What Kind of Beans Are Good for Babies?
Beans and other legumes are a healthy addition to any diet, according to MayoClinic.com. They are low in fat, free of cholesterol and packed with valuable vitamins and minerals such as folate, potassium, magnesium and iron. They are also high in fiber. If your baby is ready to eat table food, beans are a source of protein, antioxidants and other nutrients. You can serve them mashed up or whole, depending on how well your baby chews.
Talk to your pediatrician before you introduce any new foods to your baby's diet. It can be hard to tell what a baby will be allergic to. While beans are not as allergenic as foods such as eggs and peanuts, some children have reactions to legumes. The high content of fiber and protein can also contribute to gas in your baby, so be sure to offer beans in small amounts. Their size makes beans an easy finger food for babies who successfully chew other foods. If your baby does not have many teeth or is not eating solid foods regularly, mash your beans before serving them to your baby to reduce any choking hazard.
Also called garbanzo beans, one cup of chick peas has as much calcium as a cup of milk. This is good news for your baby, who needs calcium. Chick peas are also high in folic acid, iron, zinc and protein. These are all nutrients your baby needs to grow and develop, so a handful of chick peas is a great snack or a nutritious meal. If your little one cannot grab them and feed herself, garbanzo beans are easy to mash into a hummus. Mix them with a little water or milk and feed them to your baby on a spoon.
When you're making chili for your family, reserve a small portion of kidney beans to serve your baby. High in protein, fiber and iron, kidney beans are also soft and easy to chew. Try the dark red or lighter varieties. You don't have to wait until chili is on the menu, either. You can serve them to your baby right out of the can 2. Give them a good rinse and place them on the high chair or plate. White kidney beans, or cannellini beans, are also a good option, especially if you already have them in your pantry.
Refried beans already come soft and mashed up. Heat up a can of refried beans, which are usually pinto beans pureed into a smooth consistency. Make sure you are not serving beans that have been seasoned with anything too spicy. If your baby is eating a lot of solid food, try mixing the refried beans with some rice or peas for a balanced meal.
Black beans are an ideal baby food because they are small and easy for babies to pick up. About the size of a pea, these beans are a staple in Latin cuisine and can provide your little one with a healthy dose of fiber and protein. Some baby food recipes recommend mashing black beans with fruit such as bananas or apples to create a taste babies will like. For babies who can feed themselves, serve black beans with chopped avocado or diced veggies like carrots or peas.
- Mayo Clinic: Nutrition and Healthy Eating
- MomTrusted: 7 of the Healthiest Foods to Feed Your Baby
- BabyCenter: Age by Age Guide to Feeding Your Baby
- Otles S, Ozgoz S. Health effects of dietary fiber. Acta Sci Pol Technol Aliment. 2014;13(2):191-202.
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration. FDA Vitamins and Minerals Chart.
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Your Guide to Lowering Your Cholesterol with TLC. Published December 2005.
- Pereira MJ, Belver MT, Pascual CY, Martín esteban M. [The allergenic significance of legumes]. Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2002;30(6):346-53. doi:10.1016/S0301-0546(02)79152-0
- Legumes and Nutrition. Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council. Secondary Analysis of the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey 2011-2012 Published 2015.
- Polak, R.; Phillips, E.; and Campbell, A. Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake. Clin Diabetes. 2015;33(4):198-205. DOI: 10.2337/diaclin.33.4.198.
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28. Washington, D.C.; updated 2016.
- Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images