Our blog introduces you to Gerber baby food with meat. It covers the most important topic about gerber baby food. You’ll find information about what to feed your baby, as well as which foods are harmful, and why certain foods are ideal for your baby.
Gerber Baby Food With Meat
From the very first time your baby’s chubby little fingers curled around yours— you knew you were all-in. In that moment, you made a promise to do anything to keep her happy, healthy and strong. At Gerber, we make the same promise—to never settle for anything less than the most nutritious, delicious food for your baby. Because, the truth is, you’d do absolutely anything for your baby. And so would we.
Gerber 2nd Foods baby food recipes help expose babies to a variety of tastes and ingredients. Introduce your little one to the goodness of Chicken, Ham, Beef and Turkey — with 7–8g of protein per jar. Meat and poultry are also top food sources of zinc for baby’s diet.
Gerber 2nd Foods Meat & Poultry Purees are lovingly made and quality tested—inspected for wholesomeness by the USDA and prepared with no artificial flavors or colors.
- NEW TASTES: Continue your baby’s food explorations! Gerber 2nd Foods will expose them to a variety of tastes & ingredient combinations to help them accept new flavors. Non-GMO Project verified.
- WHOLESOME SOURCE OF PROTEIN: Our meats & poultry are among the best food sources for zinc for babies. Inspected by the USDA, they contain 7 grams of protein per jar & no added salt, artificial flavors or colors.
- PUREED GOODNESS: Introduce your little one to the goodness of fruits, veggies & other wholesome ingredients. Our baby food is lovingly made & quality tested before it’s good enough to be called Gerber.
- WHOLESOME OPTIONS: Introduce your infant or toddler to the goodness of fruits, veggies & other wholesome ingredients with Gerber pureed baby food, formula, cereals, snack cups, fruit pouches & more.
- The health and safety of your little one has been and will always be Gerber’s highest priority. We’re a leader in infant nutrition, not just because we grow food that will feed your little one, but also because we know what nourishment your little one need.
Meat baby food
Meat is a great first food for babies and it can be made into a baby food puree, mashed into a chunky puree, served on the bone, shredded, or served in strips as a finger food or for baby-led weaning. These 6 meat baby food ideas are simple, healthy, and quick to make using beef, chicken, turkey, lamb and pork. This guide is perfect for babies 6 months and up!
Serving your baby meat from the start might seem like an unconventional first choice, but meat is an extremely nutrient-dense food for babies 6 months and up.
This guide will give you 6 easy ways to incorporate meat 🍗 into your baby’s diet – served as a baby food puree, mashed with veggies, served on the bone, made into meatballs, served in strips, shredded or ground. You can serve meat to baby doing purees or baby-led weaning. These recipes are great for babies 6 months – 2 years of age!
REASONS TO LOVE THESE MEAT RECIPES FOR BABY
- can be served as a baby food puree
- also great for baby-led weaning or the finger food stage
- easy to have one meal for the entire family
- excellent sources of protein, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium and niacin
- good sources of iron, vitamin B6, and phosphorous
- puree and ground meat are freezer-friendly
BENEFITS OF MEAT FOR BABY
Different meats will have different nutrient profiles, but in general, meat is an excellent source of protein, which is essential for proper growth and development of all organ systems and for maintaining and repairing tissues. It is considered a complete protein, meaning it has all of the amino acids that are needed to make protein.
Meat tends to be a good source of iron, needed for making red blood cells and for neurodevelopment, and zinc, needed for growth and development and supporting the immune system. Animal sources, including meat, are high in B12, which is essential for brain development and healthy red blood cells.
BEST MEAT TO SERVE BABY
There are a variety of meats your baby can eat right from the start! And with so many options on how to serve them, your baby will never get bored. Try serving your baby a new meat dish every week for maximum exposure.
- Beef: served on the bone (ribs), made into meatballs, ground, in strips, shredded or pureed
- Chicken: served on the bone (drumsticks), made into meatballs, ground, in strips, shredded or pureed
- Turkey: served on the bone (drumsticks), made into meatballs, ground, in strips, shredded or pureed
- Lamb: served on the bone (lamb chops), made into meatballs or ground
- Pork: served in strips, shredded, made into meatballs, ground or pureed
You will want to stay away from any processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs, store-bought sausage, ham, deli meat, etc, ideally as long as possible, but at least until 1 year of age, since processed meats tend to be full of preservatives and have been linked to cancer. You will also want to season the meat at home with homemade spices or spice blends and avoid any store-bought marinades, rubs, or sauces as they tend to be too high in sodium and sugar. Make sure all meat is fully cooked to prevent any food-borne illnesses that can be caused by undercooked meat. That means no rare or medium-rare steak for your baby.
