A.J. Bush established Bush Brothers & Company in 1908. It was another six decades, however, before the well-recognized Bush's Baked Beans came into fruition in 1969. Since that time, several flavor varieties have joined the company's product line. This popular side dish offers solid nutritional value due to the healthfulness of beans; however, the added ingredients make this product one in which you should not overindulge. Nutritional amounts vary among flavor varieties.
A 1/2 cup serving, or 130 g, of Bush's Baked Beans ranges from 110 to 160 calories. The lowest calorie options -- the Bold & Spicy and Vegetarian varieties -- contain 110 and 130 calories, respectively. Those containing the most calories, including the Boston Recipe, Country Style and Honey flavors, are made with more sweeteners. The Country Style beans, for example, contain more brown sugar compared to the original recipe; the Boston Recipe features both molasses and brown sugar. These varieties contain 160 calories per serving.
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The navy beans used to make these products naturally contain little fat. The pork used to flavor most of the varieties, however, does minimally increase the fat content up to 1 g per serving. Most of the carbs in these products come from the beans themselves. A 1/2 cup of plain navy beans contains 24 g of carbs, while an equal serving of Bush's Baked Beans contains 24 to 33 g of carbs. Beans are also a good source of protein. Just one serving of Bush's Baked Beans contains 6 g of protein.
The primary concern is the added sugar and sodium content in Bush's Baked Beans. Brown sugar, molasses and honey are prominent ingredients for most of the flavor varieties. Navy beans naturally contain no sugar, yet most of the Bush's products contain around 12 g per serving. The extra-sugary Country Style beans contain 16 g per serving; eating half of a standard chocolate bar contains less sugar. As with many processed foods, an exorbitant amount of sodium is found in Bush's Baked Beans. A 1/2 cup serving contains 440 to 680 mg of sodium, depending on the flavor. You should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Fitting into Your Diet
Bush's Baked Beans can fit into a healthy diet, as long as you limit your portion size and make them an occasional side dish. Try making your own baked beans if you want to eat them more often. Recipes abound for lighter versions that feature less salt and sugar yet still provide the same flavor profile. Navy beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein, which help you stay full for longer periods. They also contain iron, folate, calcium and magnesium.