We live in times where there’s anything aplenty but time. As parents we are often struggling with time crunch. There’s so much to do on the work front, there’s a lot to be attended to at home and each day we find ourselves running from pillar to post making time! Food often takes a beating when faced with time crunch. We tend to resort to food stuff that’s store bought and often ridden with preservatives/chemicals. Packaged foods come with their own set of perils. This blog entails everything you need to know about How To Make Homemade Cerelac For Babies 6months+
What if I told you there’s a solution to this problem. When it comes to babies and toddlers there’s nothing better than home-made.
What if I told you there’s a way to make instant food in the form of Cerelac/sathu mauvu right in your home under the most hygienic conditions and with the freshest of ingredients. You will find home-made Cerelac score over store bought ones in more ways than one.
Through the article we will take you through the benefits of home-made and home cooked and also share some toddler food recipes to make at home that will come handy when you have a little baby/toddler to handle and there’s always little time too!
What is home-made Cerelac?
Home- made Cerelac has been around for ages. Our grandmothers were quiet the culinary genius to make almost everything at home and feed the family food that was fresh and nutritious.
Over the years the trend to make at home began to somehow slow down and its place was taken over by snacks and food stuff that was store bought, laden with preservatives that came straight out of a package. It so becomes significant to revive the golden age of food and get back to making at home.
Home-made Cerelac/sathu maavu/navadhanya(kerala)/energy mix as it is popularly known is a porridge mix that is made from several pulses, cereals, grains and dry fruits. Some of the ingredients that go into making these are also soaked and sprouted. Generally the mix is made using 9 grains or dhans. But it can be customized to suit the taste and nutritional requirements.
Home-made Cerelac can be given to babies who are 10 months and older. (Check with your pediatrician to rule out possibilities of food or skin allergies of any kind). Even the older members of the family can consume this mix that is a rich source of energy, strength and wholesome nutrition.
Home-made Cerelac vis-à-vis store bought
Easy always is not necessarily safe and the way forward. When you are pressed for time, you tend to find an excuse to stay away from the kitchen and use food stuff that’s ready -made and that which comes straight from a packet. While this is not good for you as an adult it can be potentially harmful to your little baby in her vital growing –up years. Babies are delicate and their bodies are still forming and getting used to the environment outside the mother’s womb. Healthy food recipes thus becomes vital to the growth and development of your little baby. And health always begins at home!
The following points will make this clearer:
- Store bought ready to eat food packets and boxes are definitely hassle- free and require no planning or preparation from your end prior to cooking and feeding. However to build up the shelf life of these packages, the manufacturers use a significant number of preservatives. These in the long run harm a little baby’s stomach and intestines and can cause indigestion. Home- made food on the other hand is fresh and free of any chemicals and preservatives.
- Store bought food packets often come in flavours and varieties that are delectable and unheard of! But a look at the ingredients can point out to the use of artificial flavours, food colours and sweeteners. You will not want your baby to consume any of these, would you?
- Store bought packets are prepared and transported from factories that you are in no direct contact with. You are unaware of their process of preparation, packaging and transport. So as far as your little one is concerned you are feeding them food stuff about which you know little. Home-made on the other hand will be made from the freshest of ingredients, in the cleanest of conditions and under your supervision keeping your baby’s tastes and nutritional needs in mind.
- Babies these days suffer from all kinds of allergies. A wrong food product can have devastating results. So when you make at home you can use ingredients that suit your baby and customize the taste as well.
Food that you make at home will eventually pass all standards of safety and quality and it can be customized to suit baby and her growing up needs. Also financially you will find the difference that home-made vs. store bought makes to your pocket. Stuff that’s made at home is fairly cheaper that fancy food stuff that’s store bought.
Precautions while making home-made Cerelac
The following precautions will come in handy while making home-made Cerelac:
- Ensure to leave out any ingredient that you know causes an allergy in your baby
- You may customize the mix as per your child’s needs and tastes and may change the proportions of ingredients accordingly.
- Make sure to store the home-made Cerelac powder once ready in air tight containers to retain the freshness and to keep it away from moisture of any kind.
- Home-made Cerelac also uses sprouted grains so it is important to pay special attention to the process of sprouting. Once sprouted ensure that there is no stickiness or greasiness or foul smell of any sort. If you notice any then discard the sprouts and re-sprout. Alternatively you may also avoid sprouting and use the grains just by washing, drying and roasting them separately.
- Once your grains are ready roast them well on low flame and ensure you remove all traces of water and moisture. This will help you to grind the ingredients well to a powder consistency and also will give the powder a longer shelf life that is free of bacteria and fugal growth.
