Legumes belong to a class of plant that includes lentils, peas and beans – and are one of the best sources of protein in the plant kingdom. Popular legumes are soybeans, kidney beans, black beans, edamame beans and butter beans, various coloured lentils, and chick peas. They may be introduced into baby’s diet at around 10 months of age – any earlier, and baby’s less mature digestive system may have difficulty with them, causing wind and discomfort. Legumes are low on the list of allergenic foods.
Legumes are good for baby (and you):
A wonderful provider of much nutritional goodness, legumes are particularly high in fibre, low in fat, and are an excellent source of protein as an occasional no-cholesterol alternative to meats. Legumes offer high amounts of potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and B vitamins – making them a superb aid to all-round development and good health for babies and grown-ups.
Hints on buying and storing:
- Buy dried legumes from a good supermarket or busy health food shop, where the stock is likely to be renewed more frequently.
- Keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Tips on cooking:
- Wash and pick over the lentils, peas or beans, and check for grit.
- Soak before cooking – the longer the better to reduce cooking time.
- Cover completely with water and soak for 6 to 8 hours if possible.
- Simmer, covered with plenty of fresh water, until soft when squeezed gently.
Ideas for ways of including legumes in your baby’s meals:
- Mix in some apple, peach or grape puree.
- Combine with other vegetables – white or sweet potato, pumpkin, green beans, peas or courgettes (zucchini).
- Add to brown rice.
- Include in beef, pork or chicken dishes.
Please remember: Always consult your baby’s paediatrician or doctor about introducing new foods.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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