New Year health resolutions often amount to a hill of beans as we abandon best-intentioned efforts shortly after the year begins. Make your efforts count by adding that hill of beans to your diet.

Beans are known for their cholesterol lowering properties because they contain soluble fiber that forms a jelly-like substance in the intestine. The soluble fiber binds bile (which contains cholesterol) and carries it out of the body. Beans are also low on the glycemic index and are a good source of protein, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.

Beans are also economical at nine to 22 cents per serving and can be added to a wide variety of dishes either as a side dish or an entree. You can also eat black-eyed peas for a low-cost variation, which also offers the same high fiber and low fat benefits. – Suzanne Forsberg, RD/LD, CDE, St. John Healthy Lifestyles

Barbara's Special

1 can no-salt kidney beans, drained
3 hard cooked eggs, sliced
1/2 c. sliced celery
Red onion (optional)
1/4 c. non-fat Greek yogurt, plain
1-2 tsp. dill weed
Pepper to taste

Mix together, chill and serve.

Hot Black-“tied” Pea Dip

1 can no salt black-eyed peas, drained
1/2 c. non-fat Greek yogurt, plain
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)

Puree together and bake in a crock for 20 minutes at 375 degrees, then serve with chips or raw veggies.

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