The Important Guidelines for Formulating Infant Dietary Regimen
1. High quality proteins is what human body needs most i.e. proteins containing all the ten essential amino acids. Such proteins are available in milk, cheese, eggs and other animal protein foods.
2. But many vegetable protein are capable of supplying all the essential amino acids in adequate amounts at lower cost. Among plant foods that supply most of the essential amino acids are rice, pulses, beans, soya-beans, groundnuts, etc. Rice, wheat, jowar and bajra are lacking in the essential amino acid lysine, but contain good proportions of seven of the other essential amino acids.
3. Tuver (red grams) grams, green grams, peas and other pulses are deficient in the amino acid methionine, but seven other amino acids are available in sufficient amounts in them. Thus a combination of cereals and pulses would ensure adequate supplies of all amino acids which are considered essential. Sprouted pulses and green leafy vegetables should be given as supplementary foods to babies at proper time. These must be either cut into very fine pieces or partially cooked to facilitate digestion, but excessive use of spices should be avoided.
4. Another source of high quality proteins is chapatties prepared from wheat flour to which soya-been flour has been added to the extent of 25 to 30 per cent.
5. The child as it grows up can be given roasted grams with gur (jaggery), or preparations containing gur with puffed rice, seasame seeds, groundnuts, etc. (i.e. ‘chickies’). These are all highly nutritious preparations. Gur contains iron, vitamin A, salts, and minerals as well as starch and other carbohydrates. In fact it is advisable to use gur instead of sugar wherever possible in preparing food for growing children.
6. Amlas, or myrobalan fruits, which contain the highest proportion of vitamin C, are plentifully available in our country in winter. It must be noted that salted amlas would scarcely be of value, as vitamin C is destroyed in the process of salting them. One or two spoonfuls of ‘jeevan’ (chyavanprash) prepared from boiled amlas given daily to a child will not only help in supplying adequate nutrition to the child, but will also enhance its powers of resistance to diseases. Other sources of vitamin C are lemons, mosambis, oranges, papayas, mangoes and many other fruits.