Meats such as chicken and fish are all rich in protein and are a good source of minerals, vitamin B12, and heme iron.
When to introduce meat to children
Once your baby reaches 6 months, you can start offering them solid foods. Often at this stage, the ‘iron stores’ that babies are born with will start to get depleted. The iron level can be sustained by offering babies iron-rich foods, such as meats. Offer only mashed or pureed meat to avoid choking.
What meat to introduce first?
Chicken, turkey, or fish is generally recommended as the first meat to introduce to your baby.
Why meat can be good for young children
Red meat, poultry, and seafood are good sources of heme iron, which are easily absorbed by the body. Plants contain non-heme irons that are more difficult for us to absorb — there are plenty of solutions for vegetarians though.
Iron is needed for the formation of hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen in the blood. In addition to iron, lean red meat contains Zinc, vitamin B12, fats, and lots of protein. Thus, you may want to offer Your Child meat as one of their first solid foods after they reach the six-month mark.
The dos and don’ts when offering meat to young children
- Don’t reheat meat more than once
- Don’t offer babies fired meat
- Ensure your baby eats only fully cooked meat — do not offer them ‘rare’ or ‘medium rare’
- Keep away from deli meats, bacon, and hot dogs, they are packed with preservatives and chemicals that can potentially harm your baby
As always, it is recommended that you consult your pediatrician about introducing solid foods to your baby.
Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (22 July 2021)