Right here is every little thing it is advisable learn about baby-led weaning with quinoa, from a pediatric registered dietitian. Whether or not you’re doing baby-led weaning, spoon-feeding, or a mix, this publish will stroll you thru, step-by-step the right way to introduce quinoa to your child.

Quinoa is an historical grain first grown as a meals crop 7000 years in the past within the Andes. Over the past 20 years quinoa has change into increasingly standard world wide, usually touted as a “superfood”. Though it’s technically a seed, quinoa is cooked and eaten in the identical manner as different cereal grains corresponding to rice and oats. This tiny laborious seed doubles in measurement and fluffs up when cooked, imparting a scrumptious nutty taste and pleasing texture. It may be simply integrated into quite a lot of dishes that the entire household (together with your new eater!) will take pleasure in. It’s particularly liked by households who’ve members with celiac illness (an inflammatory bowel illness that’s triggered by consuming gluten) as it’s naturally gluten free! Proceed to learn by this weblog for scrumptious concepts on the right way to incorporate this nutritious grain into your child’s consuming journey! Right here’s what we’re going to cowl:

When to introduce quinoa to child

You may introduce quinoa as quickly as your child is able to begin solids, most frequently at round 6 months of age. This publish outlines intimately the entire readiness indicators to observe for when figuring out in case your infant is ready to start eating solids. Some infants could present readiness indicators earlier than 6 months, and others could exhibit them nearer to 7 months. All infants develop at their very own tempo, and that’s okay! If you need assist navigating the method of beginning solids along with your child, please don’t hesitate to e-book an appointment with a pediatric dietitian who specializes on this space.

What’s baby-led weaning (and why is quinoa an amazing baby-led weaning meals)?

Child-led weaning is completely different from conventional spoon feeding in that bigger items of soft-cooked complete meals are supplied to child, versus the caregiver spoon feeding purees. At round 6 moths of age, child is inspired to self-feed gentle, safely ready finger meals, strengthening their oral motor muscular tissues and handbook dexterity required to convey meals as much as their mouth. At first your child will use the “palmer grasp”, which suggests grabbing the meals with their palm. As soon as they’re somewhat bit older (round 9-10 months), they are going to discover ways to grasp the “pincer grasp” the place you can begin providing smaller items of meals that they’ll choose up with their fingers. At round this time your infant can even have the ability to apply bringing spoons as much as their mouth. That is particularly related when providing quinoa cooked by itself, as it may be preloaded onto a spoon to your child to convey to their mouth.

Quinoa is a superb baby-led weaning meals due to its versatility. It not solely can be utilized to encourage your infant to apply utilizing a spoon, however it may be integrated into numerous dishes your complete household will take pleasure in! From quinoa meat balls to heat quinoa breakfast cereal, the meal choices utilizing this historical grain are countless! That is nice information as quinoa is packed stuffed with highly effective vitamins like protein, fibre, iron, b nutritional vitamins and far more!

Set with different types of quinoa on white background, top view

Advantages of quinoa

Quinoa is also known as a “superfood”. This time period is used as a advertising technique for nutritious meals that promote well being advantages. Nevertheless, a “superfood” by itself, doesn’t have the facility to ensure your well being and wellness. With that stated, the diet profile of quinoa is spectacular to say the least. Most of the vitamins ample in quinoa are important to your infant, and help the expansion and improvement of your consuming beginner. 

Simply 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa incorporates:

  • About 2g of dietary fibre essential for feeding wholesome intestine micro organism and stopping constipation in your infant. Fibre and hydration are key for normal bowel actions!
  • About 25% of your child’s every day protein wants: Protein is acts because the constructing blocks your child must develop and keep wholesome
  • About 9% of your child’s every day iron wants: Iron shops change into depleted at round 6 months, making it a key nutrient for focus in your infant’s food plan. It’s important for oxygen transport to organs and tissues, in addition to bodily progress and mind improvement.
  • About 70% of your child’s every day manganese wants: Manganese is a mineral concerned in bone formation, blood clotting, supporting wholesome immune operate and protects cells from harm.
  • 55% of your child’s every day magnesium wants: Magnesium is a necessary mineral for wholesome bones, muscle and nerve operate in addition to regulating blood strain and blood sugars.
  • About 25% of your child’s every day zinc wants: You child wants sufficient zinc for correct progress and improvement. It’s important for protein and DNA manufacturing. This mineral additionally works to assist your little ones immune system struggle off micro organism and viruses.
  • About 23% of your child’s every day vitamin B1 (thiamin) wants: This B vitamin helps your infant flip meals into the power that they should develop and develop. It’s important for wholesome cell operate.
  • About 18% of your child’s every day vitamin B2 (riboflavin) wants. Riboflavin is crucial for correct mobile progress, operate, and metabolism.
  • About 130% of your child’s every day vitamin B9 (folate) wants. Folate is essential for the formation of genetic materials (DNA), wholesome cell division and sustaining wholesome pink blood cells.

