14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (2024)

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The versatility and nutrition of quinoa are explored through some easy and tasty recipes.

Reviewed by Hannah Whittaker, RD 14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (1) Hannah WhittakerRD 14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (2)14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (3)14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (4) Specialty: Pregnancy & Pediatric DietExperience: 7 years

Written by Swati Patwal, M.Sc. (Food & Nutrition), MBA 14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (5) swati patwalM.Sc. (Food & Nutrition), MBA 14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (6) Specialty: Food, Nutrition and HealthExperience: 10 years

Edited by Rohit Garoo, BSc, MBA 14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (7) rohit garooBSc, MBA 14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (8) Specialty: Baby Health and WellnessExperience: 9 years

Fact-checked by Anindita Ghatak, B.Tech 14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (9) anindita ghatakB.Tech 14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (10) Specialty: Health & WellnessExperience: 3 years

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14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (12)

Image: iStock

Quinoa is a nutritious grain rich in several nutrients that can promote health. If your baby is already eating solid baby foods like infant cereal, fruit and/or vegetable mash or puree, you might want to try different quinoa recipes for babies. Experts suggest that giving babies healthy foods like quinoa and millet from an early age exposes them to varying tastes and textures. Besides, it can help them develop long-lasting and healthy eating habits. But what is the right age to feed quinoa to babies? Knowing this is vital to introduce quinoa to babies in age-appropriate ways to help babies reap this whole grain’s benefits to the fullest. Keep reading as we tell you more about the right age when babies can eat quinoa, its possible health benefits, and some tasty quinoa recipes you can try for your little one.

In This Article

When To Introduce Quinoa To Babies?

You may introduce quinoa between eight and ten months. Babies can tolerate it even before eight months of age, but it is good to wait until their digestive system improves. Consult your pediatrician before introducing any solids to your little one. Generalities may or may not apply to your baby.

Quinoa And Its Nutrition Facts

The ancient Incas called quinoa “the mother grain”. It is harvested and prepared in a process similar to that of rice and other grains but it does not technically belong to the category of cereal grains. It is the seed of a green vegetable that resembles spinach.

Quinoa is a small grain light in color and round in shape, similar in appearance to sesame seeds. It is available in colors such as purple, red, and black (1). It can be cooked like grain to replace rice and couscous, or it can be used as ground quinoa flour.

Related: Spinach For Babies: Right Age, Benefits And Recipes To Try

Nutritional value of quinoa (cooked)

NutrientValue per 100g
Water71.61g
Energy120kcal
Protein4.4g
Carbohydrates21.3g
Calcium17mg
Iron1.49mg
Magnesium64mg
Phospohorus152mg
Potassium172mg
Sodium7mg
Zinc1.09mg
Vitamin B-60.123mg
Vitamin A5IU
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.63mg
Thiamin0.107mg
Riboflavin0.110mg
Niacin0.412mg
Vitamin B-60.123mg
Folate, DFE42µg

Source: USDA (2)

Health Benefits Of Quinoa For Babies

Quinoa contains fiber, calcium, folate, iron, and protein (3). Here are a few benefits of adding quinoa to your baby’s diet.

1. A complete source of protein

The seed is considered a complete protein containing the right amount of essential amino acids. Quinoa will contribute to a nutrient-dense diet than other common cereals. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids and thus is a complete protein source.

2. Vitamins required for healthy development

Quinoa is rich in vitamins. It contains B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine. These B vitamins are essential for producing and releasing energy and support the baby’s physical and mental development.

3. Minerals for growth

Quinoa is a good source of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, etc. Your baby needs all these minerals to grow; calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium are crucial for bone growth. Iron aids in the production of hemoglobin. Omega 3 foods, and Omega 6, and 9 fatty acids are good for brain and eye development.

4. Antioxidants to work against free radicals

Quinoa contains antioxidants, which can scavenge free radicals and prevent DNA damageiXAny modification that affects the functionality of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). (4). It reduces oxidative stress in the body, thus fighting its negative health impacts.

5. Fiber for digestion

The high amount of fiber makes quinoa a good laxative that helps in easy digestion (5). It also prevents excess bloating and constipation.

6. Carbohydrates and low GI

Quinoa is a rich source of carbohydrates and has a lower glycaemic index (GI)iXA rating system that ranks food on a scale from zero to hundred depending upon their carbohydrate content. than other grains, resulting in a sustained release of energy for the baby to play and learn.

