After 6 months of age your baby can digest real grains. This means you don’t need to purchase baby cereal which saves you tons of money and allows your child at a young age to truly experience eating REAL FOODS.
As a parent you know when your child is ready to take on solids because they are staring, cooing, or screaming because they see you eating something that looks really yummy to them. Whether you make your own baby food or choose to do the Baby Lead Weaning method it’s important for you to know the best grains out there to feed those little ones.
When you first begin grains stick with one kind of grain to see how your child does. Then you can move onto a second type of grain and so on. After you have introduced 2-3 grains then you can start mixing them together for a mixed grain meal. I love to mix oats, barley and quinoa together.
You might wonder now about milled grains, are they bad for you? No, they are not necessarily bad for as to make you sick but they are stripped away of bran which lacks the fiber that is inherent in the grain. Fiber is VERY important in our diets. It keeps us regular, lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
My Picks – Grains Best for Babies
Oat Groans are the best to use because it’s not processed but you can also use steel cut or rolled oats but make sure they are organic and non-gmo. Oats are high in fiber which is great for babies with constipation. Oats have a higher balance of protein and a good balance of fatty acids. Did you know that if children eat oatmeal they are 50% less likely to suffer from obesity?
Barley is a favorite in our house. We use it for sweet and savory dishes and it’s a perfect alterative to oatmeal in the morning. Barley is a whole grain which is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Barley is also one of the richest sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Quinoa is one of the easiest whole grains to prepare. I love the versatility of this grain; you can cook with it in a sweet or savory way. Quinoa is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids which is why they call it “The Mother Grain”. Qunioa also have twice as much fiber as other grains and have a great deal of iron which is something a baby needs a lot of after that 6 month mark.
Wheat Berries are a whole wheat kernel that looks like thick short grains which are similar to brown rice. You can grind them into whole wheat flour for baking and can be done with the blendtec. This non processed grain is packed with fiber, protein and iron and loaded with vitamin E.
When cooking grains for your family place some aside to puree for the baby or just let them try the same foods you are having at meal time. Just remember that babies has many more taste buds than we do so things tend to be spicier and taste different to them than us. When pureeing, remember to use a lot of water to make the right consistency you need for your child. Grains can also be frozen, just defrost naturally in the fridge or on the counter top. Mix with your favorite fruit or vegetable puree and you have a complete meal.