When can babies eat beets?
Beets (aka beetroot) that are cooked until soft may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months old.
Heads up that beets are messy! They change the color of your baby’s poop (bright red!) and they stain most things that they touch—your baby’s hands and face, clothes, and surroundings when their tightly clenched fists cause the beets to fly into the air!
Are beets healthy for babies?
Yes. Beets contain B-vitamins, folate, and most minerals. Their combination of copper and vitamin C helps increase your baby’s absorption of iron from the plant, which is key because iron is a critical nutrient (and one that babies often don’t get enough of). Iron deficiency in babies can result in slowed development and reduced physical activity/lethargy.1 If you haven’t taken your baby in for their 12-month check-up yet, be prepared for a blood test at this appointment to check iron levels.
The entire beet plant is edible, from root to stem to leaf. Beets also come in different colors—red, gold, pink, and even striped varieties. Each has a unique nutrient profile, so have fun exploring! The dark red beets are the most common variety, and they’re packed with nutrients that act as antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and cleansers for your baby’s liver—an important quality in a modern world full of toxins.
Are beets a choking hazard for babies?
Beets can be a choking hazard because they’re slippery and firm—two qualities that increase the risk. Be sure to cook beets until soft and serve them in an age-appropriate way. (Refer to our preparation and serving methods below.)
Are beets a common allergen?
No. Allergies to beets are rare.2 In theory any food can cause an allergic reaction, so watch closely while your babies are eating.
How do you prepare beets for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline. The preparation suggestions below are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional, nutritionist or dietitian, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 8 months: For babies between 6 and 8 months old: Steam or roast whole beets until they’re soft, then remove the skin. (You can also mash cooked beets.) You can give your baby the whole beet if they are able to pick it up. If you serve the cooked beets in pieces, at this age, bigger pieces of food are best for babies to grab and self-feed.
9 to 12 months: At this age, your baby may have grown some teeth that help them break pieces of food while munching. It’s also the age when your baby’s pincer grasp develops, which enables them to pick up smaller pieces of food. To prepare beets for your baby at this stage, roast or steam the whole beet until soft and remove the skin. Cut into small, bite-size pieces or slice into thin discs.
12 to 24 months: Roast or steam until soft, then remove the skin. At this age, your baby can experiment with using a fork with bite-size pieces.
For more information on how to cut food for your baby’s age, hop over to our section on Food Sizes & Shapes.
★ProTip: Serve beetroot to your baby, and keep the leafy superfood for yourself. Beet greens are very high in iron and make an easy and nutritious addition to any meal.
Recipe: Roasted Beets
- Avocado or healthy high-heat oil
- Wash the beets and remove the leaves and stems, which can be sautéed and finely chopped, if desired.
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Quarter the beetroots. Coat the wedges in avocado oil and place in a covered casserole dish.
- Roast until soft, which can take between 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the beet. They’re done when a knife easily slides into the thickest part.
- Uncover the dish and let the beets cool. Once cool to the touch, slip off the skin with your hands and cut into age-appropriate shapes per our suggestions above.
The earthly and sweet taste of beets pairs well with bitter foods like Brussels sprouts and cabbage; savory foods like coconut, egg, goat cheese, liver, garlic and onions; and acidic foods like oranges and balsamic vinegar.
- NCBI, Iron Needs of Babies and Children (website). Retrieved December 30, 2019.
- Lopes de Olivera, L. et al. (2011) Anaphylaxis to beetroot (Beta vulgaris): a case report. Clinical & translational allergy, doi:10.1186/2045-7022-1-S1-P51. Retrieved December 15, 2019