Should any special care be taken during
The nutritive value of many weaning foods
can be improved by taking due care during preparation. The porridge or for that matter any
other weaning food should not be excessively watered down or thinned in the belief
that it will be easier to ingest and digest. A classic example of this is the thin
dal water. Even small babies can easily tolerate semi-solid foods and over
dilution results in loss of valuable calories.
Unnecessary loss of nutrients should be
avoided. For instance, it is better to wash vegetables whole before cutting them into
small pieces. The smaller the piece, the greater is the loss of nutrients. Use the minimum
amount of water for cooking and mash the food with the water used for cooking. Adding
excess water and draining it off later results in loss of water-soluble nutrients and
should be avoided.
Husks, bean skin and vegetable fibers can
cause indigestion, so everything must be thoroughly mashed in the beginning.
Frequent breast-feeding should continue but
simultaneously start with additional semi-solid foods in the form of mashed fruit like
banana, or cereals like suji. If suji is not available, porridge can be made with wheat
flour (atta), ground rice, ragi, millet, etc. Mix a little oil or ghee in the porridge.
1/2 to 1 teaspoonful is enough to begin with. The number of feeds should gradually
increase over 3-4 weeks, so that when it reaches 50 to 60 gm of porridge (half a cup) or
one whole banana, it could replace one milk feed. Other fruits in season like papaya,
chikoo and mango can be given in a similar manner. On the hills, apple, apricot and pear
can be given after cooking them for a few minutes.
milk should be given in the form of curd, custard.
Cooked ground and strained fish and meat
may be given at the same time as egg yolk at five to six months of age. The fish or meat
serving may be alternated with egg yolk and dal.
Semi-solid feed should preferably be given
after breast-feeding so that there is minimal interference with the suckling and breast
milk production. However, some babies do not accept semi-solids once their hunger is
partly satisfied by breast milk. In them, semi-solids can be offered prior to
- Keep breast feeding the child till 1 years of age at least, and even during illness.
- Drinks during weaning boiled and cooled water according to thirst.
- During illness feed the child as normal, even if the child resists.
- During diarrhea give lot of fluids to the child, in fact replace each bout of
stools with a glass (250 ml) of clean boiled water
CALORIE DENSE FOODS
To meet the increased demands of calorie
and protein, well cooked mashed cereals mixed with milk and sugar can be given. Calorie
dense cereals can be prepared by malting; also, sprouted pulses and beans can be
used. Cereals like wheat, bajra, ragi, jowar, and pulses like moong (whole) can be malted.
How is the food malted?
- Soak overnight.
- Remove the water and tie in the moist cloth and keep in warm place (Sprouting).
- After 48 hours when sprouts come out dry in sun or roast it.
- Make into flour.
- During the process of malting, starch is converted to maltose due to increased
production of enzyme amylase. Thus, this is also called Amylase Rich Food. Due to the
conversion of starch into amylose, thinner gruels are made. With this either the infant
can consume more gruel or more flour can be added to make thick gruel. This way calorie
consumption can be increased.
- Also, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of malted cereal, added to porridge, khichri and other weaning
foods, will reduce its viscosity and child will be able to eat a larger quantity of it.
This is a very good way of increasing energy density of weaning foods.
- The malting process increases the riboflavin, niacin content. Sprouting various pulses
and beans increase the content of vitamin B group and vitamin C.
- A major advantage of preparation of these energy dense foods is that they are
pre-cooked. Thus, these cereals in powdered form can be stored in airtight bottles. They
can be mixed with boiled water, cooked for a few minutes and fed to the baby.
However, these foods should not form the
major feeds throughout the day, but given 1-2 times in the whole day. This is because the
child should become familiar with various common foods and develop a taste for all foods
and not reject them later.
As the shelf life is short, malting has to
be done every three or four weeks.
food preparations from these malted foods
Cereals like wheat, bajra, jowar,
can be malted. Ragi malt is a common weaning food in the southern parts of India where
ragi is commonly eaten.
Other cereals like rice, rice flakes, corn
flakes, can also be roasted and powdered and given in the form of porridge.
Pulses like moong (whole) can be malted, as
it is easy to digest. Roasted and powdered moong dal can be used in porridge.
Vegetables: boiled and mashed soft
vegetables can be added to the porridges. For e.g. tomato, gourds, spinach and other green
Egg: Hard cooked egg yolk can be
added to the various porridges.
Little sugar and oil / butter (1tsp.) can
be added to the porridge to increase the calorie content.
Suggested recipes from energy dense
Add all ingredients and cook for a
few minutes by adding water or milk to a thin / semisolid consistency
- Plain porridge
Bajra 1 tbsp.
Chana dal 1 tbsp.
- Riceflakes porridge
Rice flakes 1 tbsp.
- Fruit porridge
Rawa 1 tbsp.
Add a banana/fruit after boiling
- Apple porridge
Rice 1 tbsp.
Apple boiled � no.
- Veg porridge
Bajra 1 tbsp.
Moong 1 tsp.
- Tomato porridge
Bajra 1 tbsp.
Rice powder 1 tsp.
Tomato (boiled, seedless) 1 tbsp
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