Chicken for Babies: Nutritional Value, Health Benefits & Recipes

Introducing Chicken to Babies

Medically Reviewed By
Gayatri Dawda (Nutritionist)
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Chicken is a good source of protein which is the primary building block in the body. The low-fat content of chicken also makes it a healthy meat choice to add to your diet. But if you’re planning to add chicken on your little one’s plate, you need to first, find out whether his body is ready for it or not.

Video : Introducing Chicken to Babies – When and How?

When Can Your Baby Eat Chicken?

Chicken should be added to a baby’s diet gradually, i.e., once he has started on solids and is eating dal and rice. Once your baby turns six months of age, you can give him dal water and rice water, then boiled and mashed potato, boiled egg yolk, etc. Once he completes, eight months of age, you can give him boiled chicken in the form of puree. You can puree the chicken and give him not more than two tablespoons each day.

Nutritional Facts of Chicken

Chicken is, no doubt, packed with nutrients that can benefit your baby. Here is a table with the nutritional information of chicken. The table given below represents the nutrients present in 100 gms of uncooked chicken.

Nutritional component Nutrient value per 100 gram
Protein 31 gm
Fats 3.6 gm
Energy 165 kcals
Vitamin A 21 IU
Vitamin B1 0.1 mg
Vitamin B2 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3 13.7 mg
Vitamin B6 0.6 mg
Vitamin B12 0.3 mcg
Folate 4 mcg
Vitamin C 0
Vitamin D 0
Vitamin E 0.3 mg
Vitamin K 0.3 mcg
Pantothenic acid 1 mg
Calcium 15 mg
Iron 1 mg
Sodium 74 mg
Phosphorous 228 mg
Potassium 256 mg
Magnesium 29 mg
Zinc 1 mg
Selenium 27.6 mcg

Amazing Health Benefits of Chicken for Babies

Amazing Health Benefits of Chicken for Babies

The various nutrients present in chicken offers the following health benefits to a baby.

1. Muscle Growth

Chicken is a rich source of protein which is essential to promote the growth of muscles of the baby. It is also found that proteins from animal sources are easily digested by the body when compared to plant proteins.

2. Enhances the Circulatory System

The iron content in chicken aids the production of red blood cells in the body. Chicken also has potassium which can keep the blood vessels in the body healthy.

3. Boosts Immunity

Chicken has micronutrients like zinc and magnesium which can build immunity in your baby and prevent infections and ailments.

Best Ways to Cook Chicken for your Baby

If you want to start giving your baby chicken, you will need to know the best ways to do that. Here are some recommended ways to introduce chicken to your baby’s diet.

  • Bake the chicken at 190 degree Celsius for 20 minutes. You will need to cut them into small, even piece before you bake it. Once baked, you can puree it for babies or shred it for kids over 12 months of age.
  • Cut the chicken into thin slices and poach it. You will need to add just enough water in a saucepan to submerge the chicken. Boil this for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked. You can strain the water and use it for some other dish or puree the chicken along with the water and give it to your baby.
  • Boil small pieces of chicken in a saucepan with enough water to submerge it completely. You will need to boil it for 30 minutes or more and puree it. This is the best way of cooking chicken as it kills pathogens and softens the chicken meat.

Can Babies Be Allergic to Chicken?

When introducing any new foods to your baby you need to be cautious about the possibility of allergic reactions. Always introduce your baby one food at a time. If he shows any adverse reaction, immediately consult a doctor.

Babies with a sensitive digestive system and immune system have a risk of developing reactions to chicken. Although cooking can reduce the allergens in the baby, you should always look out for the signs of an allergy. Symptoms of an allergy can be:

  • Swelling: Swollen face, neck, eyelids, throat, and nose indicate an allergy. Your baby may also find it difficult to open his eyes or breathe.
  • Pain in the abdomen: Abdominal cramping or pain along with diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • Rashes or hives on the skin: Itchy red bumps on the body.
  • Fatigue: Weakness and dullness in the baby.

