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Brainfood for Baby: Adding Offal to the Plate

Did you know that at seven months of age a baby needs more iron than their dad? Babies have high nutrient requirements (especially for iron) yet small tummies, therefore every bite counts. Nose-to-tail foods, namely offal, are great complementary, protein foods that can deliver a lot of nutritional goodness needed for optimal growth and development.

Silky smooth purée is the aim of the game when first introducing solids at around six months of age. Cooked veges and fruit, with skin and pips removed (cooked if needed), are important, offering a range of flavours for babies to get used to while delivering vitamins, minerals, carbohydrate and fibre. For a baby’s protein, fat, minerals and B vitamin needs, particularly vitamin B12, meat can play a key role in contributing to their nutrient intake. With a lot in a little, introducing meat, particularly red meat and especially organ meat, can be a game changer when it comes to the all-important iron factor.

Here's one of our recipes called Lamb's Liver and Vegetables that simply takes pan-fried lamb's fry combining it with simmered veges for an iron-rich purée.

Lamb's liver, commonly called lamb's fry, or kidney are great places to start with nose-to-tail eating. Both foods are highly nutritious and economical, with a little going a long way to provide the nutrients baby needs at a time when they are rapidly growing. Liver and kidney may not be common in households, but given this is a time where a baby’s diet is starting from scratch, parents may like to explore outside their usual diet and experiment with their own taste buds too. And who knows, parents may get some better nutrition in their own meal times along the way too.

This Iron-Rich Casserole takes a slow cook beef cut with kidney, combined with veges and some herbs to produce a flavourful, nourishing meal for the whole family to enjoy.

Tips & Further Information

Before you head off to experiment with liver or kidney for your baby and family, here's some tips and tricks to consider:

  • Keep a piece of liver in the freezer and simply grate off the amount required each time. Add the frozen shavings to simmering, almost cooked vegetables in the final 5 minutes of cooking. Mash or purée the vegetable/liver mix.
  • Avoid giving your baby more than three teaspoons (15 grams) of liver a week. While liver is an excellent source of iron, it is also rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for health but too much can be harmful.
  • You can store leftover serves in ice-cube trays in the freezer. Heat each serve as required.
  • For more information on healthy babies and toddlers including ages and stages with food textures click here to download a free ‘Fuelled by Iron’ booklet.

Recipe Ideas

So let's take a closer look at how we may introduce organ meat.

Here's one of our recipes called Lamb's Liver and Vegetables that simply takes pan-fried lamb's fry and combines with simmered veges for an iron-boosting purée.

Before you head off to experiment with liver for your baby and family, here's some tips and tricks to consider:

When first introducing liver to your baby, keep a piece in the freezer and simply grate off the amount required each time. Add the frozen shavings to simmering, almost cooked vegetables in the final 5 minutes of cooking. Mash or purée the vegetable/liver mix.

You can store leftover serves in ice-cube trays in the freezer. Heat each serve as required.

While liver is an excellent source of iron, it is also high in vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for health but too much can be harmful to babies. Limit cooked liver to 15 grams per week.

When first introducing liver to your baby, keep an uncooked piece in the freezer and simply grate a small amount of frozen liver into simmering, almost cooked vegetables in the final 5 minutes of cooking before purēeing.

This Iron-Rich Casserole takes a slow cook beef cut with kidney, combined with veges and some herbs to produce a flavourful, nourishing meal for the whole family to enjoy. Let us know if you give them a go, and share your family's reaction.

More Info

If you are considering feeding your baby a vegetarian or vegan diet, I strongly suggest seeking the advice of a nutrition expert, a Registered Nutritionist, or Dietitian.

Posted by Fiona Windle

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