brown rice cereal - nutrition for childrenLots parents feel urgent to start their babies on rice formula as their first food. I’d encourage you to have a read of my Which Foods When eBook (an extracted chapter from Well Adjusted Babies – Second Edition) where I discuss the benefits of starting with certain fruits, vegetables, fats and proteins prior to grains.

My research over the last two decades has led me to believe we do well to keep grains and dairy to a minimum in our day regardless of our age and it is wise to always source the highest quality food sources whenever possible. While I love many, many attributes of the paleo lifestyle I also appreciate Avurvedic and Eastern food philosophies amongst others and the art of learning to listen to what our bodies need at certain times based upon our age and changes in our environment.
 
As an avid learner and keen observer of the four growing men in my household, I believe it is wise to have a firm family food culture but to maintain a level of intuitive flexibility from time to time. This has been confirmed for me as I research and study the different nutrition needs we have at different ages and I will bring all of this together for you in my next book. In the mean time, if you would like to read some of the information I have written that relate to our family’s food culture please see the “Which Foods When” chapter of Well Adjusted Babies (or my Which Foods When eBook).

In addition to that, I outline an ideal progression of first foods and the best ages to introduce them based on digestive strength in the latest version of my Which Foods When Chart – this version includes an additional 30 foods!

All of these first foods are of course best left until after you have introduced a high quality probiotic please see my previous post Introducing Your Baby to Solids. for more information on this.
 
For those parents who have already introduced some fruits, vegetables, fats and proteins as per our Which Foods When updated guide and are eager to introduce a rice cereal recipe – here’s a super wholesome way to prepare and create rice cereal at home – much more nutritious!
 

Firstly a Word About Rice:

From the outset let me say – I do not believe rice is nutritionally a “powerhouse” like many of the other wonderful foods we have available to us. While macrobiotic lovers consider rice the perfect grain, my clinical experience has led me to believe that Westerners don’t have the same physiological capacity to digest rice as well as our Oriental friends. This is not just a matter of how we source our rice but more so considering your genetic history and capacity to regularly consume certain foods at the exclusion of others. I believe this principal applies across the board – whether we are discussing a Macrobiotic, Paleo, Asian or Ayurvedic diet.
 
Bare in mind then if you’re a Westerner, rice is potentially best consumed in moderation. The reason “rice cereal” has become so popular in the West as a “baby food” is because it’s an inexpensive “filler” food, it’s quick and easy and it is hypoallergenic (has low allergy potential). Rice is gluten free, tolerated well by those with grain allergies and is low in phytic acid (a natural substance found in plant seeds that unfortunately impairs the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium, and may promote mineral deficiencies.) Ayurvedic medicine frequently includes different types of rice which are prepared and cooked in specific ways, to help bring the body back into balance and harmony with it’s environment. This is a beautiful therapeutic example of using food to heal the body.
 
Most of us know of only two kinds of rice. Long grain brown rice and long grain white rice (which is simply “refined” long-grain brown rice). However, there are over 7000 varieties of rice around the world! The difference between brown rice and white rice is not just colour. With brown rice, only the outer layer of the hull is removed and this process is least damaging to the nutritional value of the rice. Brown rice has the highest level of B vitamins of all varieties and also contains iron, vitamin E and some protein.
 
Wild rice is similar to brown rice however it has 50% more protein and contains more lysine and methoinine than most cereals, it’s rich in magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc. Brown rice is turned into white rice by polishing off the outer layers, taking with it a vast number of important nutrients, including fatty acids, fibre and essential vitamins and minerals. In fact, instant white rice is so nutritionally poor, it is usually fortified with several of these same nutrients that have been removed, usually in the form of powder coating the outside of the rice…
 

Rice Cereals For Bubba’s:

If you would like to utilise a rice cereal for your baby then the following information and recipes will be of benefit. These recipes contain fermented grains – I recommend fermenting all grains, as grains are hard for an infant’s digestive system to process and by fermenting them you increase their nutrient availability and digestibility.