The right way to prepare dinner quinoa for child

Quinoa is accessible in a couple of kind! The commonest being its complete seed kind, nonetheless, quinoa flour and flakes are additionally out there available on the market.

plain boiled and cooked quinoa in a large pot

The right way to boil complete quinoa:

Boil quinoa in a 2:1 ration of liquid to dry quinoa. For each 1 cup of quinoa, add 2 cups of water to boil it in. Carry the water and quinoa as much as a boil, then scale back to a simmer. Cook dinner for about quarter-hour or till all of the water is absorbed. Take the cooked quinoa off the range and fluff up with a fork. It’s non-compulsory to soak quinoa in water previous to cooking. Dump by a wonderful mesh strainer and rinse properly, then add to recent water to prepare dinner. This helps to scale back bitter taste.

Quinoa and quinoa flour in small bowls

The right way to use quinoa flour:

Quinoa flour is nice to make use of in gluten free baking corresponding to pancakes, waffles, cookies, muffins and loaves. It’s larger in protein and fibre than common all-purpose flour, and packs further nutritional vitamins and minerals into your baked items! See this webpage for some nice concepts on the right way to use quinoa flour. When making baked items to your infant (underneath the age of 1 12 months previous) goal to sweeten issues naturally with blended fruit like apple sauce, dates, or mashed banana as an alternative of including in sugar, maple syrup or honey.

Close-up on a Quinoa Flakes isolated in white background

The right way to use quinoa flakes:

Quinoa flakes are complete quinoa seeds which were flattened however a grain flaker. Quinoa flakes can be utilized in most of the similar recipes as quinoa and quinoa flour. As a result of the seed has been flattened it is going to prepare dinner quicker than complete quinoa. Quinoa flakes would work nice to make an in a single day quinoa “oatmeal” or a sizzling quinoa breakfast cereal to your infant. Try this webpage for some extra nice concepts on how to use quinoa flakes!

The right way to serve quinoa to child

By itself:

top view of whole cooked quinoa with baby feeding spoons
Entire cooked quinoa

Merely prepare dinner quinoa by the boil methodology above. You may prepare dinner it in water or no-salt-added vegetable or rooster broth so as to add some savory taste. Let the cooked quinoa cool so your child won’t burn their mouth. You may preload quinoa onto a spoon corresponding to this self-feeding baby spoon.

Pureed quinoa

Take cooked quinoa and puree in a high-powered blender or meals processor with some water, breastmilk, components, or no-salt-added broth. Add extra liquid for a thinner puree, or sparingly for a thicker puree. You may then preload quinoa puree onto a spoon for you infant to self-feed. In case your child is lower than 9 months previous, you’ll be able to spoon feed them your self as they are going to wrestle to convey the spoon to their mouth with out spilling the puree. Spoon feeding purees, yogurts, and oatmeal to your infant (particularly earlier than they’re 9 months previous) might be performed together with baby-led feeding. There’s nothing incorrect with doing a mix of each baby-led weaning and spoon feeding! Actually, it’s 100% as much as you to resolve if baby-led weaning or spoon feeding, (or a mix of each) work finest for you and your infant. See this weblog (add hyperlink to child led weaning versus puree weblog) for an evidence-based evaluate on each feeding strategies.

top view of cooked quinoa with mashed avocado and a baby spoon

Blended with vegetable/fruit pouches, mashed banana or avocado:

