Why you should eat chickpeas for weight loss, plus 6 amazing ways for you to start enjoying them today!

  • 2 Minutes Read
Martha M. Henze
Martha M. Henze, MPH, MS, RDN - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Global Public Health Epidemiologist

Eat chickpeas for weight loss and enjoy the numerous health benefits you've got coming when you add them to your diet. They are inexpensive, tasty, and versatile. So, what's not to love?

Chickpeas for weight loss

Consumed across millennia, chickpeas eaten for weight loss is a modern-day trend.

Valued for their nutty flavor and culinary range, chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans. Humans have eaten them for thousands of years. Chickpeas were even found in archaeological sites in Jericho and are the most widely consumed legume in the world.

Why should I eat chickpeas for weight loss?

Chickpeas are "nutrient-dense", meaning they offer an impressive amount of nutrients per calorie. When you limit your calories for weight loss, it is essential to make your food choices count in the nutrients department.

Consider the nutritional analysis for 1/2 cup of chickpeas from MyNetDiary.
Chickpeas are:

Due to their high-fiber and protein content, chickpeas are excellent for weight loss diets because they keep you fuller longer and control appetite. A study found that women who ate chickpeas instead of white bread, consumed fewer calories at their next meal.

Other health benefits of chickpeas

The soluble fiber in chickpeas and other legumes helps slow the rise of blood sugar after a meal. Soluble fiber also helps lower blood cholesterol levels by its action in the gut. One study of people eating about 3 ounces of chickpeas daily, reported a 16-point decrease in cholesterol.

Are you looking for gut-health benefits? The fiber in chickpeas also serves as a prebiotic, (food for healthy bacteria in the gut).

Including chickpeas and other legumes as part of the DASH diet can help lower blood pressure, most likely due to the magnesium and potassium content.

Dried vs. canned?

Canned chickpeas are convenient, but watch out for sodium. You can rinse them to decrease sodium or buy "no salt added" versions.

Freshly prepared chickpeas from dried result in a creamier texture than canned. The solution? Keep both dried and canned chickpeas stocked in your pantry.

Digestive side effects

Chickpeas can be gassy, but somewhat less so than other legumes. Up to 1/4 cup of chickpeas daily is allowed on a low FODMAP diet for digestive issues.

Gradually add chickpeas and other legumes to your diet to allow your body to adjust. Over time, you will better tolerate them. Products such as Beano® help digest the gas-forming carbohydrate in beans. Draining and rinsing away the liquid from the can and rinsing the soaking water from dried beans before cooking helps as well.

Cooking dried chickpeas using Martha's quick and easy method

1. Pour 1 to 2 cups of dried chickpeas in a pot on the stove. Cover the beans with cold water. Let sit overnight for 8-12 hours.

2. The next day, drain off water and rinse the chickpeas in a colander. Cover the beans with fresh water, enough for 1-2 inches of water above the beans. A good ratio is one cup of beans to three cups of water. Bring to a boil on the stovetop and simmer for 1-2 hours until tender.

Serving tips: Take a trip around the world!

Chickpeas are commonly used in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mediterranean dishes, but are versatile in many cuisines. Try these recipes:

1. Moroccan Stew: Enjoy this five-star Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Stew.

2. Soups: Adding chickpeas can enhance texture, taste, and nutrition of soups. Try this Minestrone di Ceci.

3. Indian Curry: Simmer beans in a tomato curry paste and serve over brown rice or try this Vegetable Chickpea Curry Crockpot recipe.

4. Hummus, the Arabic word for chickpeas, is a popular, thick spread used on pita bread or as a dip with vegetables. Typically, hummus uses pureed garbanzo beans mixed with lemon juice, sesame seeds or sesame oil (tahini), and garlic.

5. Roasted Chickpeas are an easy snack or salad-topper.

6. Spanish Cuisine: You may not think of chickpeas when you think of Spanish cuisine; however, as I learned while living in Seville, chickpeas are common in many Spanish dishes. One simple but flavorful dish is Spinach and Chickpeas (Espinacas con Garbanzos), often served as a tapa in many restaurants.

I hope that you welcome chickpeas into your kitchen and enjoy some healthy and tasty dishes from around the world. Last night, for a Middle Eastern flair, I sauteed some chickpeas, freshly chopped parsley, a drizzle of olive oil, feta cheese, and chopped walnuts to create a sauce for pasta. Our family gave it 2 thumbs up, and our daughters requested it to pack for their lunches the next day!

Enjoy chickpeas for weight loss and health!

This blog was reviewed and updated by: Sue Heikkinen, RDN and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

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Foods & Recipes->"Beans, Peas, & Soy" Nutrients->"Carbs: Fiber, Starch, & Sugar"
Aug 12, 2020

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