How to Serve Baked Apples to Your BLW Baby

How to Serve Baked Apples to Your BLW Baby

In Quebec, apple season is a core part of being Quebecois. We are the second leading province in apple production, with over a dozen different homegrown varieties to choose from. Not only are they locally grown, but apples are also a high quality fruit, with Vitamin C, B vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.

So why don’t we use apples in BLW recipes? Despite their benefits, raw apples are the food that babies choke on the most. Luckily for you, I have found a solution to bring apples into your baby-led weaning repetoire: bake them until soft with spices reminiscent of apple pie. It is a very a-peeling alternative!

Watch this video to see how easy it is to prep baked apples for your BLW baby:

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

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How to Prepare Baked Apples for Your BLW Baby

Start off by preheating your oven to 350˚F. Choose four firm apples and peel each one. Cut each peeled apple into quarters and remove the core.

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Be careful to remove all the seeds, skin and hard core.

 

Each quarter should be cut again lengthwise, to give 8 pieces per apple. Put all the slices into a medium casserole dish.

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This is a perfect recipe if you want to keep the doctor away…but please invite the dietitian!

 

To the bowl, add about a teaspoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of melted butter. Mix thoroughly and pop into the oven for about 40 minutes, or until tender.

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Feel free to substitute another oil for butter, or add other seasonings such as nutmeg or clove.

 

Remove the apples from the oven, let cool and serve a piece to your BLW infant. You’ll see how perfect the texture is for your little one right off the bat!

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Who doesn’t want a house that smells like fresh apple pie?

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely

Would you consider adding apples back into your baby’s diet? Let us know in the comment section!

How to Serve Mango to Your BLW Baby

How to Serve Mango to Your BLW Baby

Canada in the winter is quite literally the exact opposite of tropical. It is often hard to believe that spring will ever come, with all the snow, frigid temperatures and unreliable groundhogs. Thankfully, I have a sure-fire way to know we are coming into spring: when the mangoes become plentiful and fragrant at my local grocery store.

Although available year-round, these tropical delights are the most delicious (and affordable) from May to September in Canada. Not only are they tasty, but mangoes boast 20 over different vitamins and minerals in each bite and have a texture that is just right for soft mouths. That means serving this sweet mango-nificient fruit to your BLW baby is a great choice… that is if you can keep yourself from gobbling it all up!

Take a look this video to see how easy it is to prep mangoes for your BLW baby:

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

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How to Prepare Mango for Your BLW Baby

Begin by selecting a mango that is ripe, so it is soft and tender for your little one. Press the skin gently, and it should give way under the pressure if it is ripe. Another trick is to smell the mango, close to the stem. If it is fragrant like the air of the tropics, it is ready to eat.

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Choose the right fruit and you won’t have to (man)go back to the grocery store

 

Give that mango a good scrub under cold running water. The skin helps baby grip this slippery fruit, so make sure it is squeaky clean.

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Take the mango and stand it upright with the stem down on a cutting board. Cut around the pit, leaving two large “cheeks” of mango.

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Cheeky!

 

Slice each cheek lengthwise, or about 4 to 5 slices per cheek. To reduce waste, you can also slice the remaining mango from the pit and enjoy.

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A slice of tropical heaven for your BLW baby.

 

Offer a slice to your baby-led weaning infant! Make sure to keep an extra keen eye on them, to make sure they don’t eat the peel accidentally.

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Shaking the winter blues one mango at a time. Make sure the texture is right by testing it before offering it to your baby. You want a very ripe mango.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely

 

What do you think about adding mango to your fruit repertoire for baby? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Serve Seasonal Vegetables to Your BLW Baby

How to Serve Seasonal Vegetables to Your BLW Baby

We’ve all heard the buzz words around food these days. Words like sustainable, local and eco-conscious are becoming commonplace as more of us want food grown close to home using practices that are better for the planet. Baby-led weaning is an amazing way to help nurture budding environmental consciousness in your family AND nurture well-being. By choosing whole, delicious and locally sourced food that is in season, versus that which is shipped across the world, you can keep your baby (and your planet) happy and healthy.

