Can Babies Eat Sprouts [Including Bean Sprouts]? Is It Safe?

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Sprouts are a common concern for pregnant women, so it may lead you to wonder about the safety of sprouts, including bean sprouts, for your baby. 

Overall, sprouts are safe for babies as long as the sprouts are thoroughly washed and fully cooked. However, raw sprouts have an increased risk of infection from E. Coli. 

In this article, we will discuss more about the safety of sprouts, the nutritional benefits, and more. Read on to learn more!

Can Babies Eat Sprouts? Are They Safe?

Babies can eat sprouts as long as they are fully cooked (source: United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA]). Sprouts, such as raw bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, and mung beans, have a heightened risk of harboring the disease-causing bacteria E. Coli.

Raw or undercooked sprouts are commonly found in salads, sandwiches, or wraps. Also, make sure that the sprouts are thoroughly washed before cooking to remove any dirt.

When you are out at a restaurant and are deciding if you should feed your baby sprouts, make sure you ask the restaurant staff to make sure the sprouts are fully cooked.

Assorted sprouted seeds including bean sprouts

If you cannot confirm whether the sprouts have been thoroughly cooked, it is best to avoid feeding them to your baby. 

Since sprouts can be crunchy and may not be soft (depending on the type), it is best to wait until your baby is at least ten months of age to provide sprouts, even when fully cooked.

However, you can puree the sprouts for a younger baby, starting as a thin and watery puree for babies who are at least six months old (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia). 

However, it may be best to avoid any sprouts in your baby’s diet for the lowest risk until they are older.

Are There Benefits of Sprouts for Babies? 

Sprouts, including mung beans, are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C, and more (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]). 

Additionally, sprouts are an abundant source of bioactive compounds, which include antioxidants (source: Food Research International).

Mung beans or bean sprouts on white plates

Antioxidants protect cells in the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals can contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which can contribute to the development of many disease states. 

Therefore, adding cooked sprouts to your baby’s food can boost the nutrition of their food. However, it is best to offer sprouts as a puree to reduce the risk of choking, especially for younger babies. 

Therefore, if you do choose to give your baby cooked sprouts, it can help support good nutrition and overall health. I hope this article helped discuss the safety and nutritional profile of sprouts, including bean sprouts, alfalfa, and mung beans.