Gerber Baby Food
The world’s largest producer of baby-food products, Gerber Products, Inc., had a modest beginning in the summer of 1927 when Daniel Frank Gerber (1898–1974) and Dorothy Gerber asked the Fremont Canning Company to relieve them of the chore of hand-straining food for their infant daughter, Sally. The Gerbers had already been making use of Fremont’s services to produce a line of canned fruits and vegetables. The success of that venture led the Gerbers to manufacture a line of baby food as well. The first flavors, introduced in late 1928, were strained peas, prunes, carrots, spinach, and beef vegetable soup. To promote the new products, the Gerbers placed advertisements using a picture of a baby’s face, later called the “Gerber baby,” in magazines ranging from physicians’ journals to periodicals for homemakers. The model for the Gerber baby was Ann Turner Cook, who grew up to be a mystery novelist and English teacher; her portrait was sketched in charcoal by Dorothy Hope Smith Barlow. Gerber adopted it as its official trademark in 1931.
By 2000, Gerber was making 190 food products for distribution to 80 countries, including its Tender Harvest line of organic baby foods, introduced in 1997. The product mix includes puréed fruits and vegetables as well as cereals and teething biscuits. Its Consumer Relations Department responds to 800,000 consumer questions a year. The department was set up in 1938, with Dorothy Gerber personally responding to each letter. In 1960, the company expanded its line of products to market baby-care items such as bottles, teethers, and breast-feeding accessories. Its line of Wellness products includes lotions, baby powders, shampoos, and vitamins. The Gerber Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary, was established in 1967. It is one of the largest providers of insurance to juveniles, with more than two million policies in force, for a value of $9 billion.
In 1994, Gerber merged with Sandoz, Ltd. The company then became part of the Novartis group of companies formed in 1996 by the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz. Gerber is headquartered in Fremont, Michigan.
Gerber Nature Select 2nd Foods Vegetable Beef
Baby foods may be served at room temperature or warmed. Do not feed from the jar. Feeding from the jar is not recommended since baby’s saliva will come in contact with the food and the food may become watery and less appealing to baby. Microwave guidelines: Put food in dish. Find suggested heating time in chart. Heat. Stir. Always test temperature by tasting before serving. After feeding, throw away any food left in dish. Microwave ovens vary. Less food needs less time to heat. Different foods heat differently. Read guidelines on each label. Refrigerate after opening. Use within 2-3 days after opening. Open just before heating. 2nd foods (except meats). Full sized ovens (medium 50% power- between 600-750 watts): Full jar room temperature = 30-45 seconds, 1/2 jar refrigerated = 30 seconds. Compact sized ovens (less than 600 watts): Full jar room temperature = 30 seconds, 1/2 jar = not recommended.
Gerber NatureSelect 2nd Foods Vegetable Beef Nutritious Dinner. Inspected and passed by U.S. Department of Agriculture. Sitter. 3g protein per jar. All natural*. *Minimally processed, no artificial ingredients.
NatureSelect ingredients carefully selected to meet Gerber high quality standards. No artificial colors or flavors. Unsalted & unsweetened. All trademarks are owned by Societe des Produits Nestle S.A., Vevey, Switzerland 2010 Nestle. Ask our experts 24/7: 1-800-4-GERBER. www.gerber.com.
Serving Size: 1.0 jar
Servings per Container: 1
|Total Fat||2.5 g|
|Trans Fat||0 g|
|Dietary Fiber||2 g|
|Daily Percent Of Vitamin A||170|
|Daily Percent Of Vitamin C||0|
|Daily Percent Of Calcium||2|
|Daily Percent Of Iron||4|
|Daily Percent Of Vitamin Zinc||8|
Gerber gets into plant-based protein with the launch of its new Plant-tastic baby food line made with a variety of beans, legumes, veggies, and fruit.
Baby food giant Gerber is getting into plant-based protein for the first time with the launch of Plant-tastic. The new seven-item line includes organic toddler snack pouches, crunchy snacks, and bowl meals (such as Vegan Mac) all formulated with plant-based proteins derived from beans, legumes, vegetables, and fruit.
