As a nutritionist and the chief cook in our family, I have to admit I was a little anxious prior to the birth of our daughter, specifically in regards to transitioning her to solid food and making sure she started off on the right foot in terms of nutrition.
At around 6 months old we began incorporating solid foods, and I quickly realized just how much of our typical fare is simply impossible for a 6 month old to masticate and swallow. I found that mashing or chopping up the hard-to-chew foods worked well in a majority of situations, but there were some foods that just didn’t work very well with that approach.
Wanting to introduce my daughter to variety of whole grain foods beyond the usual oatmeal, I found Rye Crispbread (or simply “Rye Crisps” as I like to call them) to be surprisingly serviceable.
[I like Rye Crisps (the “Light Rye” and “Whole Grain” versions) for a variety of reasons. They are a true 100% whole grain food – no added sugar, syrups, oils, dough conditioners, or stabilizers like so many of the so-called “100% whole grain” breads sold in stores. These are just whole grain and a little yeast used for leavening. They have a very long shelf life, which makes them easy to always have on hand. And they are “ready-to-eat” in terms of being fully baked, crispy, and essentially “pre-toasted”, which makes them easily digestible in most applications.]
So how do I turn these dry, crispy-crunchy Rye Crisps into a versatile base for baby-food you might ask? The technique I use involves these 5 simple steps:
Step 1: Chop up the rye crisp on a cutting board into little 1/2 inch squares/pieces using a large knife.
Step 2: Transfer the pieces to a bowl or dish, one that has approx. twice the capacity of the Rye Crisp pieces.
Step 3: Pour a small amount of boiling water over the Rye Crisp pieces. For 1 Rye Crisp worth of pieces, this is usually about 1 or 2 fl. oz.
Step 4: Gently stir the Rye Crisp + hot water mixture to get all the pieces wet, and then cover the dish with a small plate for 1-2 minutes.
Step 5: Remove the plate, give the mixture a gentle stir, and pour off any excess water. All the pieces should be soft. Now you can stir in other ingredients to create a soft, nourishing food for your little one. I like to add peanut butter and either mashed banana, jam or honey for a “PB&J” type theme. Or you can simply add some butter and milk for a hot-cereal theme. With some imagination, the possibilities are endless!
Pro Tip: You can cut some time by heating up the small amount water while you cut up the Rye Crisp. With a little practice you can use this method to make true 100% whole grain-based baby food in less than 5 minutes!
Let me know how this works out for you in the comments!