Whole grain baby food

The Importance of Whole Grains for your Baby

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As consumers, we see the word “whole grain” thrown out a lot on the packaging of all types of products, but what exactly, is meant by whole grains? What are true whole grains and why do they matter? In this article, we’ll cover what defines a true whole grain, their benefits, and common ways to introduce them into baby’s diet.

What are whole grains?

Until the 19th century, all cereals were consumed as whole grains. Now, however, it has become difficult to identify what whole grains are, where to buy them, and how to best prepare them. Let’s start by clearly defining a whole grain.


A complete whole grain consists of three layers: the bran (outer layer), the germ (middle layer), and the endosperm (inner part). The reason we talk a lot about “whole grains” versus refined grains is because since the Industrial Revolution, most grain products have been stripped of their bran and germ layers, leaving just the endosperm. This created grain products which were considered at the time to be superior in taste, texture, color, and most importantly, extended their shelf life for supermarket sales. If you’ve ever tried to bake a cake with 100% whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, you’ll quickly see and understand the difference. 

The only problem with these “improvements” is that this refinement stripped away the most nutritious parts of the grain leaving them depleted of most nutrients. The bran and the germ are packed with the most vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals found in the grain. The bran delivers fiber for example, while the germ is rich in lipids. Not to mention much research has been done on the efficacy of a food being consumed as a whole, and how each part works together in synergy. In other words, a food is not just a sum of its parts, but all parts work in unison to provide optimal nutrition. So although all purpose flour might make a fluffy cake, it doesn’t make for a healthy food.  

As a result, many products containing refined flours, such as common breakfast cereals and breads, are then enriched, which means synthetic vitamins are added back into them. This refinement did not just impact flour. Many other grains were processed down, removing their bran and germ layer, often to quicken cooking time and make the grain softer. Some examples of this are pearled barley (bran removed) and white rice (bran and germ removed).


Why are whole grains important for your baby?

Throughout the world, infant cereals are often one of baby’s first transitional foods and for good reason. They provide a ton of energy, deliver carbohydrates, fiber and protein, as well as vitamins, minerals, and even contribute to a healthy development of gut bacteria. Further, they are excellent vehicles for iron fortification and have a soft, pleasing texture for babies. All in all, whole grains make up the primary source of the world’s food store, and developing a preference for whole grains begins in infancy and can help develop healthy eating habits for life. Unfortunately, many industrialized infant cereals are highly processed and are not delivering the benefits, taste and texture of whole grains. As a result, there has been an effort to incorporate not only infant cereal but also make sure babies are experiencing whole grains in their complementary feeding as well.

Recommendations / How to incorporate whole grains into a baby's diet?

Despite mounting evidence of the value of whole grains in the human diet, specific recommendations regarding a baby’s intake of infant cereals, types of cereals, and degree of processing are still largely undefined.  However, evidence strongly suggests that whole grains are better than processed infant cereals, and that whole grains should be introduced as early as possible because that is when taste preference and eating habits are shaped. Due to the discovery of the importance of whole grains starting in infancy, there has been a push to offer some guidelines for 6-24 months. In Spain, for example, they recommend half of all cereal intake in infants should be whole grains. Australia recommends 16 servings a week of whole grains for 12-24 month olds. In the US, one nutrition panel recommends 1 ounce of whole grain a day starting at 12 months and working up to 2.5 ounces a day by 36 months.

Some examples of whole grains that can be served to baby include: millet, wheat, oats, maize, rye, barley and brown rice. Some “pseudocereals” which are not exactly cereals but offer equally nutrient-dense profiles include quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat. Most of these whole grains can be cooked up soft, pureed, and mixed with a fruit or vegetable for a filling meal. When shopping for packaged foods and bread products, search for ones which incorporate whole grain flours, such as whole wheat and rye. When buying flours for baking, consider incorporating whole grain flours into your baking mixes. One of the quickest and easiest ways to incorporate whole foods into baby’s diet is with oats for breakfast. 

At Amara, we offer a whole-grain based Breakfast Pack. Our Oats n’ Berries is a base of 100% oats, and our Ancient Grains is a blend of two supergrains, oats and amaranth. With no added sugar, a whole grain profile and delicious taste, this breakfast pack is ideal for babies and big kids alike. Simply mix the packet with the liquid of your choice (breast milk for babies, possibly whole milk or nut milks for bigger kids, or even water anytime), mix to your desired consistency, and serve! It’s delicious warm or cold, and can be endlessly customized with chopped nuts, berries, sprinkles of cinnamon, etc. Rest easy knowing you are building healthy eating habits for life and your little ones are getting their daily dose of whole grains. Shop our Breakfast Pack HERE.



