How Do You Feed Beans to Your Toddlers/preschoolers?

Updated on June 08, 2011
J.S. asks from Kalamazoo, MI
25 answers

I read over and over about how great beans -- protein, fiber, etc. But how do you serve them to your kids? (My kids are 13 mos and 3 years old) I've tried buying canned chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans and rinsing them (maybe cooking them on stove top a little) and giving them to my kids and they did not like them. I've also bought dried beans (navy and some white mild bean) and soaked them overnight then cooked them 1.5-2 hours, and still the kids weren't big fans. Any tips? Do you give them straight, or mix them in with stuff?

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answers from Chicago on

MY 3 yr old will not eat just the beans. but I have mixed them with corn and potatoes or put them in tortillas (she loves tacos) or a bit in with a quesadilla. If I just put the beans on a plate, she will not touch them. I usually use the canned beans and mash them.



answers from Philadelphia on

I love this question! I use white beans, black beans and chick peas- (separately) and I make hummus. take a can of drained beans, clove of garlic, a little olive oil, half of lemon (squeeze in the juice) and salt and put it in a food processor and let my daughter use it as dip. If they won't dip it on chips or crackers, use it as a sandwhich spread instead of mayonaise.


answers from Bloomington on

I mix them in. My almost 4 year old loves them in salsa (cowboy caviar), hummus dip, and chili. That's about the only ways he'll eat them.

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answers from Seattle on


Eating beans straight is a 'quirk'. Some people enjoy them...and they're just fine/safe to eat plain (you can eat raw potato, and some people enjoy it), but neither plain raw or heated beans or plain raw or heated potato is appealing to most people.

- Hummus

- Chili

- Salads

- Soups & Stews

- Refried (and not just pinto, but black beans as well as some others are *gorgeous* fried w garlic, onion, peppers)

- 'n' Rice (red beans n' rice etc.)

- Pasted (sweet red beans inside mochi, cannelini w/ purple onion and kosher salt let sit for an hour or 3 in olive oil and then half mashed and schmeared over a baguette slice, refried beans in a burrito/empanada/tamal, etc.)

- Salsas and dips

- Southern Style (boiled w/ bacon and ham hocks)

- Raw edible shell beans (string beans -yellow or green- are an example... misted in olive oil and sprinkled over with salt)

- Edible shell beans sauteed with a little olive oil, garlic, salt, & pepper... OR... broiled with garlic and soy... OR... Dipped in rice flour and deep fried (tempura)

- Mixed bean and veggie saute (ex: olive oil, salt, garlic + frozen fava beans + zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, spinach)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Our son loves hummus. He will eat it with multigrain crackers and its pretty healthy. He also loves organic baked beans just warmed up out of the can.

He also likes the french string beans. I think he prefers to eat them like french fries!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think they are easier to take when hidden in other recipes. I used to make beans and rice for my son as a toddler and it had carrots, celery, a little tomato sauce and some seasonings along with the beans and rice. I also make bean salad (with mint, olive oil and balsamic vinegar for flavor). Tonight I mixed them in with a bunch of sauted veggies and sausage. They are easy to hide in tacos, burritos or other Mexican dishes. My 2 year old loves the beans and picks them out. My 5 year old isn't thrilled with them but sometimes eats them if they are in a dish he likes.

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answers from Seattle on

Well, my son is a bean maniac...I literally open a can...rinse all the goop off and serve!
Start with hummus...that might be a good starting place. My son's favorite are Goya pink beans - they are totally soft and don't have that sorta shell on the outside.
To mix them in - what about tacos i make 1/2 can of black beans and 1/4lb of ground turkey and add taco seasoning...
Or try regular taco meat with a bit of the fat-free refried beans to help make the taco a little roll-up.
good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Bean Salsa Salad:

1 can each - kidney, pinto, black, & garbanzo beans
diced onion, cucumber
equal parts of any salsa & Thousand Island salad dressing
finely minced jalapeno (optional)
& you can also throw in some cilantro, fresh tomatoes, etc.

I pretty much make this a "kitchen sink" salad!

& as for your kids not liking beans: you have to totally & thoroughly season them....whether it's mixed in with other foods such as Zatarains dirty rice or red beans & rice mixes.....or simmered for hours (4-6) with S & P, garlic, onion, & some ham for seasoning - I also add diced carrots & celery with these beans & serve them as a soup with cornbread. We've also been known to just open some cans of butter beans & toss in some ham chunks, a little bit of seasoning....& it's an instant dinner, not just as good as a pot of soup simmered all day - but tasty on it's own!

EDIT: Oh, & I also make a pot of green bean soup! Fresh green beans, a couple of diced onions, some celery, lots of S&P, some garlic. I let them simmer until tender & then add some ham & chunks of raw potato. Once the potatoes are tender, then I add just a little bit of milk to thicken the broth (more to change the color of the broth than anything). I want it a little bit creamy, but not a cream-based soup for health reasons.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

We don't eat a ton of beans, but we do put black beans in quesadillas. I also make a bean dip with refried beans, sour cream, and cheese (in layers). Not that that is the healthiest thing by any stretch, but if they'd eat it with veggies or whole wheat pita, it would be ok. My little guy isn't that excited by hummus, but lots of kids eat it no problem.



answers from Kansas City on

My husband mixes sugar in his green beans. I had never heard of this until I first saw him make them this way. I like green beans plain but our 4 yo has always like green beans, so I wonder if his first try of green beans were daddy's sugar coated green beans.

