Green Beans for Babies – When to Introduce, Benefits and Recipes

Green beans have an American heritage and originated in Central America. Green beans are referred to by several other names, such as snap beans, French beans, or string beans. Green beans are rich sources of antioxidants and keep free radicals at bay. Low in saturated fat and even lower in cholesterol, green beans are an excellent source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin C. They are rich sources of folate and Vitamin A. Green beans can be included in the diet for babies as they can be an excellent source of nutrition.
 

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that one can introduce any food to your baby’s diet after they turn six months old. There is no constructive reason why vegetables like green beans or meat cannot be offered before cereal.

When to Introduce Green Beans to Babies?

Green beans can be introduced into a baby’s diet after they turn six months old. It is not recommended to include green beans in their diet before three months as the naturally occurring nitrates in green beans could negatively impact the baby’s health. Green beans can be hard to puree as they have high fiber content and the ideal age to introduce green beans in mashed or pureed form is between 810 months. Owing to their high nitrate content, they can deplete iron reserves and cause anemia

Are Green Beans Safe and Healthy for Babies? 

Green beans are safe and healthy for babies after the age of six months. They are not considered safe for babies under six months because of their high nitrate levels. The high dietary fiber content in green beans makes it challenging to puree. It is recommended to be safe and healthy for babies only after eight months. Green beans are also an excellent source of Vitamin K and play a key role in blood clotting. They contain Vitamin A, which is good for eyesight, and Vitamin C helps absorb iron from plant-based food vital for babies. Green beans also refuel the body with protein that helps work the digestive tract due to the pods’ large amounts of fiber.

Nutritional Value of Green Beans

Below is the table that shows the nutritional Value Per 100g of Green Beans:

NUTRIENT UNIT VALUE PER 100G
Energy 31kcal
Carbohydrates 6.97g
Natural sugars 3.26g
Fiber 2.7g
Protein 1.83g
Fat 0.22g
Calcium 37 mg
Iron 1.03mg
Magnesium 25mg
Phosphorus 38mg
Potassium 211mg
Sodium 6mg
Manganese 0.216mg
Copper 0.069mg
Zinc 0.24mg
Selenium 0.6µg
Fluoride 19µg
Vitamin C 12.2mg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.082mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.104mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 0.734mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.225mg
Vitamin B6 0.141mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 33µg
Choline 15.3mg
Vitamin A 35µg
Vitamin E 0.41mg
Vitamin K 43µg

Benefits of Green Beans for Infants 

Green beans contain several benefits for infants. Read on to find some benefits:

1. Vitamins 

Rich in beta carotene, green beans are a precursor compound needed to form Vitamin A in the body. It helps keep the retinal cells intact and prevents the premature degeneration of eyes that can help to improve vision.

2. Minerals 

Green beans are rich in Vitamin A, manganese, potassium, calcium, carotenoids, and several other vitamins, vital for developing a healthy immune system.

3. Suited for Infants With Gluten Allergies 

Infants with gluten allergies could be at the risk of a Vitamin B deficiency. This can harm their health. Green beans can substitute grains and contain the same amount of Vitamin B as grains. The other vitamin contents also help in the growth and development of babies.

4. Source of Dietary Fiber 

100 gms of raw beans are proven to provide 31Kcal and 2.7 gms of the total dietary fiber that improve the chances of a wholesome meal. Experts recommend including green beans in a baby’s diet to cut the risk of childhood obesity in the future.

5. Source of Antioxidants 

The fiber and antioxidants present in green beans help cells function and reduce the risk of cancers. It keeps cell metabolism on track and stimulates a baby’s healthy growth. Green beans also contain phytic acid, an anti-nutritional compound that binds free minerals, making them unavailable to the body for absorption. Boiling or cooking green beans after soaking reduces the concentration of phytic acid and improves the availability of minerals.

Are Babies Allergic to Green Beans? 

Green beans belong to the legume family that comprises pulses and beans often associated with allergies. If a baby is allergic to other legumes, there is a high chance of being allergic to green beans. The symptoms of allergy include any other food allergy kind of symptoms. Enterocolitis syndrome is an extreme form of allergic reaction caused by protein-induced food like green beans. A few common symptoms of allergy are:

Symptoms of Green Bean Allergy 

  • Hives: Red and itchy bumps that are found in the baby after consuming an allergen. These disappear within a few minutes but re-appear if allergens are not stopped.
  • Flushed skin: Baby’s skin may become flushed after consuming the allergen
  • Eczema or skin rash: Skin may develop bumps with liquid in it, and eczema could make the skin dry, scaly, and itchy.
  • Coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, or sore throat: Allergy could trigger a cough, difficulty breathing, or wheezing as the low airways in the lungs may be swollen. Babies could also develop a sore throat which could hurt while eating.
  • Loss of consciousness: Baby may lose consciousness after consuming green beans
  • Swelling of lip, tongue, or face: The baby may develop swelling in the face, tongue, or lip after consuming green beans
  • Dizziness, vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea: Bay may start to feel dizzy and nauseous. They could also develop vomiting or diarrhea.

If the infant displays these symptoms, you must consult a doctor for immediate diagnosis and treatment.

