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One of the most common solid foods that babies begin to eat is rice cereal and for good reason.
It is easily digestible, gluten free, and generally does not contribute to allergic reactions.
Rice cereal is well tolerated by babies and can be used as a first step towards different types of foods.
There’s no need to buy commercial rice cereal because it can be easily made at home. The cost is minimal, it only takes a few minutes, and the results are quite good.
The cereal comes out creamy smooth, fresh, and tasty.
You also have complete control of the inputs and will know exactly what you are feeding your baby.
Budget Friendly Cereal
Starting a family is one of the most rewarding things you can do. But it can take it’s toll on the family budget.
Diapers, formula, doctor’s bills – the list seems endless.
We are always on the lookout for ways you can save money and stay on budget. This is why we post easy recipes, because home cooked meals not only taste better, they are a lot less expensive.
So How Cheap Is It To Make Rice Cereal At Home?
Even the most expensive rice can be purchased for about $1.60 per pound. A serving for a baby uses approximately 1 to 2 tbs of rice flour – which weighs 18 grams. This correlates to about $0.06 per serving.
If you were to buy rice cereal at the store, it would cost about $0.16 per serving. That’s 2.5 times more expensive than making this yourself.
Basic Homemade Baby Rice Cereal
Prepared rice cereal from the store is made by grinding rice grain to a fine texture flour, then cooking it with water.
We can prepare this at home using simple tools like a food processor or a powerful blender.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a grain mill, then that would be even better. Compared side by side, cereal made from stone ground whole grain rice was more creamy and took half the time to cook than the rice prepared with a food processor.
So if you have a mill then by all means do it this way instead.
Almost any whole grain brown rice can be made into cereal.
Some choices you can consider are.
- Short, medium, or long grain
Of all the rice varieties, Basmati rice is a really good choice because it has the lowest levels of accumulated arsenic (see below).
Always choose whole grains instead of white rice since whole grains are so much more nutritious. White rice has been refined by removing the outer layers. It’s the outer layer that has the most nutrients and fiber.
There are some concerns for feeding only rice cereal to infants. The reason is that rice has been know to contain traces of arsenic according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. The source of the arsenic is from the soil. Arsenic occurs in various quantities naturally and can be transferred into the rice.
They advise to wait until your baby is at least 6 months old before introducing rice cereal.
They also reported that it’s a good idea to feed your baby a variety of grains instead of just one.
Consumer reports tested rice and reported similar results. They contacted the FDA who reiterated that no more than one serving of rice should be given to infants per day.
The infographic below shows that arsenic levels vary based on where it’s grown and the type.
Note that Basmati rice grown in California has the lowest arsenic levels.
They also found that in general, brown Basmati rice from California, India, or Pakistan had about 1/3 less arsenic than similar brown rice in other areas.
Tips For Best Results
It’s important to cook the cereal completely so that it is as easy to digest as possible. This doesn’t take that long depending on the coarseness of the flour.
If you’re using a food processor or a mixer it’s going to take longer to cook to get the consistency right. Therefore it is recommend to use freshly ground whole grains in order to get the best results.
You will need approximately 4 to 5 times more water than flour. This will vary depending on the type of rice you use and the starting humidity.
It’s ok to add some water to the pan if it get’s too thick.
Stirring frequently improves results, but don’t over do it. The cereal can get too sticky if it’s overworked.
Just a side note, but this is very good cereal for the whole family too. We like to add milk and a little honey for a cereal very similar to cream of wheat. Just don’t feed your baby under 1 year old any honey, since they have not yet developed the immune system to handle it.
Homemade Rice Cereal Step By Step
Step 1:Thoroughly rinse the rice first prior to grinding. Allow to dry on a baking sheet or place it in a warm oven to dry.
Step 2: Pour 1 cup of water into a pan followed by 1/4 cup of ground rice flour. Stir to a smooth consistency.
Step 2: Bring to a soft boil so that the sides of the pan are beginning to show some small bubbles.
Step 4: Reduce heat and simmer. Stir frequently for the smoothest results. About 6 minutes.
Step 5: Add formula or breast milk prior to serving to achieve the final desired consistency.
- ¼ Cup brown rice flour
- 1 Cup water
- Thoroughly rinse the rice first prior to grinding. Allow to dry on a baking sheet or place it in a warm oven to dry.
- Pour 1 cup of water into a pan followed by ¼ cup of ground rice flour. Stir to a smooth consistency.
- Bring to a soft boil so that the sides of the pan are beginning to show some small bubbles.
- Reduce heat and simmer. Stir frequently for the smoothest results. About 6 minutes.