Is Tofu Safe for Babies?

tofu sliceFor those out there who limit the animal products in their home, tofu is most likely part of the diet. Many though will question if it’s safe to give your baby.

Children who are meat eaters can begin to eat that whenever they start solid foods. Some who do baby led weaning to allow for their children to try everything under the sun, and that’s amazing.

Others will wait on the meat, but what about those that shy away from meat altogether. Let’s take a look at what tofu is, and if it’s safe for the child.

What is Tofu?

Tofu is a byproduct of soybeans, bean curd to be exact [1]. The process of making it is similar to that of cheese, where the soybeans are ground with water and transformed into a milk-like product, curdled, then pressed into blocks [2].

One of the most amazing things about tofu is that it will take on whatever flavor you marinate or cook with. So whatever you know baby likes, you can easily flavor it appropriately.

Now while there are a lot of brands of tofu, if you are going to feed it to your little one (and we will get to that later) ensure that it’s non-GMO and organic otherwise you will be using genetically modified foods (just so you are aware) [3].

Benefits of Tofu

There are many nutritional benefits when it comes to eating tofu because it is a highly nutrient-dense food with low calories.

One serving of tofu (which is equal to 3.5 ounces) contains 8 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, and 4 grams of fat.

In terms of vitamins and minerals you are looking at 31% of the RDI of Manganese, 20% of the RDI of Calcium, 14% of the RDI of Selenium, 12% of the RDI of Phosphorus, 11% of the RDI of Copper, 9% of the RDI of Magnesium, 9% of the RDI of Iron, and 6% of the RDI of Zinc [4].

Looking at this you can see it’s a powerhouse food that can offer a lot of nutrients in a little amount.

But you aren’t worried about yourself, right? You want to know if it’s safe and healthy for your little one.

Is Tofu Good for Babies?

Now that you are into feeding them solid (mashed) foods, you can consider adding tofu to the diet.

Once the research was in on tofu, doctors revised their thoughts and stated that it’s not a high allergenic food [5], so feeding it before their first birthday is like attempting peanut butter.

Plus, it’s also a balanced part of a vegan diet, so knowing that’s it’s also safe for your babies is a comforting thought.

According to FitPregnancy, you can start feeding tofu to your little one at around 9 months old and is beneficial to incorporate that into their diets to reduce the saturated fats they are eating [6].

Ideally then, this is an amazing food to feed your child once they are of age and can offer them a plethora of nutrients in order to keep them healthy and happy. Because we all know that a fed baby is a happy baby.

Even if you aren’t a vegan family and your child does eat meat you can still add it to their diet as a good form of essential vitamins and nutrients, and they can eat it right out of the box.

How to Serve it

Now that you know giving your baby tofu is acceptable and even something more beneficial to giving them meat, how are you going to serve it?

When it comes to feeding babies who are just learning how to eat and are eating primarily with their fingers, you can cut it up into cubes and roll it around in cheerios and let them eat it that way.

The best version of tofu for that is firm tofu. You can also blend it with any of their favorite fruits and vegetables.

Another idea is instead of chicken nuggets, you can fry these up and feed them this. Ideally, just come up with random ideas. As you already know, tofu will take whatever flavor you want it to.

Plus it blends into a nice smooth texture, so experiment with what your baby might like and know that you are feeding them something that is beneficial to their health that is giving them a multitude of vitamins and minerals that they will need in order to thrive.

References

  1. Kitchn. What is Tofu, Exactly? A Brief Introduction to the Basics of Tofu. [link]
  2. See above #1
  3. Healthline. What is Tofu, and is it Good for You? [link]
  4. See above #3
  5. Natalia Stasenko R.D., via Parents. 10 Foods to Feed Your baby (That You Probably Aren’t). [link]
  6. FitPregnancy. Is Tofu a Safe Food for my 1-year-old? [link]
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