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Need More Protein and Fiber? Try This Lucky Legume!

By , SparkPeople Blogger
There are just a few days left until the new year! Although you're probably putting a plan in place to reach your healthy goals in 2013, a little extra luck couldn't hurt, right? In some countries, it is customary to eat legumes on January 1st for good luck in the new year. Many southerners in the US traditionally make Hoppin' John--a dish made of rice, onions, pork and black-eyed peas. Due to their coin-like shape, lentils are also eaten in many cultures to symbolize a prosperous new year. If you were to pick the more nutrient-rich legume to kick off a lucky 2013, would black-eyed peas or lentils be the better choice?
The Winner: Lentils!

Per a ½-cup cooked serving, lentils contain 115 calories, 8 grams of fiber, and 9 grams of protein. Although black-eyed peas have fewer calories per serving (100 calories), they also contain less filling fiber (5.5 grams) and protein (6.5 grams). Try one of these lentil recipes for a light and lucky new year!

Love legumes? Check out the table below for a nutritional comparison of some of the most common varieties. (All nutrition values are for a ½-cup serving of plain, boiled legumes.)

Legume Calories Carbohydrates Fiber Protein
Black beans 114 20.5g 7.5g 7.5g
Black-eyed peas 100 18g 5.5g 6.5g
Garbanzo beans 134 22.5g 6g 7g
Fava beans 94 16.5g 4.5g 6.5g
Kidney beans 112 20g 5.5g 7.5g
Lentils 115 20g 8g 9g
Lima beans 108 19.5g 6.5g 7g
Pinto beans 122 22.5g 7.5g 7.5g
Split peas 116 20.5g 8g 8g
White beans 124 22.5g 5.5g 8.5g

What's your favorite legume? Do you have any fun food traditions for New Year's?

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Good to know. Report
Love all kinds of beans Report
I did not eat beans for the New Year. I do not care for many of them. I like Kidney Beans and Black Beans, and I only like Pintos if they are refired (not too healthy). Report
We're having beans tonight, albeit not lentils. My stepdaughter is now vegetarian and her dad has been inspired to put together a mexican dinner with beans. Maybe I can explore some more lentil recipes with him... Report
Blackeye peas is the winner for my household. I love all kind of legumes. I look forward to shopping day to stock up again. The biggest problem I have is that I am not supposed to have salt and some beans just don't taste right without a little salt. It is as if they are naked without it. Report
Beans are a staple in my house. I don't think I've ever found one I didn't likeƑalthough pintos are my favorite. (Sound like a New Mexican? Well, I am. Report
Beans are staples in my house. I cook a batch every week. Mm Mm good! Report
I think I would have to find a way to add lentils that made them not obvious - I can just imagine the comments I'd get if my 2 knew they were in there, about 'gas' (to put it politely), and also hippy food (anyone seen The Young Ones 80's comedy?) Report
There is a good collection of lentil products along with nutrition information on www.caloricious.com Report
Ooooh! I hate legumes (except peanuts)! Too bad too as most healthy eating recipes start with beans and bell pepper (my stomach can't tolerate bell peppers). Oh well, I enjoy oat fiber and wheat bran in my breads. Report
Red Lentils are my fav but I enjoy all beans! Report
Still learning to like lentils. But, I love & fix every other kind of bean. And, I don't consider split peas a bean (a legume, yes). But that is a texture issue - same issue with lentils. Anyone have a recipe for lentils that does away with the texture? Hides it? I am the only picky bean lover? Report
Ah, I love them all! Lentils, however, are in a class all their own. All the different colors, sizes, and tastes make life, and meals, interesting. I am a big fan of Indian food, and they exploit the different lentils in that style of cooking. So good!
Dianne Report
I like them all except garbanzo, except in hummus. Report
Lentils have always been my favorite bean, with garbanzos a close second. Regarding flatulence, I've learned that cooking with the Mexican spice "epazote" helps eliminate the problem. Buen apetito! Report
Love all beans, but especially lentils and garbanzo beans! Report
this article was an eye opener for me did not know that white bean was high on protein and its my favorite one but always thought it was low on the list,,, faa bean gonna try it Report
I like black beans & pinto beans because they don't seam to give me the gas that others do. Although, I have never heard of fava beans. Report
I'm a black bean lover although lentils are a favorite also. Haven't had them in a very long time. I'm cooking black eyed peas with no added meat for New Years. I rather eat legumes than meat! :) Thanks for the information!!! Happy New Year!!! Report
Favorite legume?! I love them all!!! Beans actually make me happy. :) Report
Lentils, and I'm nuts for chick peas. In general, I'm not a bean lover, but know they are so good for you. so I eat them.. Report
More lentils for 2013! I'm always on the low side for fiber - I'll be so happy when the party season is over and I can get down to a happy diet that includes lots of lentils and other good for me things :) Report
well I just made mushroom fried rice with lentils... so I will usher in new year with some left overs..... also like spit peas soup Report
Repeat 1X After Hurricane Sandy I'll try anything to re-direct my luck(Oh & the Lbs too) : ) A Healthy & Happy **2013** fellow Sparkers! Report
Black-eyed peas and cabbage are staples on New Year's Day. I also cook lentils, red beans, and white beans. Being from south LA, these were a regular part of our meals. Report
I'm developing a deep respect for lentils, sprouted and cooked. I love to sprout red lentils and then use them in stir fries and as a salad topper. They seem to have much more flavor than mung bean sprouts. Report
I've always eaten black-eyed peas on New Years Day for as long as I can remember. Report
I love lentils, but here in TX for January 1st -- It HAS to be black-eyed peas! Report
My favorite legumes are kidney beans and lima beans and my Mom's split pea soup. Next time I go shopping I can see stocking up and trying some beans in my dishes since I've always struggled with getting enough fiber and protein. Report
I love beans and lentils and eat them regularly. I throw canned beans into salads, chili is a great healthy meal, and lentils cook fast so you can throw them into canned soup to increase the protein and fiber. But the good luck meal where I live is pork and sauerkraut, so I'll stick with that on New Year's day. Report
thanks for reminding us of the superfood LENTILS - it will be high on my list of weekly meals for all of 2013! Report
I'm southern so I got to have my black eyed peas and greens. Remember greens for money, peas for luck! Report
This is very good useful information. I know these articles are written to have a hook (find which one is better!!!) but I have to say I find it somewhat counter-productive to compare healthy things this way. Clearly all these options are great for you-- packing protein and fiber and all providing great alternatives to meat (hopefully leading more people to realize the benefits of cutting back on meet and not losing protein, iron, etc). Hopefully in 2013 spark people can resolve to be less sensationalistic and more focused on holistic images of healthy variety!! Also what this article doesn't mention is that black eyes peas also have a fair amount of calcium (I believe a 1/4 C of dried black and garbanzo beans and black eyes peas all have about 6% of your daily recommended calcium). Report
I did not grow up with a traditional New Years dinner, but for a number of years my husband and I very much enjoy Hoppin' John--with ham hocks, black eyed peas, and greens. We need all the good luck we can get! Report
I don't mind beans except I do NOT like lima beans or broad beans. Report
I'm learning about beans and I've recently tried the 15 bean combo for a variety, and again today with leftover Christmas ham. I can't believe we both love all of the beans. I also love Great Northern beans, and red for Chef Meg's Red Beans and Rice makeover.

