Every Bite Counts

Every bite your baby takes counts, especially in the first 24 months of life. Starting your baby with beef as a complementary first food can ensure they get the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.

The Early Years

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Women Infants and Children’s Program (WIC) and now for the first time ever, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend introducing solid foods, like beef, to infants and toddlers, in order to pack in every bite with protein, iron, zinc and choline. Read on to learn how and why to incorporate beef through various life stages.

If you have questions about starting solid foods, always consult your physician or health care provider first.

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Baby Steps

Serving nutritious foods babies and toddlers love to eat, like beef, is simple and easy. Puree, mash, chop or shred meat at various stages to meet your child's changing nutritional and feeding needs. Exploration of solid foods, textures and flavors is a journey the whole family can get in on. We've collected a variety of family meal recipes that can be modified for your youngest families members to experience. Enjoy the adventure!

Puree With Purpose

Baby Puree GB

Around 6 months of age, it is important to introduce nutrient-rich solid foods along with breastmilk or formula. The introduction of these first foods, also known as complementary foods, provides babies with the opportunity to experience new tastes, textures, colors and also teaches them how to enjoy food. Foods like beef can provide babies with a good source of iron, zinc, choline, B vitamins and protein, and can also provide them with a unique taste and texture experience.

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The Big People

Beefy Shepherd's Pie

Satisfying meals for the whole family is the name of the game when it comes to most parent's dinner time playbooks. And while parents are often focused on feeding the little people, the big ones matter too. This recipe is a simple combination of pantry/freezer staples that will help you get dinner done right. While you're at it, set a bit of the cooked beef and peas aside for a quick puree so even your smallest mouth at the table gets to enjoy every baby bite.   

Beefy Shepard's Pie >

ChUnky Chop

Baby Ground Beef

At 6-8 months, your baby may be ready to transition to mashed, lumpy texture foods and combinations of single-ingredient foods. These include mashed banana or avocado, pureed beef and pureed green beans. Your baby may also be ready for soft finger foods that encourage their exploration of new textures and different flavor combinations.

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HASH IT OUT

Ground Beef and sweet potato chunks get wrapped up in a whole-wheat tortilla.

Not a traditional Beef Hash by any sense, this spin on a breakfast classic incorporates Mexican flavors and makes use of everyone's favorite: Lean Ground Beef! This hash is delicious served in whole wheat tortillas with a dollop of the zesty cream sauce and sprinkle of cilantro. Is is breakfast or is it dinner? We'll let you hash it out.

Beefy Sweet Potato Hash >

Fingers & Forks

Baby Steak

During 8-10 months of age your baby can transition to more finger feeding and take a step up in both texture and flavors. It may be the right time to introduce table foods such as shredded or small chopped bites of tender beef, well-cooked pasta, chopped cooked veggies or soft-cooked beans. Between 10-12 months of age babies can start transitioning into chopped family food and practice self-feeding using a training spoon, or the fan favorite: Spork!

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Fancy For You

Espresso Bourbon Steaks with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Creating a family meal shouldn't mean you have to sacrifice flavor, or flare. For those occasions when you're feeling fancy, nothing satisfies quite like a steak. These Espresso-Bourbon Rubbed Steaks with a side of mashed sweet potatoes and green beans set the stage for a fancy meal but also one that fits everyone's needs. Just reserve a small piece of steak and skip the seasoning, grab a few chunks of sweet potatoes before mashing and before you know it...Pinkies, up!

Espresso-Rubbed Steaks with Mashed Sweet Potatoes >

Family Food vs Food Fight

Baby Beef and Pasta

Toddlers (1-3 years old) can be both a challenge and a joy to feed. Their growth slows after the first year, making their appetite large one day and non-existent the next. Toddlers also begin to understand the power of “no” and may test it with food. Fear of new food, food jags (eating the same foods) and picky eating are commonly seen during this stage of childhood. But keep this in mind: Research consistently supports the value and importance of family meals so include your toddler at the family table as often as possible. 

baked Italian Meatballs >

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The Power of Plating

Baby Stew

During this stage, it’s important to expose toddlers to a variety of nutritious foods so they learn to eat a balanced diet. It’s also important to meet nutrient requirements and transition to an eating routine. Nutrition and feeding experts have a few hot tips for feeding toddlers: 1. Offer a variety of foods from all food groups. 2. Vary the cooking methods, presentation, and flavor components. And 3. Repeated exposure, without pressure to eat, is the best way to encourage your toddler to taste and like new foods.

Our Favorite Slow-Cooker Beef Pot Roast Soup >

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THE MORE YOU KNOW

Dive into more nutrition research, expert knowledge and advice as well as recipes that will help you wit the how-to's by visiting Beef It's What's For Dinner. If you have questions about starting solid foods, always consult your physician or health care provider first.