Put Beef on the menu!
Iron-rich foods such as beef or other meats and alternatives are now recommended as first foods for baby at around 6 months of age.
To help babies get enough iron, new guidelines from Health Canada now recommend introducing iron-rich foods at 6 months of age. This differs from the past practice of introducing infant cereal, vegetables and fruit first.
WHY THE CHANGE? Beef and other meats are some of nature’s best sources of high quality protein and contain a form of iron that is most easily absorbed by your baby – better than fortified cereals or other plant protein sources.
What this means to you as a parent
Iron is most easily available from animal sources, such as meat, fish and poultry as compared to infant cereals. It is recommended that babies are offered a daily source of iron, such as beef. Here are some guidelines as to how to get started:
- Breastfeeding is the recommended method of feeding babies and should provide the main source of nutrition as solids are introduced.
- Feed iron-rich foods 2 or more times each day! This means offering meat, such as beef, poultry, fish or meat alternatives to your baby daily.
- To increase absorption of iron from plant foods, including infant cereals, tofu or beans, serve them with meats and/or foods rich in vitamin C, such as broccoli or citrus fruits.
If your baby is not taking any iron-rich foods daily by close to 7 months, talk to your doctor. Always follow the feeding advice given by your health care provider.
If you’re a new parent, you’ve come to the right place!
It’s easy and economical to make your own food for baby – it just makes good sense. Your baby’s ready for solids and needs iron. Beef is one of nature’s best sources of iron AND it fits in perfectly with the rest of the family’s meals – no special baby meals required! It’s easy to see why beef and other meats belong on your baby’s menu. We’ve put together the How-to’s to make beef for baby plus some simple recipes to get you started.
It’s as easy as taking Baby Steps!
Note: Age recommendations are approximate. Help your baby learn to eat foods with different tastes and textures. He/she may only require pureed foods for a very short time, or not at all. Baby should progress to soft, mashed or minced foods quickly and then to soft foods, chopped into small chunks or pieces.
Introduce new foods one at a time
Starting solids is such an exciting time for new parents – there are so many foods and flavours your child has yet to experience!
In order to ensure your baby is tolerating each food well, it is recommended that once a new food is introduced, you wait about three days before moving on to the next new food. As you do this, you will build up your repertoire of foods to freely include in baby’s diet, while ensuring not to miss a food allergy or intolerance if there is one.
Once you have introduced a range of items, you can begin to offer mixed foods using multiple ingredients. Below, we share some of our favourites that are sure to please the whole family, made with iron-rich beef. Just what the doctor ordered!
Baby at the Family Table
Here’s how a few simple wholesome meals can work for the whole family (including the youngest new member).
Harvest Meat LoafWhole wheat couscous, extra lean ground beef and tons of healthy veggies makes this meatloaf a complete and satisfying meal! If making it with baby in mind, brush the Glaze topping on just part of the meat loaf and skip the Worcestershire sauce – serve with a splash of Worcestershire and some chutney or red pepper jelly on the side to season for adults.
As a dietitian and mom, I was definitely keen to get James off to a good start – nutritionally speaking of course! I made his ‘meals’ from our regular family meals. With meat as a regular part of his diet from the get-go, there was no need for me to buy fortified cereals or supplements to meet his iron needs.
Karine Barlow, RD
Oven Roast Beef with Simple Sauce
Oven Roast Beef with Simple SauceFor busy mums, roast beef has to be the easiest meal to make. Just rub it all over with salt and pepper, pop it in the oven and the job is done! Use a meat thermometer to know when the roast is cooked and let it rest while you make a simple pan-sauce for the adults. To make the meal for baby, just trim off the seasoned outside edges of the cooked roast beef slices before you purée the meat.
I always just made my own baby food for Robyn-Ashley from the meals we were eating. The idea of buying jarred baby food just seemed crazy to me – what could be better for our baby than the good food we have from our farm? I made good use of that blender we got as a wedding gift!
Christine Lee-McNaughton, Beef farming mummy blogger
Classic Slow-Simmer Swiss Steak
Classic Beef Swiss SteakThe rich beefy flavour of Blade Steak combines with zippy steak sauce to create this slow-simmer comfort food classic recipe.
As a person who cooks for a living, nothing made me happier than seeing my Gracie enjoy good home cooked food as much as we do! The slow-cooker and simmering steak really saved me when I went back to work – it meant we had dinners that were easy to make and just the right size for our small family.
Christine Lee-McNaughton, Beef farming mummy blogger
Joyce Parslow, Recipe Developer