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5 Tips for Introducing Meat into Your Baby's Diet

5 Tips for Introducing Meat into Your Baby's Diet

5 Tips for Introducing Meat into Your Baby's Diet

Adding real foods to your child’s diet is such an exciting time for parents. It’s fun to see children try new things and develop their own preferences as they become less dependent on milk. The first foods of cereal, fruits, and vegetables are exciting, but as your children gain experience with these you’ll be able to introduce meats as well.

Your pediatrician can recommend when to start introducing meat to your child, but most recommend starting on very well cooked or pureed meats between 7 and 12 months. Babies need molars before they can start chewing small pieces of chicken or steak, so they can graduate to pieces of meat after those teeth have arrived.

When I started this process with my own children, I'd heard from other moms that many kids don't like the flavor or texture of meat initially. So I looked for recipes that could easily be pureed or shredded for beginners, but were full of flavors for the adults and older children. Here is how I brought meat into my children’s diet, and helped other parents do it as well.

  1. The timing of when to try meat really is different for every baby, so look to your pediatrician for guidance.
  2. Start with braises. Slow-cooked meats break down so they can be shredded easily or even pureed. Also, most braises include stock, vegetables, or beans, so you can prepare a complete meal in one pot that the entire family can eat. I loved the day when I could start making one meal for everyone in our house.
  3. If you have grilled a piece of meat or even made a burger, you can easily puree it in a food processor. Adding cooked carrots, peas, or even cooked fruits can add extra flavor for the children and help produce a texture that’s easier for them to swallow.
  4. Once your child does have molars and can chew foods more easily, try cutting up chicken, steak, and other meats into very small pieces.
  5. Look for organic, grass-fed, and local meat whenever possible. I find it reassuring to buy from butchers who can tell me where the meat comes from, how it’s raised, and what’s in it. Choosing meats that are free of hormones and additives is a reassuring option.

Unlike other foods, meats have a very different texture, so don’t be surprised if it takes a few tries for your child to decide if they like meat or not. And if your child doesn’t immediately take to meat, waiting a few weeks before trying again can be really helpful.

As your children begin to eat meat, here are a couple of winners to try: Slow Cooked Chicken with White Beans and My Favorite Pot Roast.

Amanda Haas is a cookbook author, teacher, cooking video host, and the founder of One Family One Meal, a website that helps families menu plan, grocery shop, and cook on a budget. She's also on Twitter and Facebook.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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