Millets are considered superfoods. They are rich in many functional compounds like dietary fiber, slowly digestible carbohydrates, high protein content, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, and phytochemicals. They are having non-acid forming properties, easy to digest, and non-allergic. You can make a lot of recipes like porridge, khichdi, upma, and many more.
This blog will focus on the nutrient contents of millets and how it is helpful for the babies and how and when we can start feeding our babies with these grains and from where you can buy it for babies. I remember, when our daughter, Dona turned six months old was searching which best food that we can give to our baby. After doing a deep search on the internet could figure out that Millets could be the right food and started making recipes out of it. She started taking this food and still continuing as she loves and enjoys millet food. Today when I ask her, what made you strong? The spontaneous answer, the “Millets”. When babies are given millets as their starting food, they gradually develop a taste for it.
Different Types of Millets:
The Nutritional Value:
Millets Nutritional Value Chart
Health Benefits of Millets for Babies:
Strong Baby holding the stool
1. Rich in Calcium: Calcium helps in developing strong bones in babies. As we know that Ragi contains 344 mg per 100 gm dry grain. Sprouting ragi improves the bioavailability of nutrients and makes it easier to digest.
2. Rich in Fiber: They are rich in fiber content and it helps in easy digestion in babies.
(* Barnyard Millet is rich in fiber)
3. Rich in Protein: Protein is an important building block of muscles, cartilage, skin, blood, and bones. It also helps to build and repair tissues.
(*Foxtail and Proso Millet are rich in protein)
4. Rich in Iron: Iron helps in the proper function of hemoglobin. The deficiency of iron in the body leads to anemia. They are rich in iron and thus prevent your babies from becoming anemic.
(*Bajra and Barnyard, rich in iron)
5. Rich in Phosphorous: Phosphorous helps in breaking down and metabolizing fats. It helps in the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues in the babies.
6. Rich in Complex Carbohydrates: They contain about 65% carbohydrates, a high proportion of which is in the form of non-starchy polysaccharides and dietary fiber. This keeps your baby full for longer for the body to break these carbs and thus helps in weight management.
When your baby turns six months old, he/she can take a millet diet. According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad six month baby can digest thick, soft food. Thick food gives your baby more energy and nourishes him/her more than thin food.
They can be introduced to babies with milk and slowly can make recipes with millet rice and dal in 2:1 proportion with ghee/oil. Gradually can add vegetables with millets.
In South India, in most of the houses, they start with ragi porridge to their babies. This food keeps your baby full for a longer time.
Where to Buy Millets for Babies:
Two mothers of India came forward with a yummy and healthy food for babies in the brand of Slurrp Farm. Bringing their experiences and ideas and imbibing them into the millet products for babies. They have bought a wide range of baby products. To start with the baby food, I must recommend the Organic Sprouted Ragi Powder. As I mentioned above Ragi is a good source of Calcium. It contains 3 times Calcium than milk. Explore more millets for babies as they grow old. I am sure your baby will be healthy and strong forever.
Author: Tapas Chandra Roy, Certified Farm Advisor on Millets