Lentils tend to have a bad image, often associated with the left-wing, vegetarian hippy movement, but this does not need to be the case. Lentils are great and can provide a fantastic substitute for the stodgy parts of the main meal that people use to bulk out the meal.
Mostly people bulk out their meal with potatoes. Potatoes tend to be mostly starch and water, that is, simple carbohydrate and not very helpful when it comes to losing weight and dieting.
Here's what a potato actually typical contains:
- 78% water
- 18% starch and sugars
- 0.4% fibre
- 2.2% protein
- 0.1% fat
It also contains a whole load of potassium (46% RDA)
Meanwhile, the mighty whole green lentil (dried) contains:
- 9% fibre
- 24% protein
- 40% carbohydrate (of which sugars are 1.2%)
- 1.9% fat
Do bare in mind that we are comparing the wet weight of the potato with the dry weight of lentils. Bit awkward I know, but you get the idea. Essentially the bulk of potato is starch, a simple carbohydrate. The bulk of lentils is fibre, protein and complex carbohydrate ("slow carbs"). What this means is that they make you feel full for longer, have a slower and more sustained release of sugars into the bloodstream and are all around a better food.
Cooking tip: add a stock cube to the water when you boil them, along with a grind or two of pepper.
Substitute your potatoes with lentils. Your fibre intake increase, you feel full for longer and you don't have to go on protest marches to enjoy eating them!