JF Haro-Vicente Sensory Acceptability of Infant Cereals with Whole Grain in Infants and Young Children. Nutrients. 2017 Jan; 9(1): 65.

M Klerks et al Infant Cereals: Current Status, Challenges, and Future Opportunities for Whole Grains. Nutrients. 2019 Feb; 11(2): 473

Article researched by:

 Amara's Chief Nutritionist: Sonia A. Schiess, PhD in Nutrition, specialized  in the introduction of solids and liquids to infants. Sonia's passion started when she was studying nutrition and dietetics in university, completing a post degree in Human Nutrition. Later on, she completed her PhD as a nutritionist, with a focus on introducing food in the first year of a baby's life. Her wide experience gives her a unique perspective, drawing from her time in clinics, hospitals, independent consulting and university research. She's authored several papers including "Introduction of complementary feeding"; "Introduction of potentially allergenic foods in the infant's diet during the first year of life" and "Intake of energy providing liquids during the first year of life" in five European countries. The combination of Sonia's science and our chef's magic ensures every Amara product is not only optimized for your baby's health but is delicious as well.


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5 Foods to Always Have on Hand to Feed Baby


Your baby has started solids, and the world is her oyster! (Okay, more like spoonful of fish puree. ) In the next several months, you’ll be introducing lots of different foods—but be sure you’re off to a healthy start by making these five regulars on her plate:

1. Veggies: Instilling an appreciation of and taste for veggies is important. Vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, so they should be mainstays of the diet for life. And don’t worry: Introducing fruit before veggies isn’t the deal-breaker you may have heard it is. If your baby gets the sweet taste of fruit before less-sweet (and sometimes slightly bitter) veggies, it doesn’t mean she’ll reject them. Just continue to serve them both every day.

Feeding Tips: Offer your baby different colors of veggies—including green, yellow, orange—and don’t be discouraged if your baby turns up her nose at a certain one. Simply offer it another time.

2. Meat or iron-fortified cereal: For years, iron-fortified rice cereal was recommended as the must-have starter food. Now, many pediatricians agree that the order you introduce foods isn’t crucial–but having a source of iron is. Iron is critical for kids, especially after six months when your baby’s natural stores of the mineral become depleted.

Feeding Tips: Be sure all meats are well-cooked (and well pureed at first). Though you should check with your pediatrician first, keep in mind that you can also introduce fish when babies start solids at six months.

3. Full-Fat Yogurt: Okay, we may be biased here–but the fact is, yogurt’s got a lot of what baby needs right now: fat for her developing brain, calcium and vitamin D for growing bones. It’s approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics for babies starting at six months. Check out Stonyfield’s full line of YoBaby products.

Feeding Tips: Feed your baby straight-up plain yogurt or swirl in fruit or veggie purees or baby oatmeal. For older babies, try seasoning it with spices like cinnamon and ginger.

4. Fruit: Your baby will delight in the sweetness of fruit. And you’ll be happy knowing he’s getting vitamins, fiber, hydrating fluids, and lots of health-protective plant compounds.

Feeding Tips: If you’re making your own baby food, be sure to wash all fruits thoroughly, even if they’re organic. (Learn more about organic fruits and veggies here.)  If you’re trying baby-led weaning, give baby handheld pieces of very ripe, soft fruit.

5. Whole Grains: Whole grains like whole wheat pasta and whole grain bread and cereal have more fiber, protein, and vitamins than refined grains like white bread do. Whole grains also tend to have a stronger flavor and chewier texture, so it’s smart to introduce them early on so your baby develops a taste for them.

Feeding Tips: Oatmeal is a natural whole grain you can serve plain or mixed with fruit purees. Pieces of whole wheat pasta (like rotini and bowties), and strips of French toast or pancakes made from whole grain bread and flour are all fun finger foods for older babies.

Fleur Alpine ORGANIC - Baby food. Lure

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  • For toddlers

  • For children allergic to cow's milk protein

  • For children allergic to synthetic vitamins and minerals nine0003

  • For children whose diet consists of foods without added sugar

  • For babies from birth to develop healthy eating habits


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• microbiological, allergic, chemical, physical, trace, environmental, sensory and other tests are carried out both in our own laboratory and in external independent laboratories;
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