We often hear of the hot debate between whether it's okay to 'sneak' nutritious foods onto our kids plates. Instead, why not build trust by working together as well as learning some kitchen skills and supporting creativity by getting your kiddies into the kitchen to help with the process. They will be AMAZED by how good we can make healthy foods taste!
If you haven't heard yet, the UN declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses to raise awareness about these amazing little guys and their vital plant-sourced protein. But what are pulses you may ask? Well, they are those teeny tiny, nutrient rich and majorly affordable super foods - beans, lentils and legumes.
Beans and pulses sometimes get a bad rep for being too gas-producing and harder to digest. But did you know that by rinsing your beans or discarding the cooking water, you can lessen the effects? Quiet down that musical fruit, will ya!
Who knew beans could taste so good?
Read on below for tips on safe cooking practices for you and your child.
Pina Colada White Bean Popsicles
- 1 can regular coconut milk
- 2 very ripe frozen banana, chopped
- 1 cup frozen, canned or fresh very ripe pineapple, chopped
- 1/2 cup coconut water
- 1 whole lime juiced (add a bit of zest for more flavour)
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1 large can cooked white beans, rinsed well
- 3-4 ice cubes
- 1 tbsp honey (optional)
- 2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder (optional)
- Place beans, pineapple juice, coconut water and coconut milk into a blender and purée until smooth
- Add lime juice and half frozen or fresh fruit. If using fresh fruit, add ice cubes as well to thicken up mixture (holds popsicle sticks up more easily). Add protein powder if desired for extra nutrition and hint of vanilla. Purée all ingredients until smooth
- Add honey if desired sweetness has not been achieved
- Add remaining fruit and only pulse until broken up for fruit chunks in popsicles or if smooth consistency desired then add it all at once in step 3
- Pour mixture into popsicle holders or ice cube trays* then place in freezer for 4-6 hours
- Save any extra and make into a smoothie!
Child Cooking Tips (age dependent - you be the judge!)
- Practice mindfulness by asking questions. Describe where coconut milk comes from - how did it get to be in the can? From seed to tree to cracked open into the can. Notice how the cream separates from the liquid. Smell the citrus as you juice the lime. Grate some zest and notice the acidity. Help your child to connect with the food you're preparing.
- Have your child open the cans safely, place the coconut milk in the blender then rinse the beans in a colander under the tap and get them to use their hands! Have them describe the shape and texture of the beans to you. It's ok to squish them a bit since they are being blended.
- Prep the other ingredients together into bowls so that your child can easily add them as you read off the instructions. Cut up fruit and set in separate bowls, squeeze lime juice, pour coconut water into a measuring glass and pop ice cubes out of the tray. Encourage your child to add ingredients in the order that pleases them (if they don't follow the recipe exactly, who cares! It's the experience that matters.)
- Instruct your child to plug in the blender, place the lid on and push start. Watch as everything goes smooth then notice the new texture and how the beans disappeared. Teach your child safe use of appliances by unplugging the blender before reaching in for a taste.
- Taste the mixture throughout the entire recipe and notice different flavours. Make adjustments as needed by asking each other questions - is it sweet enough? What else can you add to put your own spin on it? Support your child's creativity.
- Pour the mixture into popsicle holders or make your own by using an empty ice cube tray*. Cover with plastic wrap or foil then poke holes in the centre and add sticks in. Discuss the process of liquid turning to ice in the freezer.
- Go outside and play! Popsicles will take a few hours to freeze. Run them under hot water when ready to slide them out more easily. Make a batch ahead of time if you want to eat right away with your child.
Please note: The sweetness and acidity can vary depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Adjust by adding more ripe fruit if you want to omit the honey. I did not use honey although the original recipe called for it. For less tartness, try adding half the lime juice and more pineapple juice.
If you haven't read the recent post on our Children's Cooking Camps, check it out here. There are still a few spots remaining for our signature camp, From Ground to Table, where kids can apply all these skills and more. We teach kids confidence in the kitchen in addition to respect for food and our bodies. Thus, encouraging children to have a positive relationship with food.