This plant-based food will help you increase your veggie intake - without you even knowing!
If you're looking for healthy ways to fill up and top up your veggie servings, this food should be high on your list.
Legumes may be often overlooked but they can provide a multitude of benefits and they're so easy to add to your current diet.
Rebecca Gawthorne, dietitian and nutritionist, reveals why adding legumes to your diet is important and what your body can get out of it.
Why should we eat legumes?
Rebecca says that legumes are an important part of your diet since they are a great source of plant-based protein and fibre.
"The high protein content is great for our muscles and bones and helps us to feel fuller for longer (helping to control our appetite and food cravings). The high fibre content is great for our gut health and helps to keep us regular," she adds.
How they can boost your veggie intake
Another bonus is that legumes count as part of our daily vegetable intake.
"Vegetables come from many different parts of the plant, including the leaves, roots, tubers, flowers, seeds and shoots. Legumes – including green peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas – are the seeds of the plant and therefore count in our daily veggie serve," Rebecca explains. "With only about half of Aussies actually meeting the recommended five serves of veggies a day, legumes offer a great way to boost this intake. It’s recommended that Australians eat legumes, like lentils and chickpeas, two to three times a week."
As a result, Rebecca says that legume pasta, such as Barilla's new lentil and chickpea pasta range makes for a simple way to include in your diet without changing too much.
What are some of the health benefits?
Legumes not only offer protein and fibre, but Rebecca adds that legumes also act as a prebiotic to feed healthy bacteria in our gut.
"They are also low GI, which provides long lasting energy, and are a great source of antioxidants," she tells.
"Legumes are also plant-based and gluten-free, so are perfect for coeliacs or those with a wheat intolerance, as well as those following a vegan or vegetarian diet."