By: Jodie Shield, RD
Alright, after all of my bean stories and recipes a lot of you have asked about the you-know-what. Many parents shy away from serving beans to their child because of beans’ “aromatic” side effect – gas. Beans contain sugars (alpha-galactosides) that we can’t digest. Bacteria in our digestive tract break these sugars down, and in the process produce gas. This side effect shouldn’t stop you from serving beans to your child. Vegetables in general can give you gas and this fermentation process is actually healthy for the intestine.
To help ease any side effects from eating beans, here are a few de-gassing strategies:
Cook and rinse. Drop the beans into boiling water and cook them for three minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the beans soak for a few hours. then drain the beans, pour out the water, and cook them until they’re done.
Add baking soda. You can also mix one-eight of a teaspoon of baking soda into the beans’ soaking water. This will help leach out some of the offending sugars.
Wash away the excess. Drain and rinse canned beans to help get rid of sugar and some sodium.
Go slow. Gradually ease beans into your child’s diet. Start by serving beans once a week, with no more than one-half cup per serving. Add them more frequently once your child builds a liking for them.
Got any bean de-gassing tips? Pass them along.