What is millet?
- Millet is a versatile grain that is available in different forms, to use for cooking nutritious homemade foods. As a ground (milled) powder it makes a creamy baby cereal, or it may be used whole to replace rice in dishes such as pilaf or risotto.
- Rich in B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, millet is also a good source of protein.
Before you introduce millet into your baby’s diet, discuss it with his or her doctor or paediatrician first, in case there is any possibility of intolerance or allergy – and follow the 4-Day Rule to ensure there are no problems. In general, it is advised that millet may be introduced from the age of 6 to 8 months.
Buying and storing millet…
- If you buy packaged millet, there should be a ‘use by’ date on the packaging.
- Whole millet should be stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place (preferably your refrigerator) where it should keep for several months – but check it regularly, especially if you do not cook it very often.
- Always store ground millet in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, as the natural oils that come from the grain may become rancid without refrigeration.
- When you buy any type of ground whole grain, always buy in small quantities so that it is used more quickly and there is less chance of it going rancid.
- This applies if you grind any type of whole grain yourself. Grind small amounts and store in an airtight container, in a cool dry place, preferably in the refrigerator – especially if your home is warm.
Cooking millet for your baby…
- Use ground millet to make baby cereal – add about 1/4 cup of ground millet to 1 or 2 cups of water (experiment to find the consistency your baby needs), and whisk constantly during cooking to avoid lumps.
- Add pureed fruits or vegetables to homemade millet cereal.
- Soak whole millet in water for a few hours, then use instead of rice in a dish – it will need to be cooked for about 20 minutes.
- Whole millet will expand as it is cooked – use 1 cup of millet to 2 or 3 cups of water.
- Cook soaked whole millet in with soups and stews for added texture.
- If your baby is having finger foods, cooked millet is a fun way for him or her to practice the ‘pincher’ grasp.
- Ground millet may be used in baked goods in the same way as you would use wheat germ.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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