Children upto age 3:
This age segment can further be split into two categories. Children up to 1 year and children between 1year to 3years. A nutrient rich food with all right combinations is very much required. As babies take small bites at a time, feeding more number of times with different combinations is very important. For babies up to 6months breast feeding is the best option and no other external food supplement is required up to 6 months.
When the child is around 6months, the solid foods should be started. 4-5 servings per day with food supplements such as banana, apple, and avocado, ragi powder. One of the ways to make ragi powder (popularly known as ‘Ragi Cheri’ in some parts of Southern India) for children between 6 months to 1year is:
Cooked lentils/ dals like Ahar (split red gram) and Moong (split
green gram) which are easily digestible can be provided in small quantities. It
is good to provide healthy food in semisolid state like vegetable puree, fruit puree,
chicken soup. It is very important to remember that breast fed milk is very
important healthy food for kids of this age segment. So it is advisable to give at least 4 times in
a day milk along with solid foods. Soups
made of mixture of vegetables and dals can also be provided.
Once the baby is one year old, small pieces of solid healthy foods can also be started. At this age babies start to crawl and move. They become more fussy in eating habits. So making new dishes and feeding right nutrients for growth of baby becomes very important. It is good to stop bottle feeding from this age. As teething would have started by now giving milk at regular interval is very important for developing strong bones and teeth for the kid. Milk contains many nutrients including calcium and various vitamins and protein. Some other important healthy food for this age are fish, spinach brown rice etc which are rich in iron.
For lunch it is good to give dal, soups of vegetables/ chicken, small cup of rice or roti, curd, fish is also good to give, peanut butter, cooked green vegetables.
For supper it is good to give fruits like apple, banana or a piece of cheese, small quantity of egg. Feeding heavy food for supper is also not good as it may lead to indigestion and eventually stomach pain for the babies.
For dinner light food is good chicken soup, vegetable soup with little panner paratha, kichidi with curd, half a cup pasta or a small potato.
Ragi powder (Ragi Cherri) can also be fed to kids in this age segment. However, few more ingredients are added to Ragi Cherri for kids in this segment. Ragi Cherri for this age segment can be prepared in the following way