When can babies eat snow peas?
Whole snow peas—aka Chinese pea pods—are a little tricky for new eaters because they are quite difficult to chew. Hungry babies may become frustrated because they may not get much food by gnawing on the tough pods, so it is best to wait to offer snow peas until your baby has mastered chewing and swallowing, usually around 12 months old. For less experienced eaters, you can offer whole pods to encourage play and practice biting: they make a fun crunch sound when bitten into!
Unlike sugar snap peas, which have a round pea inside, snow peas are thin and flat because the pods are typically harvested before the inner pea has a chance to grow. As a result, snow peas are less of a choking hazard than snap peas. Just be sure to remove the tough string that runs from tip to end before offering snow peas to your baby.
Are snow peas healthy for my baby?
Yes. Snow peas contain high levels of antioxidants, and are particularly high in vitamin C. Snow peas are also a great source of iron, B-vitamins including folate and vitamins A and K. Additionally, they’re a great source of fiber, so if your baby is backed up, snow peas might help move things along!
Are snow peas a common choking hazard for my baby?
Snow peas are not among the common choking hazards, though a baby could choke on almost any food, so always stay close. As with all vegetables and fruit, steaming or cooking snow pea pods down to a soft consistency will minimize the choking risk and help your baby consume more of them. Because the pods are tough, they can be difficult to bite through, tear, chew, and swallow, so it is best to wait until your baby is 12 months old to offer snow peas.
Are snow 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 talk with an allergist before introducing snow peas just to be safe.
How do you prepare snow peas 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 12 months old: Hold off unless it’s just for fun. If so, a cold snow pea will feel nice on sore, teething gums!
12 to 24 months old: Offer cooked snow peas chopped into small pieces or whole for biting and tearing practice. Start by removing each pod’s string that runs from the tip to the end, then steam the pods until they’re soft. Once cool, finely chop the steamed pods and serve plain or incorporate into other dishes. You might let your baby scoop the chopped pods with their hands and fingers, or mix them into other dishes to encourage your baby to eat more of the vegetable.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
Snow peas are high in vitamin C, which aids non-heme iron absorption. Non-heme iron comes from plants, so serve snow peas with a high-iron plant food such as beans, broccoli, cooked leafy greens, lentils, and tofu to boost your baby’s iron levels.
Recipe: Snow Pea Stir Fry
- snow peas (fresh or frozen)
- broccoli florets
- peanut oil
- onion or shallot
- ground beef (optional)
- sesame oil or seeds
- Remove the stringy backbone from each pea pod. Wash the pods and place them in a steamer basket.
- Steam them until they’re very soft, and set aside. Steam the broccoli florets, and set aside.
- Finely chop one small onion or shallot.
- Add a splash of peanut oil to a medium skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion or shallot until it’s translucent.
- If you’re using ground beef, add it to the pan once the onion has softened, and cook thoroughly, breaking up the meat with a spatula to ensure no pink remains.
- While the meat is cooking, chop the steamed snow peas. Discard any pointy end pieces as you go. Add the chopped pods and the broccoli florets to the pan with the beef.
- Add a dash (or two!) of sesame oil and/or a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Cook for a couple minutes more to let the flavors mingle, then turn off the heat and let cool in the pan.
- Serve in a bowl to encourage your baby to hand scoop.
Note: Soy sauce and fish sauce, two condiments commonly used in stir fry recipes (though not in this one) are not appropriate for babies younger than one year old as these sauces are extremely high in sodium. This includes “low sodium” soy sauce, which is still too high. Once your baby reaches 12 months old you can use small amounts of these condiments in recipes, but keep in mind that one tablespoon of soy sauce contains almost all the sodium a 12 month old can have in one day.
*This recipe contains peanut and sesame oils, which are common food allergens. We recommend separately introducing peanut and sesame to your baby, and making this dish once you’ve determined that there is no allergy.
Snow peas are commonly used in Chinese cuisines. They taste great with other green vegetables, beef, chicken, and peanut and sesame oils.