By Jana Taylor
Are you a gardener or just enjoy farm-fresh vegetables? This year consider adding sugar snap peas to your line up of summer treats. Peas belong to the legume plant family. Legumes are plants which produce pods with enclosed seeds. All peas are rich in protein, low in fat, and very nutritious. In fact, only lima beans are a better vegetable source of protein than peas.
There are numerous variety of peas, and because they freeze so well nearly 95% of all peas that go to market are the frozen bagged variety you see in your grocery store. While frozen peas do retain most of the nutrition they had when first picked, experts agree that fresh veggies are always the best option, and most people think they just taste better. The problem with peas though, is most of us do not like the time and effort to pod peas, and in the last few decades consumers are gravitating toward the edible-pod variety of peas. Up until 1979 there was only one main category of edible-pod pea, which was the snow pea. Consumer demand for a plumper, sweeter variety of edible-pod pea lead to the creation of the sugar snap pea in 1979, which is a hybrid of the snow pea and the common green pea. The pods of the sugar snap pea are much more plump, juicy, crisp and sweet than the snow pea, making them a much more tasty treat to eat in the raw form.
If you are trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, sweet, crunchy sugar snap peas could be just the thing you are looking for. For a one cup serving they are only 35 calories, yet pack in 2 grams of protein, and no fat. They also contain 3 grams of natural sugar and 2 grams of fiber. The fiber in sugar snap peas will help keep you feeling full and reduce your temptation to snack between meals, while the naturally sweet taste of the pea can curb the urge for a less healthy sugary snack.
But beyond the potential boost, you can get with your weight loss regimen, peas are super healthy. Packed with vitamin C which is an antioxidant nutrient, you can get more than half of your daily intake just from peas! Peas are also rich in B-complex vitamins (usually listed as B vitamins), vitamin K and foliate. They are one of nature’s most perfect foods.
So this summer as you plant your garden, or head down to the local farmer’s market, consider adding sugar snap peas to your list!
Jana Taylor is a staff writer for Peaceful Mountain.