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.
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.
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 350F.
Bake the balls in the oven for 30 minutes.
Nutrition value (4 servings):
Total fat 9.3g
Saturated fat 2.2g
Total carbohydrate 40.3g
Dietary fibre 4.9g
Total sugar 6g
Vitamin D 4mcg
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.