Barnet Council launched a new campaign aimed at helping residents eat more healthily on a budget, with a bean-based cooking demonstration hosted by Allotmentz restaurant in Friern Barnet on Sunday 5 May.

Over 50 residents attended the event where Allotmentz chef, Anita Watson, and her team prepared and served up three different recipes while chatting to attendees about healthy eating and affordable meals.

Cllr Alison Moore, Barnet Council Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing, said:

“We know that there are a lot of families in Barnet that, due to various factors, including cost and lack of time, can struggle to prepare nutritious and healthy food.

“With today’s event and this campaign, we want to raise awareness of how including more beans, peas and lentils in diets can help people live a healthier, affordable and more sustainable lifestyle.

“We also want to try and help overcome some of the barriers people face around this by working with our partners to create some really delicious recipes that could become real family favourites.”

Nourishing and cheap, pulses provide protein, fibre, and a significant source of vitamins and minerals, such as iron, zinc, folate, and magnesium, which promote gut health and can help reduce the risk of some cancers.

Beans, peas and lentils can also help to keep blood sugar levels steady and help lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes, but despite this over 40% of the UK population do not eat a single bean or lentil as part of their diet.

Last year Chipping Barnet Food Bank gave out tomato plants that had been grown locally for people to take and grow at home.

This year some of Barnet’s local food growers, Incredible Edible Barnet, We Are Grow and the NW7Hub are sowing dozens of bean plants that food bank clients will be to take and grow at home.

Victoria Miller, Chipping Barnet Food Bank manager, said:

“We know some of the barriers our foodbank users have to cooking with beans or lentils is due to not having quick and easy recipes they can put together at low cost.

“Working with University College London students to develop recipe cards we hope to encourage more people to see how tasty and nutritious beans and pulses can be.

“By giving people bean plants to grow themselves at home, we hope to encourage a passion for beans – which are great for our health and our wallet – but which often get cast aside.”

Barnet Council Public Health is also taking the opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits of adding beans and pulses to diets in Barnet’s schools, and encouraging staff who manage catering contracts to incorporate beans and pulses into the school food offer.

As part of the campaign, Barnet Council wants to hear from residents with their favourite bean recipe or hacks to get more beans, peas and lentils in their diet. Email your recipes to: [email protected] External link

The Go Lean, Go Green, Go Bean website includes recipes, tips, bean and lentil facts and links to upcoming food events in the borough: https://yourhealthbarnet.org/gobean External link

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