Childhood Obesity Project

Beans, Peas and Lentils—More than Art Projects

Are you using your dry bean or lentils for more than art projects or helping your child with math home work? Although they are great to count, and use as your child practices a variety of math problems at home. They are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and provide a variety of vitamins and minerals.

If you are not currently using dry beans, peas, or lentils on a regular basis, remember that it may take several (many) times before children taste or learn to like them. Most of us do not like change, and are not interested in new foods or flavors the first few times they are offered. You may need to add small amounts to familiar foods—a new variety to vegetable soup or chili.

Remember to read the label, most dry beans and peas recommend soaking before cooking to shorten the cooking time while lentils may only require rinsing. 

Lentil Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon dried basil
2 medium carrots, diced ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 medium stalks celery, chopped                 
2 cups dry lentils
1 small yellow onion, chopped 1 can (14½ ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced 2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano 6½ cups water

  1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots celery and onions; cook and stir until onion is tender.
  2. Stir in garlic, oregano, basil, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in lentils and tomatoes, ten add the vegetable broth and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour or until lentils are tender.
  4. Store leftover in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave. The soup will taste better the next day.

Yield: 11 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 151
Total Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 248 mg
Total Fiber: 7 g
Protein: 9 g
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Potassium: 503 mg

Recipes reprinted from the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute publication Item#084049: Delicious Heart Healthy Latino Recipes.