Bone Broth is a Great First Food for Babies!!
Bone broth (or meat stock) isn't a common first food for babies, but this nutrient-dense food can be a great source of vitamins and minerals, among other nutrients, that are essential for the health and development of children. This article covers the key benefits of bone broth (and meat stock) for babies and children, the best age to introduce it, and ways to get babies and kids to eat/drink this nutrient-dense food. Also included are Dr. Alyssa's original bone broth gummy recipes!
This article was written in collaboration with Dr. Alyssa, an expert in Holistic Baby-led Weaning™. For more information about first foods,
Want to hear more about Holistic BLW, listen to Alyssa's Episode on The Jessica Haizman Podcast (Episode #45, Holistic Baby Led Weaning with Dr. Alyssa)
What is Bone Broth? What is Meat Stock? Bone broth is a savory and nutrient-dense liquid, often used in cooking (i.e., soups, sauces, etc.), but it can also be consumed straight as a nourishing beverage. Bone broth is typically made by simmering animal bones (and connective tissue) for a long period of time, typically 12-48 hours. Vegetables can also be added for flavor and added nutrients. Meat stock, on the other hand, is made with meat on bone and connective tissue and is generally cooked for a much shorter period of time (around 2-5 hours).
What are the benefits? Both bone broth and meat stock are beneficial, but they do have different nutrient profiles due to their differing cooking methods. Because bone broth is simmered for a longer period of time, it's thought to contain a higher concentration of minerals than meat stock. Some claim that bone broth also contains a higher amount of amino acids (protein) for the same reason, though others claim that the prolonged cooking leads to these proteins being denatured, resulting in a lower amount. Meat stock typically contains more gelatin and collagen proteins and lower histamine levels (this is really only an issue for those with histamine intolerance). If your little one is dealing with histamine intolerance, you may want to consider meat stock over bone broth. Due to the unique nutrient profile, bone broth and meat stock can be incredibly supportive of our baby's health.
Some of the key benefits are listed below:
-Supports gut health -May reduce the risk for food allergies or intolerances (by strengthening the gut lining) -Promotes strong bones and teeth -Promotes a broad taste palate -Supports the immune system When and How Much Bone broth or stock can be introduced as soon your baby is ready to start solids, typically around 6 months of age. Before the age of 1, bone broth should be given in small amounts (1-2oz), as it's important for breastmilk or formula to remain the primary source of nutrition during the first year of life. Eventually, solids will become the primary source of nutrition (around 12 months of age), and at this time, the amount of broth given can increase, but it still should not displace the consumption of solid foods. Source & Quality Matters Bone broth or meat stock made with bones sourced from grass-fed and pasture-raised animals will generally be more nutrient-dense and low in toxins. The environment the animals are raised in directly affects their health, which directly affects the quality of their bones. Making broth at home is a great way to ensure quality, reduce food waste, and save money! If you're looking for quality store-bought brands, make sure to look over the ingredients. I recommend avoiding brands with artificial flavors/colors, preservatives, gums, sugars, and oils... to name a few. Most quality broths will include short ingredient lists with easily recognized real food ingredients. How to get babies and kids to eat bone broth or meat stock
You can give it straight - on a spoon or in a cup, or you can mix it into foods like scrambled eggs, soups, and even gummies! Thriving Foundation's Bone Broth Gummies Recipe
These gummies are the perfect way for little ones to consume bone broth! This recipe is specifically tailored for new eaters, as these gummies are quite soft (allowing your baby to easily squish them with just their gums). Keep in mind these are soft enough that once your baby does "chomp" a piece off, it will start to dissolve as they work it around in their mouth. Some babies love these gummies, and some aren't a fan of the texture. If your baby isn't a fan, try giving them bone broth on a spoon or in a cup. You can always try re-introducing the gummies again after a few weeks.
Ingredients: 1 cup bone broth or meat stock (chicken or beef, chicken has a milder flavor) *use THRIVING15 for 15% off bone broth 4 teaspoons gelatin *use code HOLISTICBLW for 10% off gelatin Instructions: 1. Pour bone broth into a saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over the broth. Let sit (to allow it to bloom) for 3-5 minutes. (no heating) 2. Turn on the heat to low-medium, and gently heat until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir frequently. 3. Once dissolved, pour the mix until the dish is lined with parchment paper. I used a square glass dish about 5x5in.
4. Place in the fridge to allow gummies to firm for about 3-4 hours. 5. Cut gummies into finger-length pieces. 6. Serve! *Gummies can be stored in the fridge for about 1 week. You can also freeze them to serve later.
Thriving Foundation's STRAWBERRY Bone Broth Gummies Recipe
These gummies are the same as the bone broth gummies above, only sweeter! The only extra ingredients here are strawberries and coconut oil. If your little one doesn't seem to enjoy the flavor of the plain bone broth gummies, give these a try! Ingredients: 1 cup bone broth chicken or beef; chicken has a milder flavor, though (Use code THRIVING15 for 15% off bone broth) 2 tablespoons gelatin (use code HOLISTICBLW for 10% off gelatin) 2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen) 1.5-2 Tablespoons coconut oil Instructions: 1. Place coconut oil and strawberries in a saucepan and heat over low-medium heat until soft/cooked. There's not an exact time here, but you should be able to mash them easily once cooked. 2. While the strawberries are cooking, pour the bone broth into a bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the broth, and let sit for about 5 minutes. 3. Once the strawberries are cooked, transfer to a blender and blend/puree until well blended. Then add the broth/gelatin mix to the blender and blend on low until well mixed. 4. Pour the mix into a dish (lined with parchment paper). I used a 6-cup glass rectangular dish. 5. Place in the fridge to allow gummies to firm for about 2 hours. 6. Cut gummies into finger-length pieces. 7. Serve!
*Gummies can be stored in the fridge for about 1 week. You can also freeze them to serve later. Be sure to tag @thrivingfoundations and @jessicahaizman on IG if you give these a try!
A very special thanks to Dr. Alyssa for sharing some of the ample amount of knowledge that she has about Baby-Led Weaning and supporting your baby's gut health from the very first bite. Her course (and Instagram) provides jaw-dropping information about starting your baby on solids, and I highly recommend taking it. You will finish the course and feel fully confident in how, what, and when to feed your baby. (And if you ever hesitate, you can always refer back to it!) In addition, I have pulled her resources back up when my baby was teething, constipated
irritable, or I just needed some new inspiration.