Ask a Dietitian

Ask a Dietitian

"Diana, just a quick heads up to let you know we are still using your cookbook and the guys will often be heard saying what would Diana say about this or that....really good feed back... I made your potato salad and the oriental coleslaw on Sat. for a family luncheon and had rave reviews so thanks again."

Maeghan Henke
BC Hydro

Just Add Pulses

August 22nd, 2017

Pulses include dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. Commonly known as legumes, pulses are the edible seeds of plants. Pulses are iron rich, fibre filled, protein packed, gluten-free, affordable, sustainable and have a low carbon footprint.

Pulses are nutrition powerhouses. ½ cup lentils provides 115 calories, 8.9 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 7.8 grams fibre, 365 mg potassium and 3.3 mg iron.

Regular consumption of pulses can help maintain healthy body weight and help reduce risk for disease such as diabetes. The fibre in pulses acts as a pre-biotic fuel for the bacteria in your gut, improving gut health. Regular consumption can also help reduce blood pressure.

Pulses come in dry format, powders such as pea protein, cooked and canned as well as flours such as chickpea flour.

To cook beans and chickpeas soak them first either over night or bring them to a boil for 3 minutes and then let them sit for 1 hour then drain. To cook, bring the soaked beans to a boil then simmer for 45 min-2 hours depending on the bean. Lentils and split peas don’t need soaking, they can be boiled from dry. Be sure not to add salt to the cooking water as this will toughen the skin of the pulses. Acidic foods like tomatoes and lemons will slow cooking and should be added at the end of cooking.

Pulses are extremely versatile and can be used in countless ways to boost the nutritional value in meals. Toss ½ cup cooked pulses onto salads, into soups or pasta sauce, roll them into tortillas or blend them into smoothies or muffins.

Take the ½ cup habit challenge and aim to include ½ cup of pulses 3 times a week for 4 weeks. Sign up at for weekly newsletters, recipes, cooking tips and more.