a peek inside the fishbowl

11 Feb, 2009

How to help your kids eat a little healthier – two secrets revealed

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Recipes and Food

Subtitled: My kids didn’t eat beans, now they do.

Remember my lament about beans?

Hummus is my secret weapon. My kids love it. They have no idea how healthy chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are for them: high protein, high fibre, low fat … and apparently chickpeas contain calcium too. Chickpeas are truly magical. And they are the main ingredient in hummus. But now I’ve made my hummus recipe even healthier … by adding beans.

Here’s my recipe. It takes about 10 minutes, not including the time it takes you to open a couple of cans. :) I often make it in the morning for school lunches.

Andrea’s hummus

  1. 1. Peel a clove or two of garlic and throw it in a food processor. Whirl until it’s in teeny pieces.
  2. 2. Add two or three heaping tablespoonfuls of tahini (a.k.a. sesame seed paste, available in most grocery store chains.)
  3. 3. Dump one 19oz can of chickpeas* into a strainer and rinse under cold running water. See the bubbles? That’s sodium from the packing water. Yuck. Rinse the chicks until there are no more little bubbles. Add them to the garlic/tahini.
  4. 4. Rinse one 19 oz can of white kidney beans and add it as well.
  5. 5. Add a bit of lemon juice. Maybe three tablespoons or so, but feel free to use more or less. Whatev! I use a few squirts of Realemon because it’s quick, but fresh lemon juice is better.
  6. 6. Whirl it all together. The mixture will be a little clumpy and dry. It’s ok. Slowly add about 1/2 cup of water (while mixing) until your hummus reaches a desirable consistency. I like it a little thick, but not too thick. (Texture is a personal thing!)

* I’ve read that hummus tastes different (better?) when made out of dried chickpeas. I haven’t tried it yet. But I will!

There! You’re done. Serve with pita triangles.

(What is it about kids and dips anyway? It is because it’s interactive? Do they crave control? What can I say? Kids love dipping.)

Now for part two.

I made up a batch the other day and realized that Sarah had eaten all her pita and there was still a considerable amount of hummus left in her bowl.

“Why don’t you just eat it with a spoon?” I asked Sarah, secretly hoping she’d choose to eat the hummus and not ask for more bread. Well, she wasn’t very interested in that idea, that is, until I carved her a spoon out of a big fat carrot.

Hummus is my secret weapon

Woo hoo!

I know my carrot spoon looks more like a trowel than an actual spoon, but hey, I lack carving tools! I used a veggie peeler and a paring knife. Much to my surprise Sarah used her spoon to eat the rest of the hummus and then she ate the spoon itself. (!)

Cool huh? Oh I love it when a plan comes together.

21 Responses to "How to help your kids eat a little healthier – two secrets revealed"

1 | Loukia

February 11th, 2009 at 8:55 am


Seriously, that picture of the hummus and carrot is very artistic and pretty! My 1 year old likes hummus, and I have to get my 3 year old to eat it! I love it. My 3 year old loves to dip his veggies (carrots, celery, baby tomatoes) in ranch dressing. Not as healthy as hummus, but at least he’s eating some veggies! You know what I like? The pre-packaged veggies and dip containters they sell at Superstore – for those days when I’m too lazy to prepare the snack myself!

2 | Jennifer

February 11th, 2009 at 9:02 am


Have you tried to puree the beans and add to other recipes? You recommended a ‘Deceptively Delicious’ recipe a while back, can’t remember which one, but I’ve tried a few. And it is surprisingly simple to add purred beans to sauces and casserole’s. I’ve been adding veg & beans puree to lots of stuff lately just to up the ‘nutritional value’ for adults & kids. I find it just a little bit harder in the winter to get the right balance, so this helps.

3 | Jennifer

February 11th, 2009 at 9:10 am


And speaking of beans (well sort of…) Bulk Barn has a promotion on now, if you buy $15 worth of anything you get a $5 dollar Bulk Barn gift card. Pretty good deal.

4 | vanessa

February 11th, 2009 at 9:54 am


if you’re good at planning ahead dried chickpeas are great for those nothing in the cupboard inspirational meals . They need soaking over night and boiling for about an hour which is not good when faced with them in a nice glass jar and you’re hungry .
great spoon !

5 | Lee

February 11th, 2009 at 10:27 am


The spoon is FANTASTIC!

