I have this deep seasonal passion for oatmeal that goes beyond anything on a normal level. Every Fall, I open the cabinet and see my glass jar full of those big flaky oats and get excited. Really excited.
It's time to get reacquainted with an old friend. You know the kind of friend I'm talking about, the kind where you start talking and then you look up at your clock and 3 hours have gone by, your ear hurts and your phone is beeping the low battery sign. That kind of friend.
I open the jar, smile and start simple. Oats, apples and cinnamon. Just taking it out for a test drive. Then as the season lingers on, I find different methods of cooking oats and different toppings to pile onto the oats. I can't get enough of it.
They are easy.
They are healthy.
Oatmeal is my jam.
Oatmeal for babies is a no-brainer. It is a whole grain that is packed with soluble dietary fiber, iron, magnesium and vitamin B. A clean food that some people argue is the best food you can eat for breakfast. My favorite part is that you can make a big batch of it on the weekend and then heat it up during the week, adding different flavors each day.
When starting your baby on oatmeal, there are a couple of things you need to know. For starters, don't be fooled into purchasing quick oats or instant oats. They have been processed so much that there is not many health benefits left in them. Poor things. I would also shy away from any packaged instant oatmeals in the cereal or baby food aisle. Again, they may take only a minute to make but they have nothing left in them to offer.
Go for either the steel cut oats or the old-fashioned oats. Steel cut oats are the least processed of the oats and are simply toasted oat grouts cut into small pieces. Old-Fashioned [also called Rolled Oats] are made by steaming the toasted grouts and then rolling them out into flakes. Both kinds have roughly the same amazing health benefits and nutrition.
Secondly, I would recommend feeding oatmeal cereal to your baby before rice cereal. I know this is not what is the norm but oats are not as constipating, have more nutritional value and are more tasty then rice.
Oatmeal Cereal for 4+ Months
1/4 cup organic ground Old-Fashioned or Steel Cut Oats
1 cup of water
Grind oats in a food processor or blender. I would recommend grinding 2-3 cups of oats and storing them in a cool dark place or fridge so you always have some ready. In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Add ground oats and whisk constantly for 10 minutes. Add in breast milk, milk, fruit or purees. Let cool slightly until warm to touch.
Old-Fashioned Oatmeal for 6+ Months
1 cup organic Old-Fashioned or Rolled Oats
2 cups of water
In a medium pot, bring water to boil. Add Old-Fashioned oats and stir. Return to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and you get the desired amount of chewiness. Stir every now and again so the oats on the bottom don't burn. If you get a 'skin' on the top of your oatmeal, don't freak out, just stir it back into that rest of the oatmeal.
Steel Cut Oats for 6+ Months
1 cup organic Steel Cut Oats
3 cups water
In a medium pot, bring water to boil. Add steel cut oats and stir. Return to boil. Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and you get the desired amount of chewiness. Stir every now and again so the oats on the bottom don't burn. If you get a 'skin' on the top of your oatmeal, don't freak out, just stir it back into that rest of the oatmeal.
Additions [the yummy stuff]
I personally add my spices and sweetener into my oatmeal when it is about halfway done cooking (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, honey, brown sugar). You can also toss in finely chopped apples or other hard fruit while cooking to soften them a bit for baby.
When done, let cool slightly and then add any ingredients you like if you didn't already; milk, berries, fruit, carob chips, nuts, cinnamon, brown sugar, cloves, honey, etc.
This is the fun part.