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I have had this question asked many times: Are pulses – beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils – considered to be a vegetable as well as a meat alternative? We recognize that pulses are a good source of protein and when paired with a cereal grain they provide a balanced source of protein. However pulses are plant material and they are rich in nutrients found in vegetables, including fibre and folate. The US MyPyramid considers pulses to be a part of both the vegetable and meat alternative subgroups. I don’t see them promoted as part of the More Matters program. Could they be promoted as a vegetable in ad campaigns?

When beans, peas and lentils are consumed as a meat alternative, they are considered to be the protein for the meal. However, when they are not used as the main protein source for the meal, they would be considered a vegetable. Understandably, it can be a bit confusing. We do encourage consumption of legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils as vegetables, and you can find some delicious recipes that use them either as a main dish or as a side vegetable dish in our Recipe section.

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