Rice cakes have grown in popularity in recent years. They have become a common snack choice for both adults and children. However, many parents are unsure about when to introduce them to their kiddos.
Read this blog to learn all about rice cakes.
What are rice cakes?
Rice cakes are made from puffed rice that has been compressed into a cake. They are consumed as a low-calorie alternative to bread and crackers. Rice cakes are a common snack choice for both adults and children. Although there are flavored kinds, the most known is made of rice and salt. Rice cakes are usually flavorless. They are low in calories and usually gluten-free.
Can babies eat rice cakes?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that babies can begin eating finger foods around the age of 6 months. For babies who are ready to eat solids, salt-free rice cakes can be an option because they are simple to grip and chew. It's crucial to remember that rice cakes shouldn't be used to replace breast milk or formula; they should be given as a part of a varied and balanced diet.
But are rice cakes nutritious? Do they add value to a baby's growth?
Rice cakes are not considered a nutritious snack as they barely contain vitamins or minerals. Also, rice cakes contain considerable levels of Sodium, especially if the rice cakes are salted, and flavored rice cakes contain added sugars.
One of the main points to consider regarding rice cakes is the arsenic levels.
Arsenic in rice cakes
Arsenic, which is naturally found in the rice plant, is linked to health problems such as cancer, developmental problems, diabetes and others when consumed excessively. Most rice cakes are made from puffed white rice, which has traces of arsenic, so eating rice cakes in moderation is important. This is why we also don't encourage consuming a lot of rice in meals or even rice cereals. Substitute rice with quinoa, bulgur, or couscous whenever possible.
Does this mean we never give rice cakes to babies?
You can occasionally give rice cakes as a snack to your baby. It is not considered unhealthy - but it should not be your top snack choice. Rice cakes are visually appealing, so it helps babies (typically pickier eaters) enjoy snack time. To make a rice cake snack more nutritious: spread peanut/almond butter, hummus, labneh, avocado or any toping your baby might like on it.
How to buy rice cakes for babies
When buying rice cakes, look for the ones that are low in sodium, sugar-free, have a soft consistency, and are thin (making it easier for babies to eat them).