Soybeans are a super food. They’re high in protein, rich in fiber, and low in fat. Soybeans contain iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and vitamins B1, B2, and E. Soybeans boost heart health, assist with weight loss, reduce the risk of cancer, and regulate blood sugar levels. They also boost brain function, improve skin, gut health, and mood, and have been shown to reduce menopause symptoms.
But do you think my incredibly picky children care about all those wonderful health benefits? No, they don’t. Unless chicken nuggets are made out of soybeans (they’re not!), they could care less. So why are soybeans the favorite legume of children everywhere? One word: crayons.
That’s right! Many of those delightful drawing implements in a rainbow of wonderful colors are comprised of soybean oil and wax. In 1994, Purdue University students joined forces with Indiana soybean farmers and created soy crayons. Unlike the previous oil-based wax crayons, soybean crayons are smoother on the page and the colors are brighter. Soybean crayons are also nontoxic and environmentally friendly. If you’re looking for some of your own to try, the brand Prang makes soy-based crayons in a variety of colors.
As for the rest of us that don’t have as much time to spend on our “art”, we can still honor soybeans for their many benefits. Most soybeans are used to feed animals, but the human consumption demand for them continues to grow over time. Soybean oil is the most common vegetable oil in the United States, and the popularity of items such as protein bars, soy milk, and tofu have grown as nearly 14% of Americans now follow a meat-free diet.
So while my little darlings may not be dying to try out edamame or tempeh (other soy products growing in popularity), at least I can say we support American soybean production by purchasing some simple crayons. As a family, we’re doing our part for American agriculture – what can you do today to support soybean producers?