In fact, salmon is a safe and healthy food to give to babies who are old enough to eat solids, around 6 months of age. “Canned, pouched or cooked flaked salmon is a great starter food for babies and toddlers,” notes Rima Kleiner, MS, a registered dietician who blogs at Dish on Fish.
Introduce salmon to your baby with confidence with these cooking tips, serving suggestions, and easy recipes! Everything you need to know all in one place!
- When to introduce salmon
- Is salmon safe for babies?
- Introducing Food Allergens to Baby
- Health Benefits
- Buying the best salmon
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Cook Salmon For Baby
- How to Serve Salmon
- Storage Suggestions
- 3 Month Meal Plan for Baby Led Feeding
- Salmon Recipes for Baby
- How to Cook Salmon for Babies (3 ways)
WHEN TO INTRODUCE SALMON
Salmon can be offered to babies as soon as they’re ready to start solids, usually around 6 months. It’s important to remember that your baby is unique and that rather than going by the calendar, you need to make sure your baby is DEVELOPMENTALLY ready to start solids.
If you’re unsure, be sure to grab my FREE handout!
IS SALMON SAFE FOR BABIES?
As long as it is cooked properly and served in an age-appropriate way, as I show you here, it is safe. It also contains lower amounts of sodium compared to other fish.
Additionally, it is lower in mercury, making it a great option for pregnant moms and young children. That’s because mercury can negatively impact the fetus and a child’s brain and nervous system.
While it is a safer option, instead of eating salmon all the time, I encourage you to rotate with other low-mercury fish, like halibut and sardines. You will be able to incorporate more variety and help meet your baby and family’s nutritional needs.
INTRODUCING FOOD ALLERGENS TO BABY
Salmon as well as other finned fish are one of the top allergens, and if you were told to wait until around 2-3 years of age to introduce them, this is outdated advice!
The current recommendation is to introduce highly allergenic foods EARLY and OFTEN. By doing so, you can dramatically reduce the risk or actually help prevent the development of food allergies.
When first introducing, start with a small amount. Be sure it’s the only new food on your baby’s plate so that if there is an allergic reaction, you will know what caused it.
Serve it at home early in the day so you can monitor your baby for any reaction(s) and get medical help if necessary.
Salmon is a great source of many critical nutrients that babies need, such as iron, zinc, and vitamin D (much higher in wild-caught). It is a particularly excellent source of B12 , which is necessary for producing red blood cells, and omega-3 fatty acids, an essential nutrient for proper brain development.
Canned salmon is also a great source of calcium due to the edible bones.
BUYING THE BEST SALMON
I don’t know about you, but with so many choices out there, buying salmon can feel overwhelming! My goal here is to help you make the best decision according to your needs and values.
WILD-CAUGHT VS. FARMED SALMON
- Means it caught in its natural environment
- Contains less toxins
- Has a deeper red color
- Has a higher ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids. While both are essential, we tend to consume a lot more omega-6 fats and not enough omega-3s
Farmed salmon (may be labeled as Atlantic salmon) contains pollutants, antibiotics, pesticides, and toxins from the fish farms. And depending on its feed, may contain lower amounts of nutrients than wild-caught salmon.
The “downside” to wild-caught salmon is that just like with shrimp, it is overfished. If sustainability is your concern, sockeye, coho, and king salmon from Alaska are great choices, according to the Marine Stewardship Council.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch site is a wonderful resource.
Wild-caught salmon is also more expensive, so if you want to enjoy it regularly and you are on a budget, this may pose a sustainability concern of a different nature.
FRESH VS. FROZEN
Unless you are getting the fresh catch of the day from a fish mart, chances are what you find sold as “fresh” salmon at the supermarket isn’t so fresh. Just like with shrimp and most other seafood, it was previously frozen and thawed for sale.
I personally love frozen salmon for the convenience! Also, it is flash frozen right after being caught to preserve freshness and nutrition. I purchase ours from Costco. Their wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon is amazing and individually packaged.
FRESH VS. CANNED
Canned salmon is a wonderful option. It’s convenient and nutritious. In fact, according to the USDA study, canned pink and red salmon was found to have higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids than the fresh. It also delivers a powerful punch of calcium.
Just be sure to look for “no salt added” or “low sodium” and BPA free lining.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW TO COOK SALMON FOR BABY
Regardless of which method you choose,
- Let the salmon come to room temperature. Take your fillets out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes prior to cooking. Don’t let them sit out for too long!
- Be sure to check for any white pin bones running down the center of the fillet.
