Oats for Baby
It's hard to dislike a comforting, warm bowl of oatmeal. Oats are high in fiber, calcium, protein and B vitamins, making them the perfect choice for breakfast and healthy snacking. They're also super versatile and can be used in healthy baked goods, antioxidant-rich smoothies for a boost of fiber and even in purees for baby. Steel cut oats, which look slightly different than the typical flat, rolled oat we normally see, have the best chewy texture that baby and kiddos will love!
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Oats
Vitamin B1 - also known as Thiamine, this vitamin is essential for baby's healthy brain development and nervous system
Biotin - vital for carbohydrate, fat and protein digestion and helps to convert food into energy
Vitamin A - this vitamin plays an important role in hair, nail and skin growth
Calcium - important for building strong bones and teeth and promoting nerve and muscle function
Manganese - this powerful antioxidant helps to form bone and cartilage
Phosphorus - about 85% of your body's phosphorus is found in bone, so it's no wonder this mineral is vital for good bone and teeth health
Iron - important for making hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying red pigment in blood
Copper - this mineral is essential for forming red blood cells and helps support baby's heart and blood vessels
Zinc - essential for good digestion and helps baby's appetite
Steel Cut vs Rolled Oats
Both steel cut and rolled oats are whole grain oats, but they are processed differently. Rolled oats are steamed, rolled and flattened, steamed again and toasted, ending up as the thin flakes pictured above. Steel cut oats are made from oat kernels that have been chopped into thick pieces, creating a chewier texture when cooked and eaten. Keep in mind that steel cut oats, since they are thicker, take longer to cook than rolled oats. In terms of nutrition, you are getting the same amount of vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber with both varieties.
How to Select and Store Oats for Baby Food
Whole grains may be stored for about 2 months in a cool dry place, but if the temperature increases in your home, it's a good idea to store them in the refrigerator. Buy small quantities of oats since they have a slightly higher fat content than other grains and may go rancid more quickly. Whether you are purchasing oats in bulk or in a packaged container, it's important to make sure there is no evidence of moisture.
To prepare oats, regardless of type, it is best to add them to cold water and then cook at a simmer until soft. Rolled oats will take about 15 minutes to cook, whereas steel cut will take around 30. Oatmeal is such a great canvas for lots of nutritious toppings like blood-sugar stabilizing cinnamon, nuts and seeds and antioxidant-rich fruits. You can also add uncooked oats to smoothies for a boost of fiber and protein, or to a puree for baby. Granola made with oats, coconut oil, cinnamon and a wide array of nuts and seeds is another fun, healthy way to incorporate more oats into your kiddo's diet.
Recipes Using Oats: