5 Healthy Alternatives to Rice Cereal

by | Updated: December 2nd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Iron-fortified rice cereal has been the recommended “baby’s first food” for decades. It can be introduced as an extremely liquefied paste, making it an easy transition from breastmilk or formula, and then thickened as baby develops. It’s also seen as very “safe”—babies typically don’t have reactions to white rice. But many mothers are concerned about whether rice cereal is actually nutritious—we’ve been taught to eat brown or whole grain instead of white, so why would we want our children to eat refined fare?

Healthy Alternatives to Rice CerealThe good news is–there’s really no reason why babies have to start solids with cereal made from white rice. Here are 5 great alternatives that are just as digestible—but also more nutrient-dense.

  1. Whole grain rice cereal. It’s iron-fortified just like regular white rice cereal, but made from whole grain rice instead. Plus, like if you go with a brand like Earth’s Best Organic products, you can feel good about offering your baby all non-GMO ingredients, and no added sugar or salt.
  2. Avocado. You don’t need teeth to enjoy a Haas! Get a really ripe one so the flesh is as soft as a puree, and feed your baby with a spoon. Avocado is a healthy fat that’s rich in omega-3s.
  3. Stage 1 baby food. Start with vegetables rather than fruits to ensure your baby doesn’t grow to expect sweetness with every bite. Serve one type of baby food every day for three days before moving on to a new vegetable or fruit—this way, if you notice a reaction, you’ll be able to trace it to the correct source.
  4. Vegetable purees—ultra-liquefied. You don’t need those cute little jars for baby’s first feeding. You can put the fruits and vegetables your family is eating into a food processor and feed your little one the puree. Just make sure there are no chunks at all. You can always mix in a little breastmilk or formula to make the consistency even more watery.
  5. Infant oatmeal. Oats are an excellent source of whole grain and very digestible. If this is baby’s first experience with solids, be sure to go for a single-grain variety.