Monday, September 13, 2010

Great Grains

Quinoa is not a grass, but its seeds have been...Image via Wikipedia
The more moms I talk to, the more I realize that the most common first food is rice cereal.  Dylan's first taste of "solid" food was Gerber Brand baby rice cereal.  To be honest, at the time, I never even realized that making rice cereal 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 it was just as easy as making yourself a bowl of whole oats.

Instant baby cereals are processed, precooked and then dehydrated.  They are often made from grain that has been processed and then milled into a flour.  Although commercial baby cereal is definitely more convenient then making it from scratch, the cooking and processing leaches the nutritional value from the grains. 

You can make your own single gain cereals.  Try 1 cup brown rice, oatmeal, or barley pulverized in the food processor or coffee grinder.  When preparing oatmeal do not use instant or quick oats.  Add one cup boiling water and stir continuously for 5-10 minutes.  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 
  • Barley
  • Wheat
  • Oats
Now that Dylan's eating finger foods, I have also introduced Quinoa (pronounced /ˈkiːnoʊ.ə/ or /kwɨˈnoʊ.ə/).
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.

Preparation: You will need to rinse and soak the Quinoa grains.  I soak them overnight.  I cook it in the rice cooker, but you can cook it on the stove.  Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add one cup of Quinoa, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes.  I have also substituted water for vegetable it extra flavor! add cheese, veggies, and/or seasoning and you have a great option for lunch or dinner!

Baby rice cereal doesn't have to be baby's first food.  Read the link below:

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Dara Sherwood said...

I have given rice cereal to both my kids as first foods, without knowing I had other option. My youngest had a lot of trouble with the processed cereals, so I educated myself a little, and have been giving her other things instead, like whole oats. They are really wonderful for baby's sensitive digestive system, and really help regulate her bowels. I really loved this post. We are under the impression that we have to buy 'baby food' and that we can't make it on our own, but it is so much healthier to choose more natural options. I think my next adventure will be with Quinoa!

mush momma said...

Thanks Dara...the Quinoa is easy on the digestive system too. Glad you are going to give it a try!