Iron-fortified infant cereal can be used in surprising ways for babies and toddlers! Including, homemade finger foods to support self-feeding, which we all know has many benefits! I share five creative ways to use infant cereal for baby-led weaning. This post was written in partnership with my friends at Baby Gourmet. As always, all opinions are my own!
We all know that iron-fortified infant cereal has traditionally been used as a staple first food for babies when they start solids. And there are many reasons why! Infant cereal is:
- Neutral tasting and generally well-accepted by babies
- It provides a great source of iron—80% of babies daily needs in 1/3 of a cup dry–which is a very important nutrient for babies, as their iron stores are depleted by 6 months of age
- It is EASY to prepare and serve
- AND you can now find some really nutritious, high quality varieties in the store, like Baby Gourmet’s line up of organic oatmeal and ancient grain blends. What I love about these is that they’re enriched with important vitamins and minerals for baby like iron, thiamine and niacin, they provide 3 grams of dietary fibre per serving and there’s no weird ingredients or artificial colours or flavours. If you’re going to choose an infant cereal, these are the ones to choose in my opinion.
What you might not realize is that iron-fortified infant cereal can be used in many ways… not just the same old same old! In fact, you can use infant cereal in homemade finger foods to support self-feeding, which we all know has many benefits, right from 6 months!
Here are my top 5 creative ways to use infant cereal when feeding your baby
1. Coat bananas, avocado or pears in infant cereal for better grip.
Babies as young as 6 months can start eating soft and safe finger foods like ripe banana, avocado and pear, but those foods easily slip out of their hands. Coating it with some infant cereal not only helps baby to grip it, but also adds some iron!
2. Make Homemade iron-rich teething biscuits
Homemade iron-rich teething biscuits are oh-so-fun for babies because they’re delicious and can be made into fun shapes using cookie cutters! My go-to cookie cutter was a firetruck! Enlist the help of your older kids for a fun activity.
In a large bowl combine
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup iron-fortified cereal
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp or more of water (to get sticky consistency)
Use a cookie cutter to cut out biscuits and bake on a cookie sheet at 425 for 15 minutes.
3. Replace breadcrumbs or oats with infant cereal for meatballs, or meat patties for an iron and protein-rich baby-friendly finger food.
Meatballs and meat patties are a great starting finger food for babies. They can be molded into the just the right size and easily break apart for safe consumption. Adding iron-rich infant cereal is an easy way to elevate the nutritional profile of an already great finger food.
4. Make homemade baby banana muffins
Muffins are a fantastic starting solids food as they are so versatile. Egg muffins, mini-meat muffins, and even delicious baking muffins. They are the perfect portion for baby and can be made in big batches and frozen! The recipe below has no added sugar, which is exactly what little ones need!
In a medium bowl combine:
- 1 cup whole grain flour
- 1 cup Baby Gourmet Iron-Fortified Oatmeal Cereal
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
In another medium bowl combine
- 2 ripe, mashed bananas
- 3 eggs, whisked
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp of melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup water
Fold wet ingredients in with dry, spoon dough into mini muffin tins and bake at 350 F for 16 minutes
5. Sprinkle into baby-friendly foods such as smoothies, oatmeal, full-fat plain yogurt, or a fruit pouch!
This is a great way to use up leftover infant cereal and add some texture (and iron!) to more advanced spoon foods.
As you can see, there are lots of creative and nutritious ways to use infant cereal when introducing solids. When starting solids it is important that your baby is offered iron-rich foods first, and at least twice a day. As your baby continues to explore other nutritious and exciting foods keep in mind that iron is still an important nutrient. So keep finding fun and interesting ways to offer iron rich foods!
If you feel that you need one on one support, we’re happy to help! Contact us at The Centre for Family Nutrition