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Despite being invented in 1985, Quorn has only recently become a household name in the last decade as a healthier alternative to meat with many families occasionally opting for it even if they’re not a vegetarian or vegan.
Children are also big fans of Quorn with many of their products now frighteningly similar to their meat-based counterparts. Now with 100s of different products and recipes on the market parents are wondering if it’s a suitable food to offer babies when they start their weaning process. It’s advertised as a healthy alternative so why not?
Can babies eat Quorn?
You shouldn’t feed your baby Quorn on its own but in small quantities, it can be acceptable for babies aged 9 months or over. The reason why Quorn isn’t recommended for young babies is that the core ingredient of Mycoprotein is high in fibre and low in far which will make your baby feel full but they won’t get much nutritional value from it – a bit like hungry formula.
Quorn is not harmful to babies and nothing bad will happen if they nibble on the occasional piece but having too much fibre can cause flatulence and in some cases diarrhoea.
Is it OK to feed babies meals with Quorn?
Quorn is an excellent source of protein and fibre for babies and can be an excellent additive to an existing meal provided the Quorn is in small quantities and served alongside other energy-filled ingredients. Quorn should be introduced gradually into their diet over a period of weeks and months and never as the main source of their nutrition, similar to toast, weetabix and milkshakes.
When can children eat a full Quorn meal?
Children shouldn’t regularly have Quorn until they’re three years old and shouldn’t eat a full meal with Quorn as the major ingredient until they’re two years old. Nutrition is especially important for growing children and the appetite suppressing qualities of mycoprotein may leave them feeling so full that they may not meet their nutritional requirement for the day.
At such a young age, children need protein, fat, minerals and nutrients to keep growing which they get from a variety of sources – not just Quorn.
Can mycoprotein (Quorn) make babies sick?
Quorn is made from the Fusarium venenatum fungus family and includes eggs which can sometimes cause an allergic reaction in some babies, although very rarely. If your baby has already been eating egg and mushrooms then they’ll be fine provided you follow our recommendations on feeding a baby Quorn from the above.
The most likely cause of Quorn making a baby feel unwell is the high fibre content which can lead to a baby having painful gas and being flatulent, Bupa are a great resource on Fibre for babies. On top of that, too much fibre can make babies feel full for longer which can lead them to skip meals throughout the day; as we’ve touched recently Quorn doesn’t have many calories or other nutrients so they could miss out which can lead them to feel unwell later on if they are regularly given too much fibre.
What is a better equivalent to Quorn for babies?
If you’re raising a baby who is a vegetarian or a vegan and now you don’t want to give them Quorn then simple substitutes such as soy, beans (yes, baked beans), fish, eggs, dairy, nuts and of course all the fruits and vegetables they can get their hands on are excellent substitutes for Quorn until they are old enough to be able to eat it more regularly.
Quorn is indeed a healthy alternative to meat but as far as it goes feeding babies it is not ideal due to the high fibre and protein content and little calories which can leave a baby feeling full without eating all the nutrients they need. The advice is to feed them Quorn in small amounts from time to time and gradually. Children should not eat full meals with Quorn until they are around 3 and always accompanied by other ingredients which are full of minerals, nutrients, vitamins and calories that Quorn lacks.