|Mississauga, ON, September 23, 2010 –Celebrated as one of the least allergenic of all grains, rice is traditionally one of the first solid foods served to babies. As do-it-yourself (DIY) baby foods grow in popularity, it’s no wonder Canadian parents are turning to rice as an important versatile grain that introduces babies to texture and can easily be combined with other healthy ingredients.
Mother and Blender Baby Food author Nicole Young encourages parents to use rice in their homemade baby food preparations. “Rice is an excellent grain to introduce to babies because it is easy for their little tummies to digest,” she says. “When my kids were babies I often made homemade baby foods with rice because I knew there was little chance of an allergic reaction. Now that they’re older, I still like to cook with rice because it’s quick and easy, versatile and my family just loves to eat it.”
In addition to being easy to prepare and budget friendly, making homemade baby food with rice is also an excellent way to control baby’s intake of sodium (salt), which has been linked to hypertension and heart disease. Sodium intake is too high for most Canadians, including our youngest ones. In fact, according to Statistics Canada1, even one-year olds consume almost double their recommended daily intake. Preparing fresh, homemade rice-based baby food is an effective way great way to control a baby’s salt intake while introducing them to new textures and flavours of solid foods.
The Rice, Rice Baby! Recipe Contest: Canada’s best rice-based baby food recipes
In early 2010, the USA Rice Federation launched an online recipe contest called Rice, Rice Baby! in search of Canada’s most original rice-based baby food recipes. Participants submitted their recipes to riceinfo.com for the chance to win a $500 cash prize. On September 22, an independent panel of five baby judges (with a little help from their parents) selected the winning recipes at the Rice, Rice Baby! Recipe Taste-Off hosted by Erica Ehm, publisher of YummyMummyClub.ca, at Toronto’s Liaison College. The competition was fierce but the decision was unanimous:
Yummy Rice Pudding is a twist on a classic wholesome recipe. Naturally sweetened with banana and apple, its ingredients are cooked down and then puréed to provide the perfect balance of sweetness and consistency for little palates. This simple recipe offers a source of iron, which is an important factor in red blood cell formation. According to Toronto-based dietitian Cara Rosenbloom, iron-rich foods should be introduced at six months of age.
Avocado Banana Rice Mash is subtly sweet with a wonderfully creamy texture. The avocado used in this recipe provides a source of 20 different nutrients including fibre, folic acid and vitamin E, all of which are essential for a healthy baby. As the only ingredient that requires cooking in this recipe is the rice, parents will appreciate this quick and healthy meal solution for days on the run.
Baby Congee introduces babies to real flavours and textures with its tiny pieces of chicken, vegetables, ginger and garlic. Its carbohydrates provide a source of energy that assists in the utilization of fats.
The winning recipes can be made using white or brown rice and puréed to suit baby’s age and texture preferences.
Rice helps your baby grow
According to registered dietitian Cara Rosenbloom, parents should start introducing their babies to solid foods around six months of age as these “real foods” provide babies with the nutrients they need to grow.
“Rice is a very common ingredient in homemade baby food as it provides babies with the energy their little bodies need. Brown rice in particular contains many of the essential nutrients that babies require for normal growth and development including phosphorus, zinc and B-vitamins,” says Rosenbloom. “Phosphorus helps in the formation of bones and teeth while zinc, niacin and vitamin B6 are all factors in energy metabolism and tissue formation. Brown rice also contains fibre, which helps promote healthy bowel habits and prevents constipation.”
Rice is a healthy part of your diet at any age
Rice is versatile source of energy that contains no cholesterol, sodium or fat and boasts eight essential amino acids. Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating recommends that Canadian adults should eat six to eight servings of grain products per day, at least half of which should be whole grains. One cup (250 mL) of white or brown rice is considered two servings and brown rice is a whole grain.
For recipes and high-resolution images, visit www.riceinfo.com. For images from the Rice, Rice Baby! Recipe Taste-Off, please contact Andrea Karpala or Naaz Dattu at 905-206-0577.
USA RICE FEDERATION
1Statistics Canada, “Sodium consumption at all ages”