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Health Benefits of Green Beans and Tricks to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Vegetables

March 10, 2008

Most people are always trying to eat healthier – I know I am. And this includes adding more vegetables into my daily meals. Some people simply adore green beans. Me, well I have learned to enjoy them more year after year.

After I found this recipe, I did some research and was truly amazed and super surprised to learn how much good these green beans are and what they can do for us, in fact I was only going to share the recipe, but after my research, I knew I had to share the importance and nutrients available to us in the affordable green bean.

My mother used to sauté slivered almonds in butter then sprinkle them over the green beans for me to be enticed to eat my veggies when I was a kid. Well this mother’s trick actually worked, and I would eat up my green beans; she also did this little trick with the almonds over steamed broccoli – though despite all her efforts, the same trick just wouldn’t work for me on Brussels Sprouts which I still have issues with – to me they are baby cabbages – and you would think a gal my age would have gotten over this issue, but I digress.

For years, I would make my green beans with the sauteed almonds for years until recently when I had them with sauteed mushrooms and onions. I was converted!

Now as a kid, eating vegetables was not my main priority and I am sure it is not your child’s main gig either. And I do not blame them to bat. We eat with our eyes, as do your kids, a big point to remember. So to assist in getting them to see eating vegetables as simply as part of their meal and not some trick for them to have to eat so they can have their dessert, you need to be a little creative.

Getting you kids to eat the greens might take being a little creative but it is easier than you think.

1. First and super important to note, kids will generally eat the food they helped prepared. Why is that? They are curious to see their creations come to fruition. Just like a piece of art clay they may have made in class, should their school still be fortunate to have art classes.

2. Have the kids help you in picking the best looking green beans at the store.

3. Get the kids to use their kid-friendly scissors to cut off the ends of the greens and rinse them under water.

4. Using a kid-friendly knife – even a plastic knife, have them slice up the mushrooms for the recipe I share below.

5. Try growing green beans this spring, they are fast growing, kids can easily plant the large seeds in a circle with several tall bamboo rods sticking up out of the ground and tied towards each other like a ‘tee pee’ shape. With normal conditions, you should see sprouts starting in as little as 5 days. Kids love to eat what they grow. Easy to pick, the green beans will grow up the bamboo ‘stalks’ you planted – a good time to share the jack and the bean stalk story, huh?!?

Trying several of these techniques will surely get your kid a little more interested in trying out their vegetables. So now that you have learned a few tricks of the trade, let me share with you just how great these green beans are for you.

Health Benefits of Green Beans: Did you know that one serving of fresh green beans provides a whopping 25% of your vitamin K needs and is super important for maintaining strong bones? Vitamin K1 activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone. Osteocalcin anchors calcium molecules inside of the bone. Therefore, without enough vitamin K1, osteocalcin levels are inadequate, and bone mineralization is impaired. So if you are worried about Osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease, green beans are a great natural helper in prevention. Vitamin K is also essential for blood to clot and it is a super green to eat for your heart – it really helps prevent plaque from building up on the walls of your arteries.

Green beans, while quite low in calories (just 43.75 calories in a whole cup), are loaded with enough nutrients to not only power up the Jolly Green Giant, but to put a big smile on his face. Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K as mentioned and manganese.

Plus green beans are very good source of vitamin A (notably through their concentration of carotenoids including beta-carotene), dietary fiber, potassium, foliate, and iron. And, green beans are a good source of magnesium, thiamine, riboflavin, copper, calcium, phosphorous, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and niacin. So eat ’em up and help yourself and your family to stay healthy!

Selecting the right kind of green bean: Available all year long at your grocery store, select only fresh green beans that are deep green and crunchy – pass up on them if they look dull, bruised and limp. Green beens are in season from summer through early fall when they are at their best and the least expensive.

Maybe you remember when you were a kid of having to pull the ‘string’ off of them while helping out your parent in preparing the dinner meal, most fresh green beans have now been grown so that this so-called ‘string’ is so thin you can now eat it, you do not have to pull the string (if you could find it), and in fact have been grown so that you may only have to snip off the ends if you want to before eating them up!

The recipe I share here is a nice twist on serving up green beans which will create a quick and easy side dish that will have people asking for seconds. The baby bella mushrooms help lower cholesterol while the onions are super good for your colon – just in case you wanted to know. One nice and easy thing also important to note in this recipe is that the green beans will keep their color, crispness and most importantly their vegetable nutrients.

Ingredients:

* 1 box of baby bella mushrooms

* 1 onion – minced/chopped fine (you may substitute with shallots)

* Green Beans, rinsed and tips removed

* Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

* Olive oil and butter

* 1 clove garlic minced

* Skillet with lid

* 1 working stove top

* 2-3 tablespoons water

* 1 cup boiling water

* 1 bowl

Directions:

1. Boil water.

2. Place cleaned green beans into heat-safe bowl.

3. In skillet, place a little of the olive oil and add onions.

4. Let sweat for five minutes and add sliced mushrooms to skillet – and add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet.

5. Pour boiling water over green beans and let blanch for 4 minutes.

6. Strain all water off of green beans.

7. Add strained green beans and minced garlic to skillet and add salt and pepper to taste.

8. Add lid on top of skillet – checking in on it every so often, stirring it up a little bit.

9. Let sauté a few minutes more – and add a fresh little dab of olive oil or butter and serve it up as your fave side dish.

10. Want to go all out? Add a little of toasted almonds to the dish on top.

So enjoy this different twist on making green beans which keeps them super green and crisped yet cooked and extra tasty with the sauteed mushrooms and onions. We all had seconds last night with this super side dish along with my backwards grilled shrimp and basmati rice oh so nice with shredded carrots. Divalisciously Yummy!

Leah Quinn is a writer specializing on food, health and entertainment and is a multi-media artist living in New York. Stop by her food site to learn many more healthy and interesting recipes at http://dinner-and-jam.blogspot.com and to find links to her many other sites and blogs.

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