Did you know there are more than 400 varieties of beans grown throughout the world?
Inspired by our continued support of the Veggies Early & Often campaign, we’re going to highlight the magic of BEANS in this month’s vegetable feature. Early veggie variety is key to raising adventurous, healthy eaters. Through repeated exposure, we now know kids can learn to LOVE vegetables. We hope you’ll join us in the effort! Lead by example by cooking and eating a balanced, plant-forward diet.
With so many varieties of beans, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Yellow beans are an all-time summer must at our house. We love to grow these in the garden and enjoy them steamed. My kids also love to make homemade hummus from garbanzo beans.
What is your favorite bean to eat? How do you prepare them?
Two nutritional benefits stand out among all varieties: fiber and protein. Fiber adds bulk to the stool and softens it which can aid in alleviating childhood constipation. It may not be a common conversation topic, but it’s a very common complaint in the pediatric population. Beans are also a great source of plant protein providing on average 9 grams per ½ cup. In addition, most types of beans also contain helpful amounts of potassium, folate, and zinc.
Yellow and green beans are technically a legume because the “bean” is inside the pod. These types of beans can be purchased fresh from the produce department in addition to being found frozen and canned at the grocery store. When buying fresh, look for tender, long, and stiff beans. If buying canned, look for low or no sodium added.
These types of beans are actually the seed of the plants they grow on, so they are technically a BEAN! They can be found canned or dried in most grocery stores. Both are good choices, nutritionally. If you buy them canned, they are ready to use but a quick rinse will remove some of the sodium used in the canning process.
If you purchase dry beans, there’s a bit more prep work involved. If you start the night before, you’ll be happy you did!
You can also opt for the quick soak method instead. Place the dry beans in a pot and cover them with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let them cook for 30 minutes. Now they are ready to use in most recipes but will require an additional 30 to 60 minutes of cook time to become tender.
⅓ cup avocado oil
⅓ cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 lb. Roma tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can black-eyed peas
1 (15 oz.) can black beans
1 (11 oz.) can sweet corn or frozen corn, thawed
1 small red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh cilantro
This mixture pairs great topped with grilled chicken or fish.
1 Tbsp. olive or avocado oil
1 large onion, chopped
½ cup sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 oz.) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz.) can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz.) can low-sodium artichoke hearts
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
2 cups chopped kale or baby spinach
Pepper to taste
*This recipe was designed to help kids ages 3 and up learn to eat and enjoy a wide variety of vegetables.
1 (15 oz.) can low-sodium green beans
1 (15 oz.) can low-sodium yellow or wax beans
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans
½ small white onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
½ cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsps. honey (omit for infants/toddlers)
½ tsp. dry mustard
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ cup avocado oil
*These recipes are veggie-forward and approved by the Partnership for a Healthier America to meet the Veggies Early & Often guidelines. Approved 6/5/23.