Take cooked quinoa and blend it in with pureed fruit and veggie pouches for a fast possibility! Or to show your infant to a thicker/chunkier texture strive mixing it up with mashed avocado or banana (or each!). Including quinoa to completely different purees and mashes is an effective way to introduce this meals with quite a lot of completely different flavors and textures. Chances are you’ll discover your infant spits out quinoa mashed with banana, however loves it with creamy avocado! Proceed to serve quinoa in some ways to encourage a diversified palate and matured tolerance for texture variation.

top view of warm breakfast cereal for baby-led weaning with quinoa

As a heat breakfast cereal:

Cooked quinoa is an effective way pack fibre, protein and important vitamins into your child’s breakfast meal! There are various potential mixtures to make use of quinoa as a heat cereal, an excellent rule of thumb is so as to add a protein, fats, and fruit to the combination. For instance, strive including hemp hearts (protein and fats), and apple sauce (fruit). One other easy possibility is so as to add plain complete yogurt (protein), some peanut butter (fats/protein) and mashed banana (fruit). Serve quinoa cereal on a preloaded spoon for child to convey to their mouth, or another choice is to spoon feed child (particularly if they’re lower than 9 months or wrestle to convey a loaded spoon to their mouth independently).

Combine into baked items:

Combine leftover cooked quinoa into baked good like muffins, loafs, waffles, and pancakes. This can be a nice approach to pack important nutritional vitamins and minerals into your baking, whereas introducing yet one more scrumptious manner to your child to take pleasure in quinoa! Serve baked items in fingerlike strips which can be straightforward to for child to carry utilizing their palmer grasp earlier than they’re 9 months previous. Finally begin serving smaller items of sentimental baked items to assist them apply their growing pincer grasp. Be certain that your quinoa baked items don’t include items of nuts or seeds in them, as they’re choking hazards. Nevertheless, there may be the choice to finely grind nuts and seeds earlier than mixing into the batter or go for nut/seed butters as an alternative.

top view of quinoa meatballs on a blue plate

Cooked into meat balls:

Quinoa can be utilized within the place of bread crumbs when making meat balls, meat loaf, or vegetarian bean-based patties corresponding to black bean or lentil burgers. The small fluffy grains of cooked quinoa add nutty taste and texture dimension to a meatball or burger. It’s straightforward to form meatballs into rolled out finger-like items in order that child has a better time holding onto it. As their wonderful motor abilities enhance (at round 9-10 months) you’ll be able to serve smaller items of sentimental meatball or bean patty combination.

The right way to retailer cooked quinoa

After quinoa is cooked, cool it inside an hour earlier than storing in an hermetic container within the fridge or freezer. Quinoa might be frozen for 1-2 months earlier than it ought to be reheated and served to child.  You may security retailer quinoa within the fridge for as much as 2 days earlier than serving to child. Don’t reheat the quinoa greater than as soon as, discard leftover quinoa from child’s meal and don’t reserve later.  Infants underneath 1 12 months previous are extra vulnerable to foodborne sickness on account of their immature immune techniques in comparison with stronger grownup immune techniques.

5 easy baby-led weaning quinoa recipe concepts

top view of cooked quinoa with mashed avocado and a baby spoon

1. Quinoa combined with mashed avocado:

Combine 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa with ½ small avocado mashed. Preload a self-feeding spoon with the combination and let your child feed themselves. You too can spoon feed child your self! No matter works finest.

top view of warm breakfast cereal for baby-led weaning with quinoa

2. Apple quinoa breakfast cereal:  

Combine 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa with 2-3 tbsp. of unsweetened applesauce, 1-2 tbsp. of complete plain yogurt, and a sprinkling of cinnamon (non-compulsory). Serve the identical manner as recipe #1!