Should You Add Salt to Your Baby’s Chicken Soup?

Do not add any salt when you make chicken soup for infants. It is also best to not salt to any food that you give to your baby when he is still younger than a year. This will allow him to experience and grow the like the natural taste of foods without any add-ons.

Some Safety Tips for Serving Chicken to your Baby

When introducing chicken to your little one, here are a few safety tips that you can follow to avoid any complications that can come along with inadequate handling and storage of the chicken.

  • Buy organic chicken and if you’re buying a whole chicken, ensure that it is plump. The chicken should be very bony. If you are purchasing non-organic chicken, beware of chicken that has been injected with hormones to be plumped unnaturally.
  • Buy chicken with opaque skin, and not the one with spots on it.
  • When you’re buying frozen chicken, keep an eye out for any frozen liquid in the package. Avoid buying frozen chicken with frozen liquid, as this could mean that the chicken was thawed and frozen again, which essentially makes it unsafe to eat.
  • Do not keep the fresh chicken in the refrigerator for more than two days.
  • Thaw frozen chicken in the refrigerator. Unless you want to cook the chicken right away. Do not thaw it in the microwave. This is because the chicken may begin cooking on the inside and if left aside for later, may cultivate bacteria.
  • Keep chicken away from other food items when preparing it to avoid any cross-contamination. Ensure that you wash your hands, the cutting board, and the utensils after cutting the chicken.
  • You can check if the chicken is done by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of it. If you see clear juice running, instead of pink juice, the chicken is done. You may also want to take the extra precaution of using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of a whole chicken should be 82.2 degree Celsius. Chicken with bone should have an internal temperature of 76.6 degree Celsius. Boneless chicken should have an internal temperature of 71.1 degree Celsius.

Healthy Chicken Recipes for Babies

Here are some delicious baby chicken recipes that you can try for your baby.

1. Chicken Puree

This basic chicken puree recipe for baby is the best way to introduce chicken to your little one.

What you require

  • 2 cups of boneless chicken, chopped
  • Water

How to prepare

  • Boil or pressure cook the chicken until it is tender.
  • Cool the chicken and puree it in a blender.
  • If you’ve roasted or poached the chicken, you may have to cut the chicken into smaller pieces to make it easier for blending.

2. Chicken and Sweet Potato Puree

Rich in vitamins and minerals, both sweet potatoes and chicken can be a great addition to your baby’s diet.

What you require

  • 2 cups of chopped sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups of boneless chicken, chopped
  • Water

How to prepare

  • Cook the chicken and sweet potatoes separately until they are tender.
  • Transfer them to a blender and puree them.

3. Chicken Stew

If you want to wait a little longer to introduce proper solids to your baby but would like him to get the nutrients of chicken, chicken stew is a great option.

What you require 

  • 1 cup chicken with bone
  • Water

How to prepare: 

  • Boil or pressure cook the chicken for 30 minutes to allow the nutrients of the chicken to seep into the water.
  • Let the stew cool and strain it before serving it to your baby.

4. Apples and Chicken Puree

This recipe is simple, nutritious, and delicious.

What you require: 

  • ¼ cup chicken, boneless
  • ¼ cup apples without seeds or homemade applesauce

How to prepare: 

  • Cook the chicken and the apple separately until they are tender.
  • In a blender, puree both the ingredients to achieve the required consistency.

5. Chicken, Rice, and Peach Puree

This is another chicken with fruit combination which babies will love to eat.

What you require: 

  • ½ cup chicken, boneless
  • 2 cups of cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 1 ripe peach
  • 1 tablespoon breast milk or formula

How to prepare: 

  • Cook the chicken and rice separately.
  • Peel the peach and remove the pit.
  • Puree the peach, milk, rice, and chicken in the blender to the required consistency.

Ensure that you add chicken to your little one’s diet with proper caution. Always discuss with your baby’s doctor about the right time, quantity, and the best way to introduce it to your child.

Also Read: High-Calorie Weight Gain Foods for Babies

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