10 Tips For Putting More Pulse In Your Day

by Stephanie Skinner-Lucas, MS, RDN, LDN

Last Updated: April 6, 2021

You may have read our recent article about the healthy history of the powerful pulse. Today, we will discuss how to include this sustainable, affordable, and nutritious treasure in your meal plan and provide some delicious recipes you can enjoy on any occasion.
  1. Eat plant-forward.
    You may ask, “what does this mean”? It means making plant-based food the center of your meal. You can create nutrient-rich, flavorful meals with various plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, pulses, grains, nuts, and seeds, with a moderate amount of meat, seafood, and dairy if you choose. Brussels Sprouts and Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potatoes and Chicken, Rice and Black Bean Bowl are prime examples of plant-forward meals!
  2. Build balanced meals with pulse and grain.
    Grains and pulses are complementary proteins. This means exactly what it sounds like: when you eat the two of them together, you get a complete protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids. Protein is created from 20 different amino acid building blocks. Nine amino acids cannot be produced by the body and are called essential, as we must get them from the diet. Most plant-based proteins lack one or more of the essential amino acids. Therefore, pulse and whole grains together are a great source of protein. Some tasty recipes would be Quinoa Stuffed Peppers and Spicy Red Beans and Rice.
  3. Look for “pulse powered’ products.
    New food products containing pulses appear on store shelves every day. Pulses are naturally gluten-free and can increase a product’s protein and fiber content. When pulses are added to products, the results are delicious, packed with nutrients, lower in fat, and can help you feel fuller longer!
  4. Hummus to save the day.
    Hummus is a protein-rich Middle Eastern dip that has gained popularity in recent years. It is traditionally made from chickpeas. Other varieties of hummus could be made from other pulses like lentils and beans. Look through the grocery store aisle to see various options that are available such as roasted red pepper hummus, roasted garlic hummus, and even dark chocolate dessert hummus. Hummus is a fantastic spread for this Grilled Zucchini and Tomato Hummus Wrap. YUM, HUM!
  5. Put pulses in salads.
    Adding pulses to your salads can provide nutrients like iron, potassium, and folate. If you’re looking for inspiration, try this tasty Lentil Salad. Whether taking center stage as the complementary protein or toasted to add crunch to replace croutons, there is a pulse that will bring life to your salad!
  6. Showcase pulses in soups, stews, and chili.
    Pulses can do double duty as a cholesterol-free boost to many soups and chili. Use beans, chickpeas, lentils, or split peas as whole ingredients or in puree form to contribute to gut health. This fiber-rich alternative gives soups that ‘stick to your ribs’ factor. Why not give it a try with the Vegetable Lentil & Wild Rice Soup, Chickpea Stew, and Chili Con Cremini recipes?
  7. Choose pulse protein to power your breakfast.
    Jumpstart your day with protein power by adding a pulse protein option to your eggs. Add beans to your scrambled eggs, omelet, breakfast wrap, or your breakfast smoothie. Pulses are a heart-healthy food choice that can reduce blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol and help with bodyweight management.
  8. Pulse in your pantry.
    If you’re looking for non-allergic and gluten-free flour, pulse flour is the perfect option. You can use pulse flour to make breads, pizzas, cakes, and cookies with a healthier spin. Making this change in baked goods can aid in better management of blood sugar levels and diabetes. Bob’s Red Mill has a variety of great-tasting pulse flours, including this garbanzo fava flour.
  9. Try pea protein powder.
    If you have been considering switching up your current protein powder routine, give pea protein powder a try! Pea protein powder is a great way to add a complex carbohydrate to smoothies that could help regulate blood sugars and provide lasting energy. Pea protein powder is an exceptional choice for vegans.
  10. Snack on pulses.
    Sweet or savory, crunchy or smooth-- snacking on pulses expands your snack possibilities. Whatever your snack craving - Veggie Tostada, Refried Bean Roll-Up, Creamy Corn and Bean Quesadillas, or Sweet Potato & Red Quinoa Soup - pulses have you covered!

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Stephanie Skinner-Lucas, MS, RDN, LDN

Stephanie Skinner-Lucas, MS, RDN, LDN

Stephanie is a proactive dietitian who believes healthy lifestyle changes are made one habit at a time. Small intentional steps early in life can lead to long-term victories for the rest of your life. With a background from geriatric nutrition to meal planning, renal disease to weight management, Stephanie has had the opportunity to serve many populations. She believes success is achieved by listening, mentoring and partnering with each individual to find what they need to live their healthiest life. Stephanie loves preparing meals with spice, crunch & texture that awakens the palate! In her free time, she enjoys helping others, walking for charity and improving her golf swing.