How to Select and Store Green Beans for Babies 

A few tips on how to select and store green beans:

1. Selection 

Choose beans that are bright in color and have no blemishes. Chuck the ones with holes in them. Hold the beans between your hands and bind them, and if you feel any resistance, it indicates they are supple and fresh. Fresh beans break with a crispy snap. Avoid beans that bend easily and do not break as they taste bad.

2. Storage 

Wash beans once you buy them. Cut the stalk and the tough ends at the bottom. Store them in a plastic zip-lock bag in a refrigerator. Green beans will stay fresh for up to five days, and it is best to cook them within a few days of purchase. Avoid frozen beans for baby food as there is a risk of contamination, and the nutritional element is lesser.

How to Prepare Green Beans for Babies

The tips below could help parents understand how to serve green beans at age-appropriate stages. Bear in mind, though, that each child has their own pace. Speak to your pediatrician before beginning any weaning techniques and discuss any concerns you have about your child’s skills to chew, swallow, or other abnormalities.

1. For 6-Month-Old 

Well-cooked, whole green beans must be offered to your baby to be able to grasp and gum. If your baby has trouble holding the beans in the pan, add them to the baby cereal making it more edible.

2. For 9-Month Old 

Once you notice your baby displaying a pincer grasp, cut the cooked beans into tiny pea-sized pieces to pick up.

3. For 12-Month-Old And Older 

A 12 month old older can be offered completely cooked and softened whole or cut green beans.

How to Cook Green Beans for Babies 

From steaming to puree, green beans for the baby can be cooked in many ways, primarily dependent on one’s preference. A few ways to cook them are:

1. Boiling 

One of the most convenient ways is that boiled beans are edible and nutritious.

  • Wash beans, chop them and transfer to a pan with enough water to cook.
  • Cook until they are well boiled for 15-30 minutes.
  • Alternatively, pressure cook them in less water for 2-3 whistles.

2. Steaming 

You can steam either in a steamer basket or microwave.

  • Cook chopped beans in a steamer basket and place them in a cooking vessel.
  • Cook for about ten minutes.

Alternatively,

  • Place beans in a microwaveable bowl and add some water.
  • Cover the bowl with a lid and microwave on high power for two minutes.
  • Stir the beans and cook for another five minutes.

3. Shallow fry 

Ideal for cooking small quantities, just chopping the beans finely and shallow frying or stir-frying them in little oil for five minutes until the beans become tender.

4. Baking 

Baking makes the beans quite crispy and ideal for serving as finger food.

  • Place chopped beans on a baking tray and drizzle it with vegetable oil.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F and bake for ten minutes.
  • Just spread the beans and bake for another ten minutes.

Combination of Green Beans Baby Food 

Below are some interesting green bean baby food combinations to make some tasty baby food recipes:

  1. Vegetables: Green beans go well with almost any vegetable, especially root and tubers like carrots and potatoes.
  2. Meat: Boiled green beans and chunks of meat make for great finger food.
  3. Cereals:  Green beans can help to add the edible quotient of bland food like cereals like oats, rice, semolina, and quinoa.

Yummy Green Bean Recipes for Babies 

If you are looking for recipes on how to make green bean baby food, then try the ones below:

1. Green Beans and Peas Puree 

A delight packed with protein, fiber, and vitamins.

Ingredients 

  • One cup chopped green beans
  • One cup green peas
  • Five cups of water

Total Time: 45 minutes

Instructions

  1. Boil peas separately for 25 minutes in a cooking vessel until mushy.
  2. Boil green beans in a vessel with shallow water on a low flame.
  3. Once cooked, let it cool and blend both peas and beans in a blender upto desired consistency.

2. Green Beans and Rice Porridge 

A delicious porridge that makes a wholesome meal.

Ingredients 

  • Two cups rice
  • One cup of chopped green beans
  • Five cups of water

Total Time: 45 minutes

Instructions 

  1. Cook rice separately until well cooked while cooking the green beans in a separate vessel.
  2. Let it cool and blend both in the blender to a coarse paste.

Green beans are the storehouse of nutrition and can be given to babies as solid foods. It is essential to wash, chop, clean and cook them well before serving them to your baby. Each infant has its own development pace, and one must always watch it before introducing any food to their diet.

FAQ’s 

1. Is It Good to Boil Green Beans for Baby Food? 

It is best to offer babies food that is boiled and steamed. Babies have a delicate digestive tract and may not be able to digest food in raw form until they are one year old.

2. Can Green Beans Cause Constipation in Babies? 

Are green beans suitable for babies, or can they cause constipation? Experts mention that green beans can be effective in fighting constipation.

3. Are Green Beans Gassy for Babies? 

The amount of green beans that your baby will consume will decide whether you will develop gas. The gas is usually caused due to its high fiber content. It is advisable to feed your baby will smaller quantities initially and increase it slowly.

4. Can Green Beans Be Choking Hard for Babies? 

Raw and firm vegetables are a top choking hazard for babies under four. Green beans must be chopped and cooked until soft and served according to their age. It is important to supervise a baby while they are eating and make them sit upright during mealtimes.

5. How to Prepare Green Beans for Baby-led Weaning? 

Green beans as food introduced for weaning must be cooked well. It is advisable to puree it for babies between 6-8 months, cooked and boiled until mushy for nine months and above. For accurate consistency, homemade green bean baby food must be squished between two fingers.

Also Read:

Corn for Infants
Cabbage for Babies
Cauliflower for Infants

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