I’ve had digestive issues my whole life. From colic as a baby to IBS as a kiddo, to GERD as an adult. When I learned that easy-to-digest bone broth was not only nutrient-rich but also super healing for the gut, I incorporated it into my diet. I got really good at making it and even invested in an Instant Pot to be able to make it faster. I’ve used it in soups and stews, in place of water in certain recipes like bolognese, and even as a warm, soothing drink.
When my daughter Della weaned herself unexpectedly at 9 months old, I did some research and decided to feed her a daily bottle of liver-enriched bone broth. When she drank it, my mama heart felt soooo satisfied because I knew it was adding some of the nutrients she would have gotten from breastmilk.
Shortly after that, I started working on new pouch ideas for Serenity Kids and wondered: could we swap out the water for bone broth and take pouch nutrition to the next level?!? Why yes, yes we can! And why would we want to? SO many reasons! That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
Trendy or Ancestral?
We know, it seems like bone broth is a trendy new superfood. It’s popping up all over grocery shelves, your favorite bloggers are sharing their recipes for making it, and some restaurants are even boasting bone broth bars! But the reality is, bone broth has been part of human diets for thousands of years! And for good reason – we now know that our ancestors were onto something! We’re breaking down its benefits for you and sharing how to incorporate bone broth into your family’s diet.
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Okay, maybe it’s a little of both - trendy and ancestral. Bone broth is an ancient superfood that was born from our ancestors wanting to get the most out of every animal. They ate “nose to tail,” meaning nothing was wasted. When so many nutrients exist in the bones of a well-raised animal, why throw them out?
Many adults think of eating chicken soup when sick, we don’t often think of chicken soup for the littlest members of our families. However, some records show that bone broth was one of the earliest baby foods. And it makes sense, right? It’s super nutritious and doesn't require chewing.
Before we get into it, it’s worth clarifying that when we talk about bone broth and chicken soup, we’re talking about broth made by simmering animal bones for 24+ hours. We aren’t referring to stocks made with water, salt, and some veggies (and often loads of additives) found in many canned soups.
Bone broth health benefits
Animals store a number of nutrients in their bones, and the process of simmering their bones allows these nutrients to be extracted out into the broth. Thanks to its impressive nutrient density, there are a number of bone broth health benefits, including gut health, immunity, sleep regulation, and mood stabilization. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
In fact, bone broth health benefits are so powerful, it’s even used to help heal certain conditions in many cultures, as well as in the functional medicine and holistic health worlds. Because bone broth is especially good for gut health and has been shown to improve the integrity of the lining of the gut, it is often used to help manage conditions of the gut, like leaky gut, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
And to be clear, bone broth health benefits aren’t found only in adults. Bone broth is also an amazing superfood for toddlers! More on that here!
Other benefits of bone broth
But the benefits of bone broth don’t stop at nutrition for little ones. The rich umami flavor of bone broth helps develop the palate of babies during the critical flavor window. We discuss this in detail here, but it’s important to know that introducing savory flavors like bone broth during this flavor window (from about 6-18 months) helps to establish a child’s palate for life. It also helps to combat picky eating, cravings for sweets, and even obesity.
Things to know
So, bone broth seems like a no-brainer. What else do you need to know? Here are a few things:
- Flavor and exact nutrients vary: Depending on the type of bones used and the herbs or other seasonings added, bone broth flavors will vary in complexity. If you or your little one is new to bone broth, try out different types to see what you like best. Our Turmeric Chicken pouch is a more complex flavor that is also full of additional health benefits!
- Source matters: Since the way to make it involves concentrating nutrients, toxins are also concentrated so get organic, or better yet grass-fed and pasture-raised.
- It’s easy to make: While bone broth might seem complicated, it’s actually very easy to make yourself. It takes time, but the vast majority of the time is completely hands-off. Check out our post on How to Make Chicken Bone Broth for instructions!
How to use it
Bone broth can be sipped warm, just like a cup of tea or coffee (start with lukewarm for the little ones!). Of course, bone broth is also a great addition to soups and stews, and can also be used in cooking in a number of other ways. Just substitute bone broth where you’d otherwise use water. Try to cook things like sprouted rice or quinoa (if grains are tolerated), to braise, poach, or simmer meat; to deglaze your pans, and to thin out baby purees. You can also get creative and turn otherwise sweet recipes savory - like pancakes! We also love to mix cooked blended liver with bone broth for a nutrition super bomb! Check out the recipe for that here. Of course, our lineup of both broth pouches are another amazing way to get bone broth into the bellies of your little ones!