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Should any special care be taken during preparation?
By taking due care during preparation the nutritive value of many weaning foods can be improved. 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 example, do not wash vegetables after 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 must be thoroughly mashed in the beginning as it can cause indigestion.

Food Pyramid Food Pyramid
The food does not need to be mashed but, if required, can be chopped or pounded. A variety of household foods can be given five or six times a day, such as rice, dal, roti or khichri and increase the quantity gradually. Idli, upma or curd rice can be given. A variety of vegetables and seasonal fruits can also be given. Foods like curd, egg, kheer and bread can be included. Egg can be given either in boiled or scrambled form. Raw eggs should be avoided to prevent Salmonella infection. Fish or minced meat can also be added in non–vegetarian families.

Sample feed: Food Pyramid
1½ a bowl of mashed cereal foods, vegetables (finger foods), potato, leafy vegetable, boiled/fried egg (mashed), Mashed piece of cooked fish (without masala). At least 4 times a day. By the time your baby is a year old he shoud be taking.

Milk 2 to 3 cups
Dal 2 tablespoons
Egg One
Meat/Fish 2 tablespoons
Cooked green or yellow vegetables 2 tablespoons
Other vegetables including potatoes 2 tablespoons
Fruit for Vitamin C 1 serving
Other fruit ¼ cup
Rice (cooked) ¼ cup
Chapati/bread ½ to 1
Butter/ghee Vanaspati 1 teaspoon

Foot notes Calorie Dense Foods
How is the food malted? Well cooked and mashed cereals mixed with milk and sugar can be given to meet the increased demands of calorie and protein. Sprouted pulses and beans can be used. Cereals like wheat, bajra, ragi, jowar, and pulses like moong (whole) can be malted.

Advantages The malting process increases the riboflavin, niacin content. Sprouting various pulses and beans increase the content of vitamin B group and vitamin C. However, this food should not be given throughout the day, but given 1–2 times in the whole day. This is because the child should become familiar and develop a taste for all foods and not reject them. As the shelf life is short, malting has to be done every three or four weeks.
Dietician   Pediatrician   SafeFood