quinoa

Food Type: GrainPseudo Grain

Age Suggestion: 6 months +

Nutrition Rating: 

Common Allergen: No

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When can babies have quinoa ?

Quinoa may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age.

Is quinoa healthyfor babies?

Is it? Yes! The tiny seeds are packed with nutrients that your baby needs to thrive. Quinoa contains a fair amount of iron and protein, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for heart health, calcium for strong bones, B vitamins for energy, magnesium for cell function, zinc for immune health, and the list goes on!

Quinoa is an excellent replacement for rice and other whole grains. It provides double the protein per serving as wheat or brown rice, and as an added bonus, it boasts a full amino acid profile. Amino acids are the building blocks of every protein in the body, and it’s unusual to find all of them in one plant source.

How to prepare quinoa for your baby!

Every baby develops on their own timeline. The preparation suggestions below are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional, nutritionist or dietitian, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.

6 to 12 months old: If cooking at home, try cooking quinoa as a puree or porridge or fold it into another “scoop-able” dish for your baby, which will lead to fewer quinoa seeds to clean up. Another easy way to serve this superfood: quinoa balls. Mix the cooked seeds with a food that can act as a binding agent and form baby-sized balls for easy grabbing and holding. Look for recipes that are and easy to make and just hold the salt.

12 to 18 months old: Continue with quinoa balls and quinoa porridge. This is also a great age to introduce quinoa salad with a spoon. Help your baby along by adding another splash of olive oil to the cooked quinoa (which causes the seeds to stick to the utensil) and pre-load your baby’s spoon if need be.

18 to 24 months old: Time to play! Quinoa is versatile, so try using it in your favorite recipe and experiment with new ones. Quinoa salad, quinoa burgers, quinoa soup, quinoa casserole, quinoa bread, quinoa muffins, quinoa cakes, the list goes on!

It's a fact!

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is native to South America, where the plant has grown wild in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru for thousands of years. In Quechua, the ancestral language of the Incan people, quinoa is known as chisiya mama (or “mother of all grains”) and holds sacred status as a staple food that is believed to hold special powers, including enhancing the quantity of breast milk in women.1 Today, the plant is cultivated primarily for its edible seeds. Yes, quinoa is actually a seed—not a grain! Quinoa seeds have a comparable nutritional make-up and texture to grains. They are even ground down into flour, just like wheat, and used as a substitute for grains in many recipes, from pancakes to tortillas to quick breads and more.

Quinoa has an earthy, nutty flavor with a powerful nutritional profile, which makes it a great first “grain” for babies.