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pulses

Pulses

Pulses are dirt cheap and super versatile. Whether you buy them dry and soak and cook them yourself to save a few pennies or buy them tinned and ready to go, these are a protein-packed lifesaver! Far cheaper than meat, fish and even processed veggie alternatives, they can often be swapped in for some or all the more expensive protein in many dishes, especially anything involving a sauce or plenty of liquid like soups, stews, curries and pasta bakes. Learning what the different varieties are and how to best use them can be the one small step that will save you the most money (and add an easy portion of veg) in the kitchen.
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Understanding veg

Pulses include beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas. Some of the most common among these that you might see in your local supermarkets are kidney, butter and black beans. Red and green lentils are a fantastic staple for the cupboard too. Pulses are rich in minerals, vitamins, protein and so much more goodness, and they count as 1 of your 5-a-day! You can buy them dried and soak and cook them yourself, or make it even simpler and buy them canned and ready to eat. You can drain, rinse and add a tin of beans or lentils to so many dishes – try adding them for the last few mins of cooking to a one-pot dinner like chilli, stews, casseroles or curries.
CHECK OUT: Our guide to beans and pulses featuring Bettina Campolcci Bordi

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Nutrition

Pulses are a great source of plant protein as well as being rich in fibre and minerals like iron and potassium. These support energy levels and our normal body functions to ensure we’re running at out best. 

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Shopping Guide

You can buy your pulses canned or dried. If you’re in a time crunch, canned pulses like kidney beans can be a great addition to the kitchen cupboard. Consider picking up a dried bag of pulses, these require soaking prior to cooking but you’ll get more bang for your buck. 

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Storage

Both tinned and dried pulses need to be stored in a dry and dark area. Once a bag of pulses like lentils are opened they need to be kept in an airtight container away from any heat. 

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Serving Suggestions

Tinned pulses can be cooked from the can, simply drain the excess liquid prior to heating. Dried pulses require soaking before cooking, the length of time required varies between them so take a look at their cooking instructions to ensure you’re soaking them for long enough. 

At Its Best:

January - December

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Engage

Here are some of our favourite ways to engage kids with pulses:

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Your Food

Find your go-to meals in our family favourites section and see what veggies work best with them.

We’ve gathered together 15 of the nation’s favourite meals and given you step-by-step ways to make small improvements, helping you to make healthier dinners the easy way, and even showing you which veg work best with which recipes.
 
Find out how to add more veg to your suppers here.
 
rice and beans

Rice & Beans

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

veg tagine

Veg Tagine

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

My Microwave Chilli Con Carne

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Jamie's £1 Wonders

Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Everyday Curry

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Jacket Potato with Toppings

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Jollof Rice

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Lasagne

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Pasta Bake

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Shepherd’s Pie

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Stew

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourite

Fajitas

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

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If You Like…Try

Does your child enjoy pulses? That’s great! Pulses vary, but are usually savoury and creamy, so why not try a similar texture and/or taste…

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Serving

The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it!

The first thing to do is remove the pressure. If the veg doesn’t get eaten, it’s not the end of the world. There will be other days, other dinners, other chances. Fun is key here – try not to worry about mess, perfect table manners, or playing with food. Instead, focus on making the process of getting the food to the plates, readying the table, and the actual eating relaxed.

The best principles for success here are the Three Rs (role modelling, rewarding, re-offering) which you can read about here.

But there is one more way you can serve for success, and that is giving your child a role. You don’t have to do this every time, just encourage them in their strengths through it when you can.

Here are some of our favourite ideas:

Design a menu

Come up with a silly name or story for a dish

Help with making a meal plan and choosing veg for dinners or snacks

Help to serve up the meal on dishes, lay the table or create a centrepiece to be involved in the physical ‘serving up’ process.

The Wonderful World of Veg

Check out our vegepedia. When to buy in-season. How to store them to keep for longer. How to engage children with each veg, and simple ideas of how to prepare and cook them for maximum taste and minimum waste. Select a veg…

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