I love to cook. It’s one of my passions and I have always cooked for my family and even my pet dog! So once my baby girl was born, I knew I was going to cook for her too. You see all those jars and pouches of baby food in the stores and it makes you wonder, “What kind of preservatives do they add to get that 2+ year shelf life?” Plus what other ingredients are added that you don’t know about. Sugar, salt… I just don’t want to risk it, and I want to know exactly what is going into my baby’s tummy. So, as I have started on this baby puree-making journey I wanted to also share my recipes and knowledge with you to help your journey go as smoothly as your baby’s first puree!
I have been anxiously waiting to finally introduce solids.
Finally the day that she started licking her lips and chopping down on those little gums I knew it was time to finally start on solids (just one week shy of 6 months). Hurray!
The first solid I started Alaia on was rice cereal or in my case “quinoa cereal”.
Quinoa is loaded with nutrients such as amino acids, protein, and fiber.
Quinoa has almost twice as much fiber than rice and other grains. Fiber helps in the digestive organs, especially beneficial for sensitive tummies, with helping things get going ‘down there’ in a gentle way.
When it comes to comparing it to rice, while rice has four grams of protein per cup, quinoa packs 8 grams per cup. Quinoa is one of the few plant sources that are a complete protein. It contains nine essential amino acids, which puts it in the category of a complete protein. As a complete protein source, quinoa is a great option for vegans, vegetarians, and in our case, babies! Protein helps support the development and growth of our babies. Neither white nor brown rice is a complete protein, so when it comes to fueling your little one’s body, quinoa is the healthier choice.
Quinoa has more micronutrients than rice. It’s high in manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, B-complex vitamins and the most important of these for your baby is the high contents of iron.
For the first 6 months of your baby’s life, breastfed babies will get what they need from their mother’s milk. However, after those first 6 months their iron reserves begin to diminish and parents need to introduce foods into their baby’s diet in order for their baby to not run the risk of being iron deficient. Quinoa is a natural and amazing way to boost their reserves without using iron-fortified ingredients.
Here’s a little chart from the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) based on the amount of iron your child needs based on their age.
Just one cup of quinoa contains 2.8 mg of iron as opposed to rice, which contains only 0.3 mg of iron per cup. Based on this research my husband and I decided to go with quinoa cereal being her first food to get her prepared to eat other foods.
How to Make Quinoa Cereal
We want the best for our baby and that means providing delicious foods that are packed with nutrients! Are we asking for too much? I don’t think so! Nutrient loaded foods causes any mama to smile, especially when your baby gobbles them up. “Yummmm delicious!”
So, when it comes to introducing a super food like quinoa, I couldn’t smile any bigger to where my cheekbones hurt. Not to mention how easy it is to make.
By the way, I make all my baby food purees in a blendtec blender. You can purchase the blender here. It’s honestly the best blender and really makes everything that I have put into it, extra smooth no matter what the ingredient is.
When Freezing My Baby Food
I also love these silicone trays! I made the mistake of first freezing my daughter’s food in a regular ice cube tray and realized that was an epic fail because I couldn’t get her food out! It stuck to the edges of the ice cube tray. However, this silicone tray makes it easy to push the food out and the food looks so pretty after it’s frozen I think! Cute little honeycomb shapes and they melt quicker for the hungry baby than a large sized ice cube.
When Reheating My Quinoa Cereal
Warm the quinoa cereal in a microwaveable safe dish (I like to use the OXO Tot baby block glass container for heating up my baby’s food) in the microwave for 30 seconds (pausing half way to stir). Of course always make sure the quinoa cereal or any baby food that you reheat is not too warm/hot before feeding your baby! You can also reheat over the stove as well.
Quinoa Cereal is so easy to make and more nutritious than rice cereal
- 1 cup quinoa (washed) I buy prewashed quinoa from Costco which helps in breaking down the time in making this recipe (cause let’s face it…nobody got time for that…). But if you can’t find prewashed quinoa then I included in the steps how to wash your quinoa.
- 6 cups water
- Breast milk or Formula (amount depends on the thickness/consistency you want it at)
- (You can skip this step if your quinoa is prewashed) Start with soaking one cup of quinoa in 4 cups of water overnight (6 hours at least). This is an important step because if you don’t soak the quinoa before cooking it, it is difficult for your baby and even you to absorb the nutrients and minerals that quinoa provides. It can also taste bitter if not pre-washed.
- After at least 6 hours drain the quinoa in a strainer and transfer drained quinoa to a pot
- (Start on this step if you already have prewashed quinoa) Pour 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water into a pot
- Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low and simmer until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes
- Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes
- Uncover and fluff with a fork into a blender
- Let cool for an additional 5 or so minutes
- Add the desired amount of breast milk or formula, which is familiar to your baby allowing them to enjoy the quinoa cereal more than just adding water to thin it out (I added 6 oz of pumped breast milk for my consistency when first starting out in feeding my baby)
- Puree in the blender until it is nice and smooth
- Serve straight away, or freeze the cereal into cubes for easy use on another day
- If you have read my post on the importance of probiotics for your child (linked here); you can sprinkle a little probiotics on top of your homemade baby food for added nutritious value
I’d love to know how your little one enjoys this recipe . Let me know in the comments or if you have any yummy recipes you’d like to share!
*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at NO additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you for helping a mama out:)