3. Salmon quinoa salad:

Combine ¼ cup of flaked cooked salmon (recent or canned no salt added) with 2-3 tbsp. of three.25% or larger proportion plain yogurt, and ¼ cup of cooked quinoa. Serve the identical manner as recipe #1! (Tip: prepare dinner quinoa in no salt added broth for added taste!)

top down view of baked banana raspberry quinoa dish for baby-led weaning

4. Baked banana raspberry quinoa:

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a big bowl combine collectively 1 cup of raw quinoa, 2 cups of milk (cow’s milk or plant-based), 2 tbsp of melted butter (or avocado oil), 1 tsp. of vanilla, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 3 ripe mashed bananas, 1 cup of recent or frozen raspberries, and a pair of eggs (Strive chia eggs when you want an egg-free recipe: 1 tbsp. chia seeds + 3 tbsp. water = 1 chia egg). Pour combination in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Bake for about an hour or till quinoa is absolutely cooked and the combination has solidified within the center. As soon as cooled lower the baked quinoa into finger-like strips to serve to child, or smaller items if they’re older than 9 months previous and might begin working towards their pincer grasp!

top view of quinoa meatballs

5. Quinoa meat balls:

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a big bowl combine collectively 1lb of floor beef, ¾-1 cup of cooked quinoa (tip: prepare dinner quinoa in no salt added broth for extra taste), 1 cup of grated carrot, ½ cup grated zucchini, 1 minced garlic clove, ½ tsp. dried oregano, ½ tsp. of dried thyme, 1 tbsp. of tomato paste, 1 whisked egg. Form combination into little meatball logs (extra finger formed than spherical in order that they’re simpler to carry in a tiny fist). Bake within the oven for 15-20 minutes or till the interior temperature comes as much as 160°F utilizing a meals thermometer. As soon as cooled, serve to child as is, or add some no salt added tomato sauce!


Do I have to soak quinoa, earlier than cooking for child?

Soaking quinoa earlier than cooking can assist to take away the saponins positioned on the outer layer of the quinoa. Saponins are naturally occurring compounds produced by some crops (together with quinoa) that assist keep at bay bugs, fungus, and birds. To not fear, the degrees current in quinoa aren’t poisonous to people, so it isn’t essential to soak quinoa to take away saponins earlier than cooking. Nevertheless, some folks desire the style of pre-soaked quinoa as saponins can impart a bitter/soapy taste to the grain if they don’t seem to be soaked first.  Should you discover that you just or your infant dislike the style of quinoa, strive soaking it in water for an hour or two earlier than cooking, then drain the liquid and prepare dinner in recent water. This will assist to enhance the flavour!

Is quinoa a typical meals allergen?

Quinoa is just not thought-about a typical meals allergen and doesn’t make it onto the widespread meals allergen listing (Common food allergens – Canada.ca). Nevertheless, though very uncommon, quinoa allergy symptoms can exist, particularly if this allergy runs within the household.

Is quinoa an entire protein?

Protein is made up of amino acids, tiny constructing blocks wanted for the physique to develop and performance correctly. There are 20 amino acids that we’d like, however solely 9 of them are “important”, which means that they can’t be shaped within the physique. These important amino acids should be consumed in our food plan. All animal proteins (like poultry, beef, pork and fish/shellfish) include the 9 important amino acids, which is why we name them full proteins. It isn’t as widespread for plant meals to include all important amino acids, however quinoa is an exception! Because it incorporates all important amino acids, quinoa is taken into account an entire protein. Nevertheless, quinoa is especially made up of carbohydrate which is why it’s categorized as a grain/starchy meals. Actually, quinoa offers related quantities of protein when in comparison with rice. Half a cup of cooked quinoa offers 4g of protein (and 21g of carbohydrate), whereas the identical quantity of cooked brown rice offers 3g of protein (and 24g of carbohydrate). As you’ll be able to see, quinoa offers near the identical quantity of protein when in comparison with different widespread grains, however the protein it does have is full with all important amino acids!

Extra scrumptious baby-led weaning quinoa recipes:

Quinoa is an incredible historical grain to supply your infant as they begin their consuming journey. Not solely can it’s offered in some ways to advertise self-feeding, it’s a diet powerhouse full of important amino acids (constructing blocks), fibre, b nutritional vitamins and far more! Try this complete weblog with extra info on how to introduce your baby to new foods by baby-led weaning.


  1. Canadian Nutrient File (CNF) – Search by food (canada.ca)
  2. Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) (nih.gov)
  3. Saponin – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics
  4. Infant Nutrition – Complementary Feeding – Key Practice Points (pennutrition.com)
Here is everything you need to know about baby-led weaning with quinoa, from a registered dietitian. Here's how to introduce quinoa to your baby.