When can I introduce Beef to my baby?
As mentioned above, most pediatricians in the United States recommend that beef, and other meats and proteins be introduced to a baby when he is between 8-10 months of age. This recommendation is changing however. In many European countries and the UK and Canada, national health services and many pediatricians recommend meats as one of baby’s first foods due to the level of heme iron in meats.
The premise is that offering your baby’s meats earlier rather than later helps him maintain proper levels of iron and ensures adequate levels of zinc and protein too.
The Goodness of Beef for Baby Food
Beef is high in protein and iron and also contains calcium and folate. It is one of the most easily digested of the meats you will feed to your baby. Chicken is most often recommended to be baby’s first meat. Turkey, like Chicken, is high in protein and iron. Turkey also makes a great first meat for baby.
Beef (100 grams – roasted eye of round, trimmed 1/8″ fat) – Protein 29.73 g
Vitamin A – 0
Vitamin C – 0
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – .06 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – .16 mg
Niacin – 5.34 mg
Folate – 10 mcg
Contains some other vitamins in small amounts.
Potassium – 241 mg
Phosphorus – 186 mg
Magnesium – 20 mg
Calcium – 6 mg
Sodium – 38 mg
Iron – 2 mg
Also contains small amounts of manganese, copper and zinc.
How to select and store Beef for baby food
When selecting beef to make for your baby, select a cut that is mostly lean. You ideally want to purchase a cut of beef that has light marbling (lines of fat running throughout) as a bit of fat makes the meat more tender. Some cuts of beef that would be good for baby food are:
Eye of Round roast | Top Sirloin | Lean Fresh Ground beef
The best way to cook Beef for Baby Food
I always recommend cooking any food by baking or roasting it. Baking helps retain the most nutrients with steaming being another method to retain nutrients.
Using a crock pot to cook and stew meats is another great way to cook beef. Keep in mind that nutrients will leach into the liquid that you add to the crock pot.
If your baby is not used to the taste of beef and you are making a plain beef puree, using the juice/liquid from the crock pot may make the flavor too strong. Strain the liquid if need be and use water to make beef puree instead. You may need to mix in a bit of fruit or veggie to the beef to help baby enjoy the first taste.
To poach beef, it is easiest to first cut the beef into dices – think of stew meat.
Sometimes I sprinkle the beef with a bit of olive oil and then season it, stir to combine – and if I have time I brown it as well.
Add water or broth to a sauce pan – enough to cover the meat.
Bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil and then turn heat down to simmer.
Simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Fork test and cut into the meat if necessary to check for doneness.
To bake or roast beef, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly grease a baking sheet/roasting pan with olive oil
Place the beef onto the baking sheet/pan, lightly season if desired and if your baby has had spices – no salt!
Sometimes I rub the beef with a bit of olive oil and then season it – and if I have time I brown it as well.
Place baking sheet in the oven and bake until the juices run clear – baking times will vary depending on the size and cut of the beef you are cooking.
A general rule is that you should cook meat for 20 minutes per pound.
A 2 pound eye of round roast may take up to 45 minutes-1 hour or roasting time..
Cut the beef into pieces or use stew beef. I like to also use eye of round or tenderloin. You may also braise or brown the beef prior to adding it to the crockpot if you wish. This is not really necessary and if you are pressed for time, you may just skip it.
Add the beef to the crockpot and cover in liquid – broth, water or a combination of the two.
Turn crockpot to low and cook for 6-9 hours.
A Few Beef Baby Food Recipes
Beefy “Hash” (a twist on corned beef hash) – a great meal for self-feeders and everyone else too!
- 6 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3/4 pound of thinly sliced stew beef cubes or 1/2 ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup beef broth (homemade or low sodium/low fat)
Step 1: In a large deep skillet, over medium heat, combine the potatoes, beef cubes, onion, and beef broth.
Step 2: Cover and simmer until potatoes are of mashing consistency, and the liquid is almost gone.
Step 3: Add more liquid as needed.
Step 4: Mix well, and serve either mashed, pureed a wee bit or as finger food.
Beef Puree (Basic)
- 1 cup cold and cooked boneless beef – chopped into chunks no bigger than 1 inch
- 1/4 c cooking juice or plain water
Step 1: Place beef chunks in blender or food processor and puree until a powdery mix is formed.
Step 2: Slowly add water and puree further until a smooth consistency is created.
Step 3: Add as much liquid as needed to make a consistency appropriate for your baby. You may add veggies or fruits to this puree as you like.
Beefy Apple Purée (Basic)
- 1 cup cold and cooked boneless beef chopped into chunks no bigger than 1 inch
- 1/4 c cooking juice or plain water
- 1/4 cup applesauce
Step 1: Place meat chunks in blender or food processor and puree until a powdery mix is formed.
Step 2: Slowly add water, then applesauce, then water etc. and puree further until a smooth consistency is created.
Step 3: Add as much liquid as needed to make a consistency appropriate for your baby.
Sweet Potato Beef Shepard’s Pie
- 2 & 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed (or 2 tablespoons pre crushed garlic)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup beef stock (make your own.)
- 2 eggs, beaten (if using egg yolks only for those under 12 months old, use 4 egg yolks)
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 baked and mashed sweet potatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Step 1: Brown the beef in a large skillet then remove the beef and place it in a bowl for later.
Step 2: In a medium sized saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter and then saute the onions and garlic until they are clear. Remove the saucepan from the stovetop and stir in flour (like you would when making a roux). Gradually stir in the beef stock. Bring the mixture to boiling, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Gradually stir in eggs (or egg yolks). Add the sauce, rosemary, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to meat; mix well.
Step 3: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an baking pan with non-stick vegetable spray. (We like to use a light coating of pure olive oil.)
Step 4: Spoon half the meat mixture into prepared pan.
Step 5: Puree the sweet potatoes in food processor with remaining butter, nutmeg and pepper. Spread 1 cup puree over the meat. Add the remaining meat mixture and then spread over the remaining pureed sweet potatoes.
Step 6: Bake for 35 minutes or until heated through.
Baby Beef Stew
- 1/2 cup cubed cooked beef
- 1 peeled potato
- ¼ cup shelled fresh or frozen peas
- 1 peeled carrot
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1/4 cup uncooked pasta (try di’talini as it’s small and makes for great finger food.)
- 4 cups of water
Step 1: Wash vegetables thoroughly and chop very fine.
Step 2: Simmer the veggies for 20 minutes or until softened
Step 3: Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes longer or until very soft. Drain but save the water.*****
Step 4: Mash or puree the mix until it is of a consistency adequate for your baby.
Cheesy Beefy Shepard’s Pie
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup beef or veggie stock (make your own stocks.)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 cups mashed cooked white Russet potatoes
- 1 cup shredded Colby longhorn cheese (optional)
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and lightly grease (use olive oil) a 2 quart baking dish.
Step 2: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, stir and cook ground beef, onion and celery until juices run clear. Drain. Pour mixture into baking dish with vegetable soup and thyme; stir well. Spread mashed potatoes on top.
Step 3: Bake 20 minutes and remove from the oven. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and bake 5 minutes more, or until cheese has melted.
Some Foods Good to Mix With Beef
- Green Beans
- Sweet Potato
- White Potato
Freezing Times for Homemade Meat Purees and Baby Food Cubes
Baby Food Cubes May Be Safely Kept in the Freezer for 3 Months. It is preferable, but not an absolute must, to use the cubes within 1 month however. Meats are more unstable when frozen so it is best to use Meat Purées as soon as possible.