Snap peas, when cooked, may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is usually around 6 months of age. Whole raw pods and the peas inside them can pose a choking risk, so make sure to read our section on how to safely prepare snap peas for your child’s age and eating ability.
Snap peas and snow peas have different flavor, shape, and size. Snap peas have round, thicker pods containing bigger peas. Snow peas have flat, thin pods containing smaller peas. The crunchy pods of both varieties are best eaten when underripe because they become more fibrous as they mature. Snap peas are also called “sugar snap peas” which hints at the sweeter taste than snow peas. Both snap peas and snow peas produce delicate flowers and sweet young sprouts that are featured in congees, curries, stir-fries, and many more dishes with roots in Asia, the native home of both legumes.
Malden, 9 months, teethes on a sugar snap pea.
Adie, 17 months, eats raw snap peas.
Max, 17 months, eats snap peas with yogurt.
Yes. Snap peas are a good source of folate and vitamins B6, C, and K, which collectively support neurodevelopment, metabolism, immune function, and healthy blood clotting. Plus, they offer fiber for digestive health and modest amounts of iron for baby’s red blood cells. Lastly, snap peas are rich in antioxidants, which help support the body’s resilience against stressors.
Yes, the firm, round peas inside each pod can pose a risk of choking. To reduce the risk, pinch the pod to smash the peas inside (and still serve the pod whole) or cook and finely chop. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment and stay within arm’s reach of baby during meals. For more information on choking, visit our sections on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with the list of common choking hazards.
No. Snap peas are not a common allergen. However, pea allergies have been reported in some patients with allergies to other legumes, particularly chickpea and lentil. Being allergic to one type of legume does not necessarily mean that an individual will be allergic to all others, although the risk of having more than one legume allergy can increase. Fortunately, most individuals with peanut or soy allergy (both common food allergens) are able to tolerate other legumes, such as snap peas, just fine.
Individuals with allergies to birch tree pollen and/or Oral Allergy Syndrome (also called pollen food allergy syndrome) may be sensitive to legumes. Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching, tingling, or burning in the mouth and is unlikely to result in a dangerous reaction. Cooking snap peas can help minimize and even eliminate the reaction.
As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity for the first few servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.
An insignificant amount, despite often being called sugar snap peas. There is no need to limit snap pea intake based on sugar content, so offer as desired.
No. While snap peas offer a modest amount of iron, they aren’t considered an iron-rich food. However, snap peas are rich in vitamin C, which helps our bodies absorb plant-based iron (non-heme iron). Try serving sugar snap peas with a high-iron plant food such as beans or lentils to support baby’s iron levels.
Yes. Snap peas contain fiber and water, both of which help support healthy gut bacteria, bulk up poop, and hydrate the intestines to support healthy digestion and bowel movements. High-fiber foods can also produce gas and while this is normal, it can be uncomfortable for baby. To minimize digestive discomfort, introduce high-fiber foods like snap peas gradually and regularly in baby’s diet as tolerated. Remember that pooping patterns can vary significantly from baby to baby. If you have concerns about your baby’s pooping and digestive function, talk to your pediatric healthcare provider.
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience.
Remove the seam from each pod, then cook and finely chop snap peas to fold into soft foods that baby can scoop, such as congee and other warm porridges. Alternatively, offer the whole, raw snap pea pod as a teether, but make sure to reduce the choking risk by flattening the pod with your hand or a fork to crush the peas inside. Just know that baby is not likely to get any food in the belly this way, but munching on the pod can help develop baby’s oral-motor skills.
Cook and chop snap pea pods to offer on their own or as part of a meal. This size helps baby develop the pincer grasp, where the thumb and index finger meet.
Offer bite-sized pieces of raw or cooked snap peas. If your child is doing well with chopped pieces of snap pea and you feel comfortable with it, offer whole snap peas for biting and chewing practice under close supervision. If your child doesn’t seem ready for whole snap peas, do not worry; this is likely to come closer to 18-24 months of age. Expect lots of spitting, since the fibrous pods are challenging to chew.
Continue offering cooked whole or chopped snap peas, either on their own or as part of a meal. Many toddlers are now ready to eat whole, raw snap pea pods, with supervision. You can continue to flatten the peas in the pod a bit before offering to reduce the choking risk a bit. Snap peas are a great interactive food for toddlers: investigate how loud it crunches when you bite into it, or ask them how many peas they think are inside each pod.
Get lunch ideas for home or daycare with our guide 75 Lunches for Babies & Toddlers.
1 ½ c (360 ml) salad + 1 toast
This recipe contains common allergens: dairy (ricotta) and wheat (bread). Only serve to a child after these allergens have been safely introduced. Always check for potential allergens in ingredients listed on the labels of store-bought processed foods, such as bread. Added ingredients may also include honey, which should not be given to babies younger than 12 months.
Peel the stringy seam from each pod, then thinly slice the pod crosswise into thin rings.
Place the pieces in a steamer basket in a pot or a microwave-safe bowl. Add enough water to barely cover the bottom of the pot or bowl.
Cover and steam the pods until they have brightened in color and softened slightly, about 1 minute in the microwave or 3 minutes on the stovetop.
Season the pods with olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper.
Finely chop some pods to minimize the risk for your child, then fold them into ½ c (120 ml) of ricotta cheese in your child’s bowl.
Spread the remaining ricotta cheese on toasted bread for yourself, then pile the remaining pods on top. Season with salt to taste for yourself if desired.
Serve the Salad
Offer the finely chopped snap peas mixed into ricotta cheese, and let your child self-feed.
If help is needed, pre-load a spoon with the mixture, then hold it in the air in front of your child and let them grab it from you.
Eat your toast alongside the child to model how it’s done.
To Store: Steamed snap peas and leftover ricotta cheese keep in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Sugar snap peas pair well with garlic, lemon, olive oil, parmesan, and ricotta cheese, as well as proteins, like beef and chicken.
Pediatrician & pediatric gastroenterologist
Pediatrician & pediatric allergist/immunologist
Pediatric occupational therapist, feeding & swallowing specialist, international board-certified lactation consultant
Speech-language pathologist, feeding & swallowing specialist
Pediatric registered dietitian & nutritionist
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