If you’re looking for tasty baby food recipes, then you’ll love these delicious and nutritious recipes of quinoa for baby!
As your little one grew, and Lord knows that happened fast, you probably started experimenting with different kinds of food and flavors, from banana puree and baby cereal to mashed veggies.
Well, now is the perfect time to add quinoa to your monthly food plan!
I’m not just saying this because I’m a huge quinoa fan myself, but because of the importance of early exposure to healthy food.
Quinoa is a grain crop high in protein. It is one of the few plant foods that has a sufficient amount of all nine essential amino acids.
This grain improves both the mental and physical development of a child.
In other words, if my parents hadn’t introduced me to quinoa early on in my life I would have probably developed an aversion to it, and this nutritious grain would never have become a part of my current diet.
We can’t let that happen, right?
Homemade baby food and superfoods are an essential part of your baby’s meal plan.
With that being said, you’ll find all you need to know about this nutritious grain below, including its health benefits and some tasty quinoa for baby recipes!
When Can You Give Quinoa To Your Baby?
Can babies eat quinoa? When should you introduce this nutritious grain to your baby?
A baby can eat solid food between 4 to 6 months of age, which is the ideal time to introduce your little one to first foods like sweet potato, rice balls, waffles, banana, chicken, broccoli, and meat food for babies.
This grain is also one of the acceptable foods for baby-led weaning, and the best age for introducing quinoa is between 8 and 10 months.
Some babies can tolerate this grain even before they’re 8 months old.
Still, it’s recommended to wait for their digestive system to develop.
Anyway, in case you have any doubts or questions regarding the introduction of solid food to your little one, don’t be shy about consulting your pediatrician beforehand.
Every baby is different and some need more time to adjust to certain solid foods than others.
Quinoa For Baby – Nutrition Facts
Did you know that quinoa was known as ‘the Mother Grain’ among the ancient Incas? Well, they called it this for a reason.
They equated eating this nutritious grain with longevity and good health, and they were totally right about it!
Pronounced keen-wah, it has been grown in South America (Ecuador, Peru, and the Andes Mountains of Bolivia) for thousands of years.
Even though it is prepared and harvested similarly to other grains like rice, this ‘Mother Grain’ is not considered a cereal grain, but a seed (similar to sesame seeds).
You’ll be glad to hear ‘the Mother Grain’ is extremely healthy for babies (and adults too) because it is packed with protein, iron, calcium, B vitamins, folate, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, and many other essential vitamins and minerals.
Given that this grain has a sufficient amount of essential amino acids, it is known as a complete protein.
Also, it is a great alternative for millet, rice, and other whole grains.
All these nutrition facts make putting quinoa in baby food a must!
Cooked quinoa – nutritional value per 100g
• Energy – 120kcal
• Carbohydrates – 21.3g
• Protein – 4.4g
• Water – 71.61g
• Calcium – 17mg
• Magnesium – 64mg
• Iron – 1.49mg
• Sodium – 7mg
• Phosphorus – 152mg
• Thiamin – 0.107mg
• Potassium – 172mg
• Zinc – 1.09mg
• Vitamin B-6 – 0.123mg
• Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) – 0.63mg
• Vitamin A – 5IU
• Vitamin B-6 – 0.123mg
• Riboflavin – 0.110mg
• Folate, DFE – 42µg
• Niacin – 0.412mg
Health Benefits Of Quinoa
Have you been wondering what the health benefits of quinoa for babies are?
Here are all the reasons you should add this ‘Mother Grain’ to your child’s meal plan:
1. Quinoa contains all the vital vitamins necessary for healthy development
Vitamins. From an early age, we learn how important vitamins are for our health, and this grain is packed with them!
It contains B group vitamins such as niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin.
All these vitamins are essential when it comes to producing and releasing energy.
They support your little one’s growth and development.
2. It is a complete source of protein
I’m a gym addict, so I know exactly how vital a complete protein with the sufficient amount of essential amino acids is for every single one of us.
In comparison to other cereals, this grain has higher amounts of these nutrients.
It is considered to be a complete protein because it contains all nine amino acids, which are crucial for healthy development, they are:
• Phenylalanine + tyrosine
• Methionine + cysteine
3. It contains essential minerals for growth
As well as vitamins, minerals are another important aspect of a baby’s healthy development.
Quinoa is full of iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, etc.
These are all responsible for your baby’s growth.
E.g. Phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium are responsible for the development of healthy bones.
