Post by Katie Benson
Barley for Baby
Barley is a versatile cereal grain with a nutty flavor and a chewy pasta-like texture kiddos will love! Looking for a nutritious alternative to rice cereal for your little ones? Or a fun finger food to help develop those pincher grips on baby? Barley is a great option for both and has an impressive nutrient profile to go along with it. High in fiber, it is great for regulating the bowels and keeping things “regular” and has long been shown to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol. It has also been shown to help reduce wheezing in kiddos who suffer from childhood asthma! Puree it on its own, add it to soups or stews, or simply let baby or kiddo have it as a finger food – barley is sure to become one of your little one’s favorites.
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Barley
Vitamin B6 – this vitamin helps regulate natural sleep cycles and is a major player in healthy hormone balance
Thiamin – enables baby to convert carbohydrates into energy and is essential for brain development
Riboflavin – also known as vitamin B2, riboflavin promotes steady growth, good vision and healthy skin
Niacin – important for cardiovascular help and helps improve circulation
Folate – helps to support the brain and a healthy nervous system
Zinc – this mineral helps boost our immune system and helps stimulate baby’s appetite
Iron – enhances the oxygen-carrying ability of our red blood cells
Magnesium – helps ensure baby’s heart rhythm is steady and strong and helps regulate energy production within the cell
Selenium – this trace mineral (needed in small amounts) helps regulate our thyroid and balance hormones
How to Select and Store Barley for Baby Food
Barley is generally available in its hulled or pearled form. It’s important to avoid whole barley since it can be hard for humans to digest. The pearled variety is hulled barley with the ends cut off to make it more of a rounded shape and it’s popular because it cooks much faster. When used in soups and stews, both the pearled and hulled variety puff up to about the size of a pea! Store barley in an airtight container in a cool dark place and preferably a refrigerator in the warmer months.
Baby and kiddo will love this versatile grain. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a nutritious rice cereal alternative, great as a hearty puree and makes for a fun, chewy finger food!
Recipes Using Barley-