Healthy

Power-up with pulses: the benefits of adding beans, lentils and peas to meals

5 reasons to try these humble, yet mighty pulses.

How many times have you made a promise to yourself that *this year* you’ll eat healthier meals, but then life gets in the way?

What if we told you there’s a super simple way to revamp your diet with foods that are not only nutritious and delicious but also kind to your wallet and the planet?

We are talking about the humble, yet mighty pulses.

Dried pulses are budget-friendly, delicious and have a long shelf life, and thankfully McKenzie’s has you covered with its range of peas, lentils, beans and barley when it comes to shopping these pantry staples.

Here’s everything you never knew about pulses and why you’ll want to add these delicious and wholesome ingredients to your next batch-cook.

Nutritional powerhouses

Pulses are a good source of protein making them an ideal pick for plant-based diets.

Rich in B vitamins, iron, calcium, phosphorous and zinc, they have the added benefit of delivering slow-release energy, helping to maintain your energy levels throughout the day and avoid the 3pm slump.

Plus, they’re an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, which aids digestion and can help lower cholesterol levels.

Culinary creations

When it comes to meal ideas, the possibilities are endless. Pulses are true kitchen heroes that can be transformed into vibrant salads, hearty soups, and even blended into smoothies or baked into desserts.

Related: 10 flavour-packed and healthy pulse recipes

From hummus to salads, get creative and add more pulses to your meals. (Credit: Ben Dearnley)

Simple preparation

A common misconception about cooking pulses is that they all need to be pre-soaked. While soaking can reduce cooking time, it’s not always necessary.

Lentils, for example, do not require soaking at all and can be ready to eat in just 10-20 minutes, depending on the variety. For other pulses, if you forget to soak them overnight, don’t worry—you can still cook them; it will just take a bit longer. This flexibility makes pulses an easy addition to any meal, even for last-minute cooking decisions.

Sustainable and budget-friendly

Pulses are not only good for you but they are also great for the planet. They have a lower carbon footprint compared to many other protein sources and require less water to grow.

They’re also cost-effective and are an excellent filler to stretch out meals, with one cup of dried pulses typically doubling, sometimes tripling, in volume once cooked.

Keep your pantry stocked with a variety of pulses.

How to incorporate more pulses into your diet

Start small: Add pulses to dishes you already love, like throwing some lentils into a pasta sauce or swapping half the meat in your burger for mashed beans.

Go global: Explore dishes from cultures that traditionally use a lot of pulses, such as Indian dhals or Mexican bean stews.

Snack time: Opt for hummus or bean dips with veggie sticks for a healthy, filling snack.

Start experimenting with these nutrition-packed wonders today. Your body (and your budget) will thank you.

Try them today:

McKenzie’s Red Split Lentils, 375g

McKenzie’s Green Split Peas, 500g

McKenzie’s Pearl Barley, 500g

McKenzie’s Chick Peas, 375g

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