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When can babies eat lima beans?

Cooked lima beans may be introduced as soon as a baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. If preparing yourself at home, Never serve raw or undercooked lima beans , which contain naturally occurring compounds that can be converted to cyanide, a highly toxic chemical. We cook our Lima beans for at least an hour which ensures they are marinated in full flavor and far from undercooked 

lima beans

Food Type: Legume

Age Suggestion: 6 months +

Nutrition Rating: 

Common Allergen: No

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Are lima beans healthy

for babies?

Yes – as long as they are cooked. If preparing yourself at home, never serve raw or undercooked lima beans, which contain naturally occurring compounds that can be converted to cyanide, a highly toxic chemical. Thoroughly cooking lima beans helps destroy the compounds that convert to cyanide and others that hinder digestion.

Nutritionally, lima beans are a terrific source of plant-based protein and fiber for a healthy heart and stable blood sugars. They also contain lots of vitamins and minerals, including folate and most B-vitamins (all but vitamin B12), as well as choline, which helps develop a healthy brain.

The best part about cooked lima beans: they contain loads of iron and zinc, two essential nutrients that babies often don’t get enough of in their diets. As they are starting solids, babies, particularly breastfed babies, need iron- and zinc-rich foods on a regular basis because their stores naturally deplete at this age. Even formula-fed babies need iron-rich foods as they shift from formula to solid foods. Beans are easy to work into a baby’s diet, and when served with foods that contain lots of vitamin C (berries,brocolli, cauliflower, citrus or red bell peppers), the body absorbs more of the iron in the beans.

How to prepare lima 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: Blend cooked lima beans into a smooth paste then serve on its own to encourage hand-scooping. To boost nutrition, add breast milk, formula, olive oil. Start with small portions: beans + young babies = lots of poop!

9 to 12 months old: If you feel baby is ready, introduce whole beans that have been cooked until soft. If serving whole beans makes you nervous, gently flatten them with the back of a fork (or press between your fingers) before serving or serve as a mash and offer on a pre-loaded baby spoon. The size of a lima bean is great practice for a baby refining their pincer grasp. Keep experimenting with added nutrition by mixing beans with milk, oil, or other healthy fats.

12 to 24 months old: Fork time! Lima beans are a perfect size and consistency for fork practice. At first, try pre-loading a toddler’s fork and resting it next to a bowl or plate for the child to pick up. Once the child has learned that motion, try guiding their hands (standing behind the child can work well here) to spear beans with the fork. And don’t worry if a toddler toggles back and forth between using utensils and fingers to eat—this is normal and healthy at this age.

It's a fact!

Lima beans originated in the Americas, where Central and South American people learned to cultivate the native legume more than 8,000 years ago. In the 16th century, European colonizers took beans to other parts of the world, naming the legume after the South American city of Lima. Centuries of global trade and agricultural development led to many other names for lima beans: Burma beans, Christmas beans, garrofón, pallar, and sieva beans, to name a few. Worldwide, cooks use lima beans to make salads, soups, stews, and succotash – a popular American dish of beans, maize, and squash with roots in Indigenous cultures, whose stories describe the vegetables as the “three sisters” because of their reciprocal relationship in the garden.

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