The new line helps Gerber capitalize on the growing plant-based trend which market research shows is not just limited to adults. According to one survey conducted in 2019 by Future Market Insights, 81 percent of households with children include plant-based protein in meals and 40 percent of parents with children under 18 are incorporating more plant-based foods. The Plant-tastic line is a carbon neutral option certified by the Carbon Trust, which helps Gerber achieve its climate goals.
“We hear from parents [that] they want more plant-based protein options that align with their food and climate values,” said Gerber President and CEO Tarun Malkani. “Gerber Plant-tastic offers stage-based nutrition across milestones starting with organic toddler pouches, snacks and meals. We are proud the full range of Plant-tastic products is certified carbon neutral, furthering our commitment to climate forward nutrition.”
Plant-based diet is good for any age
Research has linked plant-based diets to many health benefits, including decreasing risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease—and eating plant-based is recommended for all stages of life. In 2016, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—a collection of 100,000 healthcare professionals, the largest in the United States—published its official position on plant-based diets in its medical journal.
“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases,” the Academy stated. “These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.”
To help children thrive on a plant-based diet, Gerber formulated the Plant-tastic line—made with chickpeas, black beans, navy beans and lentils—with the new United States Dietary Guidelines in mind which recommend legumes as part of a healthy diet for children under two years of age.
“Many parents of my patients incorporate plant-based options in their own diet and are looking to feed their baby in line with their own food values. For parents looking to incorporate plant-based choices, I advise ‘feeding baby the rainbow’ from a variety of foods.” Gerber Pediatric Consultant Dr. Whitney Casares said in a statement. “Gerber Plant-tastic foods are made with beans, whole grains and veggies—which are packed with nutrients such as protein and fiber to support [a] baby’s healthy development.”
From a psychological standpoint, feeding children plant-based protein options instead of animal products is also a benefit for their mental health. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter found that toddlers and children under the age 11 are more likely to see animals of all species as companions when compared to adults who are socialized to believe certain animals are food while others are companions.
Nestlé gets into plant-based protein
Gerber was acquired by Swiss food giant Nestlé in 2007 and is the latest of its brands to expand into the plant-based protein space. At a press event in London last year, Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider explained that the company is actively looking to “replace every animal protein out there” with plant-based alternatives.
Thus far, Nestlé has inched toward that goal by acquiring Sweet Earth, a vegetarian brand known for its plant-based meat alternatives Benevolent Bacon, Awesome Burger, and Mindful Chik’n.; releasing plant-based proteins, including tuna, shrimp, and eggs, under its Garden Gourmet brand in Europe; and investing in startup Sundial Foods to bring skin-on vegan chicken to market. Nestlé is also interested in the emerging cellular agriculture industry and has invested in Israel’s Future Meat Technologies to bring its cultivated meat to market once regulatory approvals are in place.
When should you start baby food?
Both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend exclusively breastfeeding babies for the first 6 months of life. Formula-fed infants are ready to start solid foods when they start showing signs that they’re ready.
In some cases, you may start solids around 4 or 5 months, but it’s best to discuss this with your pediatrician. If your doctor doesn’t have a different recommendation, most babies are ready to start soft or pureed foods by the time they’re about 6 months old.
How to pick the best first food for baby
If you’re picking commercially prepared baby food (versus making your own), it’s wise to start with simple, one-ingredient baby food. Most commercial baby food is labeled stage 1, 2, or 3 based on the texture and number of ingredients.
For instance, stage 1 baby food has the smoothest texture and typically has one ingredient, such as pureed pears. So, for your 4- to 6-month-old, you’ll want to start with stage 1 baby food.
Starting with one food at a time helps you monitor for any adverse reactions or food allergies. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends monitoring each food for 3 to 5 days.
There isn’t really a perfect first food — the choice is yours! Some good foods to start: infant cereal (preferably oat or whole grain), meat purees such as chicken or turkey, or single-ingredient purees of fruits or veggies.
If you’re debating whether to start with fruits or veggies first, the AAP suggests that an infant’s preferences for sweets won’t budge even if veggies are introduced first. Mashed peas just don’t taste as good once you’ve had applesauce.
How we chose the best baby food
We chatted with pediatricians, read the research, polled real-life parents, read reviews, and used our own babies as taste testers (although we can’t say their opinions on nutritional value are very authoritative) to bring you some of the top baby food brands available. In addition:
- We looked for foods that are certified USDA organic and have non-GMO verified ingredients.