Omega 3,6,9 fatty acids promote eye and brain development, and iron helps produce hemoglobin.
4. It has a high amount of fiber
If your baby has problems with a bloated stomach or constipation, quinoa will come to the rescue!
It is rich in fiber, which makes this ‘Mother Grain’ an excellent laxative as it helps your baby digest food easier.
I have a confession to make, though: Whenever I’m suffering from PMS I have problems with a bloated stomach, but since adding this grain into my food regimen I haven’t had any such troubles.
If you have the same problem, I recommend trying it for yourself.
5. It contains antioxidants that work against free radicals
Quinoa also contains antioxidants that prevent DNA damage by cutting out free radicals.
It helps reduce oxidative stress that accumulates in the body, and we all know that stress is one of the biggest factors of various diseases, both mental and physical.
6. It is a rich source of carbohydrates and it has a lower GI (Glycaemic Index)
Quinoa is rich in carbohydrates and, unlike other grains, has a lower GI (Glycaemic Index) which helps in continual energy release for babies.
This is especially important for babies because it allows them to play and learn continuously.
Buying And Storing Quinoa
You can buy quinoa flour or opt for an alternative, which is quinoa flakes for babies.
As always, don’t forget to check the expiration date on the package.
If you wish to powder ‘the Mother Grain’, you can do it with a coffee grinder or food processor.
If you’re cooking quinoa baby cereals, powdering it is an especially good idea.
Regarding storage, quinoa can be stored in a cool, dry place for a few months (refrigerator is preferred).
Refrigerating will prevent its natural oils from becoming stale. Don’t forget to store it in an airtight container.
How To Cook Quinoa For Your Little One
Before cooking quinoa, consider rinsing it in cold water and toasting it so you get rid of its bitter taste and saponins.
Toasting will make ‘the Mother Grain’ easily digestible.
Note that the majority of the quinoa sold in the US is already pre-rinsed.
How to rinse: Put the desired amount in a fine-mesh strainer and run water over it until the bubbles disappear.
How to toast: Put the desired quantity in a frying pan and warm over medium heat until it turns golden brown.
You can also add a little bit of oil but it’s not a must. Some people say toasting helps with digestion, but you can’t know for sure until you try it for yourself.
How to cook and puree: This grain is very similar to rice, which means it expands in the same way.
Therefore, you need to add a cup of quinoa to two or three cups of water.
Once it’s cooked, you can turn it into puree by adding milk or water. In this case, a steamer or blender for baby food will be of great help.
10 Delicious Quinoa Recipes For Babies
1. Peas and quinoa for baby
• 1 cup chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
• 3 cups cooked quinoa
The preparation is pretty simple.
You need to add all the ingredients to a medium saucepan and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
You can puree it for your little one if you wish.
2. Bananas and quinoa
• 1/2 banana (mashed)
• 1 cup cooked quinoa
• 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
Add all the ingredients to a medium saucepan. Keep it on a low flame for about 10 minutes.
Make sure it doesn’t turn into a thick paste.
• 1 cup coconut milk
• 1/2 cup quinoa
• 1 banana
Rinse the quinoa until the water starts running clear. After gently simmering the coconut milk, add the quinoa.
Cook for around 15 minutes.
Peel and mash a banana. If your little one is 12 months or older, feel free to add a drop of vanilla extract or some finely ground nuts to the banana (walnuts, pecans, etc.). Mix everything together.
Fold the quinoa into the banana blend and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Note: This recipe may contain allergens. It’s recommended you serve coconut and nuts only after introducing them to your child beforehand.
Additional tip: Goat’s milk or coconut milk can be a good substitute for baby formula.
4. Quinoa for baby with mango
• 1 cup ripe mango (cut into cubes)
• 1 cup cooked quinoa
• 1/4 cup applesauce
Boil two cups of water, add 1 cup of quinoa to it and stir. Cook for around 20 minutes on low heat until the water evaporates.
Add mango and applesauce to the blender and puree it. Add the puree to quinoa. Yummy!
Note: You can also add yogurt to this quinoa for baby recipe if you want to make a creamy pudding.
5. Quinoa finger food
• 1 cup quick oats
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 cup cooked quinoa
• 1 cup chopped apples
• 1/2 tsp nutmeg
• 1 tbsp granulated sugar
• 3 tbsp brown sugar
• 2 eggs (slightly beaten)
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add oats and cooked quinoa to a mixing bowl (preferably a large one).