Once you have fermented your brown rice or wild rice (see instructions below) then use our quick rice cereal recipe (also below) that is far more nutritious and healthier version of rice cereal than many purchased rice cereals.

Once you have tried your infant on the organic brown rice cereal (with the fermented brown rice) then you can create other ferments with a mixture of whole grains: Oat, Rye, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Wild Rice Spelt, Barley, Wheat, Amaranth, and Millet.  Please check age recommendations for introducing grains to infants.
 

Recipes

Brown Rice Ferment

|| For 6-9 month old babies ||

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of whole organic brown rice (or wild rice)
  • 4 Cups filtered or spring water
  • 1 large mouth glass jar (at least 5 cups)

 
Method:

1. Wash the grains really well under running water to remove any debris.
 
2. Add the grains to the clean jar and then pour the filtered water in the jar.
 
3. After 24 and up to 48 hours the brown rice grains should start to look swollen. Please note: the fermented rice will have a tangy smell, a slight odour.
 
4. At 48 hours the rice is soft enough to drain, wash and cook-up for rice cereal. If you do not wish to use the rice at this point then simply store in the fridge until ready for use.
 
Please note: If at any point your ferment smells foul or very strong then discard your batch and start again cleaning and drying all equipment well.
 

Brown Rice Cereal with homemade bone broth, stock and vegetables

|| For 6-9 month old babies ||

Ingredients:

  • 100g organic brown rice (fermented as above)
  • 600ml filtered or spring water or 400ml of water and 2 ice cubes of homemade bone broth or stock
  • a handful of vegetables that you have already introduced your baby too

 
Method:

1. Wash the fermented rice well and place in a pan with the water. Bring to the boil, and then gently simmer for 20-30 minutes until rice is soft and cooked through (adding more water if necessary). Alternatively it’s a wonderful idea to cook the rice cereal up in a homemade bone broth or stock if your looking to add one of the food options from our chart. Making broths and stocks at home is much easier then you think and incredibly nutritious. We’ll even put up some recipes for you to try. It is also easy to add in any of the vegetables you have introduced to date at this point as well.
 
2. Drain the rice in a sieve and purée to your desired consistency. Add some boiled water if the purée is too thick.
 
Bonus tip: You can reheat the next day too if any is left over just add a little more liquid and stir until hot. Or if you left plain you can now add puréed fruit or vegetables to this rice or use these steps as part of both savoury and sweet recipes.
 

Mixed Gluten-Free Grain Ferment

|| For 6-9 month old babies ||

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of whole mixed gluten-free grains
  • 4 Cups filtered or spring water
  • 1 large mouth glass jar (at least 5 cups)

 
Bonus Tip: You can mix 1 cup of each of the following kinds of grain in a large airtight container to ready and on hand in the refrigerator. Store remaining grains in glass jars in the pantry. Once combined simply measure out 1 cup of the mixed grains any time that you want to cook up one of rice cereals below and follow the recipe.
 
Method:

1. To make ferment once you have combined grains – Wash the grains really well under running water to remove any debris.
 
2. Add the grains to the clean jar and then pour the filtered water in the jar. After 24 and up to 48 hours the brown rice grains should start to look swollen and some of the gluten-free grains will have started to sprout.
 
3. Once fermented prepare as above in the brown rice and bone broth recipe.
 
Please note: The fermented grains will have a tangy smell, a slight odour and after 48 hours the rice and grains will be soft enough to drain, wash and cookup for any of these combination cereals. If at any point your ferment smells foul or very strong then discard your batch and start again cleaning and drying all equipment well.
 

 To get extended information on this topic — including a handy printable “Which Foods When” wall-chart — pls see below. For the updated version of our Which Foods When Chart which includes over 30 new foods – please see below.

 
 
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dr-jenniferYours in Health,

 

Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani
(B.App.Clin.Sci, B.Chiropractic)

 

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Author: Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani

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