Protein Sources for Baby?

Updated on June 28, 2010
E.G. asks from York, PA
19 answers

Hi, mamas. I'm looking for ideas for food for my guy who will be 10 months old in a few days. He has pretty much decided that jarred foods are no longer his thing. Even the stage 3s. He wants primarily table food. Besides going for the prepared toddler meals in the baby food aisle, does anyone have suggestions for getting the right amount of protein in a not-yet-one-year-old's diet? He doesn't like egg yolk and I don't want to give him too much cheese. We are not vegetarian but is meat really the only way to go? Any ideas would be appreciated! Thanks! :)

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So What Happened?

Wow, I need to ask more ?'s on mamas are awesome!! Soooo many good ideas. I will definitely be trying most of them. Though I was really confused about the nut/pb suggestions as I was sure you weren't to feed a baby that until atleast one. A more recent response by "Gamma G" says atleast 2yo and the main book I've read throughout his infancy says at least 3yo! So I will hold off on that...but much of the rest and the website/book ideas I WILL be trying. You're all a bunch of amazing folks .. Thank you so much. :)

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answers from Allentown on

Sauteed or baked tofu, you can slice it, lightly bread it in panko bread crumbs and bake it or sautee it in sesame oil or ev olive oil. Beans are excellent and easy for baby to hold. We sautee finely chopped carrots, celery, garlic & onion, add fresh thyme & Rosemary then throw in Any beans - black, pinto, pigeon, anything. Mix with brown rice and voilà. Make a big batch and freeze in small containers. When baby gets older you can make rice balls and they can self feed which makes them happy. My kids love it and have been eating flavorful healthy foods since 6 mos. Edamame also, found in the freezer section. For boys I limit the amount of soy (tofu, edamame) because of the estrogen levels.

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answers from Gainesville on

Here is a site that has fantastic ideas for baby foods:

It has sample menus, recipes and such.

Also, keep in mind that breastmilk/formula will still be primary source of nutrition at this age.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

I did beans (mine likes white beans the best), whole eggs (not just yolk- I read studies that disputed the allergy/no egg whites before a year theory and I just scrambled the whole thing), and hard cheeses. Not soft "kid" cheese, mine won't eat that even at 2 1/2. But give the boy a brick of parmesan and he is thrilled. Hard cheeses are much healthier, which is good. Unfortunately they are pricey, go figure. I did yogurt and cottage cheese blended up with fresh or frozen fruit. Not flavored, sugared yogurt but plain whole milk yogurt with no sugar added and just fresh fruit. I have read to try tofu but I don't like it and don't know how to prepare it so I didn't do that. I believe broccoli is a good veggie for protein, but I haven't looked up the info on that myself. And hummus (garbanzo beans) is a great source of protein, and is similar to baby food. You can make your own with chickpeas (same thing as garbanzos), olive oil and something like garlic or bell pepper. As far as meats go, I don't think I gave mine meats that early. No particular reason. We were just still working our way through trying all the new foods. I made all my own food and introducing foods individually takes a long time when you do that. When I did do meat, I mainly gave him chicken breast which he loved.

I forgot peanut butter and nut butters. The only thing is that they can be a very dangerous choking hazard- they can get stuck in their throat. What I did was thin it with yogurt and milk (breastmilk/formula before a year) and let him dip apples in it. It was too thin to choke on. And the experts have retracted the advice that said to avoid peanuts and other foods for fear of allergies- that theory has not been proved to be true and they think the opposite now- early introduction helps prevent allergies.

The soy thing is about processed soy. I honestly do watch my son's soy intake, but that includes almost every processed food out there. A lot of soy naysayers don't realize how much of it is in everything we eat that is packaged. Soy milk is apparently really bad. I don't know all the specifics, but I figure "all things in moderation".

