Barley Baby Cereal
Barley baby food
   Barley Baby Cereal | Barley Baby Food

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Barley is a whole-grain food that is low in fat and high in soluble fiber. It can reduce blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels in adults and it is highly recommended as one of the "first foods" of your baby. Barley cereal may not be as popular as rice cereal since it is easier to digest and will less likely cause allergies. Barley cereal, although it may have a stronger taste, a nuttier flavor, and is chewier than rice cereal, is actually a good choice to avoid and treat constipation in babies. When the baby is constipated, it is recommended that barley cereal or oatmeal be substituted. One cup of cooked barley contains 3.55 grams of protein. It also contains vitamin A, B vitamins, Niacin and Folate. One cup of cooked barley contains minerals such as Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium, and Iron.

If you're looking for store bought barley rice cereal, there are at least 3 choices -Heinz Baby Cereal Barley, Gerber Barley Cereal, and Beech-nut Barley Cereal. Beech-nut and Gerber come in 8oz packages while Heinz is in a 227g re-sealable packaging.

If you prefer to prepare the cereal yourself, then purchase pearl barley. This is readily available and easier for your baby to cope with. Pour about a cup of apple juice and cup of water in a pan. Add about 2 tablespoons chopped dried apricots and a pinch of cinnamon and let it boil. Stir in cup pearl barley and bring the heat down to a gentle simmer. Cook this for about an hour until the barley is tender enough for baby to eat. If the mixture becomes too dry at some point, add some more apple juice. You can prepare this in advance and freeze it, warming only the portion that you need during meal time. If you want it creamier, stir in some natural yogurt before serving and not before freezing. You can also experiment with flavors by adding mashed fruits (your choice of fruit) before serving. Note, however, that there is a 4 day wait rule when it comes to introducing food to baby when you choose your mashed fruit additions.

Store pearled or milled barley in an airtight container and be aware of the expiration date. Or better yet, buy only in small quantities so you don't have to think about whether you can still serve them or not. If you buy the milled (ground) barley you should refrigerate because this type has natural oils that may become rancid without refrigeration. So if your area is warm, make sure you refrigerate.
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