Bring More Pulses to Your School Nutrition Program in 2016

2016 is the International Year of Pulses! Pulses are a group of 12 different grainblack bean legume crops including dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas and lentils, they are nutrient dense and consumed by people all over the world. Pulses are highly regarded as very sustainable crops as they require just 43 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of pulses compared with soybeans, which require 216 gallons of water! The four themes of the International Year of Pulses 2016 are food security, nutrition and innovation; market access and stability; creating awareness; and productivity and environmental sustainability.

Pulse crops are a sound source of nutrition while being very inexpensive which puts them among the top most sustainable crops in the world. They are a low-fat excellent source of protein and also contribute vitamins and minerals to the diet such as B vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc. Pulses are also high in fiber containing both soluble and insoluble fiber known to help control blood sugar levels and aid in digestive regularity. Furthermore, pulses have been found to fix the nitrogen in soil thus contributing to greater soil quality.

Assorted PulsesSchool nutrition programs can help set a trend for students by encouraging pulse consumption with creative kid-friendly recipes like bean and corn salsa and black bean burgers. Pulses can even be included in your school nutrition program’s entrée options every week for Meatless Mondays! Classroom lessons are also available to help teach students about this super food. Click here for a list of 10 great things you can do to help promote the 2016 International Year of Pulses.

JSI’s Back to Basics: Meat Alternates Workshop to Go can help your school nutrition program staff learn how to serve more beans, legumes, and other meat alternates that look good and taste great! This workshop is a hands-on culinary class that will demonstrate easy cooking techniques for meat alternates that you will be proud to serve. Additionally, a new JSI workshop Infusing Flavor and Flair into School Meals will be presented at the SNA of Mass upcoming chapter meetings. This workshop explores K-12 culinary trends, food presentation techniques and flavor profiles with student appeal to enhance school meals and encourage increased participation. Contact your chapter delegate for locations and dates. For inspiration visit the BEANS, PEAS and LENTILS That Rock board on the School Meals That Rock Pinterest page!

Image credit: the images in this post were downloaded from the International Year of Pulses 2016 Photo Gallery at

© The John C. Stalker Institute, 2020
The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition is a partnership of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Framingham State University.

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