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Meats / Meat Alternates
Birth - 11 Months

Click to download a handy quick reference sheet for the meat and meat alternates guidelines. (pdf)

Age goRecommended stopNot Recomended
0 - 3 months Breast milk (preferred)

Iron-fortified infant formula

Other foods at this age
4 - 7 months Breast milk (preferred)

Iron-fortified infant formula



Iron-fortified cereal

Other foods at this age
8 - 11 months Protein sources such as lean meat (beef, veal, and/or pork), skinless poultry (chicken, turkey), fish, cooked beans and peas (legumes), eggs, yogurt and cheeses are recommended.

Meat poultry and fish should have no more than 35% of calories from fat and no more than 10% of calories from saturated fat. Eggs and dairy foods such as yogurt and cheese are good sources of protein that are highly digestible.

Foods must have less than 0.5 grams of trans fat. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend keeping trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Meats and meat alternatives should be soft, pureed, ground, mashed or finely chopped to prevent choking.
Pre-fried baked foods such as chicken nuggets and fish sticks

Processed meats, such as hot dogs, bologna, bacon and sausage

Deep-fat fried foods

Nut and seeds because they are choking hazard for children this age

Pre-mixed commercially prepared meals

Fat, honey, sugar or salt added to meat and meat alternatives

Portion Size

Watch for hunger and fullness cues.

Age Item Meals
8 - 11 months Chicken, meat, egg, cooked beans or peas

Cottage cheese or yogurt


1-4 Tbsp.

1-4 oz.

1/2 oz. - 2 oz.


Why are meat and meat alternates important?
  • Meats, beans, and eggs offer protein and other nutrients such as zinc, iron and B vitamins.
  • Protein supplies amino acids that build, repair and maintain body tissues.