Millet is a traditional staple food that is making a comeback thanks to its excellent nutritional profile, sustainability and environmental benefits. India is the world’s leading producer of millet. Jowar (sorghum), Bajra (pearl millet), Ragi (finger millet), Little millet, Kodo millet, Foxtail millet, Proso millet and Barnyard millet are some of the millet crops of India. These tiny grains are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber, making them nutritionally superior and now recognized as Nutri-Cereals.
Benefits of millet for children
All parents prioritize the physical and mental development of their children. Meeting a child’s daily nutritional needs is necessary and sometimes difficult. The key is to identify the foods that provide the best nutrition and are also versatile to easily prepare different recipes. Millet is an excellent grain that provides enough nutrition for children. It is gluten-free, nutritious, easy to digest and less allergenic grain that can be given to your children in a variety of ways, such as a delicious snack (sandwiches, cookies, cutlets, etc.) or as part of the main meal (Khichdi , Dos, Idli, roti etc. Also, millet is very versatile hence it can be used in multiple simple daily tiffin recipes.It is full of natural goodness of multiple vital nutrients that are essential for daily growth and development of a child.
high in nutrition
When it comes to planning a proper diet for children, it is essential that all important nutritional aspects are included in their diet for their daily nutritional needs and proper growth. Millet is a nutritious grain that is beneficial to health in many ways. It is high in fiber, protein, iron, and calcium, making it essential for children to consume. Children have unique nutritional requirements that are different from adults and therefore require foods that can provide them with the goodness of essential macro and micronutrients. A wonderful superfood rich in essential nutrients, millet is an excellent addition to a child’s balanced daily diet. ITC’s Aashirvaad Multi Millet Mix is an innovative and complex blend of millet grains, which is naturally rich in essential nutrients such as protein, which supports muscle development, zinc, which supports normal cognitive functions, magnesium which helps reduce fatigue , fiber, which favors good digestion among others, thus allowing children to be their best version. Millet in general has goodness of calcium which helps build strong bones which is essential for children as they are in their growth phase and also iron which helps in the formation of hemoglobin.
good for the intestine
Millet contains 15-20% dietary fiber, which will support children’s overall digestive health, and is a good source of prebiotic fibers that help support the healthy growth of intestinal bacteria. They are naturally gluten-free foods, non-acidifying and easy to digest, which makes them ideal for children.
Combat malnutrition/daily nutrition gaps that lead to health problems
Malnutrition is another major cause for concern among children, as it increases their susceptibility to infection, reduces their chances of recovery, and impedes their growth and development. Millet as a main staple in various balanced diets for children will help address growing concerns about malnutrition. ITC Aashirvaad Ragi Flour is a nutrient-dense superfood that contains a good amount of essential nutrients like iron, protein, calcium, and zinc, which has tremendous health benefits. Malnutrition in children can also be addressed with millet because it is energy dense, and the micronutrient profile of millet, which includes iron, zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, etc., will help fight problems such as ‘immunity’, ‘anemia’ , ‘ and ‘hidden hunger’. Children go through critical stages of growth and development, and nutrition continues to be a major contributing factor. Nutrient deficiencies at these stages can hinder the physical and general development of children.
About the author: Dr. Bhavna Sharma is the Head of Nutritional Sciences, ITC Ltd (Food Division). All views/opinions expressed in the article are those of the author.