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  1. Hawthorne, Keli M. MS, RD
  2. Castle, Jill MS, RDN
  3. Donovan, Sharon M. PhD, RD


New evidence-based dietary guidelines for feeding infants from birth to 24 months old recommend meat as an ideal first complementary food. Starting at 6 months old, infants need a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including foods that are rich in bioavailable iron and zinc. Because infants and toddlers eat small quantities of foods, it is critical to make every bite count in the early years. New parents are often unsure of optimal complementary feeding practices. The goal of this article is to review the role of red meat as a potential first complementary food for infants.