Without beans, a burrito just isn't a burrito. A falafel? Just a a pile of crumbs. Red beans and rice would be reduced to...rice. And chili—unfathomable without legumes.
But while they're right at home on the dinner plate, no one tosses the term around when they're talking about snacks. But why not put them into cheese puffs? Tangy barbecue snacks? Sea salt and vinegar crisps? Snack Out Loud says it's time for a bean-snacking revolution.
Made with just six non-GMO ingredients, the company's Power Puffs contain no chemical additives or trans fat.
American farmers have a reason to love these snacks, too—and it's not just because they taste good. As a culture, Americans don't eat a ton of beans—especially compared to other regions of the world, such as Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. And yet, farms across the country plant them in regular rotation. Why? As it turns out, growing beans actually imparts nitrogen into the soil. Nitrogen that other bumper crops—think corn, wheat, soybeans, and every fruit and vegetable imaginable—need to thrive.
"Many farmers, in particular in the western U.S., use beans as a way to enrich their soil and help them grow more abundant crops across the board," says Snack Out Loud founder Liz Myslik.
There's often not enough domestic demand for beans, though, and farmers usually have to export some of their crops. More shipments means more greenhouse emissions. By buying beans from American farmers, Snack Out Loud not only supports the domestic economy but also fosters a more sustainable food system.
As Myslik says, "We can eat a more plant-based diet and be doing so in a way that keeps it all here. Wouldn't it be great if we could get more of our fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S.?"
Photo credit: Paul Delmont