Beans are in their Brunch Era

Jenna Braddock, MSH, RDN, CSSD, CPT

Brunch is a magical meal. Just the thought of brunch makes my mouth water and brings a smile to my face. I think it’s the fact that the art of “brunching” requires slowing down, clearing your schedule, and feeling the freedom of the weekend. And of course, brunch food is downright delicious.

With the price of eating out slowly rising, it’s time to bring brunch back home. Imagine enjoying that yummy Saturday or Sunday brunch at your own table with no wait time, no rush to eat and run, and you don’t need to even change out of your PJ’s. Amazing, right?!

Planning an incredible brunch menu doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. Surprise your guests with delicious flavor while delivering great nutrition by including beans in your dishes. Yes, you heard me right – it’s time for beans to have their brunch era!

Brunch can often be thought of as a very indulgent meal, leaning heavily on flavor with little concern for the nutritional value. That can sometimes come at a cost, however, leaving you sleepy and sluggish for the rest of your day. Incorporating fiber and protein rich beans in your brunch can help to prevent that crash in energy and fuel you to have a fantastic rest of your day.

There are more good reasons to bring beans to brunch. Beans are a low glycemic index food, meaning they don’t raise blood sugar levels significantly, and research shows that swapping in high fiber foods like beans for high glycemic index foods at breakfast can help improve metabolic wellness.1 One study found that a breakfast containing both high protein and high fiber led to a lower blood sugar response and naturally reduced food intake at lunch later in the day compared to a low protein, low fiber breakfast.2

Beyond the health benefits, beans can help stretch your brunch budget. Dry beans are incredibly affordable, easy to prepare, and help stretch higher cost items like meat, dairy or eggs without sacrificing nutrients. Plus, they add great texture and can be a colorful addition to dishes. Pink and cranberry beans were made for a cheery brunch dish!

Beans are very versatile, and I think you’ll be surprised at all the ways they can show up for a delicious brunch. Classic Black Bean combinations like Black Bean Breakfast Enchiladas or a Bean Breakfast Skillet are shoo-in options you can make time and time again. This Tuscan Farmers Breakfast looks beautiful and complex yet is so easy to make with Great Northern or White Kidney beans. If you want a recipe to throw in the oven while you enjoy a cup of coffee with friends, try this Bacon, Beans & Egg Sheet Pan Breakfast made with White Kidney Beans. Or perhaps this Baked Eggs with Beans and Greens is more appealing with the flavor of Italian sausage. Lastly, beans can go sweet for brunch in a Sweet White Bean Spread for toast served with fruit.

Whether you are celebrating a special event or just want to get together with friends on the weekend, brunch is a perfect way to slow down and enjoy the flavors and benefits of beans. Don’t forget that Earth Day is April 22 and beans are a great way to add sustainability to your eating too.

References

  1. Maki KC, Phillips-Eakley AK, Smith KN. The Effects of Breakfast Consumption and Composition on Metabolic Wellness with a Focus on Carbohydrate Metabolism. Adv Nutr. 2016 May 16;7(3):613S-21S. doi: 10.3945/an.115.010314. PMID: 27184288; PMCID: PMC4863265.
  2. Bonnema AL, Altschwager DK, Thomas W, Slavin JL. The effects of the combination of egg and fiber on appetite, glycemic response and food intake in normal weight adults – a randomized, controlled crossover trial. Int J Food Sci Nut. 2016 May 30; 2016 Sep;67(6):723-31. DOI: 10.1080/09637486.2016.1196654; PMID: 27306734.

Jenna Braddock is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, personal trainer and cookbook author from St. Augustine FL. She specializes in sports and performance nutrition, nutrition for women 40+ and gut health. Find her on instagram and her website.

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