Add nutmeg, sugar, and cinnamon.
After that, add maple syrup, apples, and eggs. Mix everything together thoroughly.
Get a muffin tin and add a tablespoon of the mix to every slot.
Bake for a maximum of 20 minutes. Remember – this finger food tastes best when it’s still warm!
6. Whole-grain cereal
• 2 cups water
• 1 cup quinoa
Add 2 cups of water to a large pot and bring it to a boil. Add 1 cup of whole quinoa to it.
Cover the pot and simmer for around 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Allow it to stand for 5 minutes.
Note: This tasty quinoa for babies recipe gives you license to experiment with spices.
You can add cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger to the mixture.
Also, you can add different veggies and fruits, but make sure that they are appropriate for your little one’s age.
A 6-month old baby is totally ready for baby-led weaning.
Just make sure to cut the food for BLW into long, thin sticks.
7. Quinoa with fruit
• 1 small apple (peeled, chopped, and cored)
• 4 fl oz (1/2 cup) water
• 2 oz (1/4 cup) quinoa
• Raisins (1 tablespoon)
• A pinch of cinnamon
• 1/2 ripe banana, mashed
Put water in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, and add the quinoa.
Cook for another 5 minutes on low heat.
Add apple and raisins and allow it to simmer for another 5 minutes until the water is absorbed.
Add cinnamon and mashed banana to the mixture and serve it as it is, or you can make a puree out of it.
As always, the choice is yours!
8. Chicken and quinoa
• 1 apple
• 2oz (1/4 cup) cooked quinoa
• 8oz (1 cup) ground chicken
• 1/2 small onion
• 1/2 sweet potato
• 1 garlic clove
• 1 egg yolk (beaten)
Peel the onion, sweet potato, apple, and garlic and mix them all together thoroughly.
Add the chicken, egg yolk, and quinoa to it and combine.
Then, separate the mixture into half-inch thick patties.
Broil or grill for 20 minutes (10 per side).
Note: Babies can eat garlic when they are around 6-months old.
9. Quinoa with vegetables
• 8 oz quinoa (pre-cooked)
• Zucchini (2 tablespoons, diced)
• 1 sweet potato (diced, peeled)
• Raisins (1 tablespoon)
• 1 scallion (chopped)
Quickly fry the zucchini, onion, and sweet potato until they are golden brown.
Stir in the raisins and cooked quinoa.
Note: Make sure your baby has the proper chewing skills before preparing this dish.
Don’t forget to soak the raisins in warm water, this will make them softer.
10. Quinoa bites with apple and cheese
• 1 egg (pre-beaten)
• Cheddar (90g)
• 1 apple (grated)
• Cooked quinoa (200g)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix them thoroughly.
Shape the mixture into small balls and place them on a baking tray. Bake for around 30 minutes.
Can babies develop quinoa allergies?
The two main elements of quinoa are hypoallergenic and gluten-free.
Still, like the majority of food, quinoa is not allergy-free so you need to be cautious when serving it to your little one.
Here are some helpful tips to implement when preparing ‘the Mother Grain’:
• Always rinse carefully so you remove the saponin.
• When you serve this grain to your baby for the first time, make sure to closely observe his reaction to it.
• If you notice any allergy symptoms, seek medical advice from your doctor or pediatrician.
• Always introduce your baby to new foods one at a time so you know if your little one is allergic to that specific food.
• Continue serving this grain to your baby only when you’re one hundred percent sure it is safe for him.
Quinoa vs. rice – Which is better?
Both ‘the Mother Grain’ and rice are nutritious for your baby, and they offer plenty of health benefits.
Still, they have different vitamin and mineral content and, therefore, different effects on overall health.
Here are some similarities and differences to consider:
• Macronutrient and calorie content are similar in both rice and quinoa. Also, both contain vitamin B.
• Quinoa is an excellent source of iron and magnesium. It also has higher amounts of dietary fiber and protein when compared to brown rice.
• Brown rice offers more minerals, such as manganese and selenium, than quinoa.
Quinoa is a highly nutritious grain.
It provides many health benefits as it contains plenty of vitamins and minerals and is a complete source of protein.
From creamy recipes to finger foods, ‘the Mother Grain’ offers a variety of delicious quinoa for baby recipes!
Be sure to keep in mind that this grain is not an allergy-free food, which means you need to be cautious and observant when serving it to your baby for the first time.
If you notice any allergy symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice from your doctor or pediatrician.
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