So, you've been wishing for a quick, easy, healthy snack your kids will love even more than crunchy chips and cookies.
Well, you can pea happy, because your wish has been granted.
Sugar snap peas: crunchy, delicious, and nutritious.
Sugar snap peas are as sweet as they sound, thanks to their natural sugar - which makes them a kid favorite, for sure. They're also easy to grow and fun to eat, especially right off the vine! Plus, parents will love them because they are nutrient-dense and fiber-rich.
Here's the rundown.
Sugar snap peas (or simply snap peas) are a non-starchy vegetable that belong to the legume family, along with alfalfa, clover, beans (such as kidney, lima, pinto, soy and green beans), chickpeas, lentils, lupins, peanuts, and tamarind.
1 cup (63g) of whole, raw sugar snap peas (according to the USDA)
Vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K. Folate, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Choline
Minerals: Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Selenium
Oh, snap! These peas have a ton of health benefits.
Keeping kids (and parents!) heart healthy
Sugar snap peas have the trifecta when it comes to heart health: Vitamin C to decrease inflammation in blood vessels, potassium to reduce blood pressure, and soluble fiber to help lower cholesterol levels.
Helping control blood sugar levels
Sugar snap peas have a good balance of protein and fiber, so even though they have a small amount of natural sugar, they shouldn't cause a child's blood sugar to spike, which means they won't crash later either. Because they help to keep blood sugar levels stable, snap peas can also be an especially good snack for kids or teens with diabetes.
Promoting regularity and preventing constipation
If your kids have bean having trouble in this department, snap peas can help. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps move food through the digestive tract. Leading health organizations recommend 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you eat, and that goes for kids too. So that means little ones ages 1-3 should get about 19 grams of fiber per day, and kids ages 4-8 should get around 25 grams of fiber per day.
Maintaining a healthy weight
Non-starchy veggies, like sugar snap peas, are nutrient-dense; they fill you up and keep you full longer. Usually we talk about kids in need who aren't getting enough food, but on the other end of the spectrum, there are 13.7 million kids and teens in our country suffering from obesity. One of our goals is also to educate kids about healthy eating and how to maintain a healthy weight. Sugar snaps should be a pea part - err, key part - of any healthy diet.
How to enjoy your snap peas
Snap peas should be bright green, glossy and near-bursting, with no yellowing or speckled areas. You can munch on them raw, either plain or dipped in sauce - because kids love dipping! (We recommend ranch dressing). They can also be steamed, stir-fried or blanched. After blanching, you can let them cool and dry, then freeze for later. Make sure to lay them on a cookie sheet in the freezer at first, so they don't stick together. Once frozen you can put them in a freezer-safe container.
How to grow your own snap peas
Sugar snap peas are so easy to grow, your kids can do it! They're actually one of our 5 Best Vegetables for Kids to Grow in the Garden.
Spread the hap-pea-ness!
Writing this post made us hungry! We can't wait to hear about your kid's favorite way to eat sugar snap peas - we'll be over here, munching on our own. Please share this post with anyone you know who could use some help adding veggies into their kids' diets (or their own)!