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 PyramidThe 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|
|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|
- Breast feed the child till 1 years of age, and even during illness.
- Water should be boiled and cooled according to thirst.
- During illness feed the child as normal, even if he 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.
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.
- Calorie consumption can be increased. 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.
- 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.
- Also, 1½ 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.