Beans are one of the best foods for kids but many don’t eat them. They are typically thought of as gassy food, but the truth is they are a vital nutrient that can help with blood sugar stabilization as well as provide their bodies with vital nutrients.
Renowned as being the top source of soluble fiber, beans are an incredible superfood that can protect against disease, lower LDL cholesterol, and regulate blood sugar levels. Beans soften the stools, aid in regular bowel movements, and are fantastic for gut health.
Below we are sharing even more benefits of the magical bean and how to get your kids to eat them.
- Excellent source of soluble fiber: As mentioned, beans are an incredible source of soluble fiber that is crucial to regular bowel movements. They also contain pectin, a form of soluble fiber that becomes gummy-like in water. This helps you to feel fuller longer, allowing the body to absorb nutrients. All beans are great for this but black beans are one of the best, with 15 grams of soluble fiber per one cup of beans.
- They offer variety: They offer much variety for recipes and different tastes. Some favorites include lima beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, chickpeas (one of our favorites as seen in “Veggieman”), navy beans, pinto beans, and red beans, to name a few
- Great source of protein: Protein is very important to repair and build the body. They are also rich in the essential amino acid, lysine.
- Beans are a great source of folate. This is essential to make red blood cells, and help prevent neural tube defects in a fetus during pregnancy.
- They contain antioxidants and are known to help ward off diseases. Beans are heart healthy and known to reduce the risk of cancer, and diabetes, prevent fatty liver disease, and help with glucose stabilization.
- They are vitamin and mineral-rich: Beans contain a great source of iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium as well as folic acid and B vitamins.
How to cook raw beans
- Wash and soak beans overnight to allow them to soften.
- Bring water to a boil and simmer the beans until they are soft. This can take 3-4 hours, depending on the bean.
- Add herbs, garlic, salt and pepper to flavor your beans.
If cooking raw beans isn’t an option opt for canned beans. Make sure they are organic and that you rinse your beans before you start to cook with them.
Benefits of soaking raw beans
The benefits of soaking your beans are quite incredible. In addition to getting them ready for cooking, soaking raw beans can make them more digestible and even enhance their nutritional benefits.
Start by soaking them in a bowl to remove dirt or contaminants, gravel, and other debris. This helps to remove a sugary coating called oligosaccharides. If they aren’t soaked, these sugars can get into your large intestine which can create gas and discomfort. Soaking also removes phytic acid. This compound is typically found in legumes that can reduce the absorption of zinc and other minerals in the body.
Tips on adding beans to your kids’ diet
- Start slowly, especially if they are resistant to beans. Since there are so many different types of beans, try different types every other night to get them used to these flavors/textures.
- Add beans to dishes such as for taco night, as a side with rice, or even replace meat with beans. You can also add beans to salads, soups, and pasta.
- Have them experiment with you as you find new recipes and enhance the beans with flavors such as garlic, onions, and herbs.