Wednesday, April 6, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: The Year of the Pulses

"Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have."   
                                    --Winston Churchill

Lentils, dried peas and beans are always included in our Kids in the Kitchen lessons.  They are one of the most nutrient dense foods available.  There are so many ways you can prepare them.  You can buy a truckload for a dollar (maybe not that cheap, but they are really, really cheap).  When people tell me they can’t afford to feed their kids healthy foods, the answer is to teach them how to prepare lentils and other pulses. 

In 2013, the United Nations declared that 2016 will be The Year of the Pulses. Confession:  I had eaten lentils for years before I heard the term “pulses”. 

What is a pulse?  A pulse is an edible seed that grows in a pod.  Pulses include all beans, peas, and lentils.  They do not include fresh beans and peas.  They are extremely high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.  They are also rich in protein and have high levels of minerals such as iron, zinc, and phosphorus as well as folate and other essential B vitamins.   They are cheap and are easy to store.  They help prevent diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

Some of my favorite pulses:
  • Brown lentils
  • French lentil
  • Black lentils
  • Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Mung beans
  • Yellow split peas
For some great pulse recipes, visit and  For my favorite hummus recipe, check out Nourish and Flourish:  Kid-Tested Tips and Recipes to Prevent Diabetes (available at  

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.