How many calories are in 1-cup of Great Northern beans?

Great northern beans are a versatile and nutritious bean that can be a healthy addition to many meals. But when counting calories or tracking macronutrients, it’s important to know the calorie and nutrition information for the foods you eat. So how many calories are in 1 cup of great northern beans?

Calories in 1 Cup of Great Northern Beans

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1 cup (172g) of cooked great northern beans contains:

  • Calories: 230
  • Protein: 15g
  • Carbohydrates: 41g
  • Fiber: 13g
  • Fat: 1g

So 1 cup of cooked great northern beans contains approximately 230 calories. This calorie count is for beans that have been boiled in water without any added salt or fat.

Breakdown of Calories

The majority of the calories in great northern beans comes from carbohydrates.

Nutrient Amount Calories
Protein 15g 60 calories
Carbohydrates 41g 164 calories
Fat 1g 9 calories
Total 230 calories

As you can see from the table, over 70% of the calories in great northern beans come from carbohydrates. The remaining calories come from protein and a small amount of fat.

Benefits of Great Northern Beans

While great northern beans are relatively high in calories and carbohydrates compared to some other foods, they provide many important nutrients and health benefits, including:

  • High in protein – Great northern beans contain 15g protein per cup, which is 30% of the Daily Value.
  • Excellent source of fiber – With 13g of fiber per cup, great northern beans can help promote digestion and heart health.
  • Low glycemic index – Despite the high carb content, the fiber helps slow digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes.
  • Rich in folate – Great northern beans contain a whopping 89% DV for folate, a B vitamin that supports cell growth.
  • Iron, potassium, magnesium – Good sources of these minerals needed for oxygen transport, blood pressure, and bone health.
  • No cholesterol or saturated fat – As a plant-based protein, great northern beans contain zero cholesterol.

So while great northern beans are relatively high in calories and carbs for a single serving, their stellar nutritional profile still makes them an excellent choice as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Ways to Reduce Calories in Great Northern Beans

If you are looking for ways to reduce the number of calories in great northern beans, here are a few preparation tips:

  • Rinse before cooking – This can reduce the sodium content if canned beans are used.
  • Skip added fats – Avoid cooking beans in oil, butter, or other fats to prevent extra calories.
  • Try dry beans – Prepared from dry, cooked beans contain slightly fewer calories than canned.
  • Reduce serving size – Stick to 1/2 cup portions to slash calories in half.
  • Pair with non-starchy veggies – Bulk up meals with low-calorie vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, etc.
  • Season with herbs and spices – Flavor beans without extra calories by using garlic, onions, chili powder, etc.

Making some simple substitutions and tweaks during preparation can reduce the calorie density of beans, while still providing a nutritious plant-based protein source.

How Great Northern Beans Fit Into a Calorie-Controlled Diet

Here are some tips for incorporating great northern beans into a reduced-calorie diet:

  • Use them in salads and grain bowls – 1/4 cup provides about 6g protein and fiber without many calories.
  • Mash them into dips and spreads – Mix with herbs and spices for a plant-based alternative to hummus.
  • Add them to soups and stews – The fiber and protein will help you feel satisfied.
  • Make bean burgers or meatballs – Use beans as a base and bulk up with veggies.
  • Swap half the meat in chili – Cut back on meat and add more fiber-rich beans.
  • Toss them in pasta dishes – Protein + fiber will balance blood sugar response.

Despite their calorie content, great northern beans can be part of an eating pattern focused on calorie control and weight management. Including them along with non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help provide lasting fullness and energy balance.

Comparisons to Other Common Foods

To put the 230 calories in 1 cup of great northern beans into context, here is how they compare to some other common foods:

Food Serving Size Calories
Great northern beans 1 cup 230 calories
Russet potato 1 medium 161 calories
Sweet potato 1 medium 103 calories
Banana 1 medium 105 calories
Salmon 3 ounces 175 calories
Chicken breast 3 ounces 140 calories
Brown rice 1 cup 216 calories

As you can see, 1 cup of great northern beans contains a similar amount of calories as 1 medium baked potato or 1 cup of brown rice. It contains more calories than sweet potato or banana, but less than an equal portion of salmon.

So while great northern beans are relatively high in calories for a single serving of a plant food, they are quite comparable to other healthy staple foods. The important thing is focusing on your total daily calorie intake and getting a balanced mix of proteins, carbs, fats, and other nutrients.

Tips for Incorporating Great Northern Beans into a Healthy Diet

Here are some final tips for enjoying great northern beans as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet:

  • Pay attention to portion sizes – Stick to 1/2-1 cup per meal and account for the calories.
  • Bulk up on non-starchy vegetables – Combine beans with leafy greens, carrots, bell peppers etc.
  • Mix with whole grains – Pair with brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta, etc.
  • Limit processed meats – Use beans as a replacement for fatty meats as often as possible.
  • Watch your overall calories – Beans can fit into any diet, just account for the calories and balance with other foods.
  • Stay active – Exercise can create enough calorie deficit to enjoy nutrient-dense beans regularly.

Beans have been a dietary staple in many cultures for thousands of years. When prepared plainly and eaten as part of varied diet with plenty of produce, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats, great northern beans can be enjoyed frequently while maintaining overall calorie balance and good health.


In summary, 1 cup of cooked great northern beans contains approximately 230 calories, with most coming from carbohydrates and smaller amounts from protein and fat. Though relatively high in calories for a single serving of a plant food, great northern beans provide a powerhouse of nutrition, including protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, potassium and magnesium.

When consumed in reasonable portions as part of a varied diet focused on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, great northern beans can be a regular part of an eating pattern that supports healthy weight and overall well-being.

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