If you need inspiration to increase variety in your kids’ diets, these bean recipes for toddlers are a great start! So many fun and creative options for serving beans to kids.
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Do you struggle to get your kids to eat new or different foods?
Of course, as parents, we want our kids to enjoy a variety of foods that will nourish their growing bodies, and part of that includes making food fun for kids!
But that can sometimes be challenging, even for me as a dietitian mom!
Toddlers are known for their strong attitudes and independence.
I have really found that using these food activities for toddlers helps spark interest in healthy eating – describing the colors, textures and flavors.
Sometimes they show that independence at mealtime! All of a sudden, they refuse to eat a food they once loved.
Or, they’ll surprise you and gobble up their entire dinner – after you were sure they wouldn’t touch it!
Why We Love Bean Recipes for Toddlers
As challenging as it is to feed a toddler, don’t give up hope because these bean recipes for kids can show you the light at the end of the tunnel.
Just like these lentil recipes for toddlers, we have prioritized and loved serving beans to toddlers for several reasons:
- Beans can be transformed into many different textures. Providing kids with different textures and tastes is a wonderful way to expand their palates and give them the nutrients they need.
- Beans are very nutritious – full of iron, magnesium, iron, protein and more – they are a great way to get extra nutrients into your child’s diet.
- Beans fit into nearly any dietary lifestyle, from vegan and vegetarian, to gluten free.
- Since they come in so many shapes, forms and colors, kids are often curious about beans. Curiosity is good and can entice them to try them.
I may be in the minority here, but my girls (ages 3 and 5) love beans.
So, while kid friendly bean recipes are a hit in our house, I realize that may not be the case for everyone.
Fortunately, these bean recipes for kids can appeal to even the pickiest of eaters – we’ve got sweet, savory, crunchy, soft – everything you can imagine.
Beans for Kids Nutrition Facts
Beans are a great food for toddlers to learn new textures.
An excellent source of fiber, beans are a vegetable and protein that can be used in a number of ways.
Because they can be hidden or meshed into so many recipes, you can certainly add variety to your toddler’s diet with these delicious bean recipes for kids.
Not only are beans tasty, but they also pack a nutritional punch.
Beans are a great option for all diet patterns, including vegetarian and vegan diets.
In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that most of your protein come from plant sources for optimal heart health.
So, it’s prudent to start introducing vegetarian protein options when they’re young – they can certainly complement meat options too!
Here are some nutrients your toddler can get through beans:
In addition, beans are loaded with polyphenols—powerful antioxidants that may give you a multitude of health benefits.
Diets that regularly include antioxidants have been shown to lower the risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer AND improve inflammation.
On top of that, beans have naturally occurring prebiotics—fuel for your toddler’s healthy gut bacteria!
A healthy gut may help your toddler fight off the many viruses and bacteria they may encounter.
Types of Beans
Beans, also known as legumes or pulses, are the edible seeds of the plant.
Some examples of legumes include chickpeas, black beans, edamame, black-eyed peas, lentils, navy beans, kidney beans, peas, and lima beans.
Peanuts are also considered legumes, though many people think of them as in the nut family.
How to Cook with Beans
Beans are an extremely versatile food that can be cooked in multiple ways.
They are one of the most inexpensive foods you can find and are available dried, canned, or frozen, and are a pantry staple for many families.
These bean recipes for picky eaters can help change your mind!
If you are cooking dried beans (with the exception of lentils, split peas, and black-eyed peas), you’ll soak them first.
Soaking is suggested to limit gastrointestinal discomfort.
Just put them in a pot and cover them with water—about 10 cups for every pound of beans. This can be done overnight.
If you’re short on time, you can totally skip the soaking and cooking steps and use canned or frozen legumes, which is personally what we do!
If you rinse canned beans before cooking, you can reduce the sodium by up to 40%!
Canned beans have the amazing advantage of convenience and being ready in minutes. Plus, a long shelf life.
No matter how you prefer to prepare your beans, these bean recipes for toddlers will become new favorites.
Should You Hide Beans in Your Toddler’s Food?
Sometimes, raising a toddler forces us to be sneaky.
Since beans are not strongly flavored, they can easily be hidden in food, which may be more appealing for picky eaters.
Actually, there are some great products on the market that have already hidden the legumes for you.
There are also gluten-free flours made with chickpeas or fava beans.
For many of these, your toddler will never know the difference!
However, you can also be upfront with your kids so they learn about the true taste and flavor of beans, and how versatile they can be.
This post about how to get veggies into toddlers has some other great tips!
If you want to take the hidden veggies route, here are some other ways to hide beans in food:
- Puree them and add to mashed potatoes
- Puree them and use them to thicken soups
- Use them in dips, like edible cookie dough.
- Pureed beans may be substituted in place of some or all of the oil in baked goods.
Beans for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
Beans can be served any time of day, emphasizing their versatility.
You can add black beans to your toddler’s omelet or chorizo breakfast casserole, toss edamame in a salad or a stir-fry, or include chickpeas in a yummy dessert, like frozen no bake cookie dough bites.
The possibilities really are endless.
We’ve got kid friendly black bean recipes and recipes using white beans.
There are sweet and savory ideas, crunchy and pureed ideas and more.
I hope you find these toddler bean recipes helpful. Report back and let us know what is your favorite!
More Kid Friendly Recipe Roundups:
- Kid friendly quinoa recipes
- Peanut butter baby food recipes
- 40+ Toddler muffin recipes
- Healthy toddler snack recipes
- Easy freezable toddler meals