Of course, this isn’t to say you have eat sustainably all the time (especially since we live in a frozen tundra 5 months out of the year). Sometimes it isn’t logical for busy parents, or it doesn’t fit into the budget. It is all about making small changes, and finding a balance that works for your family!

 

 

How to Prepare A Seasonal CSA Basket for Your BLW Baby

Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes are extremely simple to prepare. Give them a gentle wash, and cut into quarters. Serve to baby as is, or with a sprinkle of pepper and italian herbs.

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As a dietitian, I love local veggies from my head to-ma-toes

 

Cucumber

Another great choice for a BLW baby is cucumber. Give it a good scrub and slice into a finger sized portion, with the skin left on for grip. Serve with a sprinkle of dried herbs.

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Stay cool as a cucumber with these simple veggie preparation tips!

 

Kale

You can include this powerhouse green into many recipes, such as salmon sliders, meatballs or even kale chips! Check out my free e-cookbook for more ideas.

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Non-seasonal veggies “kale” in comparison to local CSA produce.

 

Peppers (Bell, Sweet)

Grill or roast slices of peppers at a high temperature to help soften them for baby. Try coating them in a light layer of olive or avocado oil and marinating them in your favourite salt-free spices.

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Your family will pepper you with praise for these delectable recipes.

 

Want to see how to prep these seasonal CSA vegetables and more in a safe BLW fashion? Watch this video:

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Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

Tell us in the comments below if you are introducing any sustainable food practices at home!

How to Serve Chicken Drumsticks to Your BLW Baby

How to Serve Chicken Drumsticks to Your BLW Baby

What is full of protein, is a good source of easily absorbed iron, has a natural handle for baby and takes just minutes to prepare? Drumroll please…my favourite chicken drumstick recipe of course!

This recipe will not only drum up compliments from family and happy gurgles from your baby, but it is easily made BLW safe so that your little one can experience new textures and flavours without fear. So don’t be a chicken and follow these simple steps to get our BLW chicken drumsticks on your table tonight!

 

Check out this video to see how easy it is to prep chicken drumsticks for your BLW baby:

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

How to Prepare Chicken Drumsticks for Your BLW Baby

First, preheat your oven to 375˚F. Then line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place six fresh or safely defrosted chicken drumsticks on the lined sheet.

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Lining your baking sheet makes for less mess and helps keep your kitchenware looking like new

It is time to season! First, sprinkle ground black pepper onto each drumstick. You want to add a healthy pinch for each stick, about 1/6th of a tsp (or simply divide a full teaspoon of pepper between the drumsticks).  Next add garlic powder, using the same method and amount. Finally, again with the same instructions, sprinkle on some dried basil.

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Using herbs and spices are a great way to add flavour without the salt and are absolutely safe for your BLW baby

Once your oven is ready, bake the drumsticks for 30 minutes. When the timer rings, flip the drumsticks and bake for another 30 minutes.

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Quick, simple, safe and tasty; that is the BLW way!

Place an internal thermometer in the thickest part of the drumstick (being careful to not hit the bone) to ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly to 165˚F and is safe to eat.

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Always make sure meat is cooked to the correct internal temperature so it is safe for your baby and your family to eat

Now we want to make these drumsticks BLW appropriate! Once they have cooled, take off the skin. Next, remove the little pointy bone the sits beside the large bone.

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Although chicken skin contains fat which babies need, it can be difficult to handle and should be removed. Feel free to sprinkle more seasoning after the skin is removed

Offer to baby and let them enjoy!

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What a perfect integrated handle! MAKE SURE THE TEXTURE IS RIGHT FOR YOUR BABY BY TESTING IT FIRST.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely

 

What is your favourite BLW-appropriate chicken dish? Share in the comments below!

How to Serve Avocados to Baby

The simple avocado has taken social media by storm in the past few years. The tell-tale rich and creamy texture is coveted by millennials and health-conscious instagrammers the world over, appearing on toast, in guacamole (yes it costs more, but it is #worthit) and even in baked goods.

