• Feeding Solids to Baby: Start with Homemade Cereals

    How to make baby’s very first solid food.
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    Cereal is usually given to babies as their first solid food. Rice is usually the first in line. Apart from it being one of the easiest to digest among the grains, it is gluten-free and less likely to cause an allergy compared to other foods. Oats and barley are other cereal alternatives. Wheat should be introduced later on and fit for toddlers with stronger digestive systems.


    How to make your own cereals:
    1. Ground Rice Powder
      One way to make your own cereal is by grinding the rice grains into a powder. You can have this done in your local market or by using a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder. To cook, add the ground rice to boiling water over medium heat on the stovetop. The general rule is to add one part ground rice to eight parts boiling water. For example, one-fourth cup of the ground organic brown rice to two cups of boiling water. Stir the mixture constantly for about 15 minutes or until a thin soupy texture is achieved. Let it cool before serving.
    2. Rice Purée
      Another way of preparing your homemade cereal is by cooking the rice like you normally would, but adding a little more liquid than usual, and then puréeing it with a blender or food processor. You may also use a simple food grinder. Cooked rice may become gooey as you puree it. It is advisable to puree slowly and in small batches, then adding liquid as you go to control its consistency and texture.
    3. Baby Lugaw
      Another option is to cook the rice like lugaw (porridge) then let it pass through a sieve. Throw out the remains on top of the strainer as these are too coarse and hard for your baby to swallow. Feed your baby the soft mashed rice taken from the bottom of the strainer.


    Tips:

    It is better to use short grain rice than the medium or long grain variety. This will give you a softer yield, and it’s faster to cook, too.
    • It is healthier to use organic brown or red rice over white rice.
    • You can grind as much grain as you like, and cook only what your baby needs at a time. Store the rest of the powder in an airtight container and place in a cool dry place. Make sure to consume in about a month’s time.
    • You can cook enough cereal for several batches and serve only what your baby can consume at a time. Freeze the rest of the cooked cereal in separate portion sizes. This can last up to about a month in the freezer.

    One way of increasing the iron content of your cereal is by adding breast milk as you serve the organic cereal to your baby or by mixing fruits and/or vegetables to the cereal later on.
     
     
     
    Photography by Alfred Mendoza


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