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Guide: Cooking with oats, lentils, brown rice (with meal samples)

A big part of motherhood is being your kids' nutritionist. Agree? :)

It started with breastfeeding, followed by vegetables and fruit purees at 6 months, grains at 8 months, and lots of other foods after 1 year old. I really enjoy being my boy's personal chef and baker. At 17 months of age now, he's a great eater albeit occasional food strikes. That's normal. :)

After embarking on almost a year of solid food journey with my boy, I finally manage to compile a little guide about cooking baby meals with these nutritious grains and legumes: oats, lentils, brown rice.

Here's my previous blog post about cooking with millet, quinoa, amaranth (with meal samples). 


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Oats

Rolled oats

Oat bran

Why oats? When to introduce oats to babies?

Oats are high in fiber, calcium, protein, and even some B vitamins. Steel-cut oats are slightly healthier and more nutritious than rolled, quick-cook or instant oats. Steel-cut oats retain the most nutrients because they are not highly processed. [Source]

Most online sources recommend introducing oats to baby from 6 to 8 months of age.

How to cook oats?

[Reference]


Cooking time: Bran (5-7 minutes); rolled (10 minutes); steel-cut (20-40 minutes)

Liquid per cup of grain: Bran and rolled (2 cups); steel-cut (3 cups)

Combine oats with the appropriate amount of water in a pot and, covered, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for required time, stirring often (stir steel-cut oats less), until desired consistency is reached. Combine with your favorite ingredients before serving, such as milk, fruits, etc.

Note: So far, I've only introduced rolled oats and oat bran to my toddler. I soak the oats in water in room temperature overnight. Next day, I discard the soaking water (to avoid wastage, I use a sieve) and rinse before cooking.

It's important to soak grains and legumes to get rid of phytic acid. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient that binds to nutrients and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, and copper in your body, thus inhibits absorption. This will lead to deficiencies in the long run. Soaking also makes grains easier to cook and nutrients to be more readily digestible and absorbed by your body.


Read this interesting article about the necessity of soaking oats: Oatmeal And Phytic Acid

Where can I buy oats?


Meal sample: Fruity Oatmeal

Note: I introduced rolled oats to my baby when he was about 7 months, but after that I changed his main grains to millet because it's easier to cook millet (doesn't require so much stirring). He's 17.5 months now.




Ingredients:
(Serves 1 meal)

1/2 cup rolled oats, soaked overnight in room temperature
1 mini tangerine, peeled
3 fresh cherries, stoned and slightly crushed

5 seedless purple grapes, slightly crushed
A handful dried cranberries
1 cup fresh milk

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon chia seeds

How to:
 

After draining the soaked oats, pour hot water over it and soak for about 5 minutes. Drain again. Mix the rest of the ingredients with the oats and let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Other meal samples:



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Red Lentil


Red lentil

Red lentil

Why red lentil? When to introduce red lentil to babies?

Lentils are legumes; they contain iron, protein,
and B vitamins. Red lentils cook faster and are best for soups and purees.

Most online sources recommend introducing lentils to baby from 8 to 10 months of age. Red lentils are the best choice because they don't cause gas as easily as other lentils due to its lower level of fiber.

 How to cook red lentil?

[Reference]


Cooking time: Red/yellow lentils (15-30 minutes); green lentils (30-45 minutes)

Liquid per cup of legume: 2 cups

Combine red lentils in a pot with fresh, cold water for cooking. Place on stove and bring to a boil in a pot with a lid. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and leave to cook for 15-45 minutes or more, depending on the variety of lentil and desired consistency.

Note: I soak red lentils in water in room temperature overnight. Next day, I discard the soaking water and rinse the legumes before cooking.

Where can I buy red lentil?



Meal samples:

Note: I introduced red lentil to my baby when after he turned 8 months or so. I alternate or combine with millet when I cook his meals. He's 17.5 months now.



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Brown Rice (& Wild Rice)


Brown rice

Brown rice

Wild rice from Sarawak

Why brown rice? When to introduce brown rice to babies?

Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice because it's not highly processed. A grain of rice is composed of several different layers. Only the outside layer, the 'hull', is removed during the production of brown rice and very little goodness is lost by the grain in the process.

But during the production of white rice, the grains are milled to remove more layers - the bran and almost all of the germ. This process strips the grains of the majority of their nutrients.

In the final part of the process, another layer called 'aleurone' is removed and the grains are polished. But aleurone is a good source of essential fats, which play such an important role in your baby's diet.

So what are you left with? White rice - a refined starch that offers your little one very little in the way of nutrition. [Source]

Most online sources recommend introducing brown rice to baby from 6 to 8 months of age.

How to cook brown rice?

[Reference]


Cooking time: basmati (35-40 minutes), long/short-grain (45-50 minutes)
Liquid per cup of grain: 2 1/4 cups 

Place rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for up to 45 minutes (basmati, jasmine, and other long-grain varieties generally require less cooking time). Fluff with a fork before serving.

Note: I soak brown rice grains in water in room temperature overnight. Next day, I discard the soaking water and rinse the grains before cooking.

 
Where can I buy brown rice?


Meal sample #1: Brown Rice Porridge with Tofu & Pork Broth


 Note: I introduced brown rice to my baby when he turned 8 months or so. I alternate or combine with millet and red lentils when I cook his meals. He's 17.5 months now.


Nutritious & delicious!
Pre-cooked slow-cooker pork & vegetables broth.
Click for recipe.

 Ingredients:
(Serves 2 meals)

1/2 cup brown rice, soaked overnight in room temperature
1/2 piece organic tofu

1 & 1/2 cups pre-cooked soup / broth (refer photo above) 

How to:
 

As usual, I toss everything into my electric lunch box and steam-cook for about 30-35 minutes. Then, I add a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil before serving.


Meal sample #2: Brown Rice Porridge (with ABC Soup base)

Nutritious & delicious!

Pre-cooked slow-cooker ABC soup for porridge base.

Ingredients:
(Serves 2 meals)

1/2 cup brown rice, soaked overnight in room temperature
 
1 & 1/2 cups pre-cooked soup / broth (refer photo above) 

How to:
 

As usual, I toss everything into my electric lunch box and steam-cook for about 30-35 minutes. Then, I add a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil before serving.


Meal sample #3: Wild Rice Porridge with Leek, Celery & Cherry Tomatoes


 Ingredients:
(Serves 2 meals)

1/2 cup wild rice, soaked overnight in room temperature

 Some lean minced pork
1 & 1/2-inch young leek, sliced and chopped
1/2 rib celery, sliced and chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 & 1/2 cups water

How to:
 

As usual, I toss everything into my electric lunch box and steam-cook for about 35-40 minutes. Then, I add a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil before serving.

Other meal samples:


Note: The information given here is meant as a guide and does not replace professional medical advice. You should always consult a doctor before introducing any new foods to your child.


2 comments

  1. Hello! This is a really helpful post. Just wondering if your child suffers any constipation when you offer lentils and millet? I realised my baby gets constipated when I offer those to her... heard from others that millet is "heaty" in nature (though online resources mention otherwise). Any tips to overcome this issue?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, my kid doesn't get constipation from millet and lentils though. Maybe because I always soak them overnight.

      How old is your baby when you offer millet and lentils to her?

      Delete