My child can live off of bean and cheese burritos if I allowed her to. She loves fruits and vegetables but Im concerned that her intake of pinto/peruvian beans may lead to obesity. She's currently 14yrs old, 5'0, 106lbs and has Down Syndrome.

Hello there! 

Having picky eaters in a family can be a challenge when you are trying to make sure they are eating healthy.  You should be happy that your daughter is choosing healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and even beans!  Beans are a good source of protein and a good source of fiber.  The fiber will help her stay full and the protein is good for her muscles.  Her love of cheese and bean burritos can be a good thing...but I bet it could be even better!

  • If you are buying bean and cheese burritos already made, they probably have extra calories/sodium/fat that can be reduced by making them at home.  And, most likely, it will cost you less!
  • Are the beans that are in the burrito refried beans or whole beans?  Refried beans will usually have more fat and sodium than whole because they have been re"fried" in oil or in some cases, lard.  Whole beans, from a can or dried, have less fat and sodium.  Try this great recipe for simmered beans.
  • For the cheese, instead of buying the full-fat cheese to add to the burrito, there are lite cheeses that taste great.  But watch out the portion size!  Make sure you aren't adding too much cheese.  Even though it it is lite does not mean you can add more.
  • Lastly, let's look at that tortilla.  Most store-bought bean and cheese burritos use tortillas that are made with processed white wheat.  Just like white bread, these types of tortillas strip away many of the vitamins, minerals and fiber when they are processed.  Buying whole wheat tortillas will have those vitamins, minerals and fiber still in them.  And just like the beans, the fiber will definitely keep her full!

I would imagine with these few changes to her bean and cheese burritos, she will eat less, feel full and satisfied, and eat a more healthy burrito!  Here is a great recipe that pinto beans can be substituted for the black beans.  Or, maybe try the recipe with the black beans and see if she'll like that as well!

Good luck!