Parents, when you hand your kid a pile of raw veggies and tell them to eat up, what happens? Maybe you’ll get one or two bites of carrots out of them before they push them away and ask for cookies instead. But new research shows that if you want to get kids eating more veggies, all you’ve got to do is serve them alongside a healthy bowl of dip. In a recent study, 64% of kids said they liked vegetables when served alongside dip, compared to just 31% when given the veggies alone. Kids were even willing to be more adventurous in their eating as long as dip was along for the ride–kids chowed down on more celery and squash.
Be careful about negating those healthy veggie benefits by giving your kids fatty dip, however. Popular choices like ranch dip can pile on fat, calories and high fructose corn syrup. Instead, give them a big punch of protein with these bean-based dips. They’ve got kid friendly flavors and enhance the healthiness of the vegetables rather than detracting from it. Try these kid favorites:
Pinto Bean Dip with Kale
Not only is dip great for, well, dipping, it can also serve to hide other healthy ingredients. Take superfood kale. It doesn’t have much of a taste, but many kids are turned off by its slight bitterness. By hiding it in dip, it turns a fun green color kids will love while sneaking in another level of nutrition. The bitterness is covered by the slight sweetness of pinto beans and the nuttiness of tahini, a Middle Eastern sesame paste that’s a little like thin peanut butter. Serve with carrots.
This recipe couldn’t be any easier. Take all ingredients, dump in food processor. Process and serve. The red pepper give this a vibrant, bright color, while a hint of smoky cumin make this interesting for you and the kids. For something different, try spreading this dip on a whole wheat tortilla. Add turkey, sprouts and other vegetables for a quick and lunchbox ready meal.
Bean dip can even help your kids eat more fruit. In this recipe, beans act as a creamy base, kind of like yogurt. Apple juice, cinnamon and maple syrup make this a sweet but still healthy treat. Serve it up along with apple slices or grapes.
What dips do you use to get your kids to heat healthy?
This recipe featuring Randall Beans Great Northern Beans is a perfect summer side dish.