Soyfoods are rich in the nutrients kids need and can help you promote healthy eating. Fruit soy smoothies, made with fortified soymilk or soy yogurt, are a fun way to get your kids to consume enough calcium. Try soy burgers or soy crumbles in place of ground beef to reduce calories, cholesterol and saturated fat. Here are some other creative ways to add soy to your child’s diet.
In the Lunch Box or at Snack Time
If you’ve ever packed a school lunch you know that it isn’t always easy to find healthy options that your kids will actually eat. Here are a few suggestions that are simple and tasty:
- SOYJOY bars combine soy and the great taste of fruit for a healthy snack.
- Soy yogurt is always a huge hit, plus it has the protein and calcium kids need.
- Soymilk is a great option for a low-calorie, protein packed drink that tastes great.
- Hummus made from soybeans makes a delicious sandwich spread.
If you need to keep your kids busy at snack time give them a bowl of edamame (steamed soybeans.) Kids love popping them out of the pod as much as they love the taste. Plus, they’re quick and easy to prepare, all natural, and a great source of protein.
Kids and Food Allergies
Soyfoods bring variety to children who have certain food allergies or choose soy for cultural reasons. Children who are lactose intolerant, or allergic to milk protein, can pour soymilk over cereal or enjoy soy pudding. Children with peanut and nut allergies can try a soy nut butter and jelly sandwich or roasted soy nuts as a snack. Even soy chips can be a treat for kids with wheat allergies. Note that fewer than one percent of children have allergies to soy and soy allergies occur less frequently than other allergies. In addition, most kids who do have soy allergies outgrow them.
Add Soybeans to Your Family Garden
A garden is a great way to teach your child about new foods and kids love to taste what they grow. It also lets kids see how food comes from the farm (or your garden) to your plate. In addition, gardening will teach your children that plants, like people, need food and water to grow and stay healthy. Soybeans are simple to grow and taste great. Here’s what you need:
- Plant soybeans in full sun 2 to 3 weeks after last frost.
- Prepare the soil with organic compost.
- Sow soybean seeds 1-2 inches deep and 2-4 inches apart. Make sure top soil is loose.
- Water plants well after planting, and a second time two to four days later, only if there has been no rain. Water regularly during flowering and pod formation. Avoid overhead watering which can cause flowers and pods to fall off.
- Soybeans are a pole bean, which means they need something to grow on. Provide a trellis or pole to help support growing vines.
- You can use mulch once the plants have sprouted to help maintain moisture and promote healthy growth.
- Soybeans for shelling and fresh use are ready for harvest 45 to 65 days after planting. Dry soybeans require 100 or more days to reach harvest.
- Harvest green soybeans when the pods are full. Pinch off pods as soon as they are ready and the plants will continue to produce throughout the summer.
- Once you harvest the beans you can rinse the pods and boil them for 4-5 minutes. Allow to cool, then squeeze the pods to remove the beans. Or lightly salt the pods and serve as a snack or appetizer. Cooked beans can also be added to salads, or frozen or canned.
- Shell dry beans once the pods are fully dry.
- Soybeans can be planted along with potatoes, cucumbers, corn, strawberries, celery, and summer savory. It is not recommended to plant soybeans with onion or garlic.
Answers on Soy and Children
Your most asked questions are answered in this Q&A for families
Soy Benefits Brochure
Download this helpful handout on the benefits of soy (PDF)
Soy For Healthy Living
Soyfoods contain no cholesterol, protect against heart disease, and taste great. Exciting new studies indicate that soyfoods show promise for boosting mental ability, and protecting against bone loss and some types of cancer. Learn more about Soy for Healthy Living.