So why am I AVO-cating for you to feed your baby this popular fruit? Although some “health gurus” may call it a superfood with “healing” abilities, as a dietitian I go for the facts. First, avocados are packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber and contribute nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. Babies need more fat, making the avocado a perfect “bang for your bite” food for baby. Not only that, the soft texture makes it just right for beginner abilities. Move aside hipsters; it is time for baby to take over this trend!

 

Want to know how to serve avocado to baby safely? Watch the following video or keep reading for tips!

 

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

How to Prepare Avocado For Your Baby

Step 1: Choose an avocado that is ripe, but not too ripe! Remove the top stem; if it is bright green, that means it is ready to eat.

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Peel off the stem to see if an avocado is ripe enough for baby to handle.

 

Step 2: Use the safe cutting method! Cut through the avocado to the pit, making sure to make a cut spanning the entire way around. Then, make a cut to separate it into quarters using the same method.

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Gently cut through the skin to the pit, separating the avocado into quarters.

 

Step 3: Gently press on each quarter. They should fall away easily if your avocado is ripe.

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Perfectly rich quarters for baby every time!

 

Step 4: Remove the peel and cut the quarter in half. Serve to baby as is!

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Peel off the skin to make it baby led weaning safe.
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Serve this creamy dream “as is” to ensure each baby bite is packed with nutrition!

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely

Tell us how you serve up this healthy fat to your baby in the comments section!

 

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How to Serve Bananas to Your Baby

How to Serve Bananas to Your Baby

Here at Nutrition for Baby, we are bananas about…. bananas! One of the world’s most popular fruits, it is actually considered a berry by classification (despite bearing little resemblance to our well known friends like the strawberry or blueberry).

No matter how it is classified, bananas are packed with potassium, fiber, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C. On top of that, they are the perfect texture for baby. But how do you serve a fruit that is so slippery it is known for sending the bad guys head over heels in Saturday morning cartoons? Well we have three options for you, and a magic solution to make managing this fruit easier for your little one.

Check out this video to see how easy it is to prep a banana for your baby:

 

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

How to Prepare Banana for your Baby: 3 Ways

First, start by giving the peel of the banana a good scrub. We will be using the skin to our advantage later on, so make sure it is good and clean!

 

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Next, cut the banana into thirds if it is a large banana, or into half if it is on the smaller side.

 

 

Using the section of the banana you can choose from three options! You can either:

  • Cut the peel off the top half of the banana portion and leave the bottom for a handle
Bananas come with a perfect handle for baby led weaning

 

  • Peel the portion and gently push on the banana until it comes apart into three sections
Bananas split easily into thirds with a bit of pressure

 

  • Peel half the skin vertically and leave the other half for baby to hold onto
Another way to serve to baby

 

How can we make the grip even better? Well here is my favourite trick; roll the banana in unsweetened shaved coconut! This also introduces fun new tastes and textures for baby to discover.

Whichever version you choose, you can roll it in coconut for better grip

 

The final product; delicious and nutritious for everyone in the family

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely

Comment below on how YOU serve bananas to baby!

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How to Serve Meat to Babies

How to Serve Meat to Babies 

Dust off your slow-cooker and pull out your best roasting pan because today we are looking into how to safely provide meat to babies when doing Baby Led Weaning. No brown purées, no mush and no mess (well, most of the time)!

 

Why Meat?

At around 6 months old, your baby’s iron needs are the highest they will ever be. Meat is not only rich in iron, but it has a special type of iron that’s only found in foods from animals. This type is better absorbed by your baby than the iron found in plants. Meat also has lots of protein, zinc, vitamin B12 and fats. Since your baby is probably not eating a large amount of food at this age, meat is a “bang for your bite” food.  Even just sucking on the meat juices provides that precious iron and other minerals.

