When your baby is starting to eat solid foods and expanding their repertoire on what they eat, it often gets asked can I give my baby deli meat? It’s one of the most handy items to keep in the fridge and cuts up nicely into little cubes that your baby has an easy time picking up and making it to their mouth.
But is it something that should be given to babies, even after six months when they’re being introduced to more and more foods every day? When it comes to deli meat you should be careful with how much you give your infant, and how frequently.
Cold cuts are a food that most adults don’t think twice about. A turkey or ham sandwich is a very delicious lunch, and makes its way into the lunch bags of Americans of all ages. For babies it’s best that you get them to the one year mark before letting them have this meaty treat.
In the meantime, stick to less-processed cuts of white meat like chicken or turkey breast after six months of age. This will give you more control as to what goes into the meat, and allows you to give your baby meat that is closer to its source rather than processed until it is nearly unrecognizable.
Can I Give My Baby Deli Meat? Answer: Not Recommended
There are plenty of alternatives to deli meat, and just because it’s handy doesn’t mean it’s a good choice. Here is a rundown of reasons not to give it to your baby while they’re developing.
High in Sodium
In order to cure deli meat they have to inject them with loads of salt. This results in a high amount of sodium in things like sliced turkey and chicken breast. Ham slices are notoriously high in salt. Other items like roast beef and bologna have large amounts of sodium as well.
While adults need to watch their sodium intake to prevent things like heart disease, it’s also a good idea for you to monitor the amount of salty foods that your baby consumes. It may seem like they’re a long way off from needing to watch what they eat, but it is the foods that you give them now that will make an impact on the food choices they make later in life. It may not seem like it, but you’re playing a big part in their development, not just now but for many years to come, and perhaps a lifetime.
If injecting the meat with salt was the only thing they did to make it deli meat, this might be forgivable. But sadly the food industry is all about the bottom line and they look to cut costs wherever they can. Perhaps if you went to a reputable butcher that genuinely care about his customers, you might be able to find cold cuts that were good enough to feed your baby.
Today’s corporations put things like extra preservatives, emulsifiers, and nitrates into the meat in order to give it flavor or make it last longer before it goes bad. You can’t trust them with the welfare of your child, nor would you want to. This is not meant to vilify these corporations, it’s just the way they do business. But when you’re contemplating what to feed your baby you have to take into consideration the source of foods, and the motives behind those that are making it.
Organic if Anything
If you’re dead set on giving your baby deli meat, do them a favor and make sure you pay a little more for an organic brand. This will reduce the amount of additives that are put into the meat, and it will increase the quality of the things that are added to it. For example, organic deli meat will be injected with a solution of sea salt, rather than the industrial grade variety that gets put into run of the mill brands.
There are businesses out there that put the best ingredients they can find into their foods, and produce quality goods. It may not be economically feasible to buy entirely organic for the whole family, but when it comes to your new arrival you should give them the best that you can when you can. Feeding your baby high-quality foods will keep giving them a return on your investment for years to come.