Serve A Vegetable Kids Like
The foodservice industry is paying more and more attention to what is served on kids’ menus, with a renewed focus on offering better-for-you choices. The National Restaurant Association's chefs' survey, What's Hot in 2012, cited healthful kids’ meals and children’s nutrition as two of the top ten trends. New dietary guidelines for kids’ meal plans are also reinforcing a move toward more vegetables and less sodium. One excellent way to improve the healthfulness and trendiness of kids’ menus is to figure out ways to incorporate beans.
Satisfying picky eaters is no simple task. The trick to successfully overhauling a kids’ menu is to figure out how to serve healthier food that kids want to eat. Many establishments are offering fruit to appeal to younger appetites, but few have ventured into the vegetable territory because of the perception that kids don’t want to eat vegetables. But there is an exception. The truth is, most kids like beans—four out of five give them a thumbs up!1
The nutritional value in beans is perfect for kids’ growing bodies and provides an excellent source of eight important nutrients: Protein, Fiber, Folate, Manganese, Magnesium, Copper, Iron and Potassium. 2 In addition to being nutrient-rich, beans are low calorie, low in fat and cholesterol free. They also are naturally gluten free and are a great protein source for the growing number of families that choose to limit their meat consumption.
Beans are a great menu addition from a financial perspective too. They’re a low cost offering that can be prepared with minimal labor. They’re also available year round and work well with a variety of dishes and flavors. Beans are versatile enough to be utilized in more complex dishes and simple enough to be warmed and seasoned from the can. Kids love to dip their food, and hummus is a great way to offer a healthy bean dip for crackers, breads or vegetables. Beans can also be served as a stand-alone side dish or featured at the center of the plate like a veggie burger slider. Follow this link and discover creative ways to incorporate beans into your kids’ menu.
1 – Impulse Research, 2007, on behalf of the makers of Bush’s Beans.
2 – Based on average % Daily Values of ½ cup servings of baby lima bean, black beans, black eye peas, cranberry beans, garbanzo beans, Great Northern beans, navy beans, pinto beans and red kidney beans.