Beans, beans good for the heart…
We all know beans are good for us because they are healthy but some (many) people seem to have an innate fear of trying them, especially children.
Diets rich in beans have been said to improve cholesterol levels, improve blood sugar levels, prevent constipation, and prevent bowel problems. Beans are high in fiber, have protein, and offer some antioxidant protection as well.To make a meal a complete protein, combine beans with brown rice, corn, nuts, seeds, and wheat.
Here’s a few good ideas of how to add or even sneak beans into foods.
Who knows? They may even become a family favorite!
Cooking a canned (or homemade) chicken soup? Throw in a handful or two of white beans in the last few minutes.
Make a hummus of chickpeas, lemon juice and tahini paste (or buy pre-made) and serve with raw veggies and crackers.
You can also add chickpeas or most other beans to pasta salads as you would chopped veggies.
Like Mexican food? Add black beans or kidney beans to taco meat (a favorite at my house). If you have kids that object to anything little and roundish (besides m&m’s) then you may want to puree the beans and mix in with the meat.
Or add beans or a puree of beans to cheese quesadillas.
You can mash or puree black or pinto beans, spread on a tortilla, roll it up and bake it to make your own bean taquitos. If time is of the essence, Trader Joe’s makes excellent black bean taquitos.
*Some parents aren’t advocates of the sneaky method and think it actually makes children feel you are untrustworthy. I personally always let them know there are beans in it casually as they are eating it. If they’ve already taken bites and liked it, then usually they continue. If it freaks them out ( and that has happened) , then I don’t force any more during that meal on my kids.
Of course, rice and beans is a standard side for Mexican food so adding it on a regular basis is a nice healthy side option.
Try different colored beans, since some kids may respond to that better, by bricking a color or color-combo they love.
The traditional Italian meal of Pasta Fagioli (or pasta fazool) is cooked with beans and pasta and is tasty and hearty.
Make a black bean burger or mix some beans in with meatloaf.
I can’t leave out one of the best meals on a crisp Fall or Winter night-Homemade Chili.
If you chop the beans a bit and cook it long enough, often the beans turn to mush and many kids (even the “big kids who don’t like beans) will often eat it.
Kids love dips so try a bean dip with some crunchy nachos and melted cheese.
Be sure to rinse and drain canned beans and rinse soaked beans as well. Add beans into your diet slowly if you and your children are not accustomed to them to eliminate flatulence. Or add drops of “beano” before eating your food.
Whether dried or canned, adding beans to your diet can help you lower meat consumption, add fiber and keep you feeling fuller longer. Happy bean shopping!