Boosting plant-based foods for kids and adults

Happy holidays, readers!! Today I have a guest blog post from colleague-friend Melissa Halas-Liang, who has a delicious recipe for beet hummus. I have to admit, I love (love, love) beets, but hate the red mess. Whenever I eat beets, I buy the pre-cooked and peeled variety from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, which you can totally use in this recipe if you hate the mess, too!


We all know the importance of eating lots of plant-based foods throughout our lives for good health.  Plant-based foods are chock full of vitamins and minerals that help fight disease and are good for our whole body, from our hearts and brains to our hair and skin.  Research shows that adults who regularly consume vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes are generally those who consumed those foods while children, so be a role model for your family and improve your own health by finding ways to make eating healthy fun.

Plant foods are an important addition to all diets. Plants contain unique compounds called phytochemicals that maximize our wellbeing and keep our bodies functioning at their best. Plant foods can also be fantastic sources of protein. Nuts, beans, and legumes are just a few examples. Eating a variety of these protein sources every day maximizes our intake of the variety of nutrients. The beet hummus recipe below is a great way to fuel up with plant protein. Check out the video to see how easy it is to make! (Beet recipe is second half of the video)

Beets are one of the many nutritious and readily available red vegetables. Red foods are great choices due to their anti-inflammatory properties that keep our hearts beating strong. Beets contain a phytochemical called betanin that supports healthy blood pressure. Try roasting and steaming beets to make peeling these little gems easier. For a delicious, colorful twist on hummus, puree roasted beets and chickpeas.  For a slightly more complex version, see the recipe below. Make a beet pesto by combining roasted beets, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese in a Champion Juicer for a consistent texture, or use a food processor.  

An added bonus of snacking on nut butters and dips is that you can use other colorful veggies–such as bell peppers, cucumbers, and carrots–as a vessel for eating them!  Crunchy chips like red or blue baked corn chips are great ways to boost color and plant-based foods.

This recipe is made with the Champion Juicer for a smooth consistent texture. The best part is the Champion Juicer does all the hard work, so you don’t need to scrape out the side of the blender, start, and stop again. The hummus comes out 100% smooth and ready to eat! However, you could make this with any blender or food processor you already have at home.

Roasted Beet Hummus


•        1 can Chickpeas

•        2 beets, roasted and cut into chunks

•        1 Garlic clove

•        Juice of ½ lemon

•        1 Tsp of Olive oil and 2 tsp of tahini sauce, or tahini butter
Optional: fresh herbs (dill or basil) and sumac for topping

To make green hummus, replace beets with 2 handfuls of fresh spinach. Fit the blank screen (or use homogenizing body) onto the juicer body. Alternate chickpeas, garlic clove, and beets for best flavor melding. Mix in olive oil or tahini until you have your desired taste and texture.

Melissa Halas-Liang, MA, RDN, CDE is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with a Masters in Nutrition Education who is a nationally recognized childhood nutrition expert. She is founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. where she is “saving the world, one healthy food at a time.” Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and discover how good nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her on-line courses blog, Melissa’s Healthy Living.

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