How to Introduce Turkey
Turkey is more than the centerpiece of the picture-perfect Thanksgiving table; it is a surprisingly versatile protein for your little ones. Here are several ideas for preparing turkey for your baby and/or toddler to gobble right up!
Babies: Turkey is a great first food for baby. And it’s especially fun to have your little one enjoy turkey with the rest of the family on Thanksgiving! Since meat can be a choking risk, be sure the turkey is juicy and not dry or crispy. You can try the following methods for serving turkey to your baby. Remember to always watch your baby closely as they eat.
- Turkey Patties: I like to make patties out of ground turkey and then slice them into strips. I then place them on the edge of the Tiny Bowl to make it easy for your baby to pick them up and eat independently.
- Shredded Turkey: It’s important to offer your baby a variety of textures, and one of the much-loved textures can be found in shredded turkey. Make sure the turkey is moist and soft and free of the skin and any grizzle.
- Turkey Meatballs: If your baby has a pincer grasp (fine motor and feeding skill that develops between 9 to 12 months of age) then you can cut up meatballs into smaller slices (as pictured). This is a great way to strengthen the pincer grasp and help your older baby eat the same (slightly modified) food as the rest of the family.
- Puree Turkey: Parents tend to offer turkey in a pureed form to decrease their choking anxiety. But even when presenting turkey in a puree form, you can change up the texture as well as how it’s offered to your baby. Try thinning it out with breastmilk (or formula) and offering it from the Tiny Cup. Or blend the turkey until it becomes a lumpy puree, which is a perfect texture for baby-led spoon feeding with the ezpz Tiny Spoon!
Toddlers: Serving toddlers a new protein like turkey can be difficult if we don’t add a fun factor! For some additional protein ideas, check out our book Making Mealtime ezpz, which highlights easy food art, a protein grocery list and a guide of protein sources. This book will help you and your toddler(s) explore a wide range of protein sources. Here are a few ideas to help get turkey into your tot’s food repertoire.
- Turkey Sandwich: Turkey leftovers are the best! You can change the appearance of the standard open-faced turkey sandwich by using cookie cutters (a heart shape, perhaps?). You can also switch up the bread with a dinner roll, croissant or Hawaiian bread. This makes for ezpz meal planning.
- Turkey Quesadilla: Quesadillas are a mealtime staple for toddlers, and turkey is a simple substitute for chicken. Pro Tip: Use a pizza cutter to easily cut through quesadillas and serve the meal a few minutes faster.
- Turkey Chili: Add shredded turkey to your homemade chili recipe or canned chili to make a quick toddler meal. This is a perfect meal to have your toddler use their Mini Utensils!
- Turkey Scramble: My family always made a turkey scramble recipe for breakfast the morning after Thanksgiving. All you need are eggs, shredded turkey, onions, garlic and your family’s favorite veggies (mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, etc.). Top it off with shredded cheese, sour cream and a sprinkle of chives. Yum!
How are you planning on introducing your little one to the delicious taste of turkey this holiday season? #ezpzfun #thanksgiving
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).