Why Should I Be Adding Lentils to My Diet?

Alexa Peduzzi

Published on March 24th, 2017

Even though 2016 was the Year of Pulses, I'm still all about that #lentillyfe in 2017.

I'm a huge lentil lover. Not only are they incredibly versatile - I toss them in salads, grain bowls, tacos, and sauces -, they're also full of nutrition and flavor. So in case you're on the fence of whether or not you want to add these pulses to your diet, here are some convincing arguments to add them to your weekly meal plan sooner rather than later:

Lentils are protein-packed

Plant-based protein FTW! Lentils are a great source of protein for vegetarians, touting an impressive 18g protein per cooked cup. Although lentils have protein, they are not a source of complete protein, so it's a good idea to pair them with a compatible incomplete protein, such as rice, corn, or wheat, or a complete protein.

If you're looking for a quick to prepare and cheap protein for your next dinner, lentils are your answer!

Lentils are full of fiber

Lentils are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, and fiber is crucial for digestive health. If you have 1 cup of cooked lentils for lunch of dinner, you'll be getting about 16 grams of good-for-you fiber.

Lentils provide potassium and folate

When I think of good sources of potassium, I always seem to think of bananas. But I might just need to change that way of thinking because 3/4 cup of cooked lentils have more potassium than a medium banana. Crazy, right?

Moreover, lentils are the leading plant-based source of folate - they provide more folate than any other plant-based food. Folate is a critical B vitamin that supports the brain and nervous system.

If that's not convincing enough, here's a nutrition label for 1/4 cup raw lentils:

If you're wanting to find more ways to incorporate lentils into your diet, here are a few delicious (and healthy!) recipes you should add to your weekly meal plan:

Perfect Baked Salmon with Lentils and Lemon Herb Sauce from Pinch of Yum salmon

Crispy Roasted Potato Wedges with Squash, Lentils, and Goat Cheese from How Sweet It Is fries

Spicy Red Lentil Curry from Minimalist Baker curry

Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos from Cookie & Kate tacos