This month I am reviewing foods that are not targeted at babies and children specifically. I’m also trying to steer clear of the melt-in-the-mouth finger foods that seem to be prolific everywhere (especially in the baby food aisle and the confectionary/crisps aisle!). So far I’ve reviewed Arnott’s Ginger Nut biscuits, and Cobs Popcorn, and today I’ve picked a much healthier food to review. Heinz Baked Beans! They look like they would be a choking hazard - but are they?
Recommended age: not provided
Age you could probably offer this: 9+ mo
Shape: small bean
Size: small bean
Texture: soft chew
Baked beans. They seem to polarise people – you either love them or loathe them! They are astoundingly good for you (if you’d like to read a nutritional review of the salt-reduced variety you can do so here at Mealtime Building Block’s Chewsday Review) as they are packed with fibre, protein, iron, low in sugar, and you can count them towards your daily serve of vegetables. Not to mention that they are cheap and a cupboard staple so you can always have some on hand. So it’s a food that is definitely worth getting your kids onto early.
How early? Well, you could blitz them up into purees for your 7mo, but as a finger food I’d suggest at around 9mo when you bub can start to try and pick these slippery guys up. You might find it easiest for them to grab handfuls out of a little bowl. This is also an age where they are more likely to successfully chew them, rather than swallowing them whole (and potentially giving themselves a tummy ache).
The texture of baked beans is a ‘soft chew’ texture. They can be chewed without any teeth, and even just mashed up against the roof of the mouth using the tongue. This is where I get brand-specific in my review though. I find that the Heinz variety of beans is softer and easier to chew, and tends to leave less of the ‘skins’ when squashed. This means it’s a bit easier to chew and swallow for little learning mouths. Once kids have some teeth, and/or better chewing skills, it’s not as essential which brand as they really are all much of a muchness. But for whatever reason the Heinz beans seem to be just that bit more consistent in texture and easier to chew and swallow.
So they aren't really as much of a choking hazard as they may appear. Soft, slippery, and if swallowed whole are not so big that they would be likely to block the airway.
Are you a bean lover, or a bean hater? What about your kids? My youngest likes them straight from the tin, preferably cold from the fridge... can’t say I’m THAT fond of them, I think I’ll stick to hot beans on toast thanks!
And remember, always supervise your baby when they are eating, no matter how easy you think the food might be to eat.