If you are impressed with the benefits and want to try quinoa for your baby, then you might want to buy the right type of quinoa.

Related: Wheat For Babies: Right Age To Introduce And Precautions To Take

How To Select And Store Quinoa?

Purchase quinoa flour or quinoa flakes for babies. Go by the expiry date on the packet. You may powder the quinoa in a food processor or a coffee grinder, and use this powder to prepare smooth-textured baby cereal food.

You can store quinoa for several months in a cool, dry place. Put it in an airtight container and preferably store it in a refrigerator. Refrigeration prevents the natural nutrition of the oils, which come from the grain, from turning rancid. If you are buying a pre-milled whole grain option, buy it in small quantities and use it before they get rancid.

How To Cook Quinoa For Your Baby?

Rinse and toast the quinoa before cooking to remove the bitterness and saponins, a bitter compound which plants use as a defense to ward off insects. Toasting enables easier digestion of the seed. However, most quinoa available in the US is pre-rinsed.

Rinsing: Take the desired quantity of quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and run water over it until bubbles disappear.

Toasting: Heat a frying pan on medium flame and put quinoa in it. Keep stirring until the quinoa turns golden brown.

Cooking and pureeing: As quinoa can expand like rice, cook one cup quinoa with two to three cups of water. Make cooked quinoa into a puree using milk or water and serve it to your baby.

Soak and/or sprout the quinoa to reduce the phytic acid content, which binds to the minerals and makes them less absorbable. Soaking and sprouting increase the availability of the minerals to the body and also increase the antioxidantiXCompounds that may prevent or delay cellular damage. levels.

14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (13) Quick tip

Fluff quinoa with a fork to separate clumped or lumped quinoa. It will make eating quinoa easy for babies and reduce gagging risk.

Quinoa Recipes For Babies

These protein-rich recipes are perfect for babies, who are ready for something different.

1. Quinoa porridge

Image: IStock

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup quinoa powder
  • 1 to 2 cups water

How to:

  1. Mix quinoa powder and water in a pan.
  2. Keep whisking while cooking, to avoid lumps.
  3. Turn off after getting the desired consistency.

Optional: Add fruits, vegetables, or yogurt for flavor.

2. Quinoa and peas

Image: IStock

You will need:

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken, vegetable or beef stock
  • Peas

How to:

  1. Add the ingredients to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer for around 10 minutes.
  3. Do not allow it to reduce to pasty thickness.
  4. You may puree it for young babies.

3. Quinoa stir fry

Image: IStock

You will need:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • Soft cooked apples – diced
  • Soft cooked yellow squash – diced
  • Soft cooked sweet potato – diced

How to:

  1. Add olive oil to a pan. Once it is warm, include all the ingredients. Sauté and scramble.
  2. For iron or protein boost, scramble in an egg yolk.

4. Creamy quinoa and bananas

Image: IStock

You will need:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1/2 banana, mashed

How to:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and keep it on low flame for around 10 minutes.
  2. Ensure that quinoa is not reduced to pasty thickness.

5. Quinoa fruity feast

Image: IStock

You will need:

  • 2oz (1/4 cup) quinoa
  • 4fl oz (1/2 cup) water
  • 1tbsp raisins
  • 1 small apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
  • 1/2 ripe banana, mashed
  • A pinch of cinnamon

How to:

  1. Boil water in a saucepan, stir in quinoa and let it boil.
  2. Reduce the flame and keep it simmer for five minutes.
  3. Add raisins, apple, and simmer it for another five minutes until the water gets absorbed.
  4. Add mashed banana and cinnamon.
  5. Serve it as-is or make it a pureed food.

6. Creamy quinoa breakfast

You will need:

  • 1 apple (peeled, cored and diced)
  • 1 ripe pear (peeled, cored and diced)
  • 4fl oz (1/2 cup) natural yogurt
  • 1 drop of vanilla
  • 2oz (1/4 cup) cooked quinoa

How to:

  1. Steam the apple and pear.
  2. Puree it with vanilla in a blender.
  3. Cook it on low flame for five minutes. Cover with the lid.
  4. Add yogurt to the fruit puree, stir in the quinoa and serve.

