Ewww! I don't like beans!
For proper development and growth, it's important for children eat a variety of wholesome foods. Regrettably, the kitchen table can become a battle zone when parents encourage kids to try healthy food choices.
Legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans and lentils are a nutritious option that often put kids on the defensive. Low in fat and cholesterol, legumes are rich in protein, fibre and contain a variety of essential nutrients including folate, iron, zinc and calcium.
Making foods fun for kids can get them excited about healthy eating. Kids love to dip so hummus should be a part of any parent's nutritious food arsenal. Summer Fresh snack-sized hummus products featuring well-loved Nickelodeon characters like Dora and Spongebob are terrific to have on hand for lunches or anytime snacks.
The blender or food processor can be a parent's secret weapon. Texture can be an obstacle for many kids and the "mushiness" of pulses isn't always appealing. So, disguise beans in kid-friendly preparations to sneak in a little added nutrition into mealtime.
• Purée kidney beans, black beans or lentils into pasta sauce, taco filling, chili or meatloaf; beans will add bulk as well making more expensive ground meat go farther.
• Stir Summer Fresh hummus or puréed white beans (i.e. chickpeas or navy beans) into mashed potatoes, tuna casserole or creamy soups to add extra fibre and thickness.
• Experiment with adding pureed beans to batters for brownies or muffins in place of a portion of the oil or butter.
• Use Summer Fresh hummus as a spread or to bind sandwich fillings such as tuna or chicken salad instead of mayonnaise.
Studies show that to develop nutritious food preferences in kids the best strategies include repeated exposure and being a good role model yourself. So while you encourage your child to eat a variety of bean foods, try Summer Fresh single serves salads such as Gourmet Beans Salad, Tri-colour Chick Pea or Seven Grain Salad; they are a convenient "grown up" way to add legumes to your plate often, too!
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