Legumes are one of the main foods that should be included in the weekly diet of toddlers, as they, along with vegetables, provide all the nutrients they need to grow. However, they are not popular with children, who try to avoid them in every way. So how do we get the kids to love them? Following our tips:
- Cook the pulses a little ‘crunchy’. Many kids do not the “mushy” texture of cooked pulses. This can be eliminated by cooking them less so they don’t melt in the mouth and stay crunchy.
- ‘Hide’ them in foods they already love. Make their favorite meatballs or their favorite burger, replacing the meat with legumes (beans, chickpeas).Make hummus with the legumes you prefer and add it to their favorite sandwiches. Make a different bolognese sauce with lentils or chickpeas for their favorite pasta.
- Bring kids close to legumes in their own way. Read them a kids tale with heroes like Mr. Bean, Mrs. Lentil or an educational book that will talk about how legumes grow and then plant your own variety of pulses in the backyard so that your kids can learn where their food comes from. Prepare your Sunday family meal together. Let them prepare the legume-balls or burgers with their hands. This will get them excited about the process and they will be much more enthusiastic about trying the result.
- Create imaginative designs on their plate. The appearance of food is important to both adults and children. Shape your beans into happy faces or your lentils into shooting stars. Let your children design their own plate of pulses. They will love it!
- Save room for dessert. Another trick is to use legumes in sweets that kids love. There are recipes for cakes, cookies, brownies, etc. that replace eggs with beans or chickpeas, as they have a mild flavor and will add richness and moistness to baked goods. Kids will never know the difference and will get all their nutrients!