When can babies eat snap peas?
Sugar snap peas are challenging for new eaters because they are difficult to chew into digestible pieces. For this reason it may be best to wait to introduce them until your baby is at least 15 months old, and probably closer to 18 months of age. You can serve whole raw sugar snap peas for fun—your babies will love the crunch sound as they bite into the pod—but be sure to serve alongside other foods in case your baby is not able to actually chew the fibrous pods.
Unlike snow peas, which are flat and wide with tiny peas inside, sugar snap peas have thick pods containing slightly larger peas, which present a choking hazard. As with all pea pods, it’s important to remove the tough stringy seam that runs from tip to end before serving.
Are snap peas healthy for my baby?
Yes. Snap peas are packed with antioxidants—particularly vitamin C. They’re also a great source of iron; vitamins A, K, and B, including folate; and fiber, which can help your baby move things along when constipated.
Snap peas are high in vitamin C, which aids in absorption of non-heme iron (from plants). Try serving sugar snap peas with a high-iron plant food such as beans, broccoli, cooked leafy greens, or lentils to boost your baby’s iron levels. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in babies between the ages of 1 and 3 and may greatly affect their growth.1 2
Are snap peas a common choking hazard for my baby?
Yes. Wait until your baby is 18 months old and has some teeth before serving whole pods. Even then, the inner peas can be a choking hazard if accidentally swallowed. To mitigate the risk, pinch the pod to smash the peas (and still serve whole) or chop up the pods.
Are snap peas a common allergen?
No, though in theory, one could be allergic to any food. If you suspect your baby is allergic to legumes, which includes beans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, and soy, you may want to consult an allergist before introducing sugar snap peas to be safe.
How do you prepare snap peas for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience. Your child is an individual and may have needs or considerations beyond generally accepted practices. In determining the recommendations for size and shape of foods, we use the best available scientific information regarding gross, fine, and oral motor development to minimize choking risk. The preparation suggestions we offer are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for child-specific, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional or provider. It is impossible to fully eliminate all risk of a baby or child choking on any liquid, puree, or food. We advise you to follow all safety protocols we suggest to create a safe eating environment and to make educated choices for your child regarding their specific needs. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 9 months old: If you’d like to serve the whole snap pea for baby to munch and teethe on, flatten each pod with the back of a fork so the inner pea is less of a choking risk. Alternatively, finely chop and fold into other foods, such as ricotta cheese and grain salads.
9 to 12 months old: Offer chopped raw or cooked snap peas for baby to pick up with their developing pincer grasp. If you’d like to serve the whole snap pea for baby to munch and teethe on, flatten each pod with the back of a fork so the inner pea is less of a choking risk.
12 to 18 months old: Continue to offer bite-size 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 months of age.
18 to 24 months old: Offer whole, fresh snap peas to your toddler. The crunching sounds are sure to entertain and delight! As an alternative, finely chop the pods (be sure to first remove the tough stringy seam) and mix with ricotta or yogurt to increase the amount that gets into your baby’s belly.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
Recipe: Snap Peas with Ricotta
Age: 6 months+
- Sugar snap peas
- Ricotta cheese
- Olive oil
- Wash the pods then remove the stringy seam from each one.
- Steam the pea pods until they’re very soft.
- Transfer the pods to a bowl, then add a splash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Mix well and set aside to cool.
- While the sugar snap peas are cooling, add a heaping spoonful or two of ricotta cheese into your baby’s bowl (try a bowl that suctions to the table). Zest a bit of the lemon rind on top.
- Finely chop the cooled peas and add to your baby’s bowl with the ricotta. Serve with a pre-loaded spoon or encourage hand-scooping.
Sugar snap peas pair well with garlic, lemon, olive oil, parmesan, and ricotta cheese, as well as proteins, like beef and chicken.
- Kazal, L. (2002) Prevention of Iron Deficiency in Infants and Toddlers. American Family Physician. DOI: 1;66(7):1217-1225.
- Baker RD, Greer FR. (2010) Committee on Nutrition American Academy of Pediatrics. Diagnosis and prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia in infants and young children (0-3 years of age). Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2010-2576