Turkey—and particularly the dark leg meat—is a terrific food for babies. Loaded with protein, iron, and selenium, there’s no reason not to share this Thanksgiving’s main dish with your little one.
How to safely prepare roasted turkey for your baby:
- 6-9 months old: For young babies very large strips of meat—about the size and length of two adult fingers together—are best. Large, wide strips of meat are easy for young babies to hold independently and ironically, at this age, the bigger the piece of meat, the safer it is likely to be. Babies this age can also suck and munch on drumsticks, though turkey legs tend to be quite heavy. Remember to always remove the skin, any pin bones, and loose cartilage before serving.
- 9-12 months old: It is best to move down to shredded, very thinly sliced, or finely chopped turkey. This can be served on its own or with some gravy or sauce for hand-scooping or can be incorporated into casseroles or other dishes. Never serve a baby cubes or chunks of poultry or meat and again, always remove the skin.
- 12 months+: For babies one year and older, continue to offer shredded or finely chopped meat. At this age your baby may also be strong enough to hold a whole turkey drumstuck, which can serve as quite the show at Thanksgiving dinner! While whole, skinned drumsticks may be offered as early as 6 months old, turkey legs tend to be quite large and heavy. To serve a whole drumstick to you baby, simply roast it to well done and remove the skin and any loose pieces of cartilage or bone. If any large pieces come loose that make you nervous, simply take them away.