Do you spend hours consulting books and web pages to advance your knowledge about child nutrition? And are you looking for some healthy foods to include in your child’s diet? Then your search ends here!
Lentils are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. They are excellent sources of nutrients like vitamins A, C, K, omega three fatty acids, copper, protein, phosphorus, iron, and calcium. Read on to know why you should not stop trying to give lentils to your fussy eater.
Benefits Of Lentils For Kids:
Nutty and earthy in flavor lentils are nutritional powerhouses. Giving your child a serving of lentils can reduce the risk of serious medical problems. Some of the benefits of lentils for kids include:
1. Control Weight:
A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reveals that kids who eat beans have a 22% lower risk of getting obese. The high levels of fiber in lentils slow down the digestion process, thereby making kids feel fuller for a longer time.
[ Read: Nutritious Foods For Kids ]
2. Improve Levels Of Iron In The Body:
Iron is extremely important for growing kids. A one cup serving of lentils will provide your child with 37% of the daily value of iron. Lentils are also a good source of vitamin C, which increases the body’s ability to absorb iron.
[ Read: Best Iron Rich Foods For Kids ]
3. Boost Enzymes:
Lentils are a good source of copper, a trace mineral required for the functioning of several enzymes. Copper is also crucial for making connective tissues and skin pigment. One cup of lentils will provide your child with 34% of the daily value of copper.
4. Control High Blood Pressure:
Lentils contain dietary protein and soluble fiber, which can help prevent and control hypertension in kids.
5. Stimulate The Immune System:
According to researchers, lentils stimulate the immune system. It produces and activates the white blood cells, thereby improving antibodies. Antibodies help to eliminate viruses, yeast, fungus and bacteria from the body.
6. Heart Health:
Lentils can also benefit your child’s heart. This tiny super food is a great source of magnesium and folate, which contribute to heart health. Folate lowers the homocysteine levels, one of the major causes of heart diseases. Magnesium, on the other hand, improves blood flow, nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.
[ Read: Benefits Of Eggs For Kids ]
7. Digestive Health:
The insoluble dietary fiber found in lentils can prevent constipation and other digestive disorders like diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome in your child.
Lentils help to transport oxygen throughout the body, keeping your child active and energized.
Lentils are one of the most versatile legumes. You can puree these low-calorie foods into soups and sauces or can use in salads, burgers, crudité, crackers, sandwiches, and pilafs. You can also add pureed lentils into mac and cheese and pasta sauce.
Healthy And Easy Lentil Recipes For Kids:
1. Curry Lentil:
This recipe can act like lentil soup for kids since lentil have a thicker consistency.
- 2 teaspoons of sunflower oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of fresh, minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons of mild curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 potato peeled and cut into a small dice
- 1 cup of red lentils
- 5 cups of vegetable broth
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- Heat oil in a saucepan, add onions and cook until they soften.
- Then add in lentils, potatoes, broth and cover until they boil.
- Reduce the heat and then simmer until the lentils are tender.
- Season and stir in lemon juice just before serving. Serve the lentils with plenty of yogurt.
[ Read: Vitamins Chart For Kids ]
2. French Lentil:
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1 cup of red lentils
- 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat oil in a saucepan and add onion, celery and carrot.
- Keep stirring it until the vegetables soften.
- Then add the lentils and cook for a minute.
- Stir in the tomatoes, stock, salt, and pepper.
- Cover and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
- Puree the soup in a blender until smooth.
- Season it with salt and pepper and reheat.
- Serve the soup with plenty of Parmesan cheese.
3. Lentil Dessert:
- 2 cups of milk
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- 3 teaspoons of brown sugar
- 1 cup of cooked lentils
- 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder
- 1 small cup of dried fruits
- Combine cooked lentils with warm milk, cocoa powder, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
- Then cook the mixture for two to three minutes.
- Top with dessert with dried fruits and let it sit in the refrigerator.
4. Barley And Lentil Salad:
You Will Need:
- A bowl of cooked barley
- Half a bowl of steamed lentils.
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 grated carrot
- ¼th chopped red onion
- ¼th chopped cucumber
- 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 torn lettuce
- ¼th cup sliced olives.
- Mix all the ingredients except lettuce and cheese.
- Spread it over the lettuce leaves and add cheese on top.
Some kids may experience abdominal discomfort and flatulence initially, so incorporate lentils slowly in your child’s diet. And do you have any other interesting lentil recipes for kids? Share it with us in the comments section.
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