That hummus sounds lovely!
(We’ll often add some green olive into our hummus ingredients.)

I often puree lentils into many recipes for similar reasons. It blends really well into meatloaf and thickens stew quite nicely.

6 | Gwen

February 11th, 2009 at 10:39 am


LOVE hummus here! And the best part is that my 4 year old loves it too! Along with the water, I add little bit of olive oil. Mmm…maybe I’ll make some this afternoon…

7 | The Veg Next Door

February 11th, 2009 at 11:03 am


Brilliant! :-)

8 | Stacey

February 11th, 2009 at 11:19 am


My “sneaky mom trick” is to add a can of pumpkin puree to every pasta sauce I make. It doesn’t affect the taste very much, it doesn’t affect the texture, and if they don’t see you put it in, chances are they won’t know it is there. As an added bonus… even if they figure out there is something different in there, they can’t pick it out! Adds fibre and beta-carotene as well as other good things. Add red lentils to the sauce in place of meat and you have a very nutritional sauce.

With the dry chickpeas, I have had good luck with the quick-soak method, for those days with less planning. Boil the chickpeas for 2 minutes. Turn off the burner, leave the pot with lid on the burner until cool. Rinse and add clean water. Boil peas for 1 hour or so until soft.

9 | andrea

February 11th, 2009 at 11:32 am


Oooh, good tips everyone. Keep them coming you sneaky moms!

Jennifer, the DD recipe I posted awhile back was for spinach brownies. I forgot about those. I should make those again!

10 | ian

February 11th, 2009 at 12:30 pm


I’m pretty lucky that my girls (well – not the teenager) love to eat well. Almost to a fault… They’re constantly asking if this is good for them.
My one daughter was a vegetarian for awhile (didn’t like the idea of hurting animals – she’s slowly coming back to the darkside though) so we started eating all sorts of beans and legumes – and now it is part of our regular diet.
It’s good for you, and cheaper than meat!
Good to see others are enjoying it too.

11 | porter

February 11th, 2009 at 12:46 pm


great idea!

12 | Javamom

February 11th, 2009 at 3:16 pm


You can make hummus without chickpeas, and just using one type of other beans, or a mixed can of beans. It’s great too! I especially like black bean hummus….

13 | Marla

February 11th, 2009 at 7:10 pm


I make a dip out of canned white beans (rinsed) pureed with one clove of roasted garlic and a bit of olive oil. Jo loves it, for veg and pita. She’s also one to snack on raw, canned chick peas. She loves that they look like little fannies. Have you tried the “don’t you bite that little bum” game? It’s vulgar, but we love it.

She also loves my fastest, quickest, no groceries in the house, el cheapo dinner — a can of black beans and a half jar of salsa and vegetable broth and a dash of cumin, heated up, then pureed into a soup with some shredded cheese on top, with toasted tortillas to dip in it. The texture is lovely, and it’s a pretty colour. A side of avocado goes nicely!

14 | raino

February 11th, 2009 at 11:16 pm


i love love love hummus and so do my girls. i have to give credit for that to our caregiver though. they were eating the stuff whe they were 3 !!! great stuff. and i love your carrot spoon. what a good idea!!


15 | The Veg Next Door

February 13th, 2009 at 9:00 am


Question for you…do you store the tahini in the fridge once it’s opened?

16 | andrea

February 13th, 2009 at 10:05 am


I do. And I give it a stir with a butter knife before I use it.

17 | Scatteredmom

February 15th, 2009 at 1:40 pm


Mmmmm yummy! We eat a lot of hummus in this house too. Jake loves it when I add roasted garlic or roasted red pepper, and sometimes we do sundried tomatoes and herbs. I’ve never tried it with white kidney beans though-now I’ll have to!

18 | alison

February 16th, 2009 at 3:47 pm


My kids must be the only ones in the universe who don’t like to dip. Anything. They’ll eat the raw veggies, but they won’t dip. I wish they liked hummus, because I’m addicted.

19 | Rebecca

March 11th, 2009 at 4:18 pm


This is such a cute idea – I’d even do it for parties!

21 | Will they eat it: Black bean hummus >> a peek inside the fishbowl

January 7th, 2011 at 10:00 am


[…] girls eat regular hummus (receipe here) quite happily, which is a joy to behold because hummus is full of fibre and other great stuff. But […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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