This week, it’s all about beans. They are a great addition to any nutrient dense meal, and they are so affordable! And versatile! Can you tell how much I love beans by my use of exclamation points? Check out the seven tips below for ways to ease beans into your weekly menu. Tip 1: Build Up Slowly If you have trouble digesting beans, add them to your diet gradually and always cook them thoroughly. You can also try adding a strip of kombu seaweed to the cooking water. Tip 2: Inspect Before You Cook If you’re cooking dried beans, give them a quick inspection. Begin by washing beans and discarding any that are discolored or oddly shaped. Remove any debris such as small rocks or twigs. Tip 3: Soak Overnight Beans cook more quickly and are more easily digested when soaked overnight first. To soak, use a water-to-bean ratio of 2:1. Rinse thoroughly, and then cook the beans in fresh water using a bean to water ratio of 1:4, for one to two hours. Add more water if necessary. Tip 4: Infuse Flavor To infuse more flavors when cooking beans, add whole fresh herbs, onions, chilies and garlic for that extra kick. Don't add salt or tomatoes until the beans are tender. Tip 5: Make a Week’s Worth Cook a pot of beans on the weekend. Freeze half in their cooking liquid for later. Use the other half throughout the week on your salads, for homemade bean dip and in soups. Tip 6: Use Canned for Convenience Canned beans are one of the quickest ways to whip up a healthy and delicious meal. Rinse them thoroughly with water before cooking to remove some of the sodium used in processing. Then add to soups or salads for a boost of dietary fiber and protein. Tip 7: Get Creative There are so many delicious ways to prepare beans. You can build a classic bowl of rice and beans with your favorite veggies, or try spreads and dips – or even snacks! Browse our Health Starts Here recipes for some delicious ways to incorporate more beans into your meals. For more tips, and a series of educational missions to better health – download our Whole Foods Market Missions App for iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. Do you have some creative tips for adding beans to your meals? Let’s hear ‘em!