Baby food recipes
Although paneer or cottage cheese is readily available in the market today, it's advisable to make paneer at home for your baby.
Paneer is a milk product that gets spoilt easily in heat. During summer months when it's being delivered to stores or when there
are power cuts, the heat could ruin it. Spoilt paneer in turn causes stomach infection. Hence, fresh homemade paneer is the best
and so is curd or any other milk product.
This is one of the most nutritious idlies possible as it's made from sprouted
ragi (finger millet) which is rich in protein. This is also why it makes it a
filling dish, heavier than the usual rice idlies we eat.
Ragi idles can be fed to babies 8 months onwards (please check with your doctor before adding salt to the batter).
This dish serves as a nutritious breakfast for adults as well.
This mix is handy while travelling with a little baby. Once steamed, it has a
texture like that of idly. You can carry an electric cooker, plug it in your
hotel room and steam the Instant khichdi mix. That way you can quickly
have the baby's lunch ready in the comfort of your room.
Please try feeding your baby this dish once or twice before you leave on
your journey otherwise you might find it difficult in a new place if he
Ragi or finger millet is rich in calcium, iron and protein. Besides being nutritious it's also
gluten-free, making it an ideal choice for weaning food. It is a popular grain widely eaten in
parts of rural Karnataka. Ragi has higher amount of fiber than other millet varieties. This makes
the glycemic index of ragi low, which means, it helps in maintaining the blood sugar level.
Babies need to be strictly kept off processed food till the age of one. After that, we need to be very careful
about the quantity and quality of food being fed. Needless to say, home cooked meals are best for children and
adults alike. Here are the potential problems with feeding processed food :
This is a useful mix that has a long shelf life and can be used to instantly prepare a filling meal for the baby.
It's particularly good for breakfast as it contains vital nutrients that the child can use all day.
Rice is usually introduced to babies in the form of rice porridge at the age of 6 months. Rice is a
perfect choice while introducing solids as it does not contain gluten. That eliminates the risk of gluten allergy.
It is also an excellent source of carbohydrates.
While choosing rice for making baby food it is a great idea to select brown rice over the refined, white varieties. The reason behind this is
that brown rice is only partially milled. The husk is removed whereas the bran and germ layers are intact making it rich in dietary fiber and manganese.
It also contains selenium, magnesium, protein and a wide range of vitamins.
The high fiber in Brown rice makes the stomach feel full in lesser quantity of rice. It also adds bulk to the stool aiding regular bowel cycles.
Babies can have a bout of diarrhea due to any reason like a stomach infection, teething, eating excessive food that is laxative
in nature (raisins, black salt, milk shakes, etc;) , reaction to antibiotics etc;
Another common cause for diarrhea is heat. During summer months its common to have food, especially diary products, go bad easily. Hence as a precautionary method
avoid feeding the baby any diary products (milk, curd, etc,) or uncooked food (chutneys, sprouts, salad, etc,) bought from outside.
Once the baby is above 10 months old you can add a bit of salt/ jaggery for taste at this stage.
You can also start using milk ( formula or cow's milk ) in the recipes.
The porridges we made for the baby when he was between 6 - 10 months, like rice, ragi, semolina, oats, sabudana, etc.
can be made by replacing water with an equal quantity of milk and adding a little jaggery as sweetener.
However, please consult your doctor before introducing these new ingredients.
Sprouted broken wheat appears as dry short granules of wheat. It's commonly available in organic food stores.
It's a healthier option as compared to plain broken wheat (dalia in Hindi). You can also try to sprout wheat grains yourself.
This takes about 2-3 days along with some effort in changing the water from time to time. However, freshly sprouted wheat is
a far healthier option. Once wheat germinates, grind it and roast the paste in ghee till it's dry. Add boiled milk and
follow the rest of the procedure in the same manner as given below. If you grind the wheat germs fine and don't thicken
the milk too much it can also be had as a healthy drink, not only for babies but also for adults.
Please remember that whatever quantity of wheat seeds you take it will swell to four times on germinating.
After the age of 8 months babies can be given soft dosas, idlies, etc. Mini Fried idlies is a good choice at this point as the size is perfect for babies and it takes lesser time to make than regular idlies. Moreover, adding some vegetables can help make it a nutritious choice for your baby.
For making Paniyaram or Mini Fried Idlies you need to get a stand which resembles a tava with molds in it. This is locally called a Kuzhi Paniyaram stand and can be directly used to cook Paniyarams on low flame.
Apple sauce or Applesauce is a puree made of apples. It contains pectin which tends to make stools firm.
Hence it’s effective in reducing loose motions. Apple once chopped starts turning brown in contact with air.
To delay browning you can soak the pieces in some water (actually, lime water is more effective but we don’t
want to make the apples sour for the baby).
Upma can be made from a variety of base ingredients like semolina, wheat/ rice/ ragi vermicelli, brown/ white beaten rice, etc. Using your child's favorite vegetables and alternate base ingredients you can creatively make an upma to suit your baby.
The vitamins, minerals and protein content of green moong dal can be substantially increased by sprouting.
Although sprouts are best eaten raw, here we blanch the sprouts for a few minutes in boiling water so it's easy for the baby to swallow. When mixed with finely chopped salad, it serves as a nutritious and filling breakfast.
Once moong dal is soaked and boiled, it serves as a great pick-n-eat dish for the baby. Gently mash each grain between your fingers and place it in front of the baby to eat on his own. If your baby (like mine) loves to put everything in the mouth this is definitely going to be a treat.
You just need to ensure that he doesn't stuff too many at once. If your baby isn't able to eat on his own, it's really ok. You can mash and feed him the grains as well. Its just that allowing him to eat himself is helpful in making him independent.
Babies at this age can not be given anything sweet so this halwa (or mash) is a welcome change as it contains the natural sweetness of carrots and raisins. It can alternately be made by other sweet vegetables like beetroot, pumpkin or sweet potato.
If your baby doesn't have a sweet tooth you can use bottle gourd instead.
This soft mash made out of roasted whole wheat flour is not only delicious but also easy to swallow.
You can mold interesting shapes out of this halwa to attract the baby's attention.