7. Easy quinoa and banana breakfast

Image: IStock

You will need:

  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 4oz (1/2 cup) cooked quinoa
  • 4fl oz (1/2 cup) milk (breast milk, formula or whole milk)

How to:

  1. Blend banana in the milk.
  2. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and add the quinoa.
  3. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Turn off the flame once it thickens.
  5. Make puree if desired.

8. Pretty pink quinoa

Image: IStock

You will need:

  • 1 medium beetroot (peeled and diced)
  • 1 apple (peeled and diced)
  • 4oz (1/2 cup) cooked quinoa

How to:

  1. Steam the beet cubes and apple until tender.
  2. Puree them together in a food processor.
  3. Add and stir in cooked quinoa.

9. Chicken and quinoa patties

Image: IStock

You will need:

  • 8oz (1 cup) ground chicken
  • 1/2 sweet potato
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 egg yolk (beaten)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2oz (1/4 cup) cooked quinoa
  • A pinch of dried thyme

How to:

  1. Peel the apple, sweet potato, garlic, and onion.
  2. Grate them together.
  3. Stir in the beaten egg yolk, ground chicken, quinoa and thyme.
  4. Mix thoroughly. Make small balls, press into half-inch-thick patties.
  5. Cook each side for 10 minutes under the broiler or grill, until thoroughly cooked.

10. Apple cinnamon quinoa bites (for finger foods)

Image: IStock

You will need:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2tsp nutmeg
  • 3tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2tsp cinnamon
  • 1tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup chopped apples
  • 1tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs (slightly beaten)

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350oF.
  2. Add cooked quinoa and oats to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add nutmeg, sugars, and cinnamon to the quinoa-oat mixture.
  4. Add eggs, apples, and maple syrup. Mix well.
  5. Spray non-stick cooking spray to a mini-muffin pan and on the top of it as well.
  6. Fill one tablespoon of the mixture to each muffin slot.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve it warm.

11. Sweet and savory vegetable quinoa

Image: IStock

You will need:

  • 8oz quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2tbsp diced zucchini/ courgette
  • 1tbsp raisins
  • 1tbsp dried apricots (chopped)
  • 1 sweet potato (peeled and diced)
  • 1 spring onion or green onion or scallion (chopped)

How to:

  1. Add olive oil to a frying pan or skillet.
  2. Sauté sweet potato dices, zucchini, and onion until golden brown.
  3. Stir in the cooked quinoa, dried apricots, and raisins.

Note: This is quite a textured dish, ideal for babies who are already chewing. Soak the dried apricots and raisins in warm water to soften them as soft food will suit your baby more at this age.

12. Sunrise quinoa

Image: IStock

You will need:

  • 1 cups cubed ripe mango
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cups cooked quinoa

How to:

  1. Boil two cups of water, add one cup of quinoa and stir.
  2. Cook for 20 minutes on low flame until water is absorbed.
  3. Puree applesauce and mango together in a blender.
  4. Add the puree to the quinoa cereal.

Note: Add yogurt to make a creamy pudding.

Blend in chicken or pork to make a healthy meal.

13. Apple and cheddar quinoa balls

Image: IStock

You will need:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 large apple, grated
  • 200g of cooked quinoa
  • 90g of cheddar
  • Olive oil

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350oF.
  2. Add cheddar, quinoa, egg, and apple in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Make balls, place them on a baking tray.
  4. Brush olive oil on the top.
  5. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

14. Quinoa khichdi

Image: IStock

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa (washed)
  • 1/2 cup split yellow lentils or red lentils (washed)
  • 3 and 1/2 cups water
  • 1tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion (chopped)
  • 1tsp ginger (grated)

Vegetables

  • 1/2 cup green beans (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup carrot (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup green peas (frozen)

Spices

  • 1/2tsp turmeric powder
  • A pinch of red chili powder
  • 1tsp salt

How to make:

  1. Rinse quinoa and moong dal well under running water.
  2. Heat ghee in the instant pot, add cumin seeds, and let them cook for half a minute. Then add asafoetida, onions, and ginger. Allow them to cook for two to three minutes.
  3. Add all the vegetables and spices. Stir well.
  4. Put in the lentils, quinoa, and water. Mix them well with the veggies.
  5. Close the instant pot lid and set it to manual or pressure cook mode for four minutes at high pressure with the vent sealed.
  6. After the instant pot beeps, wait for a 10-minute natural pressure release, and serve.

