Why Whole Grain is Best for Baby

Carbohydrates make up a large portion of our body’s nutrition needs. Of the three macronutrients required by the body every day, carbohydrates form the largest percentage of recommended daily intake, more than protein and more than fat. Although it doesn’t surprise anyone that we need more carbs than fat, many people are surprised that we need more carbs than protein.

Recent diet crazes that have instructed people to cut out carbohydrates have caused a general belief that carbs are bad for you, and will cause obesity. This isn’t accurate. Your body needs carbs, and so does your baby’s body. The key is to choose the right kind of carbs to provide nutrition and avoid empty calories.

The Types of Carbohydrates

Carbs come in two main forms: simple and complex. Simple carbs are high in sugar and refined grains. Some of this occurs naturally, but much of it is the result of processing. White bread is a perfect example of a simple carb. It is made with wheat that has been processed and stripped of the portions of the grain that contain the fiber and most of the nutrition. While “enriched” grains have had the nutrition added back afterwards, the fiber can’t be replaced, and you are left with the type of carbohydrate that is broken down quickly by the body. This can cause spikes in blood sugar levels

Complex carbs are foods that contain a lot of fiber, and take longer for the body to digest. They maintain a steadier level of sugar in the blood, and thus more sustained energy and fullness. Whole grains are complex carbs. The grains have been left in their natural form and not refined to remove any part of the grain. They are a great source of fiber as well as other nutrients.

The Benefits of Whole Grains

Eating whole grain foods regulates the digestive system and keeps the good bacteria in balance, meaning less gastrointestinal problems and a healthier immune system. This goes for both babies and adults. Whole grains have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and also help to regulate cholesterol levels. Starting your baby on whole grains is an investment in future health.

Whole grains are also full of nutrition in its natural state, which is always better than vitamins and minerals that have been added synthetically.

Whole Grain Baby Foods

With the recent push towards whole grain foods, it isn’t hard to find them on the shelves of your local supermarket. When choosing infant cereal, look for brown rice rather than refined white rice. Oatmeal is usually a whole grain, but check the label to be sure. Barley is also a great whole grain for baby, but again, be sure to read the label to make sure the barley infant cereal you choose is made with whole grains.

When your baby is ready for foods like bread, choose a whole grain variety rather than white. Children who start on whole grain breads and aren’t introduced to white bread are less likely to reject it than those who start with white. Bread labels can be tricky, and not every wheat bread actually contains whole wheat grains, so read the ingredients no matter what the label says.

You can also add whole grains to foods like soups. Both brown rice and barley make great additions to your favorite soup. Whole grain pasta is now widely available, and is a smart choice and a great finger food for baby.

Leave a Reply