Do Your Kids Need More Energy? Try Chickpeas

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, Mealtime

Packed with protein and cheap, chickpeas are a great addition to any family meal.

Also known as garbanzo beans, Canadian chick peas are grown in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

This edible legume comes in two main forms: Desi and Kabuli. They are easily distinguishable, the Desi beans being far lighter in colour than their Kabuli counterparts.

Garbanzo beans are an excellent source of protein. According to Health Canada, half a cup of cooked chickpeas provide 7.7 grams of protein. Some other great nutrients packed into this legume include:

  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 42 mg of calcium
  • 2.5 mg of iron
  • 252 mg of potassium
Chickpeas are also a source of folate (a water soluble B-Vitamin), manganese and an ultra trace mineral molybdenum.

Pack this bean into your daily meals to give your active child an energy boost. Chickpeas are high in iron. Iron helps the body by aiding red blood cells in the transportation of oxygen, making sure this vital element gets where it's needed in your child's body. Iron can also help prevent chronic fatigue.

But that's not where the benefits of chickpeas stop, this bean
can also help keep the body's insulin levels stable, making them the perfect option for those suffering from diabetes or irregular blood sugar levels (including hypoglycemia). The soluble fiber found in chickpeas has also been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels and ease bowel movements.

Hopefully the wonderful properties of chickpeas have convinced you to add them to your family's diet, now how to cook them? Raw chickpeas must be soaked in water overnight to lessen cooking time and help with digestion. They can be eaten cold on top of salads, or hot in dishes like soups and stews. For a tasty, protein-rich snack puree chickpeas to make hummus, introducing different flavours to keep your family hooked.

Tips for making hummus:

  • Add olive oil for a smoother consistency
  • Lemon juice and sea salt are popular additions
  • Add garlic and pepper for an extra kick
  • Puree other vegetables into your hummus, like red bell peppers or carrots
  • Add some seasoning. Curry, turmeric or curcumin are popular additions
Karla Heintz (BSc) is a nutrition educator and national author of 'Picky? Not Me, Mom! A parents' guide to children's nutrition.' She works with families on improving nutrition at the supper table and uncovering solutions to common faced challenges.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.