Protein for Babies

How to get protein into your baby’s vegan, vegetarian and omnivore diet.

Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

If your baby is near the 6-month mark, you’re probably doing a lot of thinking about solid foods. Even though he or she will get all the nutrients she needs from breast milk, formula or a combination of the two, it’s a good time to start mixing in natural sources of protein, too. Here are some ideas for ways to add protein to purées for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores. For every ounce of purée, mix in 1 teaspoon of protein. Just be sure to taste what you are serving to baby, and adjust flavors and amounts accordingly. Who wants to eat something that tastes boring and flavorless? You don’t, so neither does your baby.

Before adding anything to your baby’s food, be sure to check with your pediatrician. Also, you should introduce common allergens such as soy and nuts one at a time in case your baby has a reaction. Learn more about allergy symptoms.

Whatever sources of protein you choose to add to your baby’s food, remember to:
1. Keep trying, even if the first, second or third attempts don’t go well (some babies need to taste a food up to 40 times to decide they like it!).
2. Be creative and play around with different combinations.
3. Have fun!

Sources of protein that add minimal or no texture:

For Vegans:

  • Soy milk
  • Hemp oil or powder
  • Silken tofu
  • Soy yogurt
  • Puréed legumes such as peas and beans

For Vegetarians:

  • All items listed in Vegan category
  • Unsweetened yogurt (Greek yogurt has a higher protein count than regular yogurt)
  • Ricotta cheese

For Omnivores:

  • All items listed in Vegan and Vegetarian categories
  • Cooking liquid from cooked meat, poultry or fish

Sources of protein that add texture:

For Vegans:

  • Nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter)
  • Quinoa

For Vegetarians:

  • All items listed in Vegan category
  • Cottage cheese

For Omnivores:

  • All items listed in Vegan and Vegetarian categories
  • Puréed meat, chicken, fish or seafood

Happy cooking, experimenting and feeding!

This article is by Jory Lieber, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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