I’m not going to copy down the children’s rhyme about musical fruit. Not because I’m above that kind of thing. I most decidedly am not. Mainly because I know you’re already humming it in your head, so I figure I’ve done enough damage for today.
As I’ve said before, I was able to assuage some of my fears about the diabetic diet by ignoring the recipes and focusing on ingredients. I thought about the fruits and vegetables I love to eat and then realized I could just combine flavors to get what I like.
One thing that I feel can really jazz up the diet is variety. For a long time in America, if someone said they were going to buy beans, you probably thought of canned baked beans or kidney beans, and probably not much else. These days, the international food aisle of even a modest local grocery store is going to give you multiple options, including some you may not have known even existed before.
I made this pyramid of beans to show the varieties that were available at my local grocery store in Charlottesville, VA. Most of the exotic types were from Goya, but I did have some other brands at my disposal for several of these types. I just grabbed what I saw first, but the Mayocoba beans are from Bush’s and the butter beans from Hanover.
Beans generally don’t have any sugar to speak of, so they’re stars because of the load of fiber we get from eating them. One danger of canned beans is the sodium content, but I think you can ameliorate some of that right off the bat by washing the canning liquid off of them.
A caveat: I didn’t buy lentils because my parents’ hippie friends served them to me so often when I was a kid that I lost my taste for them. If you can still enjoy them, good on ya. I have no doubt they move the mail.
So, here are the fiber and sodium contents of the beans I found at my local grocery store.
Butter Beans: 5 g fiber, 390 mg sodium
Field Peas w/ Snaps: 9 g fiber, 180 mg sodium
Garbanzos: 7 g fiber, 360 mg sodium
White cannelini beans: 7 g fiber, 390 mg sodium
Red kidney beans: 8 g fiber, 350 mg sodium
Pinto beans: 8 g fiber, 360 mg sodium
Blackeye Peas: 5 g fiber, 380 mg sodium
Black beans: 6 g fiber, 460 mg sodium
Pigeon peas: 4 g fiber, 390 mg sodium
Mayocoba (Canary) beans: 7 g fiber, 290 mg sodium
I’ve never eaten field peas before — I actually bought them this time just so I’d have the widest variety possible — but they’re clearly the champion on high fiber and low sodium grounds. I don’t know how I’ll prepare them, but I look forward to experiencing what they will and won’t do to my system. I haven’t tried pigeon peas before, either, but they look like the biggest loser, with very little fiber but plenty of salt.
I plan to share how I end up using each can of beans. I already used the cannelini in the spinach, almond and cannelini salad I had for lunch yesterday.
Like I said, I just love having options. Even though I’d honestly rather be eating nachos or chinese food, there’s a real enjoyment to be had from getting creative with the variety of ingredients at hand.