blw, baby led weaning, meat, iron, baby

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?

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Chicken Satay with Creamy Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay with Creamy Peanut Sauce (for babies 6 months and up)

 

Barbecue season has arrived! Time to light the barbecue and celebrate warm weather. Today I will show you how to prepare my newest recipe: chicken satay with creamy peanut sauce. Since a number of you asked me for more meat recipes, I thought I would create another one that can be cooked on the grill. Thank you Chanel, Joannie, Jacinthe, Sabrina, Anne-Marie, Melissa, Stephanie, Carolane, Marie-Michelle, Catherine and Noémie for asking!

 

If you’re looking for more recipes just like this one, my Baby Led Weaning Recipe eBook is now available in PDF format. Each recipe featuring real foods was created by me, a registered dietitian. Check it out! Now, back to the Chicken Satay recipe. Here’s a video of how I prepared the chicken satay with creamy peanut sauce:

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

This mouth-watering dish is totally appropriate for babies 6 months and up and all members of the family because these are super soft. I used the following ingredients for the marinade: coconut milk, fresh ginger, garlic, curry powder and lime juice.

 

gluten free, no bovine protein, dairy free, chicken, baby, blw, baby led weaning, barbecue recipes, summer recipes, paleo, soy free, egg free, no salt added, baby recipes, iron, real food

 

I used chicken thighs because they are so much more tender than chicken breasts. It’s partly because of the fresh ginger breaking down the meat fiber and the fact that thighs contain more fat. This chicken satay practically melts in your mouth. I used this container to mix the ingredients:

 

gluten free, no bovine protein, dairy free, chicken, baby, blw, baby led weaning, barbecue recipes, summer recipes, paleo, soy free, egg free, no salt added, baby recipes, iron, real food

 

Then, I added the marinade ingredients to the container and added the chicken to it to marinate 30 minutes. Afterwards, I grilled the chicken on the barbecue.

 

gluten free, no bovine protein, dairy free, chicken, baby, blw, baby led weaning, barbecue recipes, summer recipes, paleo, soy free, egg free, no salt added, baby recipes, iron, real food

 

I served the chicken satay with creamy peanut sauce which is also easy to prepare. All I did was whisk some peanut butter, lime juice, coconut milk, warm water, fresh ginger and garlic powder together in a bowl and it was ready.

 

gluten free, no bovine protein, dairy free, chicken, baby, blw, baby led weaning, barbecue recipes, summer recipes, paleo, soy free, egg free, no salt added, baby recipes, iron, real food

 

Sooooo creamy!

 

gluten free, no bovine protein, dairy free, chicken, baby, blw, baby led weaning, barbecue recipes, summer recipes, paleo, soy free, egg free, no salt added, baby recipes, iron, real food

 

Note: if you’re using bamboo or wooden skewers, let them soak in water for at least 15 minutes before using them so they don’t burn. Here is the final product:

 

Key words : gluten free, no bovine protein, dairy free, chicken, baby, blw, baby led weaning, barbecue recipes, summer recipes, paleo, soy free, egg free, no salt added, baby recipes, iron, real food

 

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce Recipe (6 months and up)

 

½ cup (125 ml) coconut milk

1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 ml) curry powder

Juice of ½ a lime

4 chicken thighs (400 g), cut into pieces about 2 inches (5 cm) by 1 inch (2,5 cm)

 

In a medium container, add coconut milk, ginger, garlic curry powder and lime juice. Stir. Add chicken strips and coat with the marinade. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or overnight for best flavour). Preheat barbecue to highest heat. Thread chicken strips onto skewers lengthwise and cook without turning them. When the chicken doesn’t stick to the grill anymore, turn the skewers and cook another 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Let cool and serve dipped in creamy peanut sauce (recipe below).

 

*Can also be made in the oven on a covered baking sheet at 400F (200C) for 10 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other.

 

Creamy Peanut Sauce Recipe

 

2 tbsp (30 ml) natural peanut butter

Juice of ½ a lime

2 tbsp (30 m) coconut milk

2 tbsp warm water

1 tsp (5ml) fresh ginger, grated

1 tsp (5 ml) garlic powder

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Serve with chicken satay.

 

What’s your favourite food to cook on the barbecue?

 

gluten free, no bovine protein, dairy free, chicken, baby, blw, baby led weaning, barbecue recipes, summer recipes, paleo, soy free, egg free, no salt added, baby recipes, iron, real food