How to Introduce Green Beans to Toddlers
This week we are introducing green beans! This veggie is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, plus folate and fiber. And they have a little protein too! If you want to add this mighty bean into your toddler’s diet, here are a few tips to introduce green beans and make it successful.
Pick: There are only a few beans that your toddler can pick and eat fresh at the Farmers Market, and green beans are one of them! When looking over the produce, have your toddler help you choose beans that feel smooth and silky to the touch. A fun way to check for freshness is to snap (break open) one of the beans and try a nibble. Modeling the way to eat fresh green beans is a great example for your toddler!
Plan: I have had several families wash and store green beans, and when they serve them the next day they are limp or rubbery. Surprise…their kids won’t eat them! To avoid this issue, store your beans unwashed in a container in the crisper of your refrigerator to keep them fresh and ‘snapable’ (which is a texture most kids love!).
Panko: Before you serve green beans to your toddler, wash them in cold water and cut off both ends. Green beans are a great finger food for toddlers regardless of whether they are fresh, steamed, stir-fried or breaded and baked. My mom made green beans in a variety of different ways, including a green bean casserole, but my favorite was always baked! I grew up in Japan, so my mom would use the Japanese-style breadcrumb (panko) on our green beans. When we use panko in a recipe, we almost always add soy sauce to embrace that enchanting Japanese flavor.
Prepare: One of my favorite finger foods to make and share in feeding therapy is my family’s panko recipe for Green Bean Strings. They are always a hit because the baked crumbs provide a fun texture for kids. Here is the recipe for you and your kids to enjoy.
Ms. Dawn’s Green Bean Strings
½ cup of your favorite flour
1 tbsp. of soy sauce
1 cup panko
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 pound of green beans (washed with ends cut off)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Oil a baking sheet with your favorite oil
3. In bowl #1 add flour
4. In bowl #2 add beaten eggs and soy sauce mixture
5. In a bowl #3 add panko, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper
6. Take the clean, wet green beans and dip them into the flour, then the eggs, then the panko mixture. For more crumbs and a crunchy coating press the beans into the Panko mixture or repeat this step; for fewer crumbs and less crunchy texture press lightly.
7. Place beans on the greased baking sheet and put them in the oven for 10-15 minutes (until they are browned and crispy)
8. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce
You can use Gluten Free (GF) breadcrumbs and Bragg Liquid Aminos (to replace the soy sauce) for a delicious GF substitution. Feel free to try using different crumbs and swap ingredients as needed to make it a family favorite!
How does your family pick, plan and prepare green beans? Let us know about your family’s favorite green bean recipe! #ezpzfun #greenbeans
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).