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Fun Ways to Eat Beans

Many Kids and Adults Do not Like Beans

In 2020 I did a survey (many of you readers took it) about your kids and their food preferences. I had 137 responses, and many said that their kids don’t like beans. I know that kids aren’t the only ones. I hear often from people that they feel they can’t eat plant-based because they don’t like beans.

AND YET, beans are one of the best foods available! They are also VERY cheap and SUPER QUICK to prepare if using canned beans. Here are a few of their health benefits:

  1. Nutrient-Rich: Beans are packed with essential nutrients such as protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins (like folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin C), minerals (such as iron, magnesium, and potassium), and antioxidants.
  2. Healthy Digestion: The high fiber content in beans supports healthy digestion and prevents constipation in children, promoting overall gut health.
  3. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels (meaning regulated moods!): Beans have a low glycemic index, which means they release sugar into the bloodstream slowly. This helps regulate blood sugar levels, preventing spikes and crashes, and reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Say hello to happier kids without blood sugar crashes! Yay!
  4. Boosts Immunity: Beans contain various vitamins and minerals, such as zinc and vitamin C, which play crucial roles in supporting the immune system and helping children fight off infections and illnesses. Who doesn’t want less sickness?!
  5. Brain Health: The nutrients found in beans, including folate, iron, and essential fatty acids, are important for brain development and cognitive function in children.
  6. Promotes Longevity: Those who live in the Blue Zones where people routinely live healthy lives for 100+ years all eat beans regularly.

So, how do we get these magical beans into those who don’t like them?

Try different ways of making them! This list is the tippy tip of the iceberg. These are some of my kids’ favorite bean recipes.

  1. Hummus. A lot of kids seem to like blended beans more than whole beans. Hummus is extra creamy and non-bean-like. Try the Yummest Hummus and Chocolate Hummus in my cookbook, Plant-Based Cooking for Kids. Making Beet Hummus, Red Pepper Hummus, Curry, Green Chili, and Roasted Carrot Hummus are also really delicious.
  2. Bean Quesadilla. This is a simple lunch that I make my kids about once a week. I make the cook-yourself tortillas and spread canned vegetarian refried beans on it. Heat it up on the skillet and serve with guacamole or salsa. You can make it into a butterfly shape as pictured in my cookbook. So easy!
  3. Make nachos with refried beans. You can use regular tortilla chips or air-fry some corn tortillas to make oil-free chips. Then get some drippy refried beans, guacamole, tomatoes, taco-seasoned lentils or other “meat” if you’d like, a vegan cheese sauce, pickled jalepenos. Mmmm! All those toppings, and in the end, my kids just eat the chips and beans. Ha.
  4. Rice and Bean Taquitos. A crispy tortilla is hard to resist!
  5. Salsa Verde Soup. Even though this recipe uses salsa and whole beans, my own kids LOVE this soup, and I’ve received at least a dozen messages from people telling me their kids also like this soup. Try it if you haven’t yet, as it only takes 5 minutes to make!
  6. Black Bean Burgers. With pickles, ketchup, avocado, and a delicious bun, what’s not to like?! There are so many recipes out there, including a simple one in my cookbook.
  7. Legume Pasta is an easy way to eat beans. Some kids love it, some don’t. Mine thankfully don’t seem to notice when I use legume pasta instead of regular. We’ve enjoyed chickpea pasta, red lentil pasta, and even yellow pea pasta.
  8. Bean Energy Balls. There are Black Bean varieties and Chickpea varieties, like my Chickpea Cookie Dough Bites.
  9. Black Bean Brownies.
  10. Cookie Dough. Chickpea cookie dough is THE YUMMIEST WAY TO EAT BEANS in my humble opinion. This pumpkin cookie dough is also amazing.
  11. Healthy Buckeyes. 
  12. Black Bean Brownie Cookies. Fudgy and delicious and undetectably full of beans.
  13. Chocolate Muffins–but made with some lentils. Yes, lentils are beans, too! Definitely try these Chocolate Protein Blender Muffins out!
  14. Chickpea Cookie Pie. One of our favorite desserts ever.

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