 

Here, a little one enjoys a chicken meatball, perfectly safe for baby led weaning

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

Being Safe

Providing meat to your BLW infant does take a bit of additional care for it to be safe, including the following from Health Canada:

  • Avoid meat or fish that is :
    • Raw, like sushi or rare steak
    • Highly processed like bacon, hotdogs or processed deli meats
    • Fried, using breading and unhealthy oils
  • Offer meat or fish that has been:
    • Cooked at these minimum temps:
      • Beef/veal/lamb: 77°C (170°F)
      • Pork:  71˚ C (160˚F)
      • Ground beef/veal/lamb/pork: 71˚C (160˚F)
      • Poultry (pieces): 74˚C (165˚F)
      • Poultry (whole): 82˚C (180˚F)
      • Ground poultry: 74˚C (165˚F)
      • Fish: 70˚C (158˚F)
      • Shellfish: 74˚C (165˚F)
      • Meat/Fish Leftovers: 74˚C (165˚F); reheat only once
    • Checked with a digital thermometer for temperature at the thickest part of the meat (ensure the metal tip is not hitting the bone)
    • Properly stored in a ≤4˚C (39˚F) fridge or ≤-18˚C (0˚F) freezer (refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours)
    • Made into the right size and shape:
      • Pieces of meat about as long as an adult pinkie finger (~2-3 inches long) and that are log shaped work best
    • Made safe by removing pointy bones and skin
    • Cooked without salt or sugar

 

Lamb burgers cooked gently on the barbecue: scrumptious for you and baby!

Buying Your Meat

Deciding where to buy your meat is up to you. Conventional meat, the regular type you’d find at your grocery store, may contain growth hormones and antibiotics. However, Health Canada sets a maximal limit to the amount left in food, which should be below harmful levels. You may choose to buy organic meats, which are those produced without the use of antibiotics or hormones. You may also decide to support local farmers; often small farms cannot afford the organic certification, but do not use antibiotics or hormones in their meat production. At our house, we buy a large animal from a local farm and split it between friends to save time and money. Check out this link for more info about hormones and antibiotics in meat.

 

When Do I Offer Meat to My Baby?

You can offer meat to your baby any time it is on your menu, so that your baby can be part of the family meal. It is important to offer babies iron-rich foods 2 times per day to help them reach their iron needs. While this does not always have to be meat, it is a well-absorbed option.

 

How Do I Prepare Meat for My Baby?

Meatballs

You can take 1 lb of ground meat (any meat, so chicken, beef, lamb, veal, bison), add spices and herbs, shape it into meatballs that your baby can easily grab. A 6 month old’s hand movement ability is quite limited and they can’t pick up small pieces of food. They don’t even have the ability to re-position a piece of food in their hands so I found that log-shaped meatballs work best. About the length of an adult pinky finger. That way, the baby will grab the log-shaped meatball and some of it will be sticking out of their fist so they can easily take bites. You can experiment with different shapes like golf ball sized meatballs once your baby gets more practice. You can bake them in the oven at 400˚F (200˚C) for about 20 minutes. Meatballs are super convenient because you could freeze them and take them out when you need them. Check out my minty lamb meatballs for a fancy yet easy meal.

Sausages

I’m not talking about store-bought sausages because those can be quite tough, salty and might contain some processed ingredients. I’m talking about easy homemade sausages without any casings. You can find my amazingly tasty homemade sausage recipe in my BLW recipe book.

 

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Try your BLW-friendly sausages with sauerkraut. 

 

Kebabs

You can make kebabs from ground beef or bison, mixed with your favourite herbs and spices about 4 inches (10 cm) long, thread the seasoned mixture onto a skewer and cook on the barbecue for about 10 minutes.

 

Slow cooked

You can cook meat in a slow cooker or pressure cooker to make meals like pulled pork or stews. Just don’t add salt while you’re preparing the meal because babies really don’t need a lot of salt. Feel free to add salt to your portion!

 

Meat on the bone

Meat on a bone works really well because there is an integrated handle so babies can get a good grip. Some examples: garlicky chicken drumsticks (recipe in my BLW online course) and grilled lamb chops.

 

Meat in soup

You can even offer the meat from your soup because it’s usually quite tender. All you need to do is remove the chicken from a chicken soup and offer it to your baby.

 

Liver pâté

The most smooth textured and the highest in iron is liver pâté.

 

What’s your favorite way to serve meat to your baby?