Growing up, I loved hearty, stick-to-your-bones food. I was lucky: my mom exposed me to whole grains. I enjoyed steaming bowls of oatmeal for breakfast, brown and wild rice, mushroom barley soup, bulgur in tabbouleh and especially my grandma’s kasha (roasted buckwheat with bowtie pasta).
When I started my journey to become a healthy, clean eater, I began experimenting with different types of grains. I tried rice varieties like jasmine and jade, quinoa, amaranth, farro, polenta and more. Quinoa has received most of the hype lately, but my favorite grain, by far, is millet.
Some whole grains have very distinct tastes and don’t appeal to everyone. I believe millet is the mildest in flavor and can be substituted in any sweet, salty or savory recipe. It can be made into a porridge or a grain salad, or added to soup. The best way to start using millet is to swap it out for couscous in recipes.
Millet is gluten free, high in protein, fiber, iron, silica, magnesium and potassium. It’s an excellent first food for baby. So far, this is my son’s favorite grain. When made into a cereal, it has a creamy, sweet consistency. Millet’s fiber content will slow down the movement of food in baby’s digestive tract, allowing more time to absorb nutrients. The higher fiber content makes it less binding than rice cereal, so it is better for constipated babies.
I introduced both my daughter and son to millet at 6 months by making a very easy millet puree. It pairs well with vegetables, fruits and proteins. You can start once your pediatrician gives the approval to start solids.
Easy Millet Cereal for Babies
¼ cup organic millet
1 cup water
- Place dry millet in a blender and process on high until a fine flour forms (2-5 minutes depending on blender).
- Remove 2 tablespoons of millet powder and store the rest in a BPA-free container in the refrigerator for later use.
- Bring water to a simmer and add 2 tablespoons of millet flour. Whisk until you reach a smooth consistency and cook for 5-10 minutes, allowing it to thicken.
- Remove a portion to serve to baby and let cool before serving. Store remaining millet cereal in a BPA-free container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Add breastmilk/formula, vegetables, fruit or proteins and serve to baby for a delicious and nutritious meal.