What are the Millets?
Milllets are small seeded grasses that grow well in dry areas. Millets are one of the oldest food known to man and possibly the first cereal grain to be used for domestic purposes.
When Can I give my Baby Millets ?
WHO recommends to start millet as cereals or porridges after 6 months while continuing frequent, on-demand breastfeeding after having introduced the staple food of the family.
As with all foods, always consult your paediatrician while introducing any new food, as these are general recommendations. Some babies may tolerate well, while others don’t. So please practice the 3 day rule while introducing any new food.
What are the Millets available in India?
1. Barnyard Millet
Barnyard Millet is also called as the following in regional languages.
|Kuthiraivali||Sanwa or Jhangora||Udalu, Kodisama||Oodalu||NA||NA||Skwank||Khira|
The barnyard millet can be given as porridge or Kheer for babies between 6-8 months and as cookies, cheela, dosa for babies above 8 months.
Nutritional benefits of Barnyard Millet or Kuthiraivali or Sanwa ¹
- They are highly rich in protein and vitamin B12.
- They are the richest source of Iron of all the milllets
Barnyard Millet or Kuthiraivali Recipes for Babies and Toddlers.
2. Finger Millet
Finger Millet or Ragi or Nachni is the one of the commonest millet that is being used in our country. As the grain is very tiny, it cannot be polished much and hence the nutrients are safe !!
Finger Millet is also called as the following in regional languages
Nutritional Benefits of Finger Millet
- Ragi is one of richest source of Calcium, has about 30 times as much as calcium in Rice.
- It has 10 times as much as fiber than Rice and so is easily digestible
Ragi can be given as porridge, kheer, roti, dosa, Idli, appe or kulipaniyram, Idiyam, Puttu
3. Foxtail Millet
Foxtail Millet is yet another ancient which has been quoted in Ancient Tamil Literature as one of the most common staple food of the people.
Nutritional Benefits of Foxtail Millet
It is rich in Thiamine
Foxtail Millet tastes good as kheer, Millet rice, Idiyappam, Pesarattu, dosa
Foxtail Millet Recipes for Babies and Toddlers
4. Kodo Millet
This is one millet that I can relate to as my grandmother used to have this Varugu Arisi ( Kodo Milllet Rice) daily instead of the normal Rice.
|Kodo Millet||Varugu||Kodon||Arikelu, Arika||Harka||Varagu||Kodra||Kodra||Kodra|
Nutritional Benefits of Kodo Millet
- It is very rich in Fibre
- Also protein content is very high
Kodo Millet can be given as Variety rice (coconut rice ) for toddlers.
5. Little Millet
Little Millet is known as the following names in other languages
|Little Millet||Samai||Kutki or Shavan||Samalu||Same||Chama||Gajro, Kuri||Swank||Sava, Halvi, vari|
Nutritional Benefits of Little Millet
A the other millets, it is rich in Fiber and vitamins like thiamine.
Little Millet can be given as Kheer, dosa, rice, khichdi, vegetable briyani, bread.
6. Pearl Millet
This is one of the commonest millet in usage now, I can still smell the KamabanKool and Vathal Milagai I used to have when I alight from the bus in Tamabram Bus stand in Chennai. Yes, I can roadside food are not healthy, but couldn’t resist 😉
Nutritional Benefits of Pearl Millet
- They are excellent source of Phosphorous
- They are rich in Fiber and protein.
Bajra can be given to babies and toddlers as dosa, porridge, idli, puttu, appe and idiyappam
Sorghum is yet another common millet that is widely in use now. The other names for sorghum in regional languages are
|Sorghum||Cholam||Jowari, Juar||Jonna||Jola||Cholam||Jowari, Juar||Jowar||Jowari, Jondhala|
Nutritional Benefits of Sorghum
- Sorghum is a energy dense gluten free millet.
- Sorghum is rich in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and trace metals.
Sorghum can be given to babies and Toddlers as kheer, porridge, dosa, Appe, laddu
Use Millets in Moderation²
Just because Millets are healthy and nutritious, it does not mean that eating them in daily in large quantities will ensure a perfect healthy life. Researchers believe that Millets in general have giotrogenic effects and so it is always advisable to eat in Moderation.
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1. Nutritional benefits of the millets sourced from Millet Network of India