Can my baby eat pastrami?
You want to give your baby the best start in life, as any parent does. Your baby will begin to eat solid foods from six months on. When a baby is less than a year old, it is not a good idea to give the child any type of deli meat. Many of us adults enjoy the flavor of pastrami, but we also know that it should not be eaten too much. Pastrami is first off, not very nutritious. The fat and the sodium completely out shadows the iron and Vitamin B6, which themselves have very low numbers.
To Choke Or Not
Pastrami is one of those meats that came about as a way to preserve meat before there was anything such as refrigeration. The brine used in making pastrami is water with a variety of salts, a little sugar, and some spices. This brine may give the flavor to pastrami and help it to be tender; however, no matter how tender it is not safe for a baby. They have not grown strong enough teeth to be able to chew pastrami. This means it is more of a choking hazard to a baby.
The Sodium Truth
As a throwback to the past ages, salt is used in curing meat to make it last with no refrigeration. The brine used for pastrami has a vast amount of sodium. This is not healthy amounts for anyone, much less a baby. Pastrami is one of those deli meats that are eaten occasionally, not routinely.
Fat Speaks Volumes
I do agree that certain amounts of good fats are necessary to keep babies and adults healthy and functioning the way their body is intended to function. Pastrami is not on the list of good fats for your baby.
Choices Can Be Simple
Considering that meat is one of the best choices for protein, there are many different options. Of course, again, a tiny bit of ground pastrami would be okay, just not as a routine meal. The fat content would remain on the baby, just as it does for adults. When feed your baby meat, chicken is tender and easily adjusted into many types of recipes. Turkey is the same, grind up some turkey and mix it with yogurt for a delightful taste for your baby.
When your baby is old enough to be crawling or toddling around, giving them a small amount of pastrami is okay. They are moving and getting some exercise. For those first months, when the baby has very little actions or moving around without being carried, help them begin a healthy life and keep pastrami and other fatty and sodium-filled meats to a minimum.
When you think of protein sources for meals, the pastrami is very seldom on the list you mentally create. This is because there is not enough protein to make a difference; an egg has more protein. There are many options such as eggs, fowl of any sort, red meat, and pork. Ham is also considered to be on the high end of the sodium range. Stick with chicken, turkey or eggs for the baby and the first year or so.
As your child grows, they can be given more tasty options. Who knows, maybe pastrami will be one of their favorites. I would still give the lesson that it should be eaten on rare occasions. Meantime make the smart choice for them.
Cured Is Not Always Healthy
Many of the smoked or cured meats we eat today contain preservatives and nitrates, among other ingredients. These added chemicals should be avoided when it comes to babies. This is not anything that they need in their diets.
It is always an adventure when introducing new foods to your baby. Deli meats are not something they should have before a year, maybe a tad sooner. When you do decide to try the deli meats such as pastrami, be sure to grind it up into a paste of sorts. Slicing and dicing can be okay, but when there are still not many teeth with which to chew, making the meat into a pureed version and mixing with yogurt or a very tiny amount of mayonnaise is the best way to let your child try it. Some of the best finger foods consist of a meat paste, mixed with yogurt or cottage cheese or mayonnaise and spread into the bread. When you spread into the bread, it does not all fall off and gives your baby the taste sensation of new foods. The Academy for Pediatrics recommends cutting and dicing also. Speaking from experience, the pasty mix gives them the full flavor without the risk of choking. Again pastrami is one of those tender meats but filled with salt and fat. It does tend to be harder to chew with those little teeth, so please consider that.
Fresh is Best
So to answer the question completely, yes, you could feed your baby pastrami. In moderation is the key to all foods. Pastrami is one of those deli meats that have a great flavor. That flavor, however, comes in the form of high sodium levels. Deli meat does contain some protein, not as much as what you would find in fresh meats such as chicken, turkey, or beef. The key to pastrami is not to feed your baby too much. You could also try to make your pastrami. All it takes is beef brisket, spices and curing salt. Making your own, you would be able to cut back on the amount of salt in the brine. You may even be able to find a different brine recipe that is maybe a healthier option. Either way, go ahead and allow your baby the joys of tasting new foods, at the same time as teaching your baby healthier options while keeping the delicious taste. New foods can be all of the above, while you also enjoy a meal with your little one.
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