4 Ways to Make Beans Appealing to Children
If it's been difficult for you to include beans in your children's diet, don't worry! The following tips will certainly help.
Knowing ways to make beans appealing to children is essential for all parents. In this article, we’ll bring you some great tips to include them in your children’s diet.
It’s no secret that beans offer innumerable health benefits thanks to their great nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. In fact, they’re a staple in Mediterranean diets because they’re rich in:
Beans are very healthy, and great at giving your children the energy and nutrients they need. You can prepare them in so many ways, too! It’s up to you if you want to eat them tender, dry, cooked or fried.
From a nutritional point of view, tender beans are the most advisable. However, from a culinary point of view, dry beans are the most used.
It’s advisable for parents to start including beans in their children’s diet after they’ve turned 10 months old. After the first year of age, children are able to eat all kinds of beans two or three times a week.
After children discover the foods they like, the process of introducing new foods to their diet becomes more difficult. Beans, despite being so rich and nutritious, aren’t always appealing to children. Here are some recommendations that can help:
4 ways to make beans appealing to children
Up next, we’ll show you 4 ways to make beans appealing. We hope your children enjoy them!
1. In soup
Soups are usually very popular among children. You can slowly but surely start to add beans into your children’s soups and see how they like them.
In addition, once lentils and peas are cooked, it’s much easier to mix them with soups, stews, and even sauces. They’ll definitely add more flavor, thicken and enrich the dishes thanks to all their nutrients.
2. As a side dish
Chickpea hummus is a widely-known side dish that most people enjoy. You can add olives, artichokes, roasted red peppers or even carrots. It’s ideal to spread on toast.
Other sauces can be prepared using beans and herbs other than hummus. In Latin America, red and black bean purées are pretty common. They serve this purée as a side dish of main dishes like burritos and enchiladas.
3. In pasta
A classic Italian dish called “Pasta e Fagioli” is a simple pasta recipe that includes white beans. Italian cuisine can also help children start to enjoy beans. Another good example is pasta with pesto sauce. They’ll especially love it if you add parmesan cheese on top!
Lastly, you can add them to pasta salads, which is a very fun way for children to experiment with new flavors and textures.
4. In meatballs or hamburgers
Meatballs are very popular among children. You can replace the meat with lentils, dried beans or a combination of both if you like.
Another option to introduce beans to your children’s diet are Lebanese falafels. They’re basically pretty simple croquettes made with chickpeas that you can either fry or bake – plus they’re really delicious!
You can also add beans to different sauces or sandwiches. For example, instead of preparing a hamburger using a meat patty, make a homemade patty using lentils. We’re sure your children will love it!
Some other tips
Pay attention to texture
Many children hate the sticky texture that some beans have. You’ll definitely get a better texture using dry beans than canned ones. Also, it’s advisable to let them soak the night before preparing them.
Get your children involved
When kids are involved in the preparation of their own meals, they get more interested and excited to taste the final result. Going grocery shopping with your children will make them feel included and they’ll give you their opinions on the food they want to eat.
Use your imagination
We advise you to be creative and use your imagination when including beans in your children’s diet. After all, you’re their parent and you know more than anyone else what they like and what they don’t.
In the end, it’s all about making the presentation of the dishes more fun and attractive so your children feel encouraged to eat them. Don’t be afraid to stimulate your children’s mind so that they have more desire to try new foods.
They may reject them at first because they’re used to the foods they already know. However, the important thing is not giving up. Sooner or later, your children will start to enjoy exploring new tastes and foods.