We’ve all been there. After a long and hard day at work, sometimes the last thing you feel like doing is cooking a meal. So, you opt for a dinner that’s ready in less than five minutes: classic baked beans on toast. But, how does this dinner stack up in the nutrition stakes?
Baked beans on toast isn’t baked beans on toast without the toast! And I’m all for a good slice or two.
So many people try to avoid bread, but let me tell you, bread is actually a healthy food. I repeat: bread is perfectly healthy! So much so, it’s actually part of one of our core food groups.
Of course, there are healthier varieties of bread, and it’s important that you choose one of these instead of the standard white loaf.
I always recommended a brown, grainy variety as a staple in the kitchen. Wholegrain options are full of fibre, are nutrient-dense and have a low GI, so you’ll stay full and feel satisfied for longer. In comparison, white bread is usually low in fibre and has a high GI, so you’ll be looking for more food in no time.
Legumes in general (think chickpeas, lentils and beans) are what I call a superfood. Seriously, move over spirulina powder, goji berries and acai bowls.
Quality carbohydrates, plant based protein and fibre are all features of the humble legume. What’s more, they’re also super economical (read: cheap!), so your wallet will be happy, too.
Legumes are so good for you that a higher consumption of them has even been linked to a lower risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
In terms of baked beans, it’s important to choose a salt reduced variety that’s also low in sugar and you’re off to a good start.
Better yet, make you own! I like to make veggie-packed batches of baked beans on the weekend to have in the fridge for the week ahead. That way, I have a quick and easy breakfast that can be quickly reheated – after all, who has the time to cook and clean up at 7am on a Tuesday?!
So far, baked beans on toast is looking pretty good – and there are a few simple things you can do to make it even more nutritious.
I like to serve my baked beans on toast with a quarter of an avocado for a boost of heart-healthy fats. It’s a much better option than covering your toast in butter!
You might also like to sprinkle cheese over the top of your beans, which can be a healthy addition, too. Opt for a small portion of a low-fat cheese and you’re good to go.
You might have guessed it, but I’m a big fan of baked beans on toast. It is certainly a perfectly acceptable choice when you don’t have time a lot of time to cook dinner.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can follow her @honest_nutrition.
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