Hello! Thank-you for dropping by. This is a series I am putting together featuring foods that are packed with nutrition that I call “effortless additions” that are family friendly. I will give you some ideas on how to incorporate them in your meals and what the benefits are. As a mother of two young children, I know the struggle it can be to offer a variety of foods and not get stuck in the same rut over and over again. Most families are busier than ever now but would still prefer to feed their children as healthy as possible without having to rely on convenience foods. I would like to bring ideas to your table that will provide lots of nutrition but can also be easily added to meals and snacks without taking up large amounts of time or effort.
Today I am talking all about lentils!
Lentils are packed with nutrition and very friendly to your budget, especially when purchasing an organic source of protein. They have virtually no taste and can be used in a variety of ways. They are also a quick addition to meals as they do not need to be pre-soaked and cook quickly. They can also be made ahead of time, kept in the fridge and added to recipes as needed.
Here are some great quick and effortless ways to incorporate lentils into your family’s diet:
- Add cooked lentils to spaghetti sauce. You can leave it chunky if you like texture or blend them right in. You can do this with home made sauce or store bought.
- Add cooked lentils to salad. They will soak up the flavour of the dressing and add a nice texture.
- Mix with rice and vegetables (a great way to use leftovers). I like to add steamed veggies and a nice homemade dressing like this one.
- Add or blend into soups. Here’s one I like to make, you can leave it as is or take out half of the soup and blend it to make it creamier.
- Blend into a smoothie for an extra boost of protein.
- Baking with lentils add some additional protein and nutrients to muffins, bars and pancakes. There are endless recipes online or blend up a few handfuls of cooked lentils and add to recipes you already use.
- Use lentils in place of ground meat. This recipe is a yummy taco meat substitute.
The nutritional benefits of eating lentils are many and include:
Protein, fibre, potassium, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B3, iron, copper, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and calcium.
Here are some reasons why these nutrients are so beneficial to you and your family:
Protein is the primary component of our muscles, hair, skin, nails, eyes and internal organs such as the heart muscle and brain. It is an important part of our immune health and makes up hemoglobin (oxygen carrying red blood cell molecules) as well as many hormones that regulate our metabolism. It is needed for the growth and maintenance of body tissue and is very important during childhood. Lentils provide 18g of protein per cup (cooked).
Calcium is critical during the growth years and in infancy. It supports the development and maintenance of bones and teeth. Calcium does not only stay in our bones but circulates in our blood and helps tone and function of muscles, the heart, and the nervous system. Lentils provide 38 mg of calcium per cup (cooked). Magnesium, phosphorus and potassium all work in conjunction with calcium……the beauty of whole foods is how they have all the proper nutrients to work together synergistically!
Fibre supports digestive health, it helps keep you regular, is a prebiotic (feeds the good bacteria in your gut) and keeps blood sugar from spiking….just to name a few things! The average Canadian consumes less then half of the recommended requirement of fibre daily. Lentils provide 15 grams of fibre per cup (cooked) which will help boost and meet daily fibre requirements effortlessly.
Please stay tuned for many more foods featured in my “Effortless Additions” and more information why these nutrients matter to our whole bodies and benefit everyone in your family from youngest to wisest!
I hope some of these ideas make it to your table and your family enjoys these Effortless Additions as much as mine does.
p.s. If you are looking for tips or suggestions regarding introducing new foods or meals to your family, please check out my Family Consultation package that I offer. I would love to help your family on their journey!