Introducing meat to your baby/toddler can be a little scary. I still worry about our son choking on meat and he's 2 and a half. Fruits and veggie purees just seem so safe and easy, but there are a lot of great nutrients in meat and the different textures are also important for your child to get used to so they don't become picky eaters later.
But how do you introduce it? Slowly, purely and somewhat bland. Offer small portions at first so their digestive tract can get used to it, buy organic and free-range, skip processed meats (hotdogs, sausage, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, fast food) and don't over season it.
Of course you can buy baby food that has pureed meat mixed with veggies, but I personally have never fed my son anything that I wouldn't eat and that stuff makes me want to gag just looking at it. YUCK!
A mistake I've made with our son is that I always seem to offer his meals as seperates - a protein, carb and veggie. The problem is... he doesn't like his foods mixed. He wants his meat in one place, his veggies on the other side and carbs seperate too. So, he won't eat a burrito. He won't eat sandwiches. He won't eat a hamburger (he eats the meat and will have some bread but doesn't like them together). If I give him a bite of chicken with a pea... he usually spits it out. He will eat the chicken and he will eat the peas but not in the same bite. Soooo.... I recommend mixing up how you serve things. Below I have given serving suggestions to help add variety. Have fun and enjoy the learning process with you and your little one! Oh... and don't give up if they don't like something the first time you try... give it 3-5 shots before accepting that they don't like it.
GROUND CHICKEN & SPINACH
1LB ground chicken
1C finely chopped spinach
1tsp sea salt
optional: 1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
Spray skillet with non-stick spray. Saute onion, if using. Add chicken and seasonings. Cook on medium until no longer pink. Add in spinach and cook on low until spinach is wilted.
Optional: Add in 3/4C low-sugar marinara
Add whole grain noodles on the side
1LB grass-fed beef
1/4 sweet onion, finely diced
1tsp chili powder
1tsp sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
Spray skillet with non-stick spray. Saute onion for 5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add meat and seasoning. Cook about 10 minutes until meat is no longer pink.
Optional: Add 1/4C mild salsa
Serve with a side of black beans & brown rice
Make tacos with soft corn tortillas or soft wheat tortillas
SIMPLE TURKEY CHILI
1LB ground turkey (You can use chicken, beef or buffalo)
1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
optional: a dash of pepper
Spray skillet with non-stick spray. Add onion & pepper and cook 5-7 minutes. Add meat and cook through (about 10 minutes on medium). In a large pot, combine all ingredients, including meat mixture. Cook on low for 30-60 minutes or on high for 10-15.
Of course... AS CHILI haha
Try mixing it into scrambled eggs for a savory breakfast
Wrap some into a whole grain tortilla for a messy burrito
BABY BUFFALO BURGER
1LB ground buffalo or grass-fed beef
1tsp sea salt
1 egg white (this makes them more moist and soft)
optional: chopped spinach
How to: Combine all ingredients and make small patties. Grill or cook on the skillet until cooked through (a little pink inside is ok!)
Make mini burgers with whole grain bread, no sugar added ketchup & mustard
Grill some asparagus while you're at it and serve it on the side
Try crumbling the burger up and putting it into a whole grain pita w/ hummus