When I introduced my son to solid food at 6 months, I used commercial instant baby rice cereal. To be honest, at the time, I didn’t even realize that preparing baby rice cereal from scratch was an option. I just assumed that it had to come from a box! The more I read, and the more I studied natural solutions for baby food, I quickly learned that baby grains didn’t have to come from a box, and making your own was just as easy as making a bowl of oatmeal.
You can make your own single grain cereals. Pulverize grain (brown rice, whole oats, wheat, or barley) in a food processor, spice grinder, or coffee grinder. Mix together 1/4 cup pulverized grain and 1 cup boiling water. Stir continuously for 5-10 minutes. When preparing oatmeal, do not use instant or quick oats because it becomes very sticky and gummy when you add water. Add breast milk or formula until you reach the consistency you like. Never boil breast milk or heat breast milk in the microwave. Boiling or microwaving will damage the valuable vitamins, minerals, and antibodies in the milk.
Great 1st Grains:
- Brown Rice-often recommended as baby’s first food because it’s the least allergenic grain
- Barley-good source of Vitamin A, folate, and protein
- Oatmeal-high in fiber, calcium, and protein
- Buckwheat (Kasha)-buckwheat is actually a seed, however it is often categorized as a whole grain
Now that my son is eating finger foods, I have introduced “grain-like” Quinoa (pronounced KEEN’-wa). Quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture, and has a mild, nutty flavor. You can find Quinoa online or at your local grocery store in the section with dried beans.
Quinoa is so versatile that you can serve it as a lunch or dinner side dish, or sweeten it up and eat it for breakfast (see recipe below). I find quinoa at the grocery store or Amazon, and you can find a variety of colors or even a tricolor blend.
Breakfast Quinoa with Maple Syrup and Berries
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups water
2 Tbs Maple Syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup berries of your choice
1/2 milk (optional)
Rinse and drain quinoa, place in sauce pan with water. Cook on medium heat approximately 15-20 minutes until Quinoa is tender and water is absorbed. It will double in size. Add maple syrup and cinnamon. Fold in berries (try apples, peaches or raisins for variety). Pour milk on top for thinner creamy consistency.
Mandy’s mission is to educate parents on the benefits of making baby food at home and provide consultation and education services to moms who are wanting to make their baby’s food from scratch but don’t know where to start. Check out her blog, or find her on FaceBook.