When Can a Toddler Eat Meat?

3 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

As your child grows up, you will begin to expand their palate through the introduction of new foods. Adding solid foods, like meat, should be done in a certain way and time in order to be safe.

mom feeding a toddlerTypically, a toddler can be introduced to small cut up pieces between one to two years old. Daily intake starts by two with most toddlers eating one to two ounces of meat a day. You will want to make sure this is healthy, lean meat and buy from the freshest sources, like Seven Sons Farms.
Meat, and particularly red meat, is rich in iron, which helps with a growing child. If you are raising a child on a vegetarian diet, you need to find foods rich in iron to ensure they are getting a sufficient amount. Adding meat to a toddler’s diet can be hard, so we have the tips and tricks you need to succeed.

Know Which Red Meat is Nutritious

The iron levels of red meat are critical to a child’s growth. Lean cuts are a source rich in vitamins and protein. An iron deficiency at a young age can be a setback in mental, behavioral, and physical development. If not monitored, it can even lead to the development of anemia. As your child ages, their intake of meat and iron should increase.
There is a difference between red meat and processed meet. Red meat is lean muscle and includes:

  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Mutton
  • Lamb
  • Goat

Processed meat has gone through a variety of transformations that include fermentation, curing, and salting. Examples of processed meats include:

  • Ham
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Beef jerky

Pure red meat, like grass-fed options, provide the healthiest choices that are low in fat and lean. When thinking about red meat for your child, avoid opting for processed choices.

Try and Try Again

New foods can be scary for toddlers. They might turn up their little noses to every dish you present, even if that juicy burger is just what you need. Red meat is going to be a new taste and texture for your little one, so it might not be easy to accept right away. The key is persistence! Try and try again to help your child adjust to the new diet addition.


Chances are your toddler already has some favorite foods. If any of those can be combined with red meat, do it! Red meat can be mixed with spaghetti sauce or other pasta for a yummy meal. You can also add roast beef to a grilled cheese or slip diced ham into macaroni and cheese.
A slow and subtle introduction can lead to acceptance later on. This is the start of a lifelong habit as many children start forming their likes and dislikes as a baby.

Bite Size

Your toddler’s hands might not be ready to grab onto a full-size burger or steak. Instead, bite size pieces are a safer option. It also helps to cut up the meat in order to prevent choking while encouraging your child to chew thoroughly and completely. Bite size pieces can be grabbed in the little fists or easily slide onto a fork.
Either way, your baby is learning new habits while trying new foods. Creating these small bites is one way to make dinnertime easier for both of you.

Puree if Necessary

If necessary, red meat can be pureed into an easily stomached form for toddlers. The initial form might be too solid for a young baby, so experimenting with forms is one way to introduce red meat.

Bottom Line

Overall, expanding the palate of a toddler is both a challenge and a reward. You are taking steps to develop their lifelong habits, so make sure to start off right!

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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