HOW TO: use meat stock in a tasty way to build your baby’s gut

So you may be wondering why on earth you would even want more meat stock in you life?! (Especially if you are part of the mega vegan movement…) well, it’s all about the gut….

One of the biggest advances in modern medical research of the last decade is our understanding of the power of the gut - particularly as we go through rapid early development. Not only does the gut develop itself during the first three years of life, but it plays a role in our emotions, our brain development and lifelong immunity. Pretty important stuff - click here for much more of this HUGELY important subject.

So, why meat stock?

Well one of the pioneers of the gut (and particularly the connection to the brain) is Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride and one of the tools in her armoury that she recommends for building good gut health (amongst others of course) in a small person is meat stock.

Why? Well it contains:

  • Beneficial amino acids: collagen, proline, glycine, Glutamine and Gelatin

  • These amino acids are key for the body to produce Glutathione - the master defence - click here to learn why you need more of this in your life.

  • Glutamine in particular has been shown to be very important for ensuring the gut’s permeability (it is of course an important filter) is as it should be. Letting in the good/keeping out the bad.

Click here for more.

Key elements of a good meat stock:

  • We use a whole organic chicken

  • Large pot of filtered water

  • Roughly chopped vegetables: we use red onion, celery and carrot plus a bay leaf

Pretty simple to make. Chicken into the pot, covered with the water. In go the vegetables of your choice, bring to the boil and then simmer for 2-3 hours. Remove your chicken and then you have lovely meat stock. Easy!

However, if you have a toddler, you probably know that getting them to drink meat stock is probably as likely as getting them to sit silently through a production of War and Peace. So, question is - how can we incorporate it in a tasty way that they’ll actually eat and enjoy?

We have put together our top five favourites:

Well first and foremost - when it comes to stock - its pretty versatile and you can make it as simple or as complicated as you like. Let’s start with the simple:

Pasta: a staple of most toddler diets. We like to cook our whole grain pasta in boiling water with added meat stock which not only adds flavour but also adds some of those all important amino acids and Glutamate. That’s not all - if you’re not steaming your vegetables - you can also of course apply the same principal. Next time you’re doing peas/broccoli etc instead of plain boiling water - add in some meat stock.

Pasta Sauce - or any source for that matter! meat stock is of course a fantastic base for a lot of things. Obviously when you’re cooking pasta you chuck out the water the pasta is cooked in - the sauce however is another matter. Firstly you can add whatever ingredients your toddler likes to make a sauce, adding a bit of meat stock in there too will also likely go unnoticed for one thing (we like hidden goodies) but may even add a comforting flavour that they enjoy. A great way to sneak in.

Matteo’s favourite pasta sauce:

Sweat out some red onion and garlic, add in some chopped tomato and tomato paste alongside another one of my other stealth favourite hidden ingredients: finely chopped kale. Next in goes your meat stock. Simmer away and then before you take it off the heat add in some finely grated cheese. A firm favourite.

Chicken noodle soup: So soup’s aren’t for every toddler but a hearty chicken noodle soup is usually a crowd pleaser and the noodles make it a little bit more fun. Take your meat stock and start heating, then take some onions, garlic, celery and carrots (finely chopped) and sweat off in a pan. Meanwhile add your noodles to the meat stock and soften. Add the vegetables, shredded chicken and you have a super tasty, super healthy and comforting noodle soup.

Baked risotto: don't worry, it's the baked version so won’t take you hours as frankly who has the time! The good news once again is that you can flavour it with whatever you like. I often use my staples: onion and garlic (which are excellent sources of Glutathione click here for more) and whatever roasted veg I have done for my meal prep that week - click here for more on this. You can choose whatever your little one likes. All you do is take your roasted veg, risotto rice and your meat stock (I do a 1:3 ratio of rice to stock) and put into a roasting dish. Your oven should have preheated to 200 degrees and you leave in for around twenty mins stirring occasionally until the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Once again to finish I finely grate in some cheese. Another filling crowd pleaser!

These are just a few of our favourite staples - if you have any other ideas we would love to hear! @sarahbetterbabies on instagram or email sarah@betterbabies.com