White rice offers very little in the way of nutrition for your baby…
Rice grains have several different layers, and white rice grains are milled to remove more layers – including the bran and almost all the germ – removing most of the valuable nutrients in the process. The aleurone layer is also removed. Aleurone is a good source of essential fats that are important for your baby.
In some countries white rice must be ‘enriched’, with selected nutrients added back in. But because the nutrients are not in their original form, they are far less beneficial to health, and even enriched white rice still lacks 11 valuable nutrients.
Brown-rice is full of important nutrients – not only for baby, but for you and your whole family!
With brown-rice, only the outside layer – the hull – is removed during processing, so very little goodness is lost. Brown-rice contains:
- Vitamins B1, B3 and B6
- Manganese – a powerful antioxidant that provides energy, isessential for healthy bones, and can reduce asthma symptoms
- Essential fatty acids
Brown-rice also helps to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, and lower cholesterol levels.
Brown-rice also differs from white in taste – its flavour is rather nutty – and it is a good idea to get your baby accustomed to brown-rice, so that he or she will always choose it over white, which tastes bland by comparison.
Health Issues Associated with Brown Rice…
Brown rice rarely prompts allergic reactions. However, some research indicates that there may be traces of arsenic in non-organic U.S. brown rice. Amounts are too small to cause immediate health problems, but the cumulative long-term effects could be serious.
Organically grown brown-rice would, therefore, be best to buy for your baby.
Buying and Storing Brown-Rice:
- Always check the ‘best by’ or ‘use by’ date on packets.
- Store uncooked rice in the refrigerator -the oily germ of brown-rice is intact, so could become rancid in warm conditions.
- Bacteria multiply very quickly in cooked rice so, although some sources say it can be kept for up to 4 days in a refrigerator, freezing it on the day of cooking would be safer.
- If you are going to store cooked rice, spread it out on a shallow tray to cool it quickly – never leave it for more than an hour at room temperature.
- Freeze in ‘meal-size’ portions, in freezer bags, for up to 6 months.
Cooking Brown-Rice for your Baby…
- Always discuss introducing new foods to your baby with his or her doctor, and remember to introduce new foods separately, using the 4-Day Rule, to help you identify possible allergies or digestive problems.
- If your baby is very young, rinse the rice first,and then grind it in a food processor before you cook it.
- If your baby is older, use short grain brown-rice – its soft texture is perfect for creamy dishes like rice pudding.
- Brown rice takes almost twice as long to cook as white rice, so try soaking it overnight in the correct amount of water. Cook the rice next day in the same water so that you don’t lose the vital nutrients.
Some suggestions for giving brown-rice to your baby:
- Combine warm breast milk or formula with cooked brown-rice and add a little cinnamon or nutmeg.
- Cook ground or unground brown-rice, then add natural yogurt and a little fruit puree.
- Add pureed (or chopped) steamed vegetables to some cooked brown-rice.
- Change the flavour by cooking brown-rice in homemade stock or broth.
- Squeeze a spoonful or two of cooked brown rice into a ball for a healthy ‘finger food’ for your baby.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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