Optimal nutrition is necessary for optimal growth of mind and body in children. Healthy grains, veggies, fruits, legumes, and millet offer the nourishment necessary for the development of a child. Traditionally, in India, children over 8 months are fed millets as they are a powerhouse of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
According to studies done by Dr.S. ANITHA, including pearl millet, known as bajra, finger millet known as ragi, sorghum known as jowar, little millet known as kutki, and foxtail millet known as Kangani, and Kodo millets in a child’s meal are an excellent way promote gut diversity and provide necessary nourishment.
The studies indicate that children on millet-based diets showed more signs of growth and development. At a growing age, the child is more active physically and needs more brain development too, so when they consume a millet-based diet their energy level is high, and are more active.
Benefits of Millet:
● The millet-based diet helps kids be more active and fight anemia.
● Millet helps boost their brain development and immunity, protecting them against seasonal illnesses.
● The calcium content of millet is much higher and helps in strong bones and teeth.
● Millet has been rich in protein, which helps in muscle growth and development.
● Millet is an excellent source of carbohydrates, high in fiber and less in sugar, which makes it low glycaemic index, preventing the risk of obesity in kids.
● Being rich in fiber keeps the colon hydrated and prevents constipation in kids.
● Millets are gut-healthy due to their prebiotic content.
● For neuromuscular function and contraction of muscle, magnesium is essential and the millet is a rich source of magnesium. This protects children from muscle spasms or ligament tears or injury that is common while playing sports.
● Millet is a good source of vitamin B 3 niacin, which is good for the heart.
● Millets are gluten-free and it is the best option for kids with gluten allergy.
● Millets are easy to digest, so infants who have started solid food are fed with ragi porridge and millet khichdi.
To ensure that children get maximum nutrition, a mother needs to be very creative, especially when it comes to feeding them healthy food. Finding ways to make food more appealing and delicious while keeping it healthy is a major task for mothers. Regular recipes like millet rotis aren’t very popular with kids. So instead of forcing them to eat something that they don’t prefer, include millets in food items that they love. You could make millets idli, dosa, millet vegetables khichdi, millet noodles, and millet pizza base!
These days’ millet flours and millet-based pre-mixes are readily available in local stores and that too at much cheaper rates than the exotics grains. This makes it a pocket-friendly option that can be easily adopted in our daily meal options.
Confused about how to include millets in the daily diet, here is a meal plan for growing kids –
For breakfast include:
● Ragi porridge
● Millet upma
● Ragi/ Jowar paratha
● Ragi dosa
● Jowar masala paratha
● Millet paneer paratha
For mid-meal include:
● Sattu drink
● Ragi buttermilk
For lunch include:
● Ragi roti + 1 bowl sabji +1 bowl dal + 1 bowl kudo or little millet + salad
● Ragi paneer paratha + buttermilk
● Jowar missi roti
For snacks include:
● Ragi chips
● Millet mix chivda
● Millet cup cakes
For dinner include:
● Millet veggies noodles
● Ragi idli
● Millet dosa
● Millet based pizza with veggies and cheese
These are some simple yet delicious healthy millet-based options to include in kid’s meals for growth and development. Do you know studies show that millet can increase the growth of a child by 26-39%?
Millets are proven to have helped overcome malnutrition in kids. By just replacing rice in their meals with millet, a remarkable difference was seen in malnourished kids’ nutrition. According to various health organizations and professors from food and nutrition universities, various nutrition intervention programs should be developed and adopted to increase the diversity of meals. Various aged group meals should be planned to include millets with tasty recipes. General awareness is necessary to educate young parents about the benefits of millet to fight malnutrition at a national level.
It is time to dig into nanni maa recipes and give it a modern twist for the health of our children. So let’s pledge to include millets for the growth and overall development of our children.