- We focused on baby food that’s free of added sugar (but have called out one or two products that contain it).
- The baby foods on our list are free of harmful preservatives.
- We called out the brands that market their products as gluten-free and allergen-free.
All products are also vetted by our medical standards team, which evaluates brand integrity and product safety.
Reducing Exposure to Toxic Elements in Baby Foods
Three brands in this article — Gerber, Beech-Nut, and Happy Baby — were mentioned in a February 2021 Congressional Report for products containing significantly high levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. The FDA has since launched the Closer to Zero: Action Plan for Baby FoodsTrusted Source to address exposure to toxic elements from eating baby foods.
Best baby food
- Best overall baby food: Beech-Nut Naturals Stage 1
- Best organic baby food pouches: Plum Organics Stage 1
- Best budget-friendly baby food: Gerber Organic 1st Foods
- Best baby food for constipation: Gerber Natural 1st Foods (Pear)
- Best organic jarred baby food: Happy Baby Organics Clearly Crafted Stage 1
- Best personalized subscription service: Cerebelly
- Best fresh baby food: Once Upon a Farm Cold-Pressed Organic Baby Food
- Best first baby cereal: Gerber Organic 1st Foods Single Grain Cereal
- Best, most interesting baby food blends: Little Spoon Complex Solids
- Best all-around clean baby food: Baby Gourmet
Healthline Parenthood’s picks of the best baby food
Best overall baby food
Beech-Nut Naturals Stage 1
This affordable baby food is an all-around fan favorite. Beech-Nut baby foods come in recyclable glass jars and are available in both natural and organic varieties. Blends are available in every stage, from single-ingredient foods for brand-new eaters (like butternut squash and plum) to multi-food blends with chunkier textures for older babies.
The ingredients in Beech-Nut baby foods are simple, with no artificial additives. Plus, these little glass jars are available at most grocery stores, so they’re easy to find. However, while it’s great for recycling purposes, glass can be dangerous — always supervise your little one around glass.
Beech-Nut Naturals are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) but not certified organic (unless you shop their organics line). They contain no added sugar.
Best organic baby food pouches
Plum Organics Stage 1
If sustainability, organic foods, and non-GMO ingredients are important to you, Plum Organics has a great line of baby food options to try.
Their BPA-free pouches are super convenient and available in a variety of fruits, veggies, and grains for each stage of eating. These foods have no added salts or sugars, so they’re nutritious and simple for baby’s maturing digestive system. They’re also widely available and can be purchased in bulk for greater savings.
And while feeding experts definitely discourage using pouches exclusively, there’s no denying that pouches are very convenient for occasional on-the-go feedings. To make sure your baby is still progressing in their journey through solid foods, try squeezing the pouch contents into a spoon. And be sure to watch out for the small plastic caps, as they’re a choking hazard.
Plum Organics is certified organic and non-GMO, and their baby food doesn’t contain added sugar.
Best budget-friendly baby food
Gerber Organic 1st Foods
Gerber is the classic baby food brand, and they’ve made changes over the last few years to make their food more health-conscious (e.g., starting an organic line). Yet they have maintained their status as one of the most affordable prepared baby food brands on the market.
They offer benefits like glass jars, organic ingredients, and a wide variety of food choices at a lower cost than some other brands on our list.
Gerber Organic is USDA organic, non-GMO, and free of added sugar.
Best baby food for constipation
Gerber Natural 1st Foods (Pear)
Sometimes babies get a little constipated when they’re beginning their solid food journey, especially if they’re eating a lot of dairy or iron-fortified cereal. In addition to continuing breast milk, some foods may help relieve your little one’s digestive discomfort, including all the “P” fruits.
So prunes, pears, plums, and peaches are some options to help keep tiny bowels on the move. You can find great fruit purees in any brand on our list, but one of the more cost-effective is the Gerber brand. The good news is that many babies love fruit, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get your little one to down some prunes or pears.
This product is made with non-GMO ingredients and pears grown with Clean Field Farming practices. It doesn’t contain added sugars.
Best organic jarred baby food
Happy Baby Organics Clearly Crafted Stage 1
Another great organic baby food option, the Happy Baby company offers their organic baby food jars at most stores — although not quite as widely as Beech-Nut and Plum Organics.
Happy Baby jars offer a wide variety of foods, from kale and mango to spinach and peaches and chia seeds. You can start with their single-ingredient jars (this is important for ruling out allergies, as well as to help baby learn to like spinach even when it’s not disguised by pears). Then, you can move on to their fruit and veggie blends as your little one grows.
