Simple Planet: Wake Up & Live
Nature's Bounty: Chick Peas
by Colleen Ryor

Bananas have often been touted as nature's "perfect food," mainly because of their balance of nutrients, low fat content, and high potassium.  There is another food that may remain overlooked by many people, though: chick peas, also known as garbanzo beans.  High in fiber and protein, low in fat and sodium; chick peas are delicious and very inexpensive.  They have a distinctive, nutty flavor and are an excellent addition to either salads or casseroles.  Pureed chick peas are also the main ingredient in the popular recipe for hummus, a Mediterannean dish that includes garlic and lemon juice, and is particularly delicious as a dip or spread.

At approximately sixty cents a can (Northeastern U.S.), chick peas are an unbeatable value.  They can be enjoyed in a wide variety of recipes, with their firm texture and unique flavor.  They are delicious served cold in salads and tend to hold dressings fairly well.  They are also wonderful in the wintertime added to hot soups and stews.

Just one cup of chick peas contains a whopping 14 grams of fiber, or 54% of the daily value.  In addition, the same cup provides 14 grams of protein, and only two grams of fat.  Iron also comes into play, with 20% of the daily value accounted for.  One cup of the vegetable can easily be split into two or three mini-servings during the course of the day, especially when you sprinkle a handful onto a salad at lunchtime.  Try these in place of croutons as a much healthier alternative.

Although no single food in nature can provide all of the nutrients that our bodies need, chick peas are a great contender in the heavyweights of nutritional value.
Chick peas, also known as garbanzo beans,
               pack a healthy punch