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A wholesome diet is the key to a baby’s healthy growth and development. It is never too early to start eating healthy, and by setting your baby on this path, you are laying the foundation for a fit lifestyle. One of the healthiest grains that you would want to incorporate into your child’s diet is ragi, which is known as a superfood for its numerous benefits.
Video: How to Make Ragi Porridge for Babies
What Is Ragi?
Ragi, also known as finger millet and Nachni, contains proteins, iron, and calcium in high amounts. India is a leading producer of ragi in the world. This whole grain is considered as a vegetarian product and contains important amino acids like phenylalanine, methionine, isoleucine, and leucine. Ragi can be cultivated even when there is a drought.
Health Benefits Of Ragi For Infants
One question that often comes to a parent’s mind is—If ragi is good for babies? The answer to this is, yes. Ragi is packed with essential nutrients and is a healthy addition to the diet of babies, right from the age of six months. In fact, you might have even heard people saying that ragi can be given to babies just after 3 months of their birth. It is also widely believed that you can give ragi for weight gain in babies. Here are some of the health benefits your child can derive from this super cereal:
- Rich Source of Calcium:
The calcium content of ragi is extremely high and hence is beneficial for your child’s developing bones. It helps mitigate the risk of bone fractures and eliminate the need for calcium supplements. Apart from that, ragi also improves the production of blood in human body.
- Fibre makes babies feel full:
The amount of dietary fibre in ragi promotes digestion and helps your child stay full for a longer time. The amino acids present in ragi do away with the excess fat around the liver and reduce cholesterol levels in a child’s body, thus keeping obesity at bay.
- Plenty of natural iron:
Natural iron present in ragi in abundance can help prevent anaemia in children. Sprouted ragi contains a good amount of Vitamin C which aids in better absorption of iron. Ragi, for its high nutritional content, prevents malnutrition in babies.
- A natural relaxant:
The presence of a significant amount of antioxidants in ragi helps relax the body and prevent problems such as insomnia, anxiety, and headaches in children.
- Cuts down the risk of diabetes:
The presence of fibre and polyphenol in substantial amounts helps reduce the risk of diabetes. Meals that include ragi have a low glycemic response.
- Improves skin and hair:
Presence of the amino acid methionine helps promote healthy skin and hair in your child.
Ragi Recipes For Your Baby
Nothing beats making some nutritious food for your little one. Always clean the ragi by washing it well with water.
1. Homemade Ragi Porridge Recipe:
Here is a ragi porridge recipe for babies as well as the method of making ragi malt.
1 cup of water
1 tsp of ghee
½ cup of milk
2 tsp ragi powder
A pinch of grated jaggery
Preparing Porridge Powder:
1. Drain the ragi grains and dry them in the sun by spreading out on a clean cloth.
2. After the ragi is fully dry, roast it on a medium flame till there is an aroma.
3. Place the roasted ragi on a plate and let it cool.
4. Grind the cooled ragi to a fine powder.
5. Store the powder in an airtight container
6. Use as per your requirement.
How To Make It:
1. Place a pan on the flame and heat the ghee in it.
2. Then add two teaspoons of ragi powder and sauté it lightly.
3. Mix in a cup of water and half a cup of milk.
4. Keep stirring so till the flour blends well with the milk and ensure there are no lumps.
5. Sprinkle the grated jiggery and again mix till it dissolves completely.
6. Switch off heat when desired consistency is obtained.
2. Ragi Malt Recipe:
Soak the ragi in water for a few hours. Then grind the soaked ragi by adding a little water as required to extract the juice. This juice can then be mixed with milk and cooked with a little jaggery or sugar added for taste. Adjust the consistency as required by adding more milk.
Precautions To Take
As with all things related to your child, hygiene and cleanliness assume importance when you make and feed him homemade ragi porridge. Ensure that all the utensils used for feeding are thoroughly sterilized before you start feeding. Also, make sure your hands are scrubbed with soap before you begin.
No other cereal can even come close to the type of health benefits that ragi offers a growing child. The sooner you make ragi a part of your child’s daily diet, the sooner he will start reaping these advantages. Ragi powder, whole ragi, sprouted ragi, and ragi flour are just some of the options you can choose from depending on the recipe you want to try out.
Disclaimer: This information is just a guide and not a substitute for medical advice from a qualified professional.