Tips To Make Quinoa Interesting To The Baby

  • Adding a cinnamon stick to the water while cooking quinoa gives a unique flavor while keeping it a baby-friendly meal.
  • Make a sweet dish by cooking quinoa in a 50-50 mix of water and milk.
  • To attain a delightful savory flavor, cook quinoa in homemade or low-sodium broth.
  • To make it delicious, add coconut water or apple juice.
  • Add cooked quinoa to the puree of blueberries and banana.

Hannah, a mother of three lovely baby boys, discovered a clever way to use leftover quinoa and purees in her quinoa cakes. She shares, “These quinoa cakes were made because I had leftover quinoa, a baby-led weaning baby, and a desire to feed my kids new foods. What started as a simple way to serve leftovers ended up becoming a staple in our home. All three of my kiddos loved these quinoa fritters for babies (i).” Her recipe included cooked quinoa, vegetable puree or baby food, and eggs or egg substitute.

14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (14) Quick tip

Add powdered nuts such as pecans or walnuts to make quinoa recipes for babies tastier and healthier.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can babies have quinoa allergies?

According to Mary Sabat, a nutritionist and certified personal trainer from Alpharetta, Georgia, “Babies can potentially experience an allergic reaction to quinoa, although this occurrence is relatively uncommon.”

2. Is quinoa better than rice?

Rice and quinoa are healthy foods with various nutrients that impact your baby’s well-being. They provide similar energy and essential vitamins such as B vitamins. Quinoa contains extra protein and fiber compared to brown rice, and it also offers iron and magnesium. On the other hand, brown rice is richer in minerals like selenium and manganese compared to quinoa.

3. Can babies choke on quinoa?

Sabat says, “Like any small food item, quinoa carries a potential choking hazard, particularly when it’s improperly cooked or served in large, uncooked clusters. It’s crucial to cook it until it reaches a soft and mushy consistency and serve it in small portions suitable for the baby’s age.”

Most babies consuming a variety of solids like infant cereal and veggies can also eat quinoa. These delicious and healthy quinoa recipes for babies can provide them with energy, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, contributing to their overall nutritional needs. You can serve babies and toddlers quinoa in porridge, soup, and casserole forms. Additionally, you can use this nutritious whole-grain food to make delectable finger foods, such as quinoa balls and quinoa puffs for an easy and enjoyable baby-led weaning. You can add quinoa to other foods to add variety to meals.

Infographic: How To Prepare Quinoa For Baby?

Respiratory illnesses such as the common cold are generally self-resolving when mild; however, if the symptoms of these infections last for a while during pregnancy, it warrants prompt medical attention. This infographic explains when to see a doctor for upper respiratory tract infections during pregnancy.

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Key Pointers

  • Babies can start eating quinoa when they are 8-10 months old.
  • Quinoa is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, such as calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin B.
  • Quinoa also contains fiber and antioxidants that promote digestion and reduce oxidative stress.
  • To store quinoa, keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place as flour or flakes.
  • When preparing quinoa for baby food, rinse and boil it until it’s soft. Then puree it or mix it with other ingredients.
14 Tasty Quinoa Recipes For Babies And Its Health Benefits (17)

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Prepare healthful quinoa for your baby! This simple video demonstrates how to prepare a nutritious meal for your child. Ideal for babies 6 months and older.

Personal Experience: Source

MomJunction articles include first-hand experiences to provide you with better insights through real-life narratives. Here are the sources of personal accounts referenced in this article.

i. Baby-led weaning- quinoa cakes;
https://eatdrinkandsavemoney.com/baby-led-weaning-quinoa-cakes/

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. Whole grains A-Z; Oldways Whole Grains Council
2. Quinoa, cooked; FDC ID: 168917; Food Data Central; USDA
3. Brittany L. Graf et al.; Innovations in health value and functional food development of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.); National Centre for Biotechnology Information(2016)
4. Robert Yawadio Nsimba et al.; Antioxidant activity of various extracts and fractions of Chenopodium quinoa and Amaranthus spp. Seeds; ScienceDirect (2008)
5. Lamothe LM et al.; Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa W.) and amaranth (Amaranthus caudatus L.) provide dietary fibres high in pectic substances and xyloglucans.; National Centre for Biotechnology Information (2015)
6. Quinoa Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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