How to Help Your Kids Eat More Mushrooms

Mushrooms are under-appreciated around here, don’t you think? Kids say they don’t like the taste or the texture, but that mainly has to do with the way a mushroom is prepared. Mushrooms are great nutritionally and have many disease-fighting properties. Give them another chance, folks!

Mushrooms are nutrient-dense, which means per ounce or serving they pack a nutritional punch. They are low in calories but are high in B vitamins like B5, B-1 and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid. In his book, “Eat for Health,” Dr. Joel Fuhrman ranked it as a superfood higher than blueberries and raspberries. Mushrooms are also a good source of important minerals such as selenium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, manganese and zinc. All of these minerals are important in anti-cancer, anti-disease and body regulatory processes.

Another benefit: weight loss. mexican cubensis mushrooms Mushrooms are low in calories, but high in water content and fiber. Mushrooms are known to boost metabolism, and studies have shown that several servings of mushrooms per week have aided in weight loss (but, don’t forget about eating healthy and exercising). This is one food that you and your kids could eat unlimited quantities of and still lose/maintain a healthy weight.

Mushrooms are usually eaten raw in salads and sandwiches or sautéd in stir-fry’s. But they also make a really great addition to soups and casseroles. A great way to include them in your children’s diet is as a meat replacement in meals. Their meaty flavor and texture helps give carnivores their fix. Portobello mushrooms are great grilling and making a burger with, and button and cremini mushrooms are easily hidden in taco or sloppy joe meat.

My kids really enjoy mushrooms simply because they enjoy good food. And while years ago I used to sauté them to death in a gorgeous golden vat of butter, I now know better. I sauté them in water and miraculously, I think the flavor is even better. Here’s a recipe for a stir-fry I make often. Feel free to tweak the recipe to include your favorite vegetables, such as tomatoes, zucchini, chard, carrots, or celery. And feel good knowing that this low-calorie meal is feeding yours and your kids’ bodies with important nutrients, while giving everyone’s palette a party!

Mushroom Stir-fry

Cook up a batch of brown rice – 2 parts water, 1 part rice.

Dice 1-2 onions, 1 green pepper, and about 1 pound of cremini mushrooms (these look like button/white mushrooms, except they have a brown cap).

In a huge sauté pan or soup pot, place 1 tsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and 1 cup water. Sauté about 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste until water has evaporated. Add another cup of water and repeat process until vegetables are just the way you like them. Serve over rice, adding hot sauce or soy sauce. Mmm! This recipe sounds simple but I promise you it packs a flavor punch that won’t disappoint.

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