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Legumes are characteristic foods of the Mediterranean diet, being consumed especially in hot traditional stews. At present, influenced by other gastronomic cultures, it is also common to consume them in the form of salads or even for snacks, like hummus, which makes legumes an easy dish to consume throughout the year. Legumes provide many benefits to children. Taking legumes is beneficial for the health of children because of their low fat content and high nutritional value, according to experts.
Within what we call legumes we can include the beans, lentils, and chickpeas, plus soybeans (dried legumes), green beans, and peas. Green beans and peas, being fresh, have some different properties than the rest, being richer in vitamins than the rest of the legumes and being more similar, nutritionally, to vegetables in general.
1. They provide many proteins
Dried legumes are an important source of protein, whose deficient amino acid is methionine. However, they can be considered of high biological value if they are combined with cereals, since cereals provide this amino acid.
Cereals and legumes complement each other, making their protein intake the best quality that can be obtained in foods of plant origin. These combinations can be found in traditional dishes of the Mediterranean diet, such as stewed lentils with rice or cocido madrileño (chickpeas) with noodle soup (wheat). Hummus is usually consumed with breadsticks, so it also responds to these types of combinations.
Soy, unlike other dried legumes, has a more balanced protein, so it is of better quality even without combining it with other foods.
2. They are low in fat
On the other hand, legumes are foods low in fat and rich in minerals and vitamins of group B.
3. They provide a lot of iron
They are, in particular, a source of iron.
4. They provide fiber and complex carbohydrates
Additionally, legumes are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates. While this is beneficial for a child's diet, which is typically low in fiber, these indigestible carbohydrates (fiber) are known to cause flatulence in the gut. Complex carbohydrates are hydrolyzed in the gastrointestinal tract and their energy is released more slowly than that of simple carbohydrates, thus providing the body with a feeling of fullness that lasts after ingestion.
In this way, glucose is slowly absorbed and insulin is released in a controlled way, providing energy for a long time, something very useful to support the activity pattern of the little ones, which requires constant energy.
Some legumes also have toxins, such as lectin, which can affect some cellular functions such as protein synthesis. Nevertheless these toxins are destroyed with the correct cooking of the legume, so they do not present health problems.
Dried legumes are therefore one of the most complete foods that we can find, being advised to incorporate them into the diet from childhood. What's more, their intake counts as one of the 5 servings of fruit and vegetables that are recommended to consume daily, so they should be consumed an average of 2 or 3 times a week.
There are children who eat very well, any type of food, but there are others who cost them. It is not always easy to get children to eat legumes. For this reason, it is very important to make dishes that allow children to participate in their preparation, and that are attractive to them.
Legumes are an important source of carbohydrates and have a high protein value. In addition, they contain fiber, vitamin B complex and many minerals such as iron, calcium and phosphorus. Among the best known legumes, we have: chickpeas, peas, soybeans, lentils and green beans.
For children to eat legumes we offer you some delicious homemade recipes:
1 - Lentil burgers
We propose a simple and easy recipe to prepare even with the participation of the smallest of the house. An ideal recipe for children's lunch or dinner. You can accompany it with a simple salad.
2 - Falafel or chickpea burgers
Guiainfantil.com offers us the step-by-step Falafel recipe, for dinner or children's lunch. An exquisite and easy to make recipe. Recipe of Arabic cuisine.
3 - Soy meatballs
This is a good time to introduce soy in the diet of children. Soy is a legume with many nutritional properties that provides children with high-quality protein.
You can read more articles similar to Benefits of legumes for children, in the Infant Nutrition On-Site category.