Quinoa For Babies: Recipes, Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts

Quinoa is an ideal and nutritious food for babies and toddlers. Try these easy-to-prepare recipes suggested by nutritionist Priya Kathpal.

By Priya Kathpal

Quinoa For Babies: Recipes, Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts

Feeding your baby isn't an easy task, but even more difficult is trying to choose what is good and nourishing for your baby. For, not only are the choices overwhelming but also confusing at times.

One of the many foods that you can choose is quinoa for babies. Quinoa isn't a grain but a pseudocereal. However, it is considered a grain because it provides the benefits of whole grain compared to foods like white rice and pasta, which only provide simple carbohydrates.

Like other grains and millets, it is recommended to begin quinoa for babies only after they are 7 or 8 months old. Quinoa, like ragi and jowar, provides children with a high level of nutrition.

Health benefits of quinoa for babies

  • It is rich in good quality fats. About 25% of fatty acids comes in the form of oleic acid which is a heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and about 8% comes from alpha-linolenic acid.
  • It is one of the few plant foods that provides complete proteins. It has high protein to carbohydrate ratio compared with other grains. No wonder space agency NASA proposed quinoa as an ideal food for long-duration space flights
  • Quinoa contains high amounts of fibre. So, it improves gut health and prevents constipation.
  • It is gluten-free and high in antioxidants compared with other gluten-free grains. Researchers at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University found that the nutritional content of gluten-free diets improved significantly when oats or quinoa were added to them.
  • Quinoa is a good source of several minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
  • Quinoa contains many plant compounds that contribute to its flavour and health effects. For example, flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol are found in high amounts in quinoa. In fact, the quercetin content of quinoa is higher than some other high-quercetin foods like cranberries.
  • It is not very difficult to incorporate quinoa in a child's diet, as it tastes good even when mixed with other foods.

Quinoa nutrition facts and value (per 100g)

  • Calories 328
  • Carbohydrates 54g
  • Proteins 13g
  • Fats 5.5g
  • Iron 7.5mg
  • Omega-3 204mg
  • Total fibre 14.6g
  • Potassium 474mg
  • Vitamin B9 173mcg
  • Total MUFA 1424mg

Healthy quinoa recipes for babies

To make quinoa baby food, you should either buy rinsed quinoa or rinse it well before use. This helps get rid of quinoa's anti-nutritional factors and bitter taste. After rinsing, the quinoa can be dried and roasted before grinding to powder for ease of use.

Quinoa porridge (7 months – 1 year)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp quinoa powder
  • Water to cook
  • Half a banana

Method of preparation:

  • Cook the quinoa powder in water until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Mash the banana and mix it well with the porridge for sweetness before serving.

Nutrition value per serving:

  • Calories 131
  • Total fat 1.5g
  • Saturated fat 0.2g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 2mg
  • Total carbohydrate 27.1g
  • Dietary fibre 3g
  • Total sugars 7.2g
  • Protein 3.6g
  • Vitamin D 0mcg
  • Calcium 13mg
  • Iron 1mg
  • Potassium 331mg

Soupy quinoa (7 months to 1 year)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp cooked quinoa
  • Vegetable stock for cooking
  • 1 tbsp green peas

Method of preparation:

  • Put all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Allow the dish to cool before serving to your child.

*Watch closely while boiling so the mixture is not reduced to a thick paste.

Nutrition value per serving:

  • Calories 129
  • Total fat 2.8g
  • Saturated fat 0.6g
  • Cholesterol 4mg
  • Sodium 173mg
  • Total carbohydrate 19.2g
  • Dietary fibre 2g
  • Total sugars 2.4g
  • Protein 6.5g
  • Vitamin D 0mcg
  • Calcium 16mg
  • Iron 1mg
  • Potassium 268mg

Creamy quinoa (7 months to 1 year)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp quinoa
  • ¼ cup whole milk yogurt
  • A quarter banana (mashed)

Method of preparation:

  • Boil quinoa in water and keep aside.
  • In a saucepan, boil the yogurt.
  • Add the cooked quinoa and allow the mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Now add the banana and fold gently.
  • Switch off the flame and allow the dish to cool before serving.

Nutrition value per serving:

  • Calories 179
  • Total fat 5.4g
  • Saturated fat 2.8g
  • Cholesterol 16mg
  • Sodium 58mg
  • Total carbohydrate 26.1g
  • Dietary fibre 2.3g
  • Total sugars 9.3g
  • Protein 7.6g
  • Vitamin D 0mcg
  • Calcium 160mg
  • Iron 1mg
  • Potassium 415mg

Healthy quinoa recipes for toddlers

Quinoa with seasonal fruits (1 year and above)

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • Small apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
  • A quarter banana, ripe (mashed)
  • A pinch of cinnamon powder

Method of preparation:

  • Boil water in a saucepan. Stir in the quinoa and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce the flame and allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add raisins and apple, and cook for 5 minutes (until the water gets absorbed).
  • Add mashed banana and cinnamon powder.
  • Serve as is or mash well before serving.

