Tap into nutritious, delicious soyfoods to boost your child’s diet and health as they grow.
Boosting your children’s diets is so powerful. The foods they eat when they’re young form the foundation of the foods they will choose as they grow. That means that the dietary habits we’re teaching our kids right now not only have immediate impact, but they can also improve their health in the future by helping to reduce their risk of chronic diseases later on as adults. It’s never too late to get started. You can make a difference starting today! Research shows that wholesome, plant-based diets may help reduce many cardio-metabolic risks that impact even young children’s health. Introducing your children to nutrient-dense and delicious soyfoods, like soymilk, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soynuts is an excellent starting point. Just ½ cup of cooked soybeans provides fiber, vitamin K, calcium, manganese, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium and copper. Soyfoods even contain plant-based omega 3-s! Soyfoods also contain protein to help power kids’ growth and performance in school and in sports. Unlike some plants, soy is one of the few plant protein considered a high-quality protein because it contains good amounts of all nine essential amino acids, which the body can’t make on its own, so they must come from the diet. Soyfoods certainly check the boxes for nutrition and health, but how about taste? No worries there! Picture your kids’ smiles when served a yummy wrap with tofu, peanuts, and crunchy carrots or soy yogurt berry pops. So, I’m sharing my top tips on how to include nutritious, delicious soyfoods in your kids’ diet to power up good health this season.
Top Tips to Serve Up Soyfoods—Kid Style!
Whole, mature soybeans are available as dried soybeans, roasted nuts, and canned soybeans. Use them just as you would any dried or canned bean in kid-friendly dishes, like chili or tacos. They won’t know the difference, and kids may just prefer the new version! Soynuts are a surefire hit with kids, too. Crunchy, nutty, and the perfect addition to your favorite yogurt, granola, and trail mix. You can also have the kids help roast soybeans, prepared with their favorite seasonings, savory (nutritional yeast, spices) or sweet (cinnamon, brown sugar), or make their own soynut butter for a fun twist on PB & J or soynut butter banana pudding parfaits.
These are whole, immature soybeans harvested when fresh and green, available in the pod or shelled in the frozen food or produce section of grocery stores. Talk about a snack with entertainment built right in! Kids love coming up with clever ways of getting edamame out of their pods. Pack cooked, chilled edamame as a snack in lunchboxes, or make edamame spaghetti or edamame hummus.
A nutrient-rich plant milk, fortified (commonly with calcium and vitamin D) soymilk has a similar nutritional profile to cow’s milk. Free of lactose and milk protein, fortified soymilk is the only plant milk dairy alternative approved by major health professional organizations for children ages one to five. Use just as you would any milk, in cereal, smoothies, pancakes, and baked goods.
Made from soymilk, tofu’s game is versatility. Its mild taste happily takes on other flavors and it comes in varying degrees of firmness. Firm tofu and tofu crumbles are great stand-ins for meats and eggs in kid-friendly stir fry, tofu fingers, tacos, sloppy joe’s, and scrambles. Silken tofu is your go-to nutrient boost for smoothies, dips, puddings, and desserts.
This protein-rich fermented soybean cake has a mild, nutty taste and firm texture that’s both tender and chewy, making it ideal for slicing and cubing into your kids’ favorite dishes as a meat substitute. What kid doesn’t love bacon? Thin-slice tempeh, drizzle on a marinade, and roast until golden brown for a version lower in saturated fat. How about a BLT sandwich? Tempeh is also a star in stir fries, tacos, and pairs perfectly with noodle dishes.
Written by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN
This blog is sponsored by Soy Connection.