If you are reading this blog, you likely have little ones. If you have little ones you know that feeding them is a great joy but can also be a challenge.
At my house, we have reached the stage where my 13-month old is no longer interested in eating something that I am offering to her from a spoon. She prefers to eat what she can pick up off her tray all on her own, after she has poked, prodded and squashed it.
Much of her meals and snacks end up on the floor or she tucks it away behind her on her high chair, all with a huge smile on her face. Keeping her interested in the food on her tray can be a challenge, particularly when her older sister is home to distract her.
Beans for Baby
I generally advise moms to begin with beans sometime in the first year, after some tolerance has been established to grains, meats and veggies.
I came up with this recipe incorporating beans for baby, called Baby Bean Bites, and they seem to do the trick, for now.
Baby Bean Bites are small and soft enough so baby can handle feeding themselves. They are full of nutritious ingredients.
Something else I really love about these pint size bites, is just that, their size.
I cringe when food is wasted, so when my little one only takes a small bite of her meal and tosses the rest on the floor, it can be a tad frustrating. With these little bites, there isn’t a whole lot of waste even if a few crumbs get thrown overboard.
What Makes Baby Bean Bites So Nutritious
Let’s talk about the ingredients. These bites are very customizable. You can toss in a variety of different vegetables and still have the same end result.
For this version, I decided to use a few of my daughter’s favorite ingredients: sweet potato, green peas and white navy beans.
A grated or mashed carrot, squash or potato could work in place of the sweet potato. Edamame, broccoli, corn or lima beans in place of the green peas. Chickpeas or black beans instead of navy beans.
The navy beans were cooked from dry but canned would work out fine as well. Look for those that have no salt added and are packaged in a BPA free can. Don’t forget to drain and rinse the beans before using.
Most of the ingredients in this recipe are sources of fiber. The beans, peas and quinoa also provide protein and are sources of iron.
These plant based sources of iron are not as easily absorbed as the iron that comes from animal sources. You’ll want to include an ingredient that is high in vitamin C (such as peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potato) in the bean bites. Or, serve a side dip to help the iron to be absorbed.
Serving these bean bites with some tomato sauce on the side for dipping would be a great way to incorporate some vitamin C.
These little bites are full of nutrition and a nice option if you have embarked on Baby-Led Weaning or are simultaneously introducing the spoon and self-feeding. It felt great watching my daughter gobble up 4 in a row. I hope your little one likes them too!
Need More Help?
If you’re starting solids with your baby, check out The Smart Mom’s Guide to Starting Solids where you will get the guidance you need to nourish and nurture your baby in the first year.
Melinda Lamarche is a Registered Dietitian living in Toronto, Canada. She loves everything and anything to do with food, nutrition and being in the kitchen where she spends a lot of time cooking up new things for her husband and two little girls.
- 1 cup navy beans
- ½ medium sweet potato, cubed and cooked
- ¼ cup quinoa, cooked
- ¼ cup green peas, cooked
- 1 tbsp tahini
- ¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
- Pulse ingredients until combined and the mixture starts to stick together, be careful not to over do it, pureeing the ingredients will make them hard to work with.
- Using a small spoon, measure out 1 tbsp of the mixture and roll into a ball.
- Place on the baking tray and press down lightly to form a patty.
- Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes or until the bottom side is golden brown. Flip the bites and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Allow the bites to cool before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 30 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 24 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 3mg Carbohydrates: 4g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 0g Protein: 1g
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: August 16, 2017
Updated on: June 20, 2019