Enriching Baby Porridge Around the World

This is a guest post from JoEllen Krauss


 JoEllen Krauss writes in her spare time for Providian Medical. After giving birth to her first child she’s on a mission take the baby weight away and is always on the lookout for tips to achieve this.  In the following post she ways to make porridge more exciting for kids to eat.


Enriching Baby Porridge Around the World

Having healthy children is a universal goal in all societies around the globe and baby porridge is a staple for small children in most countries. However, in many areas of the world it is difficult for small children to get the nourishment they need from the basic baby porridge that is available. In many of these societies parents will enrich baby porridge in order to make it more nutritious for the child. Depending on the cultural norms and nutritional requirements of the individuals, many different ingredients are used around the globe to enrich baby food.  In theEast Africamothers use several different food sources to enrich baby porridge.

In the East African country of Kenya mothers are encouraged to feed babies only breast milk until they are six months old. After six months mothers begin feeding their children solid food including porridge with milk, mashed groundnuts and other nuts and seeds added to it. The addition of these ingredients provides many of the vitamins lacking in standard baby porridge. It also helps with digestion and is endorsed by health professionals throughout Kenya.

Photo credit: LondonBrad 

In many Asian cultures ingredients that are high in vitamins or protein are added to baby porridge to make it more nutritious. In Malaysia it is common for mothers to add an egg yolk to baby porridge to give the porridge more protein. Egg yolks are also a good source of Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Throughout China mothers will add vegetables such as mashed carrots or cabbage to porridge. The rice based porridge that is found throughout China lacks many of the essential vitamins and minerals that are important for the growth and development of children. By adding these vegetables Chinese mothers are providing a much more nutritional and well rounded diet. Many times babies prefer the added flavor that carrots and other vegetables provide which makes feeding time more enjoyable for the child and mother.  In the Middle East ingredients may be added to baby porridge in order to cure or prevent certain ailments. In Turkey, chamomile is added to baby porridge to calm and anxious child. Lemon juice and boiled mint is added to the porridge to help cure a child with stomach pains. In other Middle Eastern countries, such as Syria and Iraq, honey is added to baby porridge to cure an upset stomach.

While Latin American food may be known as spicy and exotic it is good to know that traditional baby porridge found both Central America andSouth Americais grain based and easy for babies to digest. In these tropical countries with an abundance of fruit plantations it is not surprising to learn that many mothers begin feeding these dietary staples to children at a very young age. In Guatemala it is normal for mothers to add bananas to baby porridge and inCosta Rica mangos are a popular treat to add to baby porridge. The fruit adds vitamins that porridge by itself lacks. Tropical fruits such bananas and mangos contain vitamin C which babies need for healthy development.

The sweetness added by the fruit also make the porridge much more enjoyable for the child.  Throughout the world mothers add many different ingredients to enrich baby porridge. Many times it is for nutritional reasons such as enriching it with fruit or vegetables to add vitamins and minerals or adding egg yolk and meat in order to give the porridge more protein. Other times it may be for medicinal purposes, like adding honey or lemon for an upset stomach or adding chamomile to calm nerves. Sometimes it may be simply to make the food taste better. Enriching baby porridge with delicious tropical fruit make it taste better and in turn make it more enjoyable for the child. There are many different ways to enrich baby porridge and it is very popular in most cultures and societies around the world.



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