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Selecting cuts of meat for baby food

When selecting cuts of meat for baby, it is better to choose a lean and tender cut for baby to easily chew and digest. This post will talk about different cuts that are suitable for baby and young toddlers.

1. Chicken

  • Chicken breast: This is the leaner cut of meat compared to the rest of the chicken. Chicken breast also has more protein compared to other dark meat part of the chicken.
  • Chicken drumstick: When I started introducing meat, chicken breast was the first meat I gave to baby in thinking that it is a more healthier option compared to eat meat with less animal fat. However, chicken drumstick has more iron compared to the white meat portion of the chicken. It is also not as dry and more tender compared to the breast. It has a slightly higher fat content than chicken breast.
  • Ground chicken: Ground meat is very versatile and can be made into meatloaf or meat sauce or meatballs for baby as finger food. It is important to cook ground meats thoroughly as uncooked ground meat will can cause food poisoning.

2. Pork

  • Pork tenderloin: This is the most tender part of the pig. This portion can be sliced and made to stir fry or baked whole with sauce. After the tenderloin is cooked, it can be placed in food processor for easier consumption for baby.
  • Pork butt / shoulder: This is one of the dark meat part of the pig. It is more economical compared to pork tenderloin but because of the location of the meat, there may sometimes be some wild taste so more spice or marinade (low or no salt) needs to be applied.
  • Ground pork: Be sure to choose extra lean ground pork as the pig has higher fat content compared to chicken.

3. Beef – provides high iron content for baby. It can be quite stringy even after food processing so it is important to choose portions which are appropriate for baby.

  • Beef tenderloin: This is a very tender portion of the cow but usually sold as a one big piece at the grocery store. Unless you plan to freeze it and use it for several meals, you may want to consider other parts of the beef.
  • Eye of Round: This portion has very little veins or tendon and low fat content. This portion is also more economical compared to other cuts of the beef.
  • Filet Mignon: A very tender portion of the cow and can be pricey depending on where you buy it.
  • Stewing beef: A rather stringy cut of the beef and requires long cooking time for it to be tender (1 hour+). It needs to be food processed for easy digestion for baby.
  • Ground beef: Choose extra lean ground beef for baby as cow can be high fat content in ground meats.

4. Turkey – a leaner option of poultry meat. Similar to chicken, turkey breast, drumstick and ground turkey meat can be served to baby.

5. Lamb – a leaner option compared to beef.

  • Leg of lamb – a very big piece of meat that requires oven baking for an hour or more. It is dark meat so it is moist and tender when cooked right.
  • Shank – this piece can be braised and quite tender when cooked. A good meat option for baby.
  • Ground meat – there may be wild taste of the lamb if it is ground meat with some fat. May require spices like rosemary to get rid of the wild / game taste.

As a reference, here is a link for safe internal cooking temperature of different meats:

http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/safety-salubrite/cook-temperatures-cuisson-eng.php