Are Baked Beans Good for You?

The truth about your favourite breakfast extra

Q: Are baked beans good for you?

A: Unfortunately, like most things, it isn’t as easy as a yes or no answer. Nutritionally speaking, beans are a great source of protein, fibre, B vitamins and iron especially for vegetarians who can find it difficult to find complete sources of protein. Unfortunately, tinned beans are loaded with sodium and sugars so you need to be wary of your consumption. 

What are baked beans? 

The tinned baked beans that you find in the supermarket are made from white beans most commonly haricot or cannellini. They are soaked in a tomato sauce with seasonings such onion, salt, sugar and paprika. They are a common choice for vegetarians as they are an almost complete protein with lots of fibre and B vitamins. They are quick and easy to prepare,it’s always good to have a tin in the cupboard. 

How does a serve of baked beans fit into a healthy day of eating? 

One serving of baked beans is approximately a quarter of a tin or 138g and contains 117 calories. Other nutritional information includes (per 138g serving):Protein 4.9gFat 0.5gCarbohydrates 12.9gSugar 4.6gSodium 350mgHeinz baked beans are not suitable for vegetarians as they contain an animal-based natural flavouring. Based on Heinz Baked Beans Tomato SauceThe Salt Reduced Baked Bean Tin contains 235mg of sodium

Health benefits

When it comes to the health benefits of baked beans, you are getting all of your nutrition from the beans themselves, not the sauce.

1. Protein

Beans are a great source of protein in particular for vegetarians. Add some toast to your meal and you have yourself a complete protein. 

2. Fibre

It’s one of their most common traits but beans are packed with fibre. This means that they help keep you full and also reduce bad LDL cholesterol.

3. Fat 

With less than 0.3g per 100g baked beans are low in fat so a great, tasty and healthy option. 

4. Iron 

Baked beans are a good source of iron

Health disadvantages

Unfortunately as with most tinned foods you need to be mindful of the sugar and salt intake. ½ cup of baked beans contains around 3 teaspoons of added sugar which is around one-fifth of your daily limit. On the other hand, ½ a cup of beans has almost 19% of your daily sodium (salt) intake. There are a couple of varieties that are “salt reduced” just be wary that they don’t have added sugar. Baked beans are a great source of fibre, in particular, soluble fibre which is why when they are broken down by the body they can cause flatulence (farts).

Where to buy baked beans

You can buy baked beans from your local supermarket and grocery store. One 555g tin will set you back around $2.50.They are a cheap protein and it’s always a good idea to have a tin in the pantry, just in case.

Eating Baked Beans

Can baked beans be homemade? If you, provide instructions on how to do thisFirstly, to cut out the sugar and halve the salt why not try making your own baked beans? This healthier recipe from the Heart Foundation is dietitian approved.

Baked Bean Recipes

Here are three of our favourite recipes, featuring baked beans. 

5-Ingredient Potato-Topped Baked Bean Pies

You might want to make a double batch of these super easy pies – they’ll be gone in seconds! Get the full recipe.

Smoked baked beans with avocado & eggs

These smoked beans with speck, smoked paprika, diced tomatoes, toast and eggs make a special breakfast for six – ideal for a family birthday or weekend morning. Get the full recipe.

Slow-cooked Boston baked beans

A traditional American breakfast and brunch special can be made with ease in your slow cooker! Get the full recipe.

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