Although most babies can and will eat many different types of food, some babies have very sensitive stomachs and may only be able to eat certain foods based on texture and content. Ground beef is a great source of protein for teenagers and adults. But, is it safe enough for your one-year-old or younger to eat? It is an important question to consider before feeding your child something new.
What age is safe for a baby to eat ground beef?
Breastfeeding is recommended for babies for up to 6 months. However, most babies can start eating solid foods at around 4 to 6 months as a complement to liquids. Soon after they can eat solid foods, they will be able to eat ground beef.
It is wise to keep in mind that because they do not have molars grown in yet, you should puree the beef so they will have no trouble chewing it up. Your baby might refuse it at first because of the texture or flavor. You can try sneaking it into their meal by mixing it with some veggies that they like to eat.
Over time, they will most likely begin to enjoy the taste of it and want to eat it more regularly.
What types of ground beef is the best for my baby?
When it comes to feeding your child, the beef most suited for their little bodies, the lean cut is the best. Look for ground beef that has marbling lines, which are lines of fat running throughout the cut. Fat will make the beef more tender and easier for them to chew. Some examples of the types of beef to look for are:
- Top sirloin
- Lean fresh ground beef
- Eye of round roast
These cuts are best when it comes to the easy ingestion and ability of your baby to chew.
Why is ground beef so important in my baby’s diet?
To put it simply, beef is full of protein, which is essential in helping build strong muscles. However, protein is not the only nutrient needed for a child’s proper growth. Beef not only has a strong amount of protein but also contains heme iron and zinc. Heme iron is the form of iron most found in meat.
Non-heme iron is usually found in plant-type foods. The reason heme iron is very good for babies is because it is more easily and efficiently absorbed than non-heme. Iron plays a large part in the development of your baby’s brain function and development. Iron is also a component of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin helps the red blood cells deliver oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body.
While your baby may not be iron-deficient, some babies born at a lower than normal birth weight, or whose mother has an iron deficiency could be at risk of having lower iron count. Ground beef is very helpful is supplying your young one with the daily iron they need. For babies, age 0 to 6 months, .27 milligrams per day of zinc is best. At 7 to 12 months of age, around 11 milligrams are recommended.
While beef does not have an overall substantial amount of zinc, it can give your baby the proper daily boost they need. Beef eaten alongside foods with vitamin C will help your baby more quickly absorb the iron and zinc in the meat. Beef also contains calcium, which is great for building strong bones.
How should I prepare it?
The most highly recommended way to prepare ground beef for your baby is to bake it. Baking the beef will heat it best while also retaining all of the nutrients. Steaming is another method that works well.
Using a crockpot can also work very well, but it’s important to remember that nutrients in the meat will seep out into any water added into the pot. Also, if your baby is not quite used to the taste of beef, the water from the pot may be much too flavorful for him/her.
They are mixing the beef with something else such as potatoes will help to combine flavors and could make it easier for them to try the first time. When baking or roasting, simply add a bit of olive oil to a baking sheet or pan.
Baking times will vary based upon the size of the cut. Bake the beef until it the juices begin to run clear, and beef starts to brown. Usually, 20 minutes per pound of beef, at 375 degrees in the oven works best.
When it comes to pureeing the beef, you can add it to a blender or a food processor. Then, puree it slowly until it turns into a powdery mix. The more water you add, the more smooth the texture will be. You can also put beef into a stew for your baby.
There are all sorts of recipes you can make for your child, so experiment with different ones to find out what he/she like the best. Just make sure to ground the beef or slice is thin enough so your child will be able to chew it.
What if my baby rejects eating beef?
There is the chance that your young one may not like eating ground beef at all. In most cases, it has to do with the new flavor and texture. The first time they try it, it’s something new they have never experienced before.
Because it is different from what he/she has eaten before, your baby might reject it completely and not want to try it, which is why mixing it with other foods is very helpful. Because beef by itself does not have too strong of a flavor, mixing it in with other food that your child regularly eats and enjoys could mask the flavor entirely.
Slowly introduce the beef mixed in with other food such as carrots, for example. Over time, they may grow to like the flavor and eat it by itself. If your baby wants nothing to do with it, you can wait a few weeks and try again.
Beef is full of essential nutrients that significantly help your baby with their natural development. Mind and body strength are important for a growing baby. Although it may take some time at first, feeding your young child ground beef can help them to enjoy the taste eventually and want to eat it on a more regular basis.
And for food that they like and is also good for them, for parents, this is a win-win situation.