For meats and other choking hazards, just cut them small enough. Or I'd mash them up for him to start breaking them down. I hate hot dogs but the kosher ones with no fillers or nitrates are fairly healthy, I've been told.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I gave my girls at that age cheese as well, some eggs, and chicken breast, plain and cut very small. The idea of beans (chick peas, garbanzos, etc.) is a great idea - I never tried that on my kids at that age but would now! There is protein in yogurt and some whole grains, like a previous post said. There is also protein in the breast milk or formula he is drinking, so remember he is getting plenty there as well. You might also try a hot dog - Applegate Farms makes a terrific kind with no hormones or fillers/antibiotics. My kids have been eating those since they knew what a hot dog was! I also still give my youngest, now age 3, Morningstar Farms "sausage" patties or links for protein instead of chicken or meat some nights for dinner. There are many protein options there. Good luck!

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answers from Philadelphia on

Hi E.-

My son loved black beans at that age and still does! I use that as his main “protein” for lunch or dinner a few times a week. I just buy a can of organic black beans, rinse them well and give them to him just like that! No cooking needed. They are very small and mushy, so a 10 mo old should have no trouble eating (or gumming) them as-is. Yogurt is great for protein too—Greek yogurt especially. My pedi said no nut products until 2 and no egg whites until 1, so I stayed away from both of those. Every pedi gives different advice about stuff like that, but I think you just have to find one that you really trust and then just go with whatever their recommendations are.



answers from Seattle on

You find complete proteins from a several sources (although you find partial proteins in many other foods):

- meat

- eggs

- milk / some kinds of dairy (obviously butter = almost no proteins)

- grain + legume (think beans and rice, hummus & pita)

- grain + mushrooms (mushrooms have NEARLY all the amino acids necessary to form a complete protein, but they're missing 1... which is found in grains... so if you eat mushrooms and have a piece of garlic toast, you're eating a complete protein)

- nuts (not sure if the different nut milks have all the amino acids, but my suspicion is probably)

You can look up online to find a nutrition calculator that will give you the aproximate # of grams of protein per weight / volume when cooking from scratch. Or colleges sell nutrition software which does it more accurately and in more depth.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I would check at the local wic office - they have lists of foods that are high in protein--I learned along time ago that kids let you know what they need--my son when he was 4 yrs old would only eat hot dogs- he wanted them every day for about 2 months-well I realize it wasn't such a great idea, in my frustration he usually won- to my amazement he stopped all of a sudden.
I adopted a baby that was born with drugs in her system- she had problems with food textures-I wasted a ton of money on baby foods that she just would not eat... finally I started making her baby food from our dinners- just put them in a mini food processor and added some water--she liked the chunks-she loved mac n cheese, mashed potatoes and chicken green beans{ that I mashed with a fork}, etc I believe that it is ok to give them things as long as it's not of choking size- good luck!!



answers from Philadelphia on

Make hardboiled eggs and take out the yolks. Yogurts are good. Also give him some veggies like mini carrotts if he has teeth. Chicken is a good source of protein. If he does not have alot of teeth it is hard.Avocados are good they are soft. Bananas are good. You can use the food processor and chop up food. Cheerios are good and he can eat plain. Raisins are something he can grab with his fingers to eat also. peas are good also. There are so many things he can eat. You will figure it out.



answers from Salinas on

You can feed your baby veggie or tofu dogs buy slicing them the long way in little strips. The choking hazard is about a chunk getting caught in thier throat. If you slice them thin they are too small and a great finger food. We don't eat meat so no real dogs for us but I'm sure it's the same. Also the soy hormone thing, IF it's true, is for very high amounts of soy. There is nothing wrong with some soy in his diet, in fact it's a healthy replacement for meat much of which is loaded with anitbiotics and synthetic hormones. If people are avoiding oragnic soy and consuming conventional dairy, meat and produce your missing the point. Read up a little about what's in regular food, you'll be amazed. As others have said if he's BF he gets all the protein he needs from that. Other sources could be whole grain breads, all types of beans, tofu, cheese, yogurt, nut butters.



answers from Tulsa on

The younger you expose your child to new foods the more likely they are to eventually develop an allergy to it. Do NOT give your child nuts or peanut butter until at least 2, i didn't until 3 with all 6 of my grandkids. Not only is it a choke hazard it can really mess with their allergy system later. Try going to your local library and check out some cook books for toddlers, although your child is old enough to eat some foods take it slow.

