at the nutritional impact of this too-often-forgotten superfood.
Why do we love lentils? First, they are super-easy to cook. Unlike beans, dried lentils don’t require pre-soaking, so they’re a great staple to keep on hand for last-minute meal planning (and they can go in just about anything). But their real claim to fame is their impressive nutritional profile.
Nutritional Information for Green Lentils
1/2 cup of cooked green lentils contains:
- Calories: 120
- Carbohydrates: 21g
- Fat: 0.4 g
- Protein: 9.5 g
- Fiber: 4.5 g
- Glycemic Index: Low
Lentils are high in fiber and protein but low in fat and calories. They’re also a good source of folate, iron, manganese, and potassium.
Lentils’ potassium content may be of most interest to those with concerns about heart disease. Potassium can counteract the effects of sodium in the body, and has even been shown to reduce blood pressure.
People with diabetes will also be interested in lentils, as eating lentils and other pulses has been shown to improve glucose tolerance and help with weight control.
Green lentils are available in stores either dried or canned. Canned lentils are pre-cooked and can go straight into recipes. To cook dried lentils, simply rinse under running water, boil for 20 to 30 minutes depending on how firm you want them, and season!
How to Get More Green Lentils In Your Diet
- Toss them into your favorite soups, salads, stir-fries
- Use lentil puree to up the nutritional value of baking, as in these Chocolate Chip Lentil Cookies
- Use them in place of meat for a great source of vegan protein, as in these Vegan Lentil Burgers
- Make a super-quick and tasty dip, like this 5 Minute Lentil Hummus