- Cook until salmon reaches the internal temperature of 140-145°F.
Place water in a pot, add steamer basket, and bring to a boil. Add salmon, cover, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Here are three ways you can poach salmon:
- This method requires minimal prep work.
- Place salmon in a deep skillet skin side down. Add water or broth so it barely covers the fish. Bring to a boil and once liquid starts bubbling, turn off the heat.
- Cover the skillet and let it sit for 10 minutes or so.
- If you want to infuse more flavor into your salmon,
- Add cold water or stock and aromatics of choice (optional), such as dill, onion, celery, to a deep skillet. While I haven’t tried it yet, I’ve heard that poaching in milk is good too.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
- Add the salmon skin-side down and cover. Cook for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
- You can also poach in a sauce alongside other ingredients, like this poached cod. Simply substitute with salmon. It’s SO flavorful!
BAKED (STEAM ROASTED)
Line a baking pan with parchment paper as stuck-on salmon skin is hard to scrape off. Place salmon on top and season with melted butter or oil and seasoning(s) of choice. I also like to add some lemon wedges.
Cover the pan and bake for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness.
You can use fresh or canned salmon for this. It’s such an easy and delicious way to serve salmon to your baby along with vegetables and spices! These cakes also freeze well.
HOW TO SERVE SALMON
First be sure to carefully inspect the salmon for tiny bones. Even when salmon is labeled as boneless, it is possible to have tiny bones in it.
Once you’ve cooked the salmon using any of the methods mentioned, here’s how to serve it to your baby.
6+ MONTHS OLD
- Offer finger-shaped, 1-2 adult finger-width pieces.
- Flake into tiny pieces and add to other foods, such as:
- Salmon cake – offer whole
- Salmon quiche
9+ MONTHS OLD
By 8-9 months of age, your baby should develop their pincer grasp and be able to pick up smaller pieces. In addition to all the suggestions above, you can start offering bite-sized pieces.
FOR UNCOOKED SALMON:
- Use fresh salmon within one to two days upon purchase. If the fish is packaged, refer to the packaging for the ‘best before’ date.
- Store unused fresh salmon in a vacuum or airtight freezer bag in the freezer for up to three months.
- Store canned salmon unopened at room temperature for up to three years. Check the ‘best before’ date when purchasing the can.
- Once the can is open, remove the salmon from the can, store it in an airtight container, and use it within three to four days.
- Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To freeze, make sure salmon is completely cooled. Wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap and place in freezer bags. Squeeze out excess air and freeze for up to 3 months.
3 MONTH MEAL PLAN FOR BABY LED FEEDING
- getting ready to start or at the beginning stage of introducing solid solids and feeling overwhelmed?
- stuck on purees and having a really difficult time transitioning to table food?
- or tired of serving the same foods on repeat and want to offer more variety of foods to your older baby or toddler?
If so, my 3 MONTH Baby Led Feeding Journey Program may be just what you are looking for!
It’s a complete roadmap that would show you through daily videos and photos of what foods and how to serve them to your baby AND the rest of the family at the same time. Everything you need to know all in one place!
Can I Boil Salmon For Baby?
Our favorite baby salmon recipe: Boil the salmon & make a puree for baby! There are many ways to cook salmon that make it more palatable for your baby. However, our favorite way is to make Oshēn Salmon into a puree after boiling it. It’s basic and a great way to introduce salmon.
How To Season Salmon For Baby
This recipe for Baby-Friendly, Easy Baked Salmon is simple to make, ready in a matter of minutes, ridiculously healthy and readily accepted by toddlers, kids, babies and adults. You can’t beat salmon as an early food for babies and kids, given it’s wonderful omega-3 fatty acid, protein, and vitamin D content.
- 4 (6-ounce) fillets of salmon
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter, divided evenly into fourths (optional)
- Sprinkle of garlic powder (for baby’s portion)
- (Sprinkle of garlic salt for adult/kid portions)
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place fish skin-side down on a baking sheet* lined with foil.
- Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil and place a small piece of butter on top of each fish fillet. Sprinkle garlic powder evenly over the portion that will be served to baby.
- Sprinkle garlic salt over the fillets that will be served to kids and adults.
- Sprinkle panko bread crumbs evenly over the top of each fillet and bake for 18-20 minutes or until fish flakes apart easily with a fork, then serve.
- This recipe tastes great right away, but also keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
- This recipe contains fish, a top allergenic food. Introducing top allergenic foods help reduce the risk of the development of fish allergies.
Sat. Fat4 g