Would you believe me if I told you that there was a secret ingredient that you could add to your baby's food that would provide a massive nutritional boost? An incredibly healthy ingredient with such a subtle flavour that your baby wouldn't even notice it?

It sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?

Yet that secret ingredient DOES exist - and YOU can increase the nutritive value of many of your baby's meals by the simple addition of wheat germ.

Note: Before including wheat germ (which contains gluten), or any wheat products into your baby's diet, remember to check with your doctor.

What is wheat germ?

Nutritionally speaking, wheat germ is one of the most valuable products available. It is the smallest part of the whole grain, which is made up of 4 parts

  • the husk (outer layer)
  • the bran (a nutritious, high fibre part of the grain)
  • the endosperm (the largest part of the grain, used in processed grain foods)
  • the germ (the smallest part of the grain, packed with nutrients)

Why is wheat germ good for my baby?

The list of nutrients contained in wheat germ is impressive - in fact, wheat germ provides more nutrients per oz than any other grain or vegetable. By adding it to your baby's food, you are providing him with

  • folic acid
  • phosphorus (needed for healthy teeth and bones)
  • fibre
  • vitamin A
  • vitamins B1 and B3
  • vitamin B5 (otherwise known as pantothenic acid, which helps the body assimilate energy from food)
  • vitamin E (which strengthens the immune system)
  • protein (the protein content of wheat germ is actually higher than most meats)
  • iron
  • potassium
  • riboflavin
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • zinc

Buying and storing wheat germ

You can buy wheat germ at health food stores and it is more commonly becoming available in leading supermarkets. It is sold in both fresh and toasted forms - fresh is best, if available.

You may notice on the packaging that you are advised to keep wheat germ in the refrigerator (fresh should be refrigerated immediately and toasted should be refrigerated once opened). This is important, as wheat germ contains fat and will spoil if stored incorrectly. To maintain freshness, always keep opened wheat germ in an airtight container.

Adding wheat germ to baby's food

Wheat germ has a very subtle, faintly sweet taste, meaning you can easily add it to both savoury and sweet baby food dishes. If your baby is a fussy eater and you are concerned that he is not receiving adequate nutrition from his solid food, then the addition of wheat germ ensures that he receives an extra dose of valuable nutrients with everything he eats. It can be included in virtually any dish...

  • sprinkle some on baby's cereal, or fruit purees
  • use it to top cooked veggies
  • stir it into your baby's stews and casseroles or soups
  • stir some into your baby's yogurt
  • mix it with breadcrumbs when breading chicken, tofu etc for your baby
  • use it as a "dusting" to coat slippery finger foods for your baby
  • when baking for baby, use small amounts of wheat germ in place of equivalent amounts of flour

Do remember that wheat germ helps constipation, which means that giving your baby too much may have quite the opposite effect! Sprinkle a little over his meals and do not use wheat germ if your baby has diarrhea.

Author's Bio: 

Christine Albury is a mother of four and the owner/editor of Homemade Baby Food Recipes - your complete guide to solid feeding during baby's first year.