By Neha Tambe
The older generation swears by the finger millet benefits. Finger millet nutrition makes it a superfood and it is in vogue today, but around 10 years ago, when my daughter was an infant, it wasn’t such a well-known food supplement for babies. At least not on the internet! But I got to know about it in a rather funny way and that’s what I am sharing with you today.
‘Have you started Ragi porridge yet?’
This was a rather reprimanding inquiry by my grandmom over the phone many years ago.
As a young mom in a different city, I was still coming to grips with all things expected from a new mom. With no one around, I relied a lot on ‘Googled information’ for deciding what to feed my kid. My mom was as usual scandalized when she heard about this. I on the other hand had a very basic problem of not knowing the local language well enough to go hunting for specific ingredients in the market.
As my infant turned 8 months old, I got this call from my granny.
She is a soft-spoken person, so I was surprised by her tone!. Apparently mom was scared of what experiments I was running on my infant and her fear had prompted my granny to pick up the phone.
What’s Ragi? I had asked baffled.
It is what nachani is called down South, where you are living currently. Nachani is what finger millet is called in Maharashtra and I had grown up eating nachani in various forms but never knew about the finger millet nutrition.
I am listing down the finger millet benefits as my granny had explained it to me. Giving at least one bowl of ragi porridge to infants as they are weaning will offer a healthy and nutritious supplement to their diet.
1. A powerhouse of calcium
Finger millet is a nutritious source of calcium. This is perfect for infants who are lactose intolerant.
2. Excellent source of Iron
A healthy and nutritional source of iron is finger millets, especially for vegetarians. Sprouted finger millets are also a good source of Vitamin C which helps absorb iron into the blood.
3. It keeps the baby full
Ragi has a lot of dietary fiber which helps keep your baby tummy full. It is a good idea to feed ragi in the mornings. This helps babies remain active throughout the day and get the most out of finger millets.
4. High protein content
Finger millets are also a good source of protein for vegetarians. As protein sources are less for vegetarians, including ragi flour in rotis, dosa’s or cakes help in greater intake of ragi, even after children are older.
5. Provides essential amino acids
As I mentioned earlier, Ragi is a superfood. Apart from being packed with calcium and iron, it is also a good source of amino acids. All these are essential for babies' growth and hence finger millet is a perfect weaning food for infants.
After that phone call with my granny, I remember feeling stress-free. I could finally stop worrying about what next to feed to my baby without losing out on nutrition. Since that day finger-millet has been a staple in my grocery list. We have experimented with it in almost all forms and I can assure you it tastes wonderful in all forms.
About Neha Tambe - Neha is a mother, a digital marketer, and a writer. The stories she shares are her learnings as a parent. She expresses her views, her tips, her travel ideas, and career and educational options that she knows because education for her kids is a topic that she is passionate about.
Her blog link is - https://nehatambe.com/