There are two main reasons why babies need solid food around 6 months of age: 1) mom's milk no longer meets baby’s need for iron and 2) at this stage babies stored iron supply starts to diminish. Since 6 months of age is the best time to start solid food introduction, and it’s the same time frame iron supplementation is needed, beans are one of the best first foods for your little one! Here are some feeding tips on how to introduce beans to your baby.
Introduce beans for BLW – parents should eat them too: Beans, beans, good for your heart. The more you eat, the more…you’re smart (gotcha!). Beans ARE good for you and contribute to a heart-healthy lifestyle for both mom and dad. They also are a staple in the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) community as a nutritious first food for babies. This is due to the nutritional value of beans, which includes iron, B vitamins and protein (without the saturated fat found in other protein sources). PLUS, beans have fiber, which helps with constipation and digestive health for baby. They are a safe finger food and easy to munch and suck on. Win!
Introduce homemade beans and learn how to reduce gas pains for your baby: My parents had me in the kitchen cleaning pinto beans at a very early age. I think my mom had me clean beans to keep me occupied for an hour, not necessarily to expose me to healthy eating, but the end result is that I LOVE to eat beans…so it worked! You can involve your little ones too.
The first step of bean cleaning is to separate the rocks (yes, rocks!) from the beans. This is a common occurrence when you buy fresh beans in bulk. The next step is to pick out any discolored beans. Finally, you should place the beans in a bowl of water let it soak for several hours. To cook the beans, boil for several hours and consider making homemade pinto bean soup (like my mom) or fresh refried beans. Yum!
Tip: Make sure to strain the beans and boil them in fresh water (not the water they were soaking in). This will decease any flatulence/gas you might experience, as the elements that cause gas are expelled in the soaked water.
Introduce freshly packed, ready to eat beans: I still love to make and eat my mom’s homemade bean recipes. When I don’t have time but still want the quality and taste, I buy Better Beans. Better Beans are made and sold fresh, not canned. They are BPA free, gluten free, Non-GMO and are vegan too! Better Beans are made in small batches with all real ingredients. They are even soaked then cooked with apple cider vinegar for extra digestive ease. Best of all, Better Beans are super tasty and come in a range of savory varieties for even the pickiest eater!
Introduce canned beans: For parents on the go, opening up a can of kidney or black beans is an easy to prepare, quick 2-minute BLW snack. Just open a can of beans, rinse them off, and store leftovers in ice cube trays in the freezer. And don’t limit the beans to the usual pinto, black and kidney beans. There are so many varieties to try, including navy beans, Adzuki beans, green beans, Black-eyed peas, Lima beans, Mung beans and more!
Introduce ‘Bean Themes’ to babies and toddlers: Try having a family BEAN challenge with several different types of beans. See which ones are your family’s favorites and then start experimenting with them in soups, salads, ethnic entrees and kid-friendly foods like my Bean Boat pictured here! Or whip up a DIY taco bar for your toddler (recipe and ideas here).
Beans are such a nourishing food for parents, babies, toddlers and big kids. Let us know how you make, serve and introduce beans to your baby. #ezpzfun #betterbeans #beansforbabies #happymat
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz