With all the awareness about whole grains and other healthy foods increasing by the day, we often find ourselves wanting to extend our use of grains beyond the usual rice or wheat. We’d like to try various millets and other grains like barley. However, the biggest obstacle seems to be regarding how one can go about including such grains in our daily diet, especially for very young children. As they say, we’d recommend starting them young on healthy foods! To make life easier for you, we’ve got for you today a list of barley recipes for babies and toddlers, ranging from sweet to savory.
Nutritional Benefits of Barley
- Barley can be easily digested
- It is non-allergenic and is ideal for weaning babies
- It has a high protein content
- Barley is rich in fiber that ensures smooth bowel movements
- The fiber in barley encourages the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestine
- It is rich in trace minerals like selenium, molybdenum, manganese, copper, chromium, phosphorus and magnesium
- Barley reduces production of bile acids, improving liver health
When can I give my baby Barley?
Barley is also known as Jau in Hindi. You can start your baby on barley once he or she is past six months of age. Barley isn’t recommended as a first food, and the general consensus is that if your baby can tolerate wheat well, you can go ahead with barley. As with any new food, be sure to follow the 3-day rule. One good thing about barley is that you can make it really smooth or chunkier, so adjust it according to your baby’s age. For starters, we’d recommend a smooth barley cereal. It is recommended to avoid barley before one year if there is any history of celiac disease or gluten allergy in the family.
Choosing the right kind of barley
Barley is not suitable for consumption in it’s whole form and needs to be hulled. When buying barley for your baby, ensure that you buy an organic variety that is specifically made for babies. As your baby gets used to the taste of barley, you can add vegetable purees to make it a complete meal.
20 Barley Recipes for Babies and Toddlers
10 Barley Recipes for Babies
1. Barley Water
When you’re planning to introduce barley for your baby, this is the ideal dish to start with. It’s simple and light, and will give you an idea on how your child tolerates barley. It’s also a great drink for summers for little babies.
Rice and wheat cereal can bore anyone, even babies! Change things up in stage 1 weaning with this smooth barley cereal, made from 100% organic barley for babies. It offers a nice change in texture and flavor from regular rice/wheat cereal.
This barley puree from Dessert for Two has got a good curry flavor and is a welcome change from all the sweet fruit purees! You can adjust the spice according to your baby’s tolerance level and the coconut adds a great flavor!
Apple is one of first weaning fruits for most babies, so this barley apple porridge recipe from Yummy Tummy Aarthi is an ideal way to combine barley with a familiar fruit. Cooking it in the pressure cooker ensures the porridge is the right texture for little babies.
With winters on the way, a warming chicken soup is what most of us love, especially when we have the sniffles! Even little babies will love this chicken barley soup from First 1000 Days which makes use of a good amount of vegetables too!
We know your baby is a long way from enjoying a plate of biryani, but in the meanwhile she can relish this yummy chicken barley risotto from Mama Cook! Skip the vinegar and control the spice to your baby’s liking. The texture makes this a great meal for stage 2 or 3 weaning.
When you’re cooking for babies, khichdi is sure to feature on the menu! This barley khichdi from Parentune brings together barley and anti oxidant rich vegetables along with healing spices. Skip the green chillies and salt for babies under one year old.
This lovely recipe from Buona Pappa makes use of assorted baked fruit and looks simply delicious! You can stew the fruit if you like, and you can try any combination of fruits that your baby likes, after you’ve ensured that she can tolerate each of the individual ones.
This is a yummy recipe that’ll want you to try combining barley and mushrooms! Babycenter’s barley mushroom mash recipe is a great option for stage 2 weaning, especially if your little one is trying to eat with a fork and spoon!
10. Broccoli Barley Soup
Some babies don’t like the taste of broccoli on it’s own, and a soup like this one from Baby Pregnancy Care is a good way to work around it! Skip the salt and soy sauce for babies under one and flavor with spices instead.
10 Barley Recipes for Toddlers
Coated with cheese and breadcrumbs, these spinach barley rice balls from bowl of delicious make a yummy, baked crunchy snack that’s too good to resist!
12. Barley Salad
You don’t often equate salads with kids, particularly toddlers! However, this barley salad packed with cucumbers, tomatoes and other kitchen staples from Rachel Cooks is an exception!
Come winter and soups become quite popular. Especially with fussy toddlers, it’s a good way to ensure nutrition gets in! Kidspot has a hearty barley vegetable soup recipe that’s perfect for the whole family. We’d recommend substituting the ready made stock with homemade vegetable stock instead.
Oatmeal is healthy but can get monotonous. Try this apple cinnamon barley dish from Holley Grainger instead, which uses barley pearls and apples in a delicious recipe! Skip the walnuts if you fear a choking hazard.
Jopreet’s Kitchen has a lovely barley and brown rice dosa that is pretty similar to regular fermented dosas, but of course, much healthier! Make a delicious chutney to go with it and your kids will love it!
We know that sprouting increases the nutritional benefits of foods, and barley is no different. To her Core describes how you can make these sprouted barley pancakes in detail, so you can plan to make them too.
If potatoes are a staple in your home, give regular bhaji or fries a skip by making these baked barley potato cakes! Go Barley has the perfect recipe that can be served with some tomato sauce or chutney!
18. Barley Pulao
Although Ruchika Randhap calls this a diabetic dish, I think it’s perfect for kids! It’s hearty and completely balanced, especially if you add the chicken and use homemade chicken stock.
Who doesn’t love muffins? All kids and the kid-at-heart, I’m sure! Arctic Garden Studio has a simple enough recipe for barley banana muffins that are perfect for breakfast, snacks or the lunch box. Skip the baking soda if you’d rather not use it.
20. Barley Rava Idli
No time to ferment but kids are asking for idlis for breakfast? No problem, Jopreet’s Kitchen has the solution with a healthy Barley Rava Idli recipe, that goes well with sambar, chutney or potato curry.
As you can see from this list of barley recipes for babies and toddlers, barley is an ingredient that you can easily include in your daily cooking! And although we say it’s for kids, the rest of the family is welcome to try these dishes too!