If you're on phase 2 of the 123Diet, one of the things you may be missing most is flour-based foods. But one amazing swap can fulfill your cravings for crunch in a much healthier way than boring old bread: flour made from chickpeas and lentils!

Chickpeas and lentils both hail from the plant family Fabaceae, classifying them as legumes. Other members include alfalfa, clover, beans, peas, lupins, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts, and tamarind.

A one ounce serving of chickpeas contains only 46 calories. 67 percent of those calories are from carbs, while the rest come from protein, fiber and a small amount of fat.

At 100 calories per one ounce serving, lentils are about twice as heavy as chickpeas. However, lentils also contain more fiber, protein, iron, potassium, folate, and Vitamin C than chickpeas do.

You also should beware that lentils contain a few "antinutrients" that can impair the absorption of protein and minerals, such as trypsin inhibitors, phytic acid, tannins, and lectins. However, these chemicals also have antioxidant and anticancer properties themselves, and their negative effects can be greatly reduced by cooking.

Both lentils and chickpeas are also inexpensive, easy to use, full of healthy phytochemicals, and legumes more generally have been specifically associated with weight loss.

They can also be dried out and ground down into a flour that you can use to make healthier versions of traditionally wheat-based foods from pizza bases to "buns" for a sandwich. A scroll through our Facebook
recipe groups will reveal healthy versions of dishes as diverse as nachos, pancakes, tarts, and meat pies!

Since chickpeas and lentils do have a higher carbohydrate content than the other meat proteins allowed on phase 2, you won't lose weight quite as fast eating them as you would if you stuck to the plainer options. But they may be your best bet if you're a vegetarian, and its ok to indulge in them occasionally even if you're a meat-eater if you need a change or a treat.

Since store-bought chickpea flour may contain additives, we recommend that you make your own. Luckily, the recipe is as easy as 123!

Chickpea/Lentil Flour Recipe

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Place the dried chickpeas/lentils in a food processor; work in batches if you are making a large quantity.

Sift the mixture into a bowl to separate the fine flour from the hard bits of chickpeas that did not grind.

Use a spice or coffee grinder to process the remaining bits of chickpeas to a fine, powdery flour.

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