Gravy is a staple sauce for every table on every occasion, especially during the holidays. But, is it safe for your baby?
Gravy can be given to babies at 6 months of age but better to wait until they are 12 months old, because gravy is usually a high sodium food. Stock is a great addition to baby food for added flavor but should be given sparingly as a drink.
Gravy and stock can be a common addition to a lot of food, how can you be sure it is safe for your baby? Are these food items healthy? Let’s find out.
Covered in this Article:
When Can Babies Eat Gravy?
There are different types of gravy depending on how it was made and its base. Gravy can be homemade made from drippings, it can be seen in groceries as canned or packaged goods, and it can also come in powder form. It can also be made from chicken, beef, turkey, etc.
A concern with gravy, of any type, is that it is usually high in salt. In fact, the NHS has already recommended that babies should not consume gravy due to this very reason. However, giving your baby gravy occasionally, and in moderation, will likely not do them any harm.
For example, giving them a little high-sodium meal once and having them eat healthily the rest of the month is still giving them a healthy and varied diet. Sticking to just 1-2 tsp of gravy is a good rule of thumb, so long as it’s not too often.
When to give gravy by age:
|0-6 months||Babies should only be given breastmilk at this age.|
|6-12 months||You may want to wait until your child’s first birthday to introduce food high in seasonings such as gravy. It can be given, but in small amounts, and infrequently.|
|12-24 months||You may start introducing gravy to your child’s diet slowly. At this stage, 1-2 tsp serving of gravy is enough to keep their salt intake at bay. Also make sure that your child has no allergies to any ingredients used in making the gravy such as poultry, flour, or milk/dairy.|
Is Gravy Good for Babies to Eat?
As discussed above, gravies are high in salt, which in turn is high in sodium. Sodium is a nutrient needed by our body to perform its daily functions and regulations for us to maintain a healthy body.
However, excessive intake of sodium, especially during infancy has been seen to increase the risk of developing hypertension, heart disease, and even obesity later on (Source: DRI).
Gravy, as it is made of fat drippings, some butter, flour, and a little bit of seasoning, offers little nutrition (Source: VeryWellFit).
It is made to add flavor rather than be the main show. When serving gravy to your baby, you can give small amounts after 6 months of age, but bear in mind a more important aspect of the meal is what the gravy comes with.
Foods Typically Served with Gravy for Babies
Gravy is not usually served on its own. It is usually offered as a complementary dip or sauce for other food items such as mashed potatoes, biscuits, pot roast, roasted chicken or turkey, steaks, etc. Are all these safe for your baby? Let’s discuss.
First of all, you need to take into consideration the texture of the food. Food that may be crumbly such as biscuits may not be safe to give to your baby as it can be a choking hazard.
Food items such as roasted chicken, some well-cooked steaks, and meatballs may be safe to give to your baby if they have been prepared and served in age-appropriate shapes and sizes.
Mashed potato is safe for babies as it is soft and easily swallowed. However, no matter how ‘safe’ you think a food is, never leave your eating baby unattended and practice safe mealtime practices (Source: CDC).
Another thing you should consider is the nutritional value the food may offer your child. At 6-12 months old, your baby’s stomach capacity is only at 7-8 ounces (Source: AlabamaPublicHealth).
Because of this, it doesn’t take much food to fill their stomachs up, so there’s not much space left for empty calories. They need healthy and nutritious food that can offer them vitamins and nutrients that will fuel their proper development.
You may want to opt for pairing gravy with smarter choices of protein such as turkey for lean protein, and leaner cuts of meat to decrease the amount of trans fat in your baby’s meal. Adding a little gravy to plain vegetables may also be a great option to increase its palatability.
Can Babies Have Stock? [Including in Baby Food]
There are different types of stocks depending on their preparation, there are homemade stocks, canned, commercially made, in powder, and cube form.
In serving stock for baby, opt for homemade stock since you’ll have full control of the ingredients. Those that come from groceries such as canned, powdered, and even cube stock can be high in sodium and other preservatives which may not be beneficial for your growing baby (Source: Diabetes.org).
In addition, making your own stock at home can give you the option to decrease the amount of salt added to the stock. You may also choose protein with less fat and add vegetables for added vitamins and minerals.
Stocks are a great addition to your baby’s diet. It adds flavor and can spice some bland purees easily. Just be sure to strain your stock carefully to avoid any choking risks.
Although as a drink, the stock should be given sparingly to children for the same reasons as gravy: it can be too salty for them, and there are better options for their nutrition.
In conclusion, gravy is not something to completely avoid, but opt for moderation, and making your own is a better option. Combining gravy with nutritious foods is a better way to go.
|This article has been reviewed and approved for publication in line with our editorial policy.|