Can Babies Eat Chicken Nuggets?

a pile of chicken nuggets on a table before being prepared for babies starting solid food

Why I want my babies to eat chicken nuggets

When my first born first stopped eating (he was just 12 months old), I would have done ANYTHING to get him to eat. He fell off the growth charts completely—less than 1 percentile in weight—and it was an incredibly stressful time.

He’s just now begun, at age 4 (and a half—he’d want me to say that) to eat chicken (if it’s in rice pilaf or a nugget). It’s often only a nibble—but I’ll take it.

And have my twin babies had chicken nuggets yet? You bet. Because those little buggers are tasty! And because parenting is hard.

Here’s our official take on chicken nuggets for babies:

Chicken nuggets (frozen or fast food) are okay for babies 12 months and older (though fresh chicken is always going to be healthier). Why 12 months? Because many brands of chicken nuggets (and fish sticks) have loads of sodium and additives that we’d ideally like to hold off on in infancy.

Are we recommending you serve chicken nuggets every week to a 12 month old? Not unless that’s the only protein you’ve got. (And if that’s the case, serve up the nuggets and don’t look back. Do what you need to do. You can always offset the overall sodium intake the next day with lower sodium foods.)

But word to the wise: make sure your baby has some exposure to foods like chicken nuggets so that when you do want to rely on them, your child is not seeing nuggets for the first time (which often leads to rejection, especially after 18 months of age.) Toddlers are wary of new things so if you want (or need) your child to be eating a certain food, make sure they have some regular exposure to it early on.

–Jenny, founder

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