Thursday, June 18, 2009

Feeding Meat to Babies & Toddlers

Recently, studies are showing that meat should be introduced to babies earlier in order to provide them with this excellent source of heme iron. In our family, we have taken an approach to introducing solid foods called Baby-Led Weaning, a concept where babies are given food in their normal form instead of pureed. We still did some purees, but pureed meat did not go over very well with the Little Missy. So we opted for pieces of steak, hamburger, and chicken instead, and let her gum on them. Although her tastes are constantly changing, some of her favorites have been:
  • steak fajita strips
  • baked or rotisserie chicken
  • chicken fingers
  • shredded chicken taco meat (see recipe below)
  • Mild Italian sausage
  • breakfast sausage (I found some with no MSG and no nitrates in the freezer aisle.)
My favorite recipe for the Little Missy is Shredded Chicken Tacos. It's very simple...
  1. Place 3-4 boneless chicken breasts in a crock pot. Cover with water.
  2. Add packet of taco seasoning (McCormick brand says it has no MSG, for what it's worth).
  3. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours, then shred chicken with forks.
* Baby can eat chicken just like that, or with some shredded cheese sprinkled on top (once you've introduced dairy). For the adults, I put it on soft taco shells with taco toppings.
* Variations call for adding green peppers, onion, and salsa in the crockpot, but we never do this, because I don't like all that stuff in my tacos.
* Recommended sides include black beans (I get the low-sodium variety for the Little Missy), corn, and guacamole (which is of course excellent for babies, due to all the good fats in avocados).


  1. Hi. I was reading your blog. I like your cloth diapering posts. I did want to point out something about this post. The "no ADDED MSG" on McCormick Taco Seasoning labels is purposely misleading. It still has MSG, it's just hidden in another ingredient. Things like dextrose, whey protein, 'spice', natural flavorings, etc. MSG is present as a result of the processing of these ingredients. The FDA needs to crack down on false labeling.

  2. Megan, I'm glad you enjoyed the blog. I know that there is a problem with MSG labeling, but I will say that I am impressed overall with the ingredients in McCormick Taco Seasoning Mix. It may contain some processed free glutamic acid (MSG), but it has a fairly natural list of ingredients, including natural spices, no artificial flavors, and none of the common names for hiding MSG, like Hydrolyzed Soy Protein or Autolyzed Yeast Extract. I added a link in the recipe so that readers can decide for themselves what they think about this product. (BTW, my package clearly says "NO MSG" - I'm not sure if there's any meaningful difference between that and "No *added* MSG" though.)