“Can I include Oats in my baby’s diet?”
The first year of baby is very transformational. Just like how a caterpillar metamorphosis into a butterfly, a new born is swaddled initially and is literally running by the end of the year. And all that a baby does is just like a caterpillar eat, eat and eat! The caterpillar then goes through a resting phase, allowing itself to absorb all that it has fed and then slowly it turns into a beautiful butterfly! Ready to spread its wings and fly. Likewise, a baby goes through incredible changes in the first year. Baby’s weight doubles in six months and triples in a year! Every month brings some exciting development in the little ones. During this time of growth, not only does the height and the weight increases but also the head and the chest grows, causing development of the heart, brain, lungs and several vital organs necessary for survival.
Food plays one of the most crucial role for all these developments. Committing to a healthy diet can be one of the smartest decision which a mother can make. When it comes to giving food to babies, what most mothers think of is a quick nutritional way of feeding them, which would take care of the overall growth and development. What she is looking forward to have is to feed her baby with something which will help in physiological and psychological wellbeing and provide a balanced diet to her precious one.
Therefore, it is some sort of super food that she is looking for! A food which in itself is a bundle of all the required protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Oats food is one such source of antioxidant, protein, iron, fibre, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates which allows a comprehensive diet to babies.
“Why oats? Are they healthy and nutritious? Do they have sufficient protein and carbs? Will the child miss out on certain mineral or vitamin if fed on oat?”
These are some of the questions which haunts a mother before she picks up the right cereal for her child. In fact, the numerous health benefits of oats make them ideal to meet the requirements for the development of a baby in all respects.
Oats benefits are immense. They are a powerhouse of vitamin, minerals and antioxidants. Being whole grains, they have most of the germ and bran intact making them a very rich source of fibre and protein. Higher soluble fibre slows down the digestion allowing the baby feel full for longer duration. Hence Oats food helps in developing immunity and stabilising metabolism.
Types of Oats:
- Steel cut oats: Steel cut oats are the raw form of oats just cut into few pieces. These are considered to be the healthiest as they are least processed and has almost 40% dietary fibre and 36% protein in just one serving for babies.
- Rolled oats: They are steamed and rolled into flakes.
- Instant oats: Oat grains are processed as they are boiled, rolled and dried. They are semi cooked and ready to eat.
Speaking of the best type of oats, Steel-cut Oats are undoubtedly the purest and the most natural form of oats and hence rich in nutritional benefits.
When to introduce Oatmeal for babies:
Researches have shown that the steel cut oats are the best for the growth and development of the baby. Steel cut oats are made by cutting whole oat grain by powerful steel blades. It is not processed and hence not stripped of its goodness. These oats can easily be floured and prepared for baby food.
Thus, Steel-cut Oats are an excellent 6 month baby food. They are easily digestible and hence an ideal first food or stage 1 baby food. They can be combined with several fruits and vegetables to add diverse flavour to a baby’s palate.
Busting Myth about Oats
There are some myths revolving around oats that it is not digestible by baby’s and causes flatulence in their tummies.
Any food that is processed to an extent where the outer bran is removed is not but a refined grain that has almost all the fibre stripped off. And any food that is refined will lead to flatulence and indigestion. For the smooth bowel movement, its essential that whole grains be included in the baby’s diet.
Steel-cut oats, thus is an excellent gluten-free and organic oats baby food which helps in the development of the immature guts.
How to include Oats in Baby’s Diet
Oats porridge is the easiest to introduce to a baby’s diet. It’s the most versatile grain which not only provides a creamy texture to the porridges and cereals but also goes well with almost any lentil, fruits and veggies.
Go ahead and explore your creative instinct and use oats to make porridges, cereals, khichdis and sheeras.
Oatmeal is a very safe and a healthy option to introduce to babies. And organic oats are definitely THE BEST! Oats present the perfect platter to baby’s loaded with several macronutrients. So, Mommy, are you still confused and thinking whether you can include oats to your baby’s diet or not!?!