Ancient grains. We eat ‘em, we love ‘em. But do we know what they are and why they’re so good for us?
The term refers to various grains that have been largely unchanged over the last few centuries like farro, spelt, millet, quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat to name a few. We know, they might sound a bit intimidating, but ancient grains are easy to incorporate into your family’s diet. Plus, they pack an extra nutritional punch.
Here are our favorite ancient grains to incorporate into your little one’s meals.
Soups, bowls, casseroles, side dishes, salads…you name it, quinoa is doing it. We love quinoa because it’s rich in antioxidants, packed with protein + fiber, and high in key vitamins + minerals. Plus, we can feed it to just about everyone in our family. And Little Spoon makes it even easier by featuring quinoa across their menu in their Quinoa Raspberry Pear Coconut Milk Vanilla Date Wheat Germ Oil Babyblend, Cookies + Cream Smoothie, Chicken Pot Stickers Plate and more.
Farro isn’t just delicious, it’s a nutritional powerhouse. “We love incorporating farro into our toddler and big kids meals because of its nutty flavor and nutrient profile,” Little Spoon’s food scientist and recipe developer Elana said. “It’s packed with fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. All things your growing little one needs!” Little Spoon uses it in their new fan-favorite Pizza Bites made with farro, mozzarella and tomato sauce and served with parmesan kale pesto green beans.
If millet isn’t already on your shopping list, it absolutely should be. Millet is rich in dietary fiber, protein and antioxidants. The fiber in millet actually supports your digestive system so we love that Little Spoon uses it in their take on veggie tots. Find the Veggie Millet Poppers in Little Spoon’s Cauli Croquettes, Turkey Kale Sliders and Veggie Tenders Plates…and get that fiber in.
In our house, chia seeds are basically healthy sprinkles…we’re putting them on everything! “Chia seeds are one of our favorite superfoods for little ones—they’re nutrient-dense, high in antioxidants, fiber and all-important omega-3 fatty acids, and so easy to incorporate into meals,” Elana said. Little Spoon uses chia in their Chicken Super Nuggets (they’re mixed into that super breading), Strawberry Basil Beet Pear Chia Babyblend, Green Dream Smoothie and more.
This protein-packed ancient grain is not to be overlooked. Weighing in with one of the highest protein contents per cup among ancient grains, amaranth also contains essential amino acids, fiber, iron, vitamin BC, calcium, and more. It also gets bonus points for versatility. Amaranth can be used whole or ground into flour, which Little Spoon does in their plant-based Veggie Tenders—breaded with a crispy ancient grain mixture.