This year, we are having a roast with emphasis on many fresh veggies to bring in the new year! And fruit for dessert. We are working on our freggies this year, over 5, so we will bring the new year in eating right! Report
Yes, our family alway have blackeye peas and cabbage seasoned with okra and smoked turkey on New Year's Day. Yum, yum. Report
I've never heard of the "lentils for luck" tradition--I usually make my own famous spaghetti sauce as a New Year's tradition. I am making some "ham beens" soup tonight though, with some leftover Christmas ham. Perfect day for it too--cool and rainy. :-) I do like lentils, and try to work them into the menu when possible. Report
It's black-eyed peas and ham hocks in our family except, since we don't usually buy ham hocks, we just put in leftover ham from Christmas. We also have the collards but I don't care for them. My mother always insisted I eat a bite though. Report
I have black-eyed peas each New Year's Day as well as collard greens. Now that I have joined SP this is a way for me to get protein and vegetable at one time. Never thought of it this way.

Thanks for the recipes and caloric breakdown. Report
I always have black-eyed peas on New Year's. I love beans of all kinds. I buy dry beans and lentils, cook them by the bag full, and freeze in 2 c. portions. The freeze well and are cheap and low sodium this way. Right now I have red beans, pintos, white northern, garbanzo, split peas and limas in the freezer. Like SHERYLDS (thanks for the link) I use them all over the place.. salads, soups, caseroles, hummas. So tasty, filling and versitile and good for you... what's not to like. Yummm! Report
I come from the South. We love our red beans & rice. Black eyed is the custom though. Report
I follow my husband's tradition of beans and cornbread. Growing up in central NY, I don't really remember having a special New Year's dinner. Report
My favourite are chickpeas (what you call garbanzo). I love them in stews (as luck would have it, right now I am cooking up a stew in the pressure cooker with butternut squash, sweet potato, garden and chickpeas with indian spices), and also love hummus! Yum yum :) Report
I like lentils, but I have to have my black-eyed peas for New Year's (for good luck). I also have to cook cabbage (eating cabbage on New Year's means good fortune money-wise during the coming year). I'm taking no chances!
Never cared for beans as a kid....now I use them all over the place. I cut back on half of the meat/chicken/pork that I use in soups and stews and add beans instead. As a result my recipes are healthier and less expensive. For a great website on beans try www.americanbean.org Report
I never have beans on New Years as my in-laws always did with a "Dime" in the pot so they'd at least have that. I never bought into the "poor" idea, and so we have always had steaks on New Year's Day. Since most people are buying turkey and hams we found steaks to be at a good price this time of the year. Report
I like butter (lima) beans best of all beans, but haven't got a favourite lentil, I just like them all. Lentils are far tastier than beans though. I love broad (fava) beans, the only bean we routinely get fresh in the UK apart from the green ones you eat the pods of. Report
I am wondering about the calories in pinto beans as I am a fanantic on calorie counting. My bag of beans nutrition profile list calories as 65 per half cup (dry). I usually have a "bean days" twice a month in which I eat pinto w/out salt cooked in a slow cooker for most of the day. This takes a couple of days. When I eat them it is usually in 2 cup servings with 20 ounces of water to get the clean out effect. Do calories differ that much in my bag and your chart? Report
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