Can my baby eat Quinoa?
Quinoa, you’ve seen it in the news, on the cooking channel, and all over the internet.
The short answer to your question is, yes, your baby can enjoy quinoa. It is highly recommended that you wait until they are 8-10months old. Though it is very uncommon, it’s not unheard of for babies to be allergic to quinoa. So, waiting until they are eight months old, and their bodies are better able to digest the grain is advised.
This tiny little grain that everyone is raving about is the new must-have thing for healthy eating. Quinoa is an amazing ancient grain that, over the years, has increased in popularity. Thanks in part of the increased awareness of gluten allergies. Quinoa (pro: kinuwa) is a flowering plant of the amaranth family.
This herbaceous plant is grown primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa seeds are rich in protein, fiber, vitamin B, and minerals. This versatile grain has been enjoyed for centuries by Native Americans. And, it’s no wonder, this little grain is just an amazing superfood of health benefits.
Nowadays, you can find a quinoa recipe for just about every occasion. From curry to salads, soups, to desserts, quinoa is everywhere. With all the amazing health benefits quinoa provides for adults, it’s no wonder you want to find out if your baby can eat quinoa.
Here are some great reasons to add quinoa to your babies regular diet:
1. High in Protein
Quinoa is one of the few kinds of cereal that are a good source of protein. Though quinoa isn’t considerably high in protein, they also contain essential amino acids. Amino acids that can’t be synthesized by the body, therefore they have to be supplied through a food source.
Quinoa is a good source of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and vitamin E. These are the essential vitamins your baby needs to grow and develop.
Along with vitamins, our body needs minerals. Calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium are essential in bone growth. Iron is needed for hemoglobin production, which helps your baby’s body to absorb oxygen. Plus, quinoa is rich in potassium, sodium, zinc, as well as many other great minerals.
Antioxidants are the body’s defense fighter, helping to keep us at our peak health. Without antioxidants, your baby’s bodies will not be able to fight off a cold or flu.
Because of the high levels of fiber in quinoa, it’s a great natural way to make sure your baby has regular bowel movements. Often with babies are introduced to new foods, as part of the weaning process, they will get backed up. So as a great alternative to over the counter laxatives to help your baby poop, just add some quinoa to their regular diet. Using quinoa as a laxative is a great alternative because it’s insoluble fiber, which means you will not get the explosions that come along with most over the counter laxatives. Instead, you will have smooth bowel movements that are less gassy and easier on baby’s tummy—keeping your baby’s digestive system in perfect working order.
6. Hulled vs. Dehulled
Studies have found that quinoa, in the unhulled variety, contains higher amounts of saponins.
Saponins make the quinoa grain bitter and uneatable.
When buying in the grocery store, make sure that you only purchased hulled quinoa.
Even though the grains are hulled, there will still be some saponins remaining.
These are not advised to consume.
A little preparation on your part will remove the little remaining saponins from your quinoa.
Just before cooking your quinoa, soak them in a water bath for 2 hours.
Every few minutes, move the grains around the water while they are submerged.
This will help release any remaining hulls from your grains.
Although the hulls may have been removed before buying, there may still be some remnants left. Soaking the grains in water will help remove more of the hulls and removing some of the natural bitterness that remains.
Cooking quinoa is very simple, very similar to cooking rice. You’ll want to use a ratio of 2:1, just like rice. If your baby is still in the beginning stages of learning to eat, use a ratio of 2.5:1, this will create a puree like consistency. If your baby has been introduced to meats, then you can use broth instead of water to help lighten the taste.
Like most food, quinoa isn’t fed without risk of allergies. So for the first few feeding tread lightly. Closely observe your baby’s reaction to the grain. If you notice any symptoms of allergies, stop feeding, and take the baby to the doctors.
For the first few feedings, avoid adding anything to the quinoa like meats, sausage, broth, or vegetables. This is so that you can isolate what could be causing the reactions. Later on, you can add things to the quinoa to entice your baby.
Quinoa is such a great, versatile grain that you’ll find all kind of great ways to add it to just about every meal your babies eats. If you’d like a few recipe ideas, here are two great websites to help you with ideas: