Homemade Baby Food – Meat?

Should I feed my baby meat?


homemade baby food with meat casseroleIt’s up to you!  Feeding lean meat to babies is quite safe, and meat is a great source of lean protein for baby.   If you want your baby to be vegetarian, you can provide all the nutrients required through non-meat sources.

If you want your baby to eat meat, then new  research shows that it’s best if you introduce meat as one of the first complementary foods, particularly if your baby has been breastfed.  This is because finely chopped or puréed meat enables better iron absorption.

So from 6 months onwards, prepare homemade baby food with meat.  Again, it’s easy – I’ll show you some tips.

Tip: Meat shouldn’t be served alone, but mixed in with vegetables (just like you and I would eat it).

Introducing Meat to Baby

Most people start off with chicken and turkey, and then introduce red meat afterwards.

Remember to always use the 4 Day Rule (introduce one new food, then for 4 days serve only tried-and-trusted food, so it’s easy to identify the culprit if there are any upsets – look for signs of an allergic reaction or digestive problems).

Don’t give processed meat  (e.g. ham, frankfurters, sausages, deli meats) to baby. They have a high salt content and many additives.

Which Meat is Most EcoFriendly?

Beef is the least eco-friendly meat, due to factory farming methods and the huge amount of feed which needs to be grown for beef cattle.  There are also increasing health concerns about factory farming.

Lamb has the highest carbon footprint of all meat, fish and dairy, but it is not sold in large volumes globally so it has less of an impact than beef.   Lamb may not be as lean as other meats so it’s better to serve leaner meat to baby.

Chicken and turkey are better meats from an eco friendly point of view.

How to Prepare Homemade Baby Food with Meat

If you wish, you can tenderise meat before cooking it, to make it more digestible.  Just bash the meat with a heavy rolling pin or frying pan.  Or marinade it in milk or yoghurt.

An excellent alternative is to marinate it in apple juice, then cook it in the same juice.

Better cuts of meat tend to require less preparation.

Cooking Meat for Baby

When making homemade baby food, the most important thing to remember about meat is that it must be thoroughly cooked – for details see this page on meat preparation from the USDA

Try not to dry out the meat too much during cooking, as this makes it unappealing.

One of the simplest ways to cook meat for baby is by simmering it in broth or stock. Add diced vegetables (such as carrots and broccoli) towards the end of the cooking time and you have an entire meal in one pot.

Or chop some lean pork, add sweet potato, diced apple and apple juice to a saucepan and simmer until cooked.

Or cook it in the oven – just cover the meat with stock in an oven-proof dish and cook at 375 deg F  / 190 deg C until cooked through and tender.

You can also cook meat or poultry in foil – place a piece of meat on a square of foil, add herbs and vegetables of your choice, and wrap loosely, folding in the edges to keep the steam in.  This isn’t as eco friendly as cooking in an oven dish (because the foil isn’t re-usable) but it does save on the washing up afterwards.

Tip What I find easiest is to cook for baby while cooking for others.  Any of the methods above can be used for family meals, so it’s no extra effort at all to cook nutritious homemade baby food with meat

Similarly, cooking a stew or casserole for others also provides a delicious meal for baby – tender and full of flavour.

Purée Cooked Meat

After cooking, you can purée the meat while it’s still warm (not hot), or wait until it has cooled.  Chop it up into small pieces and pop it into a blender or food processor in small quantities.  Add broth or stock if it becomes dry.

Tip If you are puréeing just meat on its own, it may become a little stringy so add some cooked sweet potato to the mixture to smooth it out.

Meatless Mondays

homemade baby food needs meatless mondays tooTo be eco friendly, you’ll want to have at least one day a week when you don’t eat meat.  This is because the growth in demand for meat has caused major problems for the environment.   See Meatless Mondays for some great ideas and recipes.

And of course, most of what you cook for yourself, can also be cooked for baby at the same time, and then puréed afterwards into delicious, nutritious and healthy homemade baby food with meat.


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