When it came to designing a product that both children and adults would love, there were a few things I needed to consider:
- Parents want to feed their children healthy, nutrient dense food
- Needs to be quick and easy to make
- Has to appeal to the finicky palate of children
Then I got it…. CHICKPEAS! I decided to create a protein pasta line with chickpea flour as the primary ingredient. Kids love chickpeas and they’re full of nutrition!
With 39 grams of protein per cup, chickpeas give your body a burst of power. When we made the decision to use this flour to make pasta, we turned regular pasta into a healthy food source that gives kids bodies both energy and vitamins. I like to think of it as the super hero of the pasta world.
What’s in a chickpea?
Chickpeas are not only a great source of protein, but they contain lots of other great stuff that our body and brain needs. This includes carbohydrates, thiamine, niacin, calcium and iron. In fact,researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are currently looking at the viability of using chickpea as a weaning formula. The protein in chickpea is similar to that of soy but with chickpeas out scoring soy in 7 out of 10 essential amino acids in quantity. That’s a lot of nutrients in a cup of beans!
High in iron, chickpeas are an ideal protein alternative for the vegetarian diet. One of the challenges with non-meat alternative iron sources is that there are iron inhibitors which can make it challenging to absorb the mineral. When you pair the beans with tomatoes or peppers, to maximize the iron absorption. Another method to ramp up the iron absorption is to mill the chickpeas, as we did for Chickpea pasta, to help increase the iron absorption of the bean. Add tomato sauce and you have a pasta full of muscle power! Stay tuned to our Recipe section for more ideas.
Build strong bones
With double the amount of calcium than a cup of broccoli, chickpeas offer more than just protein for your child’s diet. Toddlers need about 500 mg of calcium a day. Dairy is still the most common source, but for some children it is not digestible. Chickpea and chickpea pasta is a great way to provide your child’s diet with a calcium boost.
A healthy Belly
If your little one is having trouble with regular bowel movements, it may be hard to feed them the ‘green’ foods that will help get things going. Each cup of chickpeas contains 35 grams of fibre. These beans help keep your body regular; in fact, they are listed as one of the top foods to keep on your “digestive support” list.
A prebiotic, up to 75% of chickpeas are composed of insoluble fibre. These beans travel down to your digestive track and provide food for the probiotics, which in turn, helps heal your gut and colon. They are vital for health.
So what does all this mean? Well, eating more chickpeas helps with blood fat regulation, cholesterol, diabetes, and intestinal health. Easy to digest, it is a great starter food for your baby and an excellent way to introduce legumes into your household.