Can Babies Have Kidney Beans? Safety and Benefits

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Since legumes are known for their many health benefits, you may wonder how (and when!) to safely incorporate kidney beans into your baby’s diet. 

Overall, your baby can safely have kidney beans starting at six months old, as long as the beans are the appropriate consistency for their age. If you are using canned beans, ensure they are low in salt. 

Let’s discuss more information about the nutritional benefits of kidney beans and how to make them safe for your baby.

Can Babies Have Kidney Beans? When? 

Kidney beans are a safe food to begin incorporating into their diet if they are at least six months old. Beans and legumes of all types are perfect for babies because they are very soft and nutritious! 

kidney beans on wooden spoon

For a baby who is around six months old, feed them pureed and blended kidney beans (source: National Health Service [NHS]).

Ideally, you want a thin and watery texture, so feel free to add in a bit of breast milk or infant formula to help achieve this. A tablespoon or so is appropriate for one feeding (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia). 

In the next few months, your baby can progress to mashed kidney beans — similar to mashed potato consistency. You can achieve this texture by mashing up the soft kidney beans with a fork.

Finally, around nine to twelve months, they can begin to have soft finger foods, making kidney beans the perfect option (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia). Beans are also great for baby-led weaning because they are small but hold together, so your baby can pick up the beans and feed themselves.

Are Canned Kidney Beans Safe for Babies? 

Canned kidney beans are a cost-effective and convenient option as well. However, since salt is often used as a flavoring and preservative for canned foods, ensure that your can of kidney beans is low in sodium or state they have “No Salt Added.” 

If you have canned kidney beans high in salt, soak and rinse them for a few minutes to remove as much of the salt as possible. 

Now, what about dried or “fresh” kidney beans? Cooking dried beans are also an excellent option for your baby as long as they are cooked properly. 

Kidney beans specifically have a compound called PHA that can cause unpleasant symptoms if they are not appropriately cooked (source: Kansas State University).

Therefore, it is recommended to soak dried kidney beans for at least five hours in water and then discard the water. Next, boil the beans in fresh water on the stove (not a slow cooker!) for 30 minutes or more. 

canned kidney beans transferred on a plate

Are Kidney Beans Good for Babies?

Kidney beans are very nutritious for your baby because they are rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and protein. Wow! 

The fiber helps to support a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements (source: Mayo Clinic). In addition, the complex carbohydrates in the beans promote healthy growth in your baby. 

Beans contain significant amounts of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and much more (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]). Therefore, beans are healthy and balanced foods for your baby to help them grow and develop.

You may be wondering if there are any drawbacks to feeding your baby beans, such as gassiness. Thankfully, soaking the dried beans before cooking can help reduce the amount of gas that beans can cause for your baby but will not decrease the nutrition of the beans (source: Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology).

Overall, I hope this article provided helpful information regarding kidney beans and how to feed them to your baby safely.