1½ cups water
1 cup (½ pound) dried lentils or split peas
Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add lentils or split peas and
stir. Allow the mixture to return to a boil, then reduce the
heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 to 45 minutes,
until tender.

Whole Grains
Whole grains are the entire seed of a plant, containing
the germ, bran, and endosperm (as opposed to refined
grains, which have had the nutrient-rich germ and bran
Baby can consume whole grains in their full form as soon as he
is ready to receive their textures, probably around the age of
nine to ten months. Fruit, vegetable, and legume purees can all
be gently mixed with any of the full whole grains featured in the
cooking guide. Until then, whole grains can be easily added to
baby’s early meals by grinding grains into their respective flours,
then creating cooked cereal (porridge) from those flours. Highspeed
blenders, such as the Vitamix, easily grind whole grains
into flours. Most other blenders and food processors can get the
job done as well, but be sure to check your owner’s manual
Whole grains are available prepackaged as well as in bulk
containers at many supermarkets. If purchasing prepackaged
whole grains, always check to see if there is a use-by date. If
purchasing grains from bulk containers, smell the grains; they
should smell slightly sweet or have no odor at all. If the grains
smell moldy or like rancid oil, they are no longer good. Whole
grains (unlike refined grains) retain the germ portion of their
kernel, which contains many nutritious oils. During prolonged
storage, these oils have a tendency to oxidize (react with
oxygen to form rancid, off flavors), and heat, light, and air
accelerate that process. Most whole grains can be stored in their
unopened package or in an airtight container for several months
at room temperature in a dark, dry location (pantry or
cupboard), or for up to one year in the freezer. Once ground
into flour, the natural oils from the whole grain germ are more
susceptible to oxidation, so flours should be stored in an airtight
container in a refrigerator or freezer to prevent oxidation from
occurring. Most whole grain flours will keep for up to two to
three months in the refrigerator or for up to six to eight months
in the freezer. Cooked whole grain cereals do not freeze well,
and it is recommended instead to prepare batches of these
cereals on a weekly basis. They can be stored in the refrigerator
for up to one week to be used as needed for baby’s meals.
Gluten-Free Whole Grains
Naturally gluten-free grains should be used to prepare
whole grain cereals for baby during the early stages of
introducing solid foods, because gluten is relatively
difficult for baby to digest. Gluten-containing grains are
fine to incorporate into baby’s diet after the age of ten
Appropriate gluten-free whole grains to use for preparing
cereals include brown rice, oats (if certified gluten-free), quinoa,
buckwheat, and millet. Refer to see Vegetarian, Vegan and
Gluten-Free Diets for more specific information about glutenfree
grains. All of these grains can be prepared the same way
using the recipes on the following recipes, but yields will vary
slightly depending on grain size and the individual grain’s waterholding
Feed baby a small amount of whole grain cereal as needed at
mealtime, typically starting with a serving size of 1 tablespoon,
eventually increasing the serving size as baby’s appetite
increases. When serving, adjust prepared cereal consistency as
needed, adding water, breast milk, or formula to thin out the
texture, if necessary. All grains featured here have a fairly
neutral flavor profile that easily combines well with any fruit,
vegetable, or legume puree.
A complete protein cereal can also be created by combining any
of the whole grain flours below with a legume flour.
Rice is typically the grain that many parents first choose to
introduce to baby, mostly because it is a common grain that is
easily digested and widely available. Brown rice is the nutrientrich
choice for rice, as white rice has been refined, with all
nutrients being removed in the process. Choose long-grain
brown rice to avoid the overly sticky textures that can result
when using shorter-grain options. Brown rice has a mild, slightly
nutty flavor that pairs well with any fruit, vegetable, or legume
Oats are available in different forms, and any form is fine for
baby to consume. Whole oat groats are the whole oat grain
with the outer hull removed; steel-cut oats are created by
passing oat groats through steel cutters, cutting the oats into
several pieces; rolled oats are oat groats that have been
steamed and flattened with a roller; instant oats are similar to
rolled oats, but they spend a longer time undergoing the
steaming and flattening process. All oat forms have similar
nutrient profiles, but vary in their textures and cooking times
when prepared in their full form. When creating cereals from
ground grains, however, the cooking times and textures are all
the same; therefore, any form of oats can be used with the same
result. Note that oats do not naturally contain gluten, but they
can be contaminated with wheat during growing and
processing, so look for oats that are certified gluten-free if you
want to avoid gluten entirely. Oats have a neutral flavor that is
slightly sweet. Though oats combine well with any puree, they
pair particularly well with fruits.
Quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”) is actually a seed, but it
functions as a grain in cooking. Quinoa is considered to be
exceptional because it is the only grain that provides a source of
complete protein, making this food a good addition to a
vegetarian diet. Quinoa can typically be found in white, red, and
black varieties. Note that quinoa contains a natural powdery
coating of saponins, which can cause a bitter taste in the cooked
grain. It is commonly suggested to rinse quinoa before
preparation, in order to wash away these bitter compounds.
When using quinoa to make baby cereal, purchasing prerinsed
quinoa is a convenient option that will allow you to bypass this
step. Bob’s Red Mill is a readily available brand of quinoa that is
prerinsed. Cooked quinoa has a slightly nutty flavor, and an
aroma that is reminiscent of peas. Quinoa combines well with
any puree, but pairs particularly well with vegetables and
Buckwheat is technically a fruit seed, not a grain, but it functions
as a grain when cooked. Despite its name, buckwheat does not
contain wheat. Buckwheat has a uniquely triangular shape, and
is available either unroasted or roasted (commonly referred to as
kasha). Roasted buckwheat has a slightly nutty, earthy flavor,
while the unroasted variety is rather neutral and mild. Either
form of buckwheat is fine for baby. Buckwheat pairs very well
with fruits, but can also be combined with any vegetable or
legume purees.
Like buckwheat, millet is actually a seed rather than a grain, but
it functions as a grain when cooked. Millet has a mildly nutty,
sweet flavor that combines well with any fruit, vegetable, or
legume puree.

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