When can babies have black beans?
Black beans, when cooked down to a soft consistency, may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids , which is generally around 6 months of age.
Food Type: Legume
Age Suggestion: 6 months +
Common Allergen: No
Are black beans healthyfor babies?
Absolutely! To start, black beans are an excellent source of fiber, healthy fats, and protein. The bean’s black shell offers anthocyanins, which are plant-based compounds with antioxidant effects that fight free radicals in the body. They also contain lots of B-vitamins, specifically vitamin B1 and folate, which help our bodies process carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and power our brain and nervous system. The best part about black beans: they contain lots of iron and zinc, two essential nutrients that are often deficient and/or insufficient in babies.1
Babies need increasing amounts of iron starting at 6-month mark, when their reserves become depleted. Breastfed babies are particularly in need of iron-rich foods, as breast milk contains very little iron. This is why, for example, iron-fortified rice cereal for babies is sometimes recommended by pediatricians. But rice cereal need not be baby’s first food. There are plenty of whole foods that are naturally high in iron—like black beans!—that can easily be worked into your baby’s diet. If cooking at home, serve them alongside a food that is high in vitamin C (berries! broccoli! cauliflower! citrus!) to boost your baby’s ability to absorb all that healthy iron.
How do you prepare black beans for your baby?
Every baby develops on their own timeline. The preparation suggestions below are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional, nutritionist or dietitian, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 9 months old: If making at home, blend cooked black beans into a smooth paste and serve on its own to encourage hand-scooping or spread on thin rice/grain cakes. To boost nutrition, add breast milk, formula, or olive oil, to the blender when making the paste. Start with small portions: beans + young babies = poop! For babies who are starting to develop a pincer grasp, serve black beans that have been gently flattened by a fork.
9 to 18 months old: If you feel your baby is ready, this can be a good time to introduce whole beans as long as the beans are cooked until soft. If you are nervous about choking, gently flatten the beans before serving or serve as a mash on a pre-loaded baby’s spoon.
18 to 24 months old: Keep serving black beans as described above, and try mixing black beans with grains, scrambled eggs, or soup. This is also a great age to explore burrito bowls.