TikTok mum’s clever $1 baby food hack wows fellow parents: 'I need to try this'

The tip offers a simple, nutritious, and budget-friendly snack for bubs, but what's the catch?

A TikTok mum’s clever use of chickpeas for baby food is the latest sensation among parents. Photo: TikTok/@kelly_mcfar_lane
A TikTok mum’s clever use of chickpeas for baby food is a hit among parents. Photo: TikTok/@kelly_mcfar_lane

With the cost of living crunch, families are now more than ever looking for affordable ways to manage the expensive cost of groceries and family meals. One mum on TikTok has shared her simple baby food hack that promises to be iron-rich, healthy, and budget-friendly, and it's piqued the interest of parents on social media.

In a TikTok clip, mum Kelly McFarlane raves about chickpeas as a versatile baby food that’s also incredibly easy to prepare. And at as little as $1.00 a tin, it's significantly cheaper than most prepackaged baby snack foods.


"If you are sleeping on chickpeas as baby food, wake up, because it is the easiest little side," she enthused. "I always pop about four little spoons on Harley's plate. He's 11 months, nearly one. They are super soft, babies can easily just pick them up, they're easily chewable, and then as he transitions into a toddler and can tolerate harder foods, I can roast them. They can be little chickpea chips. They are packed full of iron and so many nutrients and keep babies full for super long."

Kelly shared ways chickpeas can be prepared, depending on the child's age. Credit: Getty Images
Kelly shared ways chickpeas can be prepared, depending on the child's age. Credit: Getty Images

Kelly pointed out not only the nutritional benefits but also the affordability of chickpeas, making them a perfect addition to any family’s meal plan.

"They are so cheap, and I think they are pretty much the most underrated little side for babies. So don't forget chickpeas," she added.

A lot of parents who hadn’t thought of this simple snack praised Kelly’s idea.

"We love chickpeas too!" one parent wrote, adding, "Just don't forget to unlock your iron with vitamin C," referencing the fact that iron is absorbed better in the presence of vitamin C.

Packed with iron and essential nutrients, chickpeas are a versatile and healthy choice. Photo: Woolworths
Packed with iron and essential nutrients, chickpeas are a versatile and healthy choice. Photo: Woolworths

Another parent commented, "Great idea," and shared their own twist, "I do the same with kidney beans."

"Ohhh I need to try this," another parent said.

Other curious parents asked for more details. "Do you serve them straight from the can?" one user enquired. "Yep, or you can easily mash them, they are super soft," responded Kelly.

However, not all responses were positive. Some parents expressed concerns about the suitability of tinned chickpeas for babies.

"Is there not salt etc. in the brine in tins?" one user questioned. Kelly reassured, "You can easily rinse them."

Others worried about other potential safety concerns. "Is this shape/size not a choking hazard?" someone asked. Kelly explained that the chickpeas are very soft from being soaked, and a gentle press with a spoon squishes them, making them safer.

However, another cautious user warned, "Definitely a choking hazard," advising to "split them in half."

Paediatric Nutritionist Mandy Sacher says it is safe to feed babies from around 8+ months canned chickpeas, but there are a few stipulations.

"There is no issue as long as they do not contain any added salt," Sacher told Yahoo Lifestyle. "There are lots of great options out there, ranging from organic to non-organic, which have no added salt. This can make a big difference as babies under one only need very small amounts of salt as their kidneys are too immature to handle salty foods."

Sacher explains the importance of avoiding chickpeas in brine and choosing a canned option with no added salt.

"The difference is generally quite major; a no-added-salt can of chickpeas contains approximately 55mg of sodium per 100g versus 300mg of sodium per 100g. Although it’s unlikely a baby would eat that amount, using the 100g amounts is a great way for parents to compare products. Anything under 120mg of sodium per 100g or lower is ideal."

Happy baby sitting at table eating chickpeas
Paediatric Nutritionist Mandy Sacher advises that chickpeas for babies should have no added salt to ensure their safety. Photo Getty

To choose the right canned product for your baby, Sacher suggests reading the ingredient list.

"You do not want to see salt listed as an ingredient. Another good option to look out for is choosing a canned chickpea product that says BPA-free."

Sacher also discusses other methods for feeding babies chickpeas that she would strongly recommend. "If we think about what's the absolute best for babies, then soaking dried chickpeas and cooking them is ideal. This helps to make the chickpeas easier to digest."

"Parents should consider including chickpeas in their baby's diets from 6 months as they are a rich vegetable protein source and contain carbohydrates and fibre. Plus, they are also packed with important minerals and vitamins that help to ensure proper growth and development, such as folate, iron, vitamin B6, choline, and zinc."


Sacher adds "Another important thing for parents to remember is that chickpeas can be a choking hazard. Therefore, we offer chickpeas pureed or mashed up until 8 months, and then we offer them smashed. From 12+ months, toddlers can start to eat them whole."

She acknowledges the challenges parents face in balancing everything and often being time-poor. "If opting for a good-quality low-sodium canned chickpea product is the only way to ensure a baby is getting their fill of chickpeas, then it absolutely can be a good substitute and ensure a baby benefits from the inclusion of chickpeas in their diet."

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