Celebrate National Nutrition Month by Eating More Beans!

By: Haley Bishoff, RDN, LD

March is National Nutrition Month, and there’s no better way to celebrate than talking about one of the healthiest foods on the planet…dry beans! As a registered dietitian, dry beans are one of the most common foods I recommend as a diet staple. Beans are a nutritional powerhouse that are made up of complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and micronutrients that offer a myriad of health benefits. Not to mention, dry beans are an incredibly affordable food, making them accessible and even more motivating to eat.

I often get asked which beans are the healthiest. While many beans are commonly known, like black, pinto, and navy beans, there are so many more that offer incredible nutrition and flavor that most people haven’t tried. Some of those include pink beans, cranberry beans and great northern beans.

When most people think about dietary protein sources, beans aren’t always top of mind. Regardless if you are vegan, vegetarian, or a meat-eater, you can easily add beans as a protein source. Protein is an essential nutrient for building muscle, repairing tissues, and supporting immune function. Many beans offer a similar amount of protein per serving. For example, black beans have 7.6 grams, navy beans have 7.5 grams, and pinto beans have 7.7 grams of protein per ½ cup, cooked (1). Not only do beans have protein, but they’re also rich in iron and zinc, making them a great meat replacement for many dishes (2).

It’s important to choose protein sources that have less saturated fat content. Saturated fat is typically found in animal products, highly processed and fried foods. Dry beans are an excellent example of a protein-rich food that is essentially void of saturated fat. Your heart and arteries will surely thank you for eating more beans because of this. Diets that include beans can help reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol (3). Beans are not only beneficial for heart health but have shown to help prevent type 2 diabetes, promote a healthy gut microbiome, reduce low-grade inflammation, and improve colon health (2). Beans are also made up of soluble fiber and resistant starch that aid in glycemic control (3).

We could talk about the benefits of fiber all day. Beans are one of the richest sources of fiber. For example, pinto beans have around 7.7g and navy beans contain 9.5g of fiber per ½ cup, cooked (2). Just adding one serving of beans a day can meet around one third of the recommended dietary fiber intake. Aim for 28-30 grams of fiber per day from beans and other plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Ways to Add Dry Beans to Meals:

If you’re looking to add more dry beans into your diet, replacing meat for beans a few times a week is a great start. If you’ve never cooked with dry beans before, you can refer to this simple four-step guide to properly prepare and cook them.

Here are a few of my favorite bean recipes that you can try too:

  1. Beans for Breakfast: Avocado Toast with Beans
  2. Simple and Savory Bean and Orzo Pasta Bowl
  3. Fresh Black Bean and Corn Salad

Now, the last step is to become a cool bean yourself, and finally eat some beans!


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002916523048931#:~:text=Approximately%203%25%20of%20kilocalories%20in,provides%207–8%20g%20protein
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7915747/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5713300/


Bio: Haley Bishoff, RD, LD is a registered dietitian who owns Rūtsu Nutrition, a private practice in Las Vegas, offers corporate wellness programs, works with brands and the media, and specializes in plant-based nutrition.