Rice – a healthy ingredient for children’s nutrition

Alongside wheat, rice (Oryza sativa) is nowadays one of the most popular cereals in the world. Due to its nourishing and gastronomic properties it has become basic food for more than half the population. Although it was initially grown in China and India, different types of rice are now cultivated not only in Asia, but also in Africa, South America and Europe.

When can rice be introduced in children’s nourishment?

The grain can be introduced as soon as the baby is 4 to 6 months old, yet some paediatricians recommend waiting until the later. Rice is generally well tolerated by children because it is easily digestible and is famed for being a remedy for diarrhoea. It is best though to ask for your doctor’s advice before introducing rice in your toddler’s diet and also care for the 4 days rule.

rice for kids

What nutrients does rice include?

Apart from cellulose it contains an important series of minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, sulphur, magnesium, iodine, zinc and fluoride. Even though it is weak in protein and fats, rice is rich in starch and represents a source of Vitamins A, B1, B6 and B12. These are found in the grain’s peel, which is usually removed while being processed.

Consuming paddy rice or brown rice helps prevent heart diseases as well as diabetes, liver diseases and obesity. The unsaturated oils from brown rice help reduce cholesterol and the phosphorus found in the grain help central nervous system stimulation. Due to its gluten-free constituency, rice is a good alternative for babies or children who suffer from gluten intolerance.

Moreover, consistent meals for the little ones can be prepared with the aid of this aliment, especially during the first months of the dietary diversification process.

How to pick rice?

There are many types of rice, differing in grain length (long, medium, short) and texture (soft, creamy or sticky). Regarding colour, the majority of recipes are designed for white, brown or red rice use. Although processed grains are healthy by nature, the specialists recommend paddy rice most. This is due to the fact that rice peel contains essential oils (two phospholipids and a sterol) which play an important role in nourishing and mending the cellular membrane.

Paddy rice should be eaten rationally because it has a considerable intake of carbohydrates in both our diets and our children’s. Searching the market, you may also find variations of broken rice. These products are either integrally smashed rice or a mixture between broken and whole grains. Although edible, these products are of lower quality and as a result cheaper compared to some other rice varieties.

rice and vegetables for toddlers

How to prepare the rice according to children’s tastes?

For the younger ones you can mix rice flour with combinations of fruits or veggies and serve them as instant cereal. Preparing the meal requires boiled and afterwards cooled water and either powder milk or breast milk. Mashed fruits or vegetables, milk or yoghurt can also be mixed with rice flour.

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