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Veggie Bites for Teens: Edamame

edamameIf you've ever been to a Japanese restaurant, you might have wondered why some people were happily eating a pile of dark green pea pods. Well, they weren't peas. That's edamame (pronounced "ed-ah-mommy"). And those people weren't eating the pods but rather the soy beans inside.

Edamame may look like an ordinary little bean. But it's a nutritional giant loaded with protein. For one cup of edamame, you get 16.86 grams of protein. That makes edamame as protein-packed as eggs and meat. Plus, edamame is the only vegetable in the world that contains all nine essential amino acids. A serving of edamame also packs these nutrients:

  • 16% of your daily requirement for vitamin C
  • 20% of your daily requirement for iron
  • 10% of your daily requirement for calcium
  • 19% of your daily requirement for potassium
  • A whopping 8.1 grams of fiber -- more than four slices of whole wheat bread. (Fiber is necessary for a healthy heart and bones.)

Plus, that single cup of edamame is only 189 calories.

Teen-Appealing Ways to Eat Edamame

Edamame beans taste like sweet lima beans, but their texture is firmer. You can add edamame to salads, soups, or stir-fried vegetables.

The most fun way to eat them is straight from the pod. You can suck the beans out like a vampire. Or you can squeeze the pods to pop the beans into your mouth. Either way, they're the ultimate finger food. (And no one will yell at your for playing with your food.)

Where to Find Edamame

Nearly all Japanese restaurants serve edamame, but fresh pods are hard to find in the United States. Most large supermarkets sell frozen edamame, shelled and unshelled. 

Fun Edamame Fact

Though it's usually associated with Japanese cuisine, edamame originated in China.

Feeling adventurous? Take the Vegetable Challenge.

Ready for another bite? Try Broccoli, Carrots, Kale, or Sweet Potatoes.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Daniel Brennan, MD on December 23, 2013