In today’s post, I will be talking about how I am taking baby steps in feeding my child healthy foods and thus, going back to my roots. You may be wondering how these two are related! Well, millets are the common connection between the two.
As a new mom, I took the best care of my child when it came to eating habits. But what I didn’t realize back then was that there is so much to a child’s meal apart from just wheat and rice. Of course, both these grains are full of nutrients and energy, but there is much more to millets that I wasn’t aware of.
My roots go back to a small village in Garhwal which is in Uttarakhand. Even though we hardly lived there permanently, a part of me will always be present there. As a child, my summer vacations were incomplete without making a trip to my grandparents’ place in Dehradun. It was during those times that my grandma used to feed me, dal-chawal laced with homemade ghee for lunch. Almost all meals ended with a scrumptious bowl of jhangora ki kheer. That was a time when I used to gobble it down and laughed at its weird name. But I was too young to realize the amount of nutrition those meals gave me during that two-month break. She also made kodo ki roti, which I didn’t like because of its distinct black and brown color. But what I remember are my grandma’s words – ‘Eat it! It’s extremely nutritious and you won’t get this easily in the city.‘ For those of you who don’t know, Jhangora is the Indian name for Barnyard Millet. This type of millet is majorly grown in Uttarakhand.
1. NUTRIENT GALORE
Millets contain as much as 15 % protein. They are an excellent source of Vitamin E & B. They are high in fiber content and aid in having a healthy digestive system. In addition, millets also consist of essential amino acids like methionine and lecithin and minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
2. BRIDGE THE NUTRIENT GAP
To understand the nutrient gap, we first need to understand what exactly is there on our dinner plate. I realized this after I was on my clean-eating schedule lately. Here’s what I learnt… There are basically two kinds of ingredients in your food – Macro and Micro.
Macros are the ones we put our focus on, e.g. fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Micros are the smaller nutrients or elements such as zinc, iron, and calcium. While we tend to concentrate more on macros, it is equally vital to note the micro intake as well. Thus, in our quest of eating regular grains like wheat and rice, our body tends to miss out on the nutrients from the small family. This is exactly where lesser known grains like millets come to the rescue. Millets are extremely rich in micronutrients that can help fill the nutrient gap caused by only eating traditional grain foods.
3. FOOD FOR THOUGHT TOWARDS CLIMATE CONCERNS
Yes, we don’t bring food to the table thinking about what climatic condition the crop requires. But let’s be honest for a second… If we just gave a minute or two towards thinking about what are we eating and where is it coming from, it would lead to some surprising insights! I am not asking you to give up your regular grains, but just trying to highlight the fact that millets are actually the food of the future. The primary reason is that they flourish and grow very well even in dry and semi-arid regions. This makes millets a great crop for farmers facing water scarcity. You might question as to how does this imply you can contribute towards a cause? Well, if all of us started eating or including millets in our daily diet, then it will increase demand which in turn will lead to an increase in production and supply to meet that demand.
HOW I AM INCLUDING MILLETS IN MY CHILD’S DIET
1. SLURRPFARM MILLET DOSA MIX
Ever since Zuzu started school, she takes dosa for lunch at least once a week. We were already on rice batter dosa for quite some time now. So, when we got our hands on SlurrpFarm Beetroot Dosa, she was particularly excited. Of course, the color played a major part! She even came back from school one day to tell me that her friends enjoyed the PINK DOSA. The millets infused dosa mix is a savior for working moms like me who don’t have time to grind rice and then ferment it for a night before finally drizzling it with oil on the pan! And not to forget the goodness of millets it comes with. Like they say, better late than never.
2. JHANGORA KI KHEER
Jhangora, like I mentioned previously is the local name of barnyard millet in Uttarakhand. The key reason for millets not getting onto the plates of most Indians is because they aren’t easily available in all grocery shops. It is often reserved for special occasions or festivals. That’s why it sells like hotcakes during the Navratri season. Sama or Jhangora ki kheer is something Zuzu relishes!
3. SAMA KE CHAWAL
The Barnyard millet is known as Sama in most local languages of India. Again, this variety of the crop is majorly available during festivals. Especially when people are fasting, sama ke chawal is treated as a delicacy during the nine-day festival of Navratras. This one tastes exactly like namkeen daliya (porridge) and doubles up as a delight when I serve it with dollops of ghee to Zuzu. If you have just started solids for your baby, then this is another great and healthy option.
The world is waking up to the goodness of superfoods like chia seeds, flax seeds, and quinoa! These are rich in nutrients such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Let us as parents identify the importance of millets in our child’s diet. This, in turn, will lead to a collective effort to bring millets also to the focus of mainstream grocery shopping for families and result in a healthier life for all of us.
This post is sponsored by Slurrp Farm and is meant to educate parents about the use and importance of millets for kids nutrition.