Personal Training goes far beyond shouting reps and monitoring technique. Its my job to guide my clients to a healthy lifestyle through fitness, strength and nutrition. So its up to me to research and experiment with lots of different foods and recipes. So when your work day is over and you have completed your pushups, squats, burps and cardio, why not read through this and perhaps try the recipe.
A pulse is an edible seed that grows in a pod, they include beans, lentils and peas. Not only are they a cheap, low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, but they count towards your recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables.
Pulses include all beans, peas and lentils, such as:
- baked beans
- red, green, yellow and brown lentils
- black-eyed peas
- garden peas
- runner beans
- broad beans
- kidney beans
- butter beans
Why eat pulses? Well they are a great source of protein, meaning they can be particularly important for people who do not get protein by eating meat, fish or dairy products.
However, pulses can also be a healthy choice for meat-eaters. Pulses can be added to soups, casseroles and meat sauces to add extra texture and flavour, meaning also that you can use less meat, which makes the dish lower in fat and cheaper.
Pulses are a good source of iron. They are also a starchy food and add fibre to your meal. The fibre found in pulses may help lower blood cholesterol, so they are good for your heart.
Pulses count as one of your recommended daily portions of fruit and vegetables. One portion is 80g, which is equivalent to around three heaped tablespoons of cooked pulses but even if you eat more than three heaped tablespoons of beans and pulses in a day, this still only counts as one portion of your recommended daily portions. This is because while pulses contain fibre, they don’t give the same mixture of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients as fruit and vegetables. This doesn’t include green beans, broad beans and runner beans, which are counted as a vegetable.
Pulses can be bought in tins but check the label and try to choose ones that have no added salt or sugar. Tinned pulses have already been soaked and cooked, so you only need to heat them up or add them straight to salads if you’re using them cold. Soya beans can be bought frozen, again a speedy addition to a healthy meal.
Dried pulses need to be soaked and cooked before they can be eaten. It is important to follow the soaking and cooking instructions for all dried pulses as for instance dried kidney and soya beans contain toxins, making it important to ensure they have been cooked properly before you eat them.
Here’s a healthy quick and easy lunch, delicious too. You could double up the ingredients – one for lunch and one for the freezer.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced
- 2 large carrots (500g), cut into small chunks
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
- 200ml red wine
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 150ml stock
- 410g can green lentils
- 950g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 25g butter
- 85g mature cheddar, grated
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry until golden.
- Add the carrots and all but a sprinkling of thyme.
- Pour in the wine, 150ml stock and the tomatoes and simmer for 10 mins.
- Tip in the can of lentils, including their juice, then cover and simmer for another 10 mins until the carrots still have a bit of bite and the lentils are pulpy.
- Meanwhile, boil the sweet potatoes for 15 mins until tender, drain well, then mash with the butter and season to taste.
- Pile the lentil mixture into a pie dish, spoon the mash on top, then sprinkle over the cheese and remaining thyme.
- The pie can now be covered and chilled for 2 days, or frozen for up to a month.
- Heat oven to 190C. Cook for 20 mins if cooking straight away, or for 40 mins from chilled, until golden and hot all the way through.
- Serve with plenty of green veg.