Does The Label Tell The Whole Story?
We all are impressed by the front of the package claims and the nutritional label. Moms wanting to give their babies the most nutritious first foods are especially concerned about the products they purchase. This is where a little knowledge can be confusing.
Happy Bellies organic baby cereals boasts a “perfect first baby food.” Their brown rice cereal has added DHA and probiotics. The DHA is to enhance brain and eye development and the probiotics for immunity support.
The label states: “Organic goodness: All Happy Baby products are always USDA-certified organic. Enriched: with DHA for brain and eye development, plus iron, vitamins and minerals essential for baby’s growth.”
Tristan knows the joy of eating whole foods.
“Probiotic protection: Good bacteria specially formulated to help strengthen your baby’s digestive system which can protect against the development of allergies.”
Sounds like a wonderful first food for baby, doesn’t it? Is instant brown rice the best food for your baby? I think not.
We have become so conditioned to processed foods, that we forget about the foods they were derived from. Whole unprocessed brown rice is especially nutritious. Once a product has been processed to be “instant,” the goodness is cooked right out of it.
Processed ‘Organic’ Food
Why would you feed your baby processed powdered cereal, even if it’s “organic,” when the whole food is so economical and healthy? You get more nutrition when you make brown rice at home and homemade brown rice will not contain any fillers or additives that may be allergenic to baby. Homemade brown rice may be introduced to baby from four months of age, although the current recommendations for beginning solid food is six months. Brown rice, oatmeal and barely have the least amount of allergens, so they make great first foods for baby.
Some of the key nutrients in brown rice include B vitamins, maganese, selenium, iron and fiber. The health benefits of brown rice read like a laundry list to disease prevention and boosting the immune system. These benefits include lowering cholesterol, reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, stroke and colon cancer, reduced severity of asthma, and lower frequency of migraine headaches.
Baby’s First Cereal
You can make baby’s first cereal yourself…from organic whole grains. Not only will it be healthier for baby, but it’s inexpensive to make it.
Grind up 2 tablespoons of organic brown rice into a fine powder in either a coffee grinder or a mini-food processor. Then, in a small saucepan add ½ cup of water or breast milk and add a tablespoon of rice powder to the pot. Simmer and stir constantly for about 12 to 15 minutes. Check the consistency. You can add more liquid to moisten it.
To save time, make more than your baby will eat in one day and freeze in ice cube trays. Defrost the cubes, and add breast milk or water to develop a smooth consistency. For babies just starting solids, thin the cereal to a semi-liquid consistency. Warm the cereal, if desired. You can also change the flavor of the cereal by adding fruit or veggie baby food, once your baby has started to eat those foods.
Storing Brown Rice
Oil-rich brown rice will turn rancid at room temperature. If stored in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator or freezer, it will stay fresh for up to a year.