Our boys also like plain old pork and beans out of the can. You could always try serving them beans and weenies and that might get them to start liking beans.



answers from Baton Rouge on

My daughter loved red beans and rice from the first bite. She ate them the same way I cooked them for everyone else - with onions, peppers, sausage, and spices.
Beans by themselves are pretty bland. Are you seasoning them well?


answers from Austin on

You could try putting them in with rice (fried rice, red beans and rice, rice pilaf, hoppin john). Or some kids like chickpeas as hummus dip.



answers from Los Angeles on

straight baked beans zapped in the microwave for 30 seconds. They requested it for dinner last night. I love it when they ask for baked beans. So easy.


answers from Hartford on

My 6 yr old loves baked beans. She said she'd marry them if she could. She especially likes them with a touch of brown sugar. Sometimes my 8 yr old will eat a few, but not often. My 10 year old thinks they're the devil's food but she hates all kinds of beans.

My 6 yr old also loves canned green beans. My 8 yr old used to love them but right now won't touch them. My 10 yr old will only eat them if I let her cook them, and she'll season them with salt, pepper, butter, and lemon juice. We also put them in Italian style soups. So good.

Other than that, we're not really big on beans although I like wax beans. I can handle green beans, wax beans, and even kidney beans in a Three Bean Salad although I really don't like kidney beans unless they've been marinating in the vinegar for a full day.

Oh... and black beans in a green salad that's also stuffed with chicken, whole grain tortilla strips, veggies, a little shredded cheese (that's lactose free) is heavenly. The beans get all hidden and they're delicious. You can also put them in chili, although I really can't stand chili with beans.



answers from Los Angeles on

My kids will eat black beans mixed with cheddar cheese in a tortilla; but their favorite is refried beans. I cook the black beans, puree them in a food processor, reheat them in a pan (with olive oil), add salt, melt cheddar cheese into the mixture, and give them tortilla chips to scoop them up with. They love it.



answers from Orlando on

My daughter hardly will eat meat, but she would eat any kind of bean at every meal if she could. She loves black beans and yellow rice, baked beans, hummus or just chick peas by the handful, black eyed peas, navy beans, chilli beans.
We will usually mix them into foods, but she will pick out cans at the grocery store and ask us to open them there so she can eat (we don't!)

I think tacos are a good place to start or go to and put in whatever kind of bean you have and see what comes up. :)


answers from Pittsburgh on

My son has loved beans from the start (around 10mos), and eats them in everything or alone. Baked beans, black beans, bean dips, hummus, etc. This may have been mentioned, but you can spice/roast chickpeas - they turn out crunchy - but do a small amount, they only last a day or two. Good luck!


answers from Williamsport on

My kids like them if I open a tortilla and melt some cheese on it, and then spread a layer of beans, and fold and flatten the tortialla (Liek a cheese and bean quesadilla) and then cut it into bite size squares.

They like soft refried beans too, dipping chips in them etc, but you can use different types of beans if you hide them in the quesadillas because they stick to the cheese and don't roll around.



answers from New York on

When my son was younger i would give him just black beans from the can- he loved them. Now I do refried beans with tacos- chick peas and kidney beans in soup. Or I mix together black beans and rice. He enjoys them. Also- baked beans too- although I think those are his least favorite.



answers from Philadelphia on

My son who i salmost four does not like beans either. Do not feel left out. The other suggestion I have is to make hummus. If you like hummus then here is the recipie.
1 16 ounce can of chick peas-goya is the best one
rinse them and set aside one to two tablespoons of the juice stuff it come in.
garlic powder to taste
1 teaspoon of salt-kosher or sea salt
lemon juice to taste normally about 1/4 cup
2 tablespoons of seasame tahini paste-buy it in walmart in international section
1/4 cup of olive oil
put in food processor a little bit at a time until it is smooth and creamy,
There are also fibers in other foods like broccoli,apples,good luck



answers from Pittsfield on

My kids love baked beans. I usually buy Bush's.
You can also make soup -like Minestrone- and puree some of them, so if they pick out the beans, they're still getting some w/o even knowing ;o)



answers from Omaha on

I love to make Bush's Navy Bean Soup, Red Beans and Rice, and 7-bean salad...

My daughter also loves baked beans--Bush's, Van Camps, Ranch.



answers from Syracuse on

Hummus, roasted red pepper hummus is a favorite of my two kids. I also make a bean soup that has black beans and chick peas, canned diced tomatoes, chicken broth, olive oil, water and seasoning(Italian seasoning mix). My youngest will just pop the beans right in his mouth, he likes the flavoring. My oldest, age 3, loves the broth.



answers from Allentown on

And don't forget Lentils! Lentil soup is great. But also - lentils in a salad. Lentils & rice. You can even use cooked red lentils as a meat substitute in pasta sauce (with spaghetti or in a baked pasta dish) or in tacos (hard/soft) or burritos or quesadillas or enchiladas, etc... Smashed cooked red or black beans with seasoning also work well in many of those applications. And, of course, colorful beans help when you're trying to eat the rainbow!
Oh - and edamame. Cooked edamame out of the shell is one of my daughter's favorite things.



answers from New York on

when they were littler, i used to give them big red kidney beans, but i would squish each bean a little so they were safe. you can even sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on top to sweeten the deal :) black beans are good too. also, you can put beans in the food processor and sneak them into lots of things, just think about color and texture..

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