For over 60 years now, it has been recommended that baby’s first food be white rice cereal mixed with either breast milk or regular milk. Rice is known for being well-tolerated by babies’ sensitive digestive tracts due to its low allergen status. Recommending white rice as baby’s first food is coming under scrutiny, however, and I agree.
White rice is a highly refined product. In processing, it is stripped of fiber, vitamins and other beneficial nutrients. What’s left is little more than a simple carbohydrate—the very food that leads to the development of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The risk of these diseases seems far off when we are talking about infants, but experts believe that starting off a baby’s diet with white rice cereal may be setting the stage for unhealthy eating habits to come.
So this week’s challenge is to substitute brown rice cereal for white rice cereal in the diet of a baby you know. This simple substitution could be the beginning of better dietary choices later in life.