Baby food isn’t just limited to your typical fruit, vegetables, and meat. Your baby will surely testify that these are all delicious, but there are still a variety of other healthy foods that are perfectly safe to introduce to your child. Once your child has mastered the smooth purées of fruit, vegetable, and meat combinations, you can expand their palate even more by incorporating a wide array of grains. This usually takes place anywhere between 7 months and 1 year of age.
Between 7 months and 12 years of age your child has most likely sprouted a couple teeth, and can safely mush the grains in their mouths without any help. Grains make a great stepping-stone to solid table foods because they provide a little more texture to the previously smooth puréed foods you have served up until this point. If your child is still working on swallowing or has yet to have any teeth pop through, that’s ok too! Grains can be left whole or tossed into your food processor once cooked. Just purée them down as needed and you’re all set.
How to Make Homemade Baby Food with Grains
Quinoa, pasta, rice, oats, couscous, and bulgur all fall among the grain category that you can begin incorporating into your young child’s meals. Not only are these grains rich in fiber, but they each also add their own nutrition benefits of calcium, iron, and protein. These grains are also very easy to prepare for your child, as you can follow cooking instructions according to packaging and serve alone, or alongside another one of your child’s favorite puréed foods.
As with any homemade baby foods, you have the freedom to create tasty meal combinations with grains and complimenting fruits, vegetables, and meats. Consider meals you make yourself and mimic them with your child’s foods as well. A fruit or vegetable of your choice, a complimenting protein, and a simple grain make a well-rounded meal for your child. The grains will add new flavors and textures for your child to discover. In the process, they will also further master their ability to mash, chew, and swallow.
- 2 cups chicken, cooked (See instructions in Step 1. below for cooking a whole chicken.)
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
- ½ to 1 cup quinoa
- Chicken Stock (How to make homemade chicken stock)
- To cook a whole chicken, preheat your oven to 350° be sure to remove the giblets. Place in a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes per pound. Pull or cut apart into smaller pieces.
- Fill a small pot of water just under the steamer basket but not touching. Bring the water to a simmer. Add the apples to the basket and cover. Allow the apples to steam for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are soft and tender with a fork.
- Fill another pot with 2 cups of water or chicken stock and bring to a boil.
- Add the quinoa and return to a boil.
- Cover and reduce heat to a simmer until the liquid has absorbed and the quinoa is just slightly translucent and soft. Remove from heat.
- Combine the chicken and apples in a food processor and puree to desired consistency.
- You may add the quinoa to the food in the food processor or mix in after puréeing for more texture.
Steamer basket and small to medium pot with lid
Food processor or blender
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Emily is a mother of two, Army wife, avid cook, and recently discovered running to help stay fit. She enjoys the outdoors and sharing her knowledge about greener living with others, including cloth diapering and up-cycling everyday objects into something fresh.