“If you are trying to cut down on carbs and gluten like many of us and want to give our kids more sources of proteins other than meats, beans are the best option.”

Beans are the ultimate food. They are packed with protein and fiber and are yummy to boot. Beans or legumes are plants that bear fruit in their casings. They are low in fat and contain necessary vitamins such as iron, magnesium and potassium. Because they contain the building blocks of proteins they are the best source for plant based protein.

If you are trying to cut down on carbs and gluten like many of us and  want to give our kids more sources of proteins other than meats, beans are the best option. They can be included in many dishes in new and creative ways. Many pasta and chip brands are using legumes as the main ingredient instead of wheat or other carbs to help incorporate more protein and make a healthy food staple.

Beans make us gassy. Sadly, it is true. Because most legumes contain healthy fiber such as resistant starch and healthy fibers, they pass undigested through the stomach and small intestine until they reach the colon where they feed the friendly bacteria residing there. Sometimes beans therefore cause gas and uncomfortable bloating. Your best bet, when cooking raw legumes is the soak them overnight beforehand. This helps to remove some of the indigestible sugars that cause flatulence.

Moms can get creative in adding beans to everyday dishes. Chick peas in any salad are tasty and add something unexpected that kids will love. Black beans and rice is a great side dish and when topped with some cotija cheese and chopped cilantro are delicious. Try adding black beans to tacos, mix them into soups like minestrone or try a homemade turkey and red bean chili.

As a rule, keep legumes such as soy and peanuts to a minimum as they tend to be a product of genetic modification and can therefore be a source of allergies. Also soy products contain phytoestrogens called isoflavones that may mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen in the body and therefore should be avoided in kids especially.

Some unexpected sources for legumes:

  1. Beanitos-The chips made of black or white beans in flavors such as mac and cheese, honey chipotle BBQ or nacho cheese. 
  2. Tolerant brand-an organic legume based pasta. In varieties of green bean lentil blend, red lentil blend and in pasta shapes like rotini and penne there is a healthy pasta choice for everyone.  
  3. Trader Joes-the super market makes it’s own brand made with red lentils and is a gluten free choice. I served it last night with garlic olive oil and parmesan cheese and it disappeared. 

For a comprehensive list of organic stores click HERE

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