Ask the Diva: What's a Good Legume Portion Size?

What portion size does Nutrition Diva recommend when eating legumes? Find out here!

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
May 16, 2013

Q. I am a vegetarian and I eat a lot of legumes in order to get enough protein. I am wondering what portion size you would recommend? I've heard you say that we should eat grains in portions the size of a fist, or a tennis ball. But what about lentils or black beans? Can I eat as much as I want or should I watch the carbs in legumes as well?

A. This is a great question! Vegetarians often rely on beans as a source of protein. A cup of black beans has twice as much protein as a cup of whole wheat pasta, for example. But beans are also quite high in carbohydrates—their effect on blood sugar is similar to that of whole grains.

For that reason, I wouldn’t put beans in the “all you can eat” category. A cup of beans per meal would be a reasonable serving size. But if beans are a mainstay of your diet, it’s even more important to watch the portion size on grains, seeing as both are concentrated sources of carbs and calories.

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