Tofu is often overlooked as a baby food and it is sometimes “feared” by many. Tofu has a strange sort of mystique about it, it’s seen as an odd spongy looking glob and tofu and is thought of as a food for only the “naturists”, earthy-crunchy, vegan types.
What is Tofu, is it Healthy for my Baby and, When can my baby have tofu?
Tofu is a soybean curd; it is unfermented soy that has been in the diets of many cultures for a long time. Tofu is a great source of iron, protein and calcium. Tofu, and all soy products in general, continue to be surrounded in controversy. There are studies proving the wonderful benefits of tofu and studies done that indicate tofu doing harm. Please see below to visit some links at the bottom of this page that point to “the good and the bad” surrounding tofu/soy.
As Tofu is a soy product, you should not offer it to an infant who has any allergy to soy.
Tofu is a very versatile food and can be eaten raw, baked, sauteed and incorporated into soups, broths and grain dishes. Tofu makes a Baby Finger Food for little ones and may also serve a substitute for meats. Tofu (along with other protein sources such as meats) is typically begun around 8 months old as it may be more difficult to digest. As always, please consult your pediatrician about specific foods to feed your baby, especially those that may pose an allergy risk.
Jump to Tofu Baby Meals to view some examples of how to serve your baby tofu.
There are 3 types of Tofu – Silken | Soft | Firm
The Firm has the highest amounts of iron and protein and the second highest of calcium. It’s really misleading to be named “Firm’ as it’s not particularly firm as the word suggests.
4 ounces of Tofu
|Saturated Fat (gm)||1||1||–|
Source: Composition of Foods: Legumes and Legume Products.
United States Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Information Service.
When Can My Baby Have Tofu?
Tofu is a protein food that may be difficult for an immature tummy to digest. Along with Meat and Egg Yolks and other more complex proteins, most pediatricians recommend offering tofu to the baby who is 8 months of age or older. As Tofu is a soy product, you should not offer it to an infant who has any allergy to soy.
It is best to purchase organic and Non-GMO tofu and soybeans when possible!.
Preparing, Storing and Serving Tofu to your baby
What do YOU think about tofu for babies? Visit our blog on the topic of soy.
When you have opened the package of tofu, drain the water and blot the tofu dry with a paper towel. You can then slice it according to what you are going to use it for. If blending or mashing it, it is a good idea to slice it into small cubes.
Tofu may be stored in the fridge for up to 7 days. You must store it in a container of water that is airtight. The water should be changed daily or every 2 days at the least.
Tofu does freeze but it will turn more spongy in texture and oftentimes changes to a darkish caramel colour. Should you choose to freeze it, simply put it in a freezer bag and toss in the freezer or, put the whole container that it came in into the freezer. Thaw it on the counter – do not microwave thaw..
Ideas on how to serve Tofu for big and small alike are below:
- Cut soft or firm tofu into small bite-sized cubes and dust it with crushed cheerios, wheat germ or crushed graham crackers. (cubes work best with Firm tofu but Soft works as well)
- Blend it up with a banana and wheat germ and serve by spoon. You may blend it with any type of fruit(s) like apples, strawberries, blueberries or pears. **Clings to the spoon and is great for older babies who are learning how to self-feed with utensils.**
- Cube it and toss it into soups or broth (prior to seasoning) and give the cubes to baby. Use it as an alternative to meats in “adult” soups.
- Cube it and fry it gently in olive oil, add seasonings of your choice for either adults or babies.
- Mash tofu with cottage cheese, avocado or even mix with hummus. Add seasoning to make a sandwich spread or use as Baby Finger Foods.
- Create your own tofu burgers with mashed tofu, bread crumbs (or baby cereal for baby.), chopped onion (or veggie puree appropriate for your baby’s age.) and your favorite seasonings.
- Use the silken tofu and add fruits, yogurt, and fruit juice to create a Baby Fruit Smoothie.
- Blend tofu, applesauce and squash together for a yummy meal.
- Blend tofu, avocado and pears together
- Blend tofu, blueberries and bananas together
- Blend tofu with sweet potato and carrots
- Blend tofu with broccoli and parsnips
Yummy Sceambled Tofu Recipe
Scrambled Tofu with Mushroom and Green Pepper
We suggest this yummy dish for those babies over 10 months old. You may substitute veggies such as sweet potato dices and carrots, to make this suitable for those babies between 8-10 months old. This is a versatile recipe.
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
- 1 cup (250 mL) chopped sweet green pepper
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 package (175 g) Pete’s Tofu ToGo Thai Tango (Use plain tofu for babies…)
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) soy sauce (Use plain water with a pinch of powdered ginger for babies)
- 1 small tomato, diced
Step 1: In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat and sautee onion for 3 minutes, stirring often.
Step 2: Add green pepper and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes more.
Step 3: Squeeze sauce (or ginger water for babies) over tofu into bowl.
Step 4: Mash it with a fork or crumble with your fingers.
Step 5: Add to skillet with sauce/ginger water. Add soy sauce if making for adults.
Step 6: Cover over medium heat, stirring often until tofu is heated through, about 2 minutes.
Step 7: Add tomato. Cook for 1 more minute. Serve warm
This recipe is from Sunrise-Soy. Wholesomebabyfood.com is not affiliate with nor does it take advertisement from any Soy processor/manufacturer.
FAQ: Can you freeze tofu?
Tofu may be frozen. It is best to freeze it in its original block form though you may cut it into chunks if preferred. You must freeze it in water. When tofu is thawed, you may see that it has changed to a caramel color and it may be a bit spongy. As long as it does not smell bad, these changes are quite normal.
Resources and Learning More about Soy and Tofu
Soy – The “Bad”
Soy – The “Good”
FDA – Health Claims for Soy – also contains information about “the bad”.
Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.