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What do Pizza, Pasta, Potatoes and Sushi have in Common? Hummus!


Grilled summer vegetable pita pizza

It takes a while to get kids to come around to hummus. It’s not colorful like the snacks saturated with yellow 5 and blue 1, and often hummus is served with carrots or pita — not exactly most kids’ favorites.
Limiting hummus snacks to just these two dippers is where most parents go wrong. We do the huge variety of hummus recipes and flavors injustice by relegating them to only two uses. This does our children injustice as well, as 90% of Americans don’t get enough vegetables every day. To encourage healthy development and good eating habits, we need to revolutionize how we present veggies to kids, and hummus is the perfect gateway to that revolution.
Here are some creative ways to get your children to eat their beans and veggies while making meal staples healthier.
1. Pizza
Here’s a simple substitute. Bake a homemade pizza using pita as your crust and hummus as your sauce. Turn it into a grilled summer vegetable pita pizza by crumbling feta and/or mozzarella over the hummus and topping it with sauteed veggies like colorful squash, tomatoes, onions, or anything healthy your child likes.
2. Baked or Mashed Potatoes
What kid doesn’t like potatoes? It’s a shame they take so much butter, salt, and sour cream to be tempting to picky eaters. Luckily, hummus saves the day again. You can offer an array of flavor to spice up potatoes: spicy hummus, milder red pepper hummus, basil pesto hummus, potatoes will take just about any flavor.
Special mention goes to Greek yogurt dips, as well. Natural Greek yogurt dips have less than half the calories of sour cream dips and 88% less fat. Thus, they make another fantastic substitute when garnishing your baked potato, dipping snacks, and anywhere else you’d use sour cream.
3. Pasta
Pasta is always tricky. It’s easy to make, but the healthiest version is whole wheat, which can taste grainy and bland to kids. But covering it with more sauce can defeat the point of choosing the healthy version. Hummus can make a nice, thick pasta sauce when a dollop is mixed with plain Greek yogurt, creating an Alfredo-like taste without the calories. Plus, the thicker the sauce, the easier it is to tolerate grainy wheat pasta, and in this case the thickness comes from nutrient-rich beans in all hummus recipes.
DID YOU KNOW? Dietary Guidelines recommend 1 1/2 cups of beans per week as part of a healthy diet. Just two spoons of hummus every day will fill that recommendation.
4. Sushi
Yes, you read that right. This vegetarian sushi makes for a fun afternoon project and snack. Simply slice a zucchini into wide thin strips (a vegetable peeler helps here). Then let your kids create their own sushi rolls with hummus as the glue and chopped or julienned veggies for the “meat” of the sushi. Roll it all up, and you have fun, bite-sized, healthy snacks!

Hummus recipes by definition are basically made up of healthy amounts of legumes. Always read your labels, of course, but just about anything can be made healthier if you use a decent hummus. Try experimenting in your kitchen with other creative hummus recipes and post your findings!

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