Love Your Lentils
Lentils are colorful legumes packed with both fiber and protein. About 40 percent of the total carbohydrate in lentils is fiber, leading to a lower blood sugar response, says Jill Weisenberger, RDN, CDE, an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokeswoman and author of 21 Things You Need to Know About Diabetes and Your Heart and The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition.
Lentils boast more than 15 grams of fiber per serving, plus nearly 18 grams of protein, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In a hurry? Opt for quick-cooking red lentils and use them in a soup or salad, Weisenberger suggests.
Go Bonkers for Beans
The trick for reaping the most benefit from beans? Pick a rainbow of them. A cup of cooked red kidney beans has about 13 grams of fiber, according to the USDA; a cup of black beans has about 15 grams; white beans, more than 18 grams. In addition to their high fiber content, beans, as well as lentils, have a starch that’s resistant to digestion, meaning it doesn’t get into the bloodstream quickly and affect blood sugar, Weisenberger says.
Plus, this starch is good news for good gut bacteria. “When bacteria make a meal of resistant starch, some fatty acids are formed,” she adds. These beneficial fatty acids promote better use of insulin and healthier colon cells. To get more beans into your diet, try tossing them into your favorite salad, soup, or entrée.