Quinoa for Baby
Quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah”, is a plant based protein-packed super food! Most people think quinoa is a grain, but its actually a seed, making it a great grain-free choice for baby. Quinoa is incredibly nutritious, packed with fiber, and many other immune-boosting, potent antioxidants. If you’re worried about introducing gluten to your young ones, quinoa is the perfect option, as its naturally gluten free and very easy to digest. Quinoa is a unique plant-based food because it’s considered to be a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids that are normally only found in animal products. This makes it a great option for people who prefer to limit animal consumption. Baby and toddler will love the chewy texture of quinoa as a nutritious breakfast cereal or hearty puree!
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Quinoa
Folate – this B Vitamin helps to support the brain and a healthy nervous system
Vitamin E – a potent antioxidant, Vitamin E boosts the immune system and helps the body fight germs
Vitamin B6 – helps form new red blood cells, antibodies and neurotransmitters in baby’s growing brain and nervous system
Thiamine – this B Vitamin enables your body to convert carbohydrates into energy (very important since quinoa is a great source of complex carbohydrates!)
Manganese – this mineral is a major antioxidant and helps to protect cells from damage
Copper – this trace mineral is essential for forming red blood cells and boosts your body’s ability to mend tissues
Calcium – regulates bone growth and skeletal development and also helps promote nerve and muscle function
Magnesium – this mineral is necessary for healthy bones and teeth and very important in regulating energy production inside the cell
How to Select and Store Quinoa for Baby Food
Even though quinoa does not rank on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, you’ll find that most quinoa is sold organic. It’s normally sold in bulk bins or packages at your local grocery or health food store, just be sure to check the expiration date if buying packaged. The majority of quinoa at the grocery store is an off-white color, but the black, red and tri-color varieties are becoming more popular and readily available. When deciding on how much you need to purchase, remember that quinoa expands to several times its original size once cooked! To retain freshness, store quinoa in a cool, dark place in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.
Saponins are found in the outer coat of the quinoa seeds. This bubbly compound gives quinoa a bitter taste so many people choose to remove it by running cold water over the seeds while gently rubbing them together. To cook quinoa, add one part quinoa seeds to two parts liquid in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Quinoa is quick and convenient to cook and only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish, making it the perfect meal for a hungry baby and kiddos. Once cooking is complete. you’ll notice the seeds have become semi-translucent and the white germ has created a white-spiraled tail that kiddos will love!
Quinoa is delicious cooked the way we described above and babies and kiddos will love the chewy, fun texture. It’s perfect on its own as a breakfast cereal, but is a great protein-rich addition to purees and even baked goods!
Recipes with Quinoa