What Can Babies Eat On Thanksgiving? Foods To Avoid & To Enjoy
These are the best foods for Baby to enjoy on their first Thanksgiving.
This Thanksgiving, you shall gather with family and friends to feast. The older kids shall stare longingly at the pie and attempt to eschew their greens. You shall stare longingly at the unopened chardonnay and attempt to eschew your Uncle Rick's many conspiracy theories. And Uncle Rick shall stare longingly at his phone, as he waits for the Youtube clip he wants to show you to buffer. But what about the babies around the table celebrating their first Thanksgiving? What foods can babies safely enjoy on Thanksgiving? I mean, other than that which is produced via mammary or by stirring formula powder? It might seem like there isn’t a whole lot a wee one can sample on Turkey Day. But, there are actually many dishes a baby can try. But, what are the best Thanksgiving foods for Baby? We talked to the experts about what babies that are old enough for solids might be able to eat on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving food babies should avoid
When feeding a baby under 1, Malina Malkani, registered dietician nutritionist and author, says to “be sure to avoid serving any dishes that include honey (even if they are cooked or baked) as honey can be tainted with a bacteria that is dangerous for infants.” Likewise, she reminds parents to avoid foods that increase choking risks, including popcorn and anything that is hard, round, and shaped like a marble.
Do not give Baby any undercooked meats or poultry, says Crystal Karges, a registered dietitian nutritionist, as they also have the potential to make them sick. It's important to be mindful that your child may be allergic to certain foods, and be aware of what is on the table and what ingredients or common allergens might be new to your baby.
Here are the Thanksgiving foods babies should avoid:
- Honey (for babies under 12 months)
- Popcorn, seeds, or anything hard or round that could be a choking hazard (this includes things like pieces of uncooked apple or carrot)
- Unpasteurized cheeses
- Undercooked meats/poultry
- Potential allergens (nuts, fish, wheat, eggs, soy)
Thanksgiving foods that are safe for Baby to eat
This will depend on your baby’s age and what your pediatrician has cleared them to try. Because it’s often a busy, chaotic day, Thanksgiving is probably not the time to introduce new foods. You should also be mindful that babies need constant, close supervision when they’re eating, so only present them with food when you’re able to give them your full attention.
So, what can babies eat on Thanksgiving? Turns out, the star of the show is a great choice for Baby. “Roasted, moist turkey is a healthy and delicious protein for new eaters. For a smooth consistency, blend it with a moist veggie like a butternut squash. Choose dark meat turkey, which is both more moist for safe swallowing, and has a higher fat content, which is needed for growing babies,” says Silber. If your baby is ready to eat fingers foods, Silber says to be sure to cut food into small, fingernail size pieces.
Mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes are other good dishes to sample, according to Karges. However, she reminds parents to make sure there aren't any added ingredients that could potentially be choking hazards or allergens, like nuts or bacon bits. Steamed and roasted vegetables — think green beans and peas — are also great things to offer.
- Turkey (preferably darker meat)
- Mashed potatoes
- Steamed or fully cooked veggies (green beans, carrots, peas)
- Sweet potatoes
Of course, you’re probably excited to give baby a bit of pumpkin pie. I mean, we’re all excited for the pie. However, Malkani says added sugars aren’t really recommended for babies under the age of 2. “A tiny taste of pumpkin pie or another sugar-sweetened dessert is fine, but because babies have high nutrient needs and small stomachs, we want to maximize the nutrition in the foods we offer.”
Enjoy the holiday, and feel free to let your baby try foods that aren’t out of their normal routine in terms of textures and flavors. They — and you — might be so busy enjoying all the hustle and bustle that food is an afterthought, and that’s OK, too.
Malina Malkani Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and author
Crystal C. Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC
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