All Legumes Are Not Created Equal

All Legumes Are Not Created Equal

One of my favorite days of the week is when I get to be a Supermarket Dietitian. These are the days when I have diverse conversations with customers on many food topics. I never know who will walk through the doors, or which foods they will ask me about. And it’s this job has kept me ahead of many food trends. At any moment I can pick up an item, check the food label and ingredients, and know whether or not the marketing on the front matches the nutrition facts.

The supermarket serves as the best classroom because I have every food at my fingertips. So when the new food trends of 2017 (mostly Digestive Wellness and Plant-Based Eating) started to emerge, I was ready to teach. Naturally, I’ve been asked a lot of questions this year about legumes, a plant-based food that also has some implications for the digestive tract.

Not only are legumes an excellent source of protein and carbohydrates (mainly from fiber), and low in fat, but they are also an inexpensive alternative to many meats. As legumes become more and more popular as replacement foods (including black bean and edamame pasta, flourless baked goods, and grab-and-go snacks like roasted chickpeas), it will be worth your while to learn the different types of legumes available—not just for the nutrients they provide, but also for their taste and texture profiles.

Legumes Types and Nutrition Facts (All Nutrition Based on 100g)


  • Calories: 449
  • Protein: 6g
  • Carbs: 13g
  • Fat: 2g

Peas (Split)

  • Calories: 273
  • Protein: 7g
  • Carbs: 7g
  • Fat: less than 1g

Additional Nutrients Provided: Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Folate, Amino Acids

Green peas are usually what people imagine when you talk about peas, but peas are also used in soups, curries, and as crunchy snacks. They are equal parts carb and protein per serving, and they are lower in overall calories as compared to chickpeas, lentils, and beans.


  • Calories: 323
  • Protein: 7g
  • Carbs: 10g
  • Fat: less than 1g

Additional Nutrients Provided: Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Folate, Amino Acids

Lentils fit perfectly for those looking to cut food costs and spend their money on more fresh fruits and vegetables. Unlike other legumes, lentils do not need to be pre-soaked. Lentils can replace many protein sources and are a great ingredient to use as part of your meatless burger patty. Additional uses include soups, stews, pasta sauces, and even baked goods.


  • Calories: 119
  • Protein: 16g
  • Carbs: 10g
  • Fat: 3g

Additional Nutrients Provided: Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Amino Acids

Lupin seeds are similar in taste and texture to field peas. They are used in salads, stir fries, and pickling. Lupin flour can be used to prepare foods similar to the full-wheat foods by substituting 5-20% wheat flour with lupin flour in the recipe.


There are 13 different types of beans to choose from: black to cannellini, navy, soy, and many in between. Different beans contain different levels of protein and carbohydrates (mainly from fiber). Navy beans tend to have the highest fiber content, while cranberry (or Borlotti) beans contain higher amounts of protein.

Last year was dubbed the “Year of the Pulse,” and for good reason. The variety and nutrition provided by legumes (aka pulses) make them the perfect food for Spartans. As 2017 keeps us thinking about Digestive Wellness and Plant-Based Protein, it’s easy to see why legumes, with their excellent fiber content for digestive health, abundant amino acids, and high protein content are as efficient as they are delicious.

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