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Breakfast Inspiration

Homemade Whole Grain Baby Cereals

Homemade Whole Grain Baby Cereals

baby cereal

When it comes for your baby to start solids, infant cereals are one of the foods you’ll think of. There are a handful of infant cereal options in the grocery stores, but the options are rather limited to rice and oatmeal, and occasionally corn. Rice and oatmeal are the least allergenic and why they are widely used. However, there are many grains you can use for your baby’s cereal, and it is quite easy to do!

Great Grains for Starters

[6 months of age]

  • Rice is the least allergenic grain and is often recommended as baby’s first cereal. Any rice is suitable for baby; brown jasmine rice and plain brown rice make a nice blend for cereals, as do basmati and plain brown rice.
  • Oatmeal is another great starter cereal for baby to start with. It is high in fiber, calcium, protein and even some B vitamins. Old fashioned, steel cut, and rolled oats are all suitable for baby cereal.
  • Barley is fabulous source of fiber, as well as Vitamin A, Folate and even protein. When cooked, barely’s texture is similar to that of rice. Barely most commonly comes in hulled, rolled, and pearled form, and all three are perfect for baby cereal.

Great Grains for Advancing Eaters

[8 months and up]

  • Buckwheat is actually a seed, not a grain; however it is tossed into the whole grain category. It is high in fiber and is a source of iron and folate. It does have a strong flavor, so mixing the buckwheat 50/50 or 25/75 with a milder grain would probably be best for your baby.
  • Kamut is a high protein grain, about 30% more protein than wheat. It has a wonderful sweet and almost buttery flavor.  Its shape looks similar to basmati rice.
  • Millet is rich in B vitamins, potassium, iron, and is even considered a good protein source. It has a bead-like shape and a mild flavor, leaving it open to take on any flavor mixed with. It is gluten free and a great option for grain sensitivities.
  • Quinoa is packed with fiber, iron, and is a great plant source of protein! It has a slightly nutty flavor, but overall is not very strong. It too is gluten free.

Once you have chosen the desired grain to make for your baby’s meal, you’ll need to grind it up to a much finer consistency than its whole form. To grind your cereal grain of choice, you can use a clean coffee/spice grinder, food processor, or blender. Regardless of method, you will want the whole grains ground pretty finely, so the texture is suitable for the toothless eater.

You might be wondering if you can simply add breast milk/formula/water to this grain cereal, like you can to commercial infant cereals, but that is not the case here. Infant cereals you can buy in the grocery store have been precooked and dehydrated, leaving you the simple task of rehydrating the grain cereal. Since there is no prior cooking these grains you’re working with, will you need to cook the grain cereal before feeding it to your little one.

It is easier to grind up the grains prior to cooking, but there is no reason you can’t cook the grain first and then blend afterwards; whichever you find best. The general rule of thumb for cooking these ground grains is 1/4 cup ground cereal to  1-2 cups water. If you err on the side of  1 cup of water, you can always thin out the cooked cereal afterwards with breast milk or more water.

The steps for cooking the cereal are easy:

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to boil
  2. Add in the ¼ c of ground grain
  3. WHISK WHISK WHISK
  4. Cool and serve, or store in refrigerator.

When cooking any ground grain “powder” for homemade baby cereal, the key is to whisk continually as you are cooking to avoid clumping.

Any milled whole grain should be stored in an air tight container, and preferably in your refrigerator. You can store them in a cool dry place, just be sure to check on the status of the grains if you use them infrequently. You can also freeze precooked cereals the same way you would fruit and vegetable purees.

As your baby grows and their palette is expanding, mixing in some fruit and vegetable purees is a fun way to introduce new flavors and keep your baby’s diet full of variety. You can also add a hint of cinnamon and/or vanilla to your baby’s infant cereal, and oh my is it tasty!

How did your experience with making your own infant cereal go? We’d love to know any tips you’ve got!

 

Written By: Anna Cayot

Sources:

Wholesomebabyfood.com (2012). Cereal. Retrieved from:

http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/cereal.htm

Wholesomebabyfood.com (2011). Grains for baby foods. Retrieved from: http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/grains-for-baby-food.htm#.U0SZ6_ldUuf

Photo credits: 1st photo- Becky @ thevintagemixer.com; 2nd photo- Susan B @ bloatarecall.blogspot.com cover http://www.popsugar.com/moms/photo-gallery/28209298/image/28209305/First-Foods

Kid-Approved Breakfast: Mmmmmuffins!

Kid-Approved Breakfast: Mmmmmuffins!

As fall rolls around and the wind picks up, warm muffins are the perfect breakfast for your family!

Check out the following muffin recipes- they’re healthy, and the flavor combinations are endless!

Carrot Apple Muffins (makes 12):

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 cup Oatmeal, ground
  • 2 tbsp Flaxseed, ground
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder 
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon 
  • 1/3 cup Agave nectar (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 cup Carrot, grated
  • 1 medium Apple, grated
  • 1 cup Applesauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. In a bowl, mix flour, oatmeal, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  3. In another bowl, stir together applesauce, agave, and grated carrot and apple. 
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. 
  5. Spoon into muffin tins and bake for around 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted removes clean. 

Your kids will love these sweet cinnamon muffins filled with fresh fruits and veggies!

Peanut Butter Jelly Muffins (makes 12)*:

Ingredients:

  • 2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water, let stand 5 min)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 c natural peanut butter
  • 1 c non-dairy milk (coconut, almond, rice)
  • 1/4 c (12 tsp) jam or jelly
  • rolled oats for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with paper liners and lightly spray with non-stick spray
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and mix until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mash banana well until smooth.  Add peanut butter, non-dairy milk, flax egg and agave and whisk until well combined. 
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined.  
  5. Fill muffin cups 1/3 of the way full with batter.  Make a well in the centre of each using a small spoon dipped in water (so it doesn't stick).  Put 1 tsp in the centre of each well.  Divide remaining batter among muffin cups, covering jam as best you can. Sprinkle tops with rolled oats.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tops are golden and springy when you gently press down on them.

It’s a classic favorite sandwich in a muffin!

*Make only after introducing your child to peanuts first!

Blueberry Banana Muffins (makes 12):

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp flax seeds or flaxseed meal (optional)
  • 1 tsp Chia seeds (optional)
  • 2 bananas, peeled and mashed (or blended)
  • 1/2 cup organic unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup organic agave
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh organic blueberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the bananas, applesauce, agave, olive oil, milk, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Fold in blueberries.
  6. Fill lightly greased muffin pan with about 1/4 cup mixture. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until the tops have browned. The inside will be moist!

Whole-wheat flour is a great alternative to white flour! While white flour is processed and refined, whole-wheat flour is made from grains that have not undergone such heavy processing. This allows whole-wheat fiber to retain a high fiber content and a nutritional advantage over some white flours! Substitute whole-wheat flour for white flour in your recipes to reap all of its nutritional benefits!

There’s nothing better than the smell of fresh muffins in the oven, so get baking!


Written By: Dana Stretchberry


Sources:

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/healthy-wholewheat-flour-vs-white-3305.html

Recipes Adaptations:

http://www.southerninlaw.com/2013/02/healthy-carrot-and-apple-muffins-recipe-tefal-fresh-express-review.html

http://healthylikethis.blogspot.ca/2013/06/toddler-love-and-recipe-peanut-butter.html

http://www.nodietsallowed.com/vegan-banana-blueberry-muffins/

Image Sources:

www.melskitchencafe.com

www.averiecooks.com

www.gatheranddine.com