As your baby continues to grow, it's time to expand their palate and introduce new flavors into their diet. Chicken, with its tender and versatile nature, is a wonderful protein-packed option that can be a delightful addition to their mealtime adventures.
Just like meat, chicken is rich in essential nutrients that are crucial for your baby's growth and development. It contains iron, zinc, B12, B6, choline, and selenium, all of which play vital roles in supporting your little one's overall health. Additionally, chicken is an excellent source of protein, providing all the necessary amino acids your baby needs for healthy growth.
Wondering when to start introducing chicken to your baby's diet? You can begin incorporating chicken into their meals when they reach 6 months of age.
We, at Slurp It Up, are here to guide you through the process of safely introducing chicken to your baby's diet, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable transition. From understanding when to start introducing chicken, to preparing it in a way that is both nutritious and easy for your little one to handle, we've got you covered every step of the way.
How to Ensure Your Baby Gets the Best Out of Chicken?
Before we look at yummy chicken recipes or plans for your baby, let’s look at some basic dos and don’ts:
1) Organic or grass-fed chicken
Organic or grass-fed chicken is a better option provided it’s available and affordable for you. If not, regular chicken is perfectly fine!
2) You can serve chicken as:
- Pureed chicken
- Chicken meatballs
- Chicken curries or gravies that also have other veggies
- Grilled or roasted chicken
- Shredded chicken
- Chicken soup
- Minced chicken as is, or in the form of patties or cutlets
3) Chicken thigh or leg
Because chicken thigh or leg meat contains greater amounts of iron, they’re a good option for babies. Also, when this meat is cooked well, it becomes moist and tender.
4) Bone-in or boneless?
You can serve chicken with bone safely to your baby. As your baby gnaws on the bone, they’re also developing their chewing skills and strengthening their jaw muscles. Not only this, but it also helps your baby explore and develop a taste for new textures and flavors.
Chicken, like meat, can be a part of your baby’s meals once or twice a week, so as to ensure your baby gets a nutritionally balanced diet that is also varied in taste.
5) Allergies and other precautions
Chicken is not a common allergen, but all babies are different and how they respond to a new food type is something we have to keep a close watch on! The best way to keep your baby safe from possible food-borne bacteria is to ensure you serve well-cleaned and well-cooked chicken and meat at all times.
In very, very rare cases, chicken can trigger an allergic reaction called FPIES (food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome). But this is not very common, so don’t be scared to introduce chicken to your baby. If you notice any of these symptoms (vomiting, gastric discomfort, and fever) in your baby 2-4 hours after they’ve eaten chicken, consult your doctor. (FPIES is very rare and is more likely to occur in babies whose immediate family members already have an allergy to chicken/meat.)
However, it’s also common for babies to vomit after they consume eggs or chicken for the very first time. This is more like a first-time reaction because a new type of food has entered their body. Once they get used to it, they’re likely to start enjoying and digesting it well.
Your pediatrician is the best person to consult if you have any doubts with regard to what’s best for your little one.
6) Well-cooked chicken
Never offer raw or undercooked chicken to children. Chicken and any meat always must be well cooked, moist, and succulent.
7) Frozen chicken
Many families use frozen meat and that’s completely fine. But once any meat has been thawed or defrosted, it cannot be put back into the freezer for later consumption. It’s best to cook and consume it immediately.
To avoid risk of cross-contamination, it’s a good idea to have separate chopping boards for veggies and meats. Another precaution you can take is to wash the knife thoroughly if you use the same knife for meat and veggies.