Nutrition value per serving:

  • Calories 240
  • Total fat 2.8g
  • Saturated fat 0.3g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 8mg
  • Total carbohydrate 49.1g
  • Dietary fibre 5.6g
  • Total sugars 14.8g
  • Protein 6.8g
  • Vitamin D 0mcg
  • Calcium 33mg
  • Iron 2mg
  • Potassium 475mg

Quinoa stir fry salad (1 year and above)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup steamed apple pieces
  • ¼ cup steamed yellow squash pieces
  • ¼ cup cooked sweet potato pieces

Method of preparation:

  • Heat olive oil in a pan.
  • Toss in all the ingredients.
  • Saute and scramble. Serve warm.

*Optional: You can also scramble in an egg yolk.

Nutrition value per serving:

  • Calories 251
  • Total fat 10.7g
  • Saturated fat 2.5g
  • Cholesterol 210mg
  • Sodium 31mg
  • Total carbohydrate 33.3g
  • Dietary fibre 4.8g
  • Total sugars 9.6g
  • Protein 7.2g
  • Vitamin D 18mcg
  • Calcium 38mg
  • Iron 4mg
  • Potassium 509mg

Quinoa muffins (2 years and above)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • ½ tsp nutmeg powder
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup chopped apples
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs (slightly beaten)

Method of preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Add cooked quinoa and oats to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add nutmeg powder, sugar (both), cinnamon powder, eggs, chopped apple and maple syrup. Mix well.
  • Spray non-stick cooking spray to a mini-muffin pan.
  • Fill each muffin slot with one tablespoon of the mixture.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Nutrition value per serving (6 pieces):

  • • Calories 233
  • • Total fat 4.4g
  • • Saturated fat 0.9g
  • • Cholesterol 55mg
  • • Sodium 25mg
  • • Total carbohydrate 41.7g
  • • Dietary fibre 4.4g
  • • Total sugars 12.7g
  • • Protein 7.8g
  • • Vitamin D 5mcg
  • • Calcium 35mg
  • • Iron 2mg
  • • Potassium 283mg

Mango quinoa (2 years and above)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ripe mango (cubed)
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water

Method of preparation:

  • Boil water. Add the quinoa and stir.
  • Cook for 20 minutes on a low flame until the water gets absorbed.
  • Purée applesauce and mango together in a blender.
  • Add the purée to the quinoa.

Nutrition value (2 servings):

  • Calories 376
  • Total fat 5.5g
  • Saturated fat 0.7g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 6mg
  • Total carbohydrate 70.4g
  • Dietary fibre 7.6g
  • Total sugars 14.4g
  • Protein 12.7g
  • Vitamin D 0mcg
  • Calcium 50mg
  • Iron 4mg
  • Potassium 640mg

Crispy quinoa balls (2 years and above)

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 large apple (grated)
  • 200g cooked quinoa
  • 90g cheddar cheese
  • Olive oil for brushing

Method of preparation:

  • Place the cheddar cheese, quinoa, egg and apple in a bowl and mix well.
  • Make balls from the mixture and place them on a baking tray.
  • Brush olive oil on top of the balls.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Bake the balls in the oven for 30 minutes.

Nutrition value (4 servings):

  • Calories 298
  • Total fat 9.3g
  • Saturated fat 2.2g
  • Cholesterol 46mg
  • Sodium 156mg
  • Total carbohydrate 40.3g
  • Dietary fibre 4.9g
  • Total sugar 6g
  • Protein 14.1g
  • Vitamin D 4mcg
  • Calcium 123mg
  • Iron 3mg
  • Potassium 371mg

You can store quinoa for several months in a cool, dry place. You can also store it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator. Refrigeration prevents the natural oils in quinoa from turning rancid. If you are buying pre-milled whole quinoa, only purchase small quantities and use before it turns rancid.

About the author:

Written by Priya Kathpal on 30 September 2019

Nutritionist Priya Kathpal has a Master’s degree in Dietary Food Service Management with a PG Diploma in Dietetics, Bsc Applied Nutrition and is also a certified sports nutritionist. With over 10 years of experience in fitness industry, she has been involved in clinical and sports nutrition consultations in corporate, gym, fitness centres, clinic set up and R&D team of sports nutrition products.

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