My favorite cook books are:
Idiots Guide to Feeding Your Baby and Toddler
Baby and Toddler Meals for Dummies



answers from Chicago on

Beans, mac n cheese. Cubed ham, veggie burgers (cut in to small peices).



answers from Portland on

Egg white is almost pure protein. Yolk contains lots of fat.

Have you tried yogurt? Meat loaf? Tofu? Rice and beans combined provide all needed amino acids to count as a complete protein. Some grains, like quinoa, contain very high amount of protein, and make interesting summer salads. (See quinoa recipes at



answers from Philadelphia on

My kids have always loved Barilla's multi-grain pasta (yellow box). They think they're eating regular pasta, but it's very high in both protein and fiber. Even if they only eat pasta and veggies or fruit, they've gotten a pretty complete meal. Otherwise, in the baby ages, I did most of what everyone else is suggesting: yogurt (you can freeze organic whole milk yogurt portions for a treat sometimes-serve with a little fruit or jam), cheese, beans. My younger one loved sauteed hamburger (or ground bison), just plain or with a little bit of diced onion. I'd make sure it was thoroughly cooked and crumbled into very fine pieces and she could pick it up.


answers from San Antonio on

For my son, we made sure he had protein at least once or twice a day. The best way we did this was:

Cook black beans (or get a can), put in my cuisinart food chopper with a little olive oil, throw in some diced sauteed chicken breast and some cheese if you want. Whiz until it's a refried bean-like texture/consistency. He loved it. Sometimes, I'd add some rice to it because I heard a bean/rice makes an excellent protein.

So sometimes it was beans/chicken
sometimes beans/rice
sometimes beans/chicken/rice

Lentils were good too, and I only mashed them a little with a fork. But they gave my son gas, where the black beans did not.

I have NOT ever given my son more than one bite of Tofu. I would have to disagree with the other poster on that one. There are rumors out there about whether or not tofu affects men/boys and their hormones. Tofu is Soy and Soy is estrogen (girl hormone!). Of course, you will find both PROS and CONS about tofu on the internet. Found this one and it seems rather scary!

We also fed him table food. I'd make "mac-n-cheese-n-chick" where I'd dice tiny tiny the sauteed chicken and toss it into diced mac-n-cheese.

He'd eat bites of tuna as well, but we didn't start that till 12 months. We put italian dressing on it and he'd gobble it up.

good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter LOVED white and black beans mashed. Try banana & backbeans lightly mashed, she loved picking up the pieces and the tastes compliment eachother! I also started making more meatloaf. I have one recipe that has a 1/2 cup of milk added to the regular meatloaf. I made this a lot - it's SUPER moist and she loves it (she's never really like the texture of regular hamburger). Just a warning, the
meatloaf doesn't stay together like other meatloaves, it's just so moist it didn't all hold together.


answers from York on

My son LOVES the jarred turkey and chicken lil' sticks made by Gerber. He is going to be 2 and still prefers them to most meats including 100% turkey hot dogs.



answers from San Diego on

Tofu? Just make sure it is organic and therefore non genetically modified. Tofu is AWESOME is small quantities. Nut butters? You don't have to do peanut butter, you can do soy nut or almond or cashew butters on a bit of toast or mixed in yogurt, another good source of protein.

I did tahini with my son. .How about little sips of smoothie which can have some nuts mixed in.

Lentils, beans, are all good sources of protein.

Table food is great! And just serve him what you guys eat.....we have never done prepared baby or toddler food, my kids just eat what's on the table, as we eat very whole, organic foods.

I don't know if your son is still breastfed or on formula....they aren't eating that much at 10 months, so protein isn't really a concern, offering lots of different foods for them to experiment with is....



answers from Chicago on

Beans. Veggie sausage for breakfas --great protein and vitamin source.



answers from Tulsa on

peanut butter sandwiches and bologna. tuna and hamburger is alright also. beans have a lot of protien and have a less chance of choking. I wouldn't go beyond that because of possible choking issues. I strongly disagree with the hot dog idea that has been suggested. even 21 yrs ago when my oldest was a baby they said no hotdogs till 2 yrs old due to the choking possibility.

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