High quality ingredients, creative flavors, and no artificial ingredients all make Happy Baby a solid (no pun intended) choice.
Happy Baby is USDA organic and doesn’t contain added sugars.
Best personalized subscription service
Cerebelly allows you to personalize your subscription of baby food pouches based on your child’s age, leaning on science to determine what foods will benefit them at their stage of development.
You’ll take a quiz that asks about the current development and language cues your baby is showing (responding to their name, grasping toys, using noises to show emotion, etc.). It also asks about motor, social, and visual skills.
The results will clue you in on key nutrients that may benefit your little one and customize your baby food pouches based on this.
To boot, the brand has earned the Clean Label Project Purity Award (which evaluates products for toxins and contaminants), is certified USDA organic, and contains no added sugars.
Best fresh baby food
Once Upon a Farm Cold-Pressed Organic Baby Food
These organic, cold-pressed baby food pouches and cups are found in the refrigerated section at your grocery store (and yes, they have to be refrigerated at home). The company also has a subscription delivery option to make baby food even more convenient for your busy schedule.
Creative names like Wild Rumpus Avocado and Magic Velvet Mango will have you smiling, and the variety of flavors will (hopefully!) appeal to your little one. Once Upon a Farm offers a variety of food stages, so you can start with their purees and move on up to their finger and toddler foods as your baby grows.
Once Upon a Farm is certified organic and non-GMO. Their products contain no added sugars and are Clean Label Project certified.
Best first baby cereal
Gerber Organic 1st Foods Single Grain Cereal
This simple cereal is a great first food for baby. You can mix this one-ingredient whole grain cereal with breast milk, formula, or water to provide your little one with some crucial nutrients (such as iron) and experience with spoons and textures.
The AAP recommends oatmeal or multigrain cereals over rice cereals, as they have a lower risk of exposure to chemicals such as arsenic (which is sometimes a concern with rice products).
As your baby gets used to other foods, you can also mix this cereal with fruit or yogurt to provide a heartier meal.
Gerber Organic is certified USDA organic and non-GMO, but this product does contain some added sugars.
Best, most interesting baby food blends
Little Spoon Complex Solids
Once your baby is ready for more advanced blends, Little Spoon has a unique line of complex blends that contain multiple purees as well as other seeds and grains for texture.
For example, one blend contains quinoa, butternut squash, and apple. Another contains kale, white bean, pear, basil, quinoa, and avocado oil.
Little Spoon purees use certified organic and non-GMO ingredients. They’re free of added sugar.
Best all-around clean baby food
Baby Gourmet is another Clean Label Project Purity Award winner, which means they go above and beyond to ensure their baby food is free of harmful toxins that naturally occur in the environment.
This Canadian company is also set to donate 1 million meals to vulnerable populations by 2025. It’s founded and run by moms, which can be reassuring.
Baby Gourmet is certified organic and non-GMO by both U.S. and Canadian standards. All packaging is BPA-free. Products contain no added sugar.
What to look for in baby food
As a general guideline, it’s a good idea to start with iron-fortified baby cereals or pureed meats if your infant is breastfed. Breastfed babies are more likely to need extra iron than formula-fed babies.
It’s also advisable to start with simple, single-ingredient purees of meat, vegetables, and fruits.
Choosing brands that are certified organic, use BPA-free materials, and are conscious of using whole food ingredients (e.g., they don’t add “extras” like salt, sugar, or corn syrup) helps ensure a healthy start for your little one.
Foods to avoid
According to the AAP, you shouldn’t give babies under age 1 cow’s milk, honey, unpasteurized dairy, or undercooked meat, as these can be an infection risk for a baby’s developing immune system.
You’ll also want to avoid foods that are hard or sharp or present a choking risk (for instance, chips, nuts, popcorn, raisins, raw apples, raw carrots, whole grapes, hot dogs). For a more comprehensive guide to which foods to give and what to avoid, check out our article on infant nutrition and starting solids.
While experts used to advise waiting to introduce highly allergenic foods (such as dairy, wheat, nuts, and eggs) until after the first year, the experts now say that delayed introduction of these foods may increase a child’s risk of food allergies. So, with the guidance of your pediatrician, go ahead and introduce those foods within the first year.
Seek immediate emergency medical attention if you notice swelling of the tongue and mouth, wheezing, or trouble breathing after your child eats certain foods