- While roasting ensure that no part of the grains are burnt since the same would taste bitter. If any grain gets burnt then discard it and do not use it.
- Make sure to sterilize all utensils that are used in making the home-made cerelac powder. Infants are required to be given everything that is clean and germ free at all times.
Storage of home-made Cerelac:
Home-made Cerelac powder can be well stored for a period of 2-3 months in a cool dry place in your kitchen without the risk of spoilage. Ensure that you use a good quality BPA free air tight container for this purpose. Also from time to time keep checking the mixture for freshness. You may store it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months also without the grains rotting or without any negative effect to their quality as well. Try to prepare and store fresh batches for no longer than 2-3 months.
Home-made Cerelac can be given to kids in which age group?
Healthy home-made Cerelac is a blessing to your growing little one. The Indian Association of Pediatricians recommends that all babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months post-birth and we all know the benefits of breasfeeding. Unless there are any issues related to weight gain or any other, you should stick to this recommendation. Post 6 months, as recommended by the Pediatrician you may begin feeding your baby with home-made Cerelac. Make sure to however leave out the dry fruits until they turn 10 months or older.
Also initially include only those grains in the home-made Cerelac that you have already introduced your baby to. As your baby gets older and as you introduce her to more grains you may include all grains and even dry fruits into her home-made porridge. These precautions will help to keep allergies at bay and also ensure smooth and easy digestion.
Step by step instructions on cooking home-made Cerelac for babies
Follow the below mentioned step by step instructions to make home-made ceralac for babies:
Wash nicely with drinking water and soak all grains such as bajra, ragi, urad, chana dal, wheat, corn etc. that you using to make the home-made Cerelac separately in water overnight.
Drain the water completely from each of these grains and tie them up separately in muslin cloth/cotton handkerchiefs and place them in a dry area. If you live in a cold place you may keep them under the sun as well to aid sprouting.
After 8-10 hours (longer in colder places), the grains would begin sprouting. You may now open the cloth from each grain.
Now proceed to sun dry these grains or alternatively you may also dry them under a fan by spreading across on your dining table. Ensure to run your clean hands through the grains and keep flipping them to completely remove any moisture content within the grains.
Now you must proceed to roasting each of these sprouted grains and all the other grains and dry fruits (that you are adding to make your home- made Cerelac) on low flame separately.
Once you have well roasted all the grains and removed all traces of moisture you may proceed to grind them into a powder form either in your mixie at home or from a flour mill. At this stage you may also add dry ginger powder and cardamom powder (optional).
Store this powder in air tight container and follow the storage instructions as above.
*Note: Leave out any ingredients that your baby is allergic to from this mixture.
List of suggested ingredient quantities (same can be modified keeping taste, allergy and age of the child in mind):
Rice- 1 cup
Ragi- 1 cup
Chick peas and fried gram – ½ cup each
Almonds, cashewnuts, peanuts and pistachio- ½ cup
Orange and white corn – ¼ cup
Green gram- ½ cup
Urad dal-1/2 cup
Cardamom- 8-10 pods
How To Make Homemade Cerelac For Babies 6months+
You will need:
2 tbsp home-made cerelac mix
1 cup milk/water (milk for kids older than a year and water otherwise)
1 tbsp ghee
Jaggery to taste (optional)
In a pan take home-made Cerelac mix and add milk/water to it and cook on low flame for 5-10 minutes ensuring there are no lumps. You may add jaggery (powder form is ideal) at this stage. As it gets cooked the kitchen will fill up with the fresh aromas of the healthiest ingredients. The mix will start leaving the edges of the pan too.
You may now empty the contents of the pan onto a serving bowl and adjust the consistency as per your child’s preference. Add a generous helping of clarified butter/ghee on top and feed it hot and fresh to your little one. You may also add some cardamom powder if preferred by your child.
What are the health benefits of feeding home-made Cerelac to my baby?
Mentioned below are the 16 ingredients and their health benefits that go into making home-made Cerelac for babies. You may decide to omit certain ingredients/grains given your baby’s food choices and health condition. But do remember each of these grains pack a punch of goddess for your little one:
- Ragi: Rai/millet is rich in carbohydrates, protein. Thiamine, iron and calcium and can be easily digested by your baby.
- Bajra: Bajra is rich in calcium, fibres and has a very high energy quotient. The grain helps to prevent constipation and in adults it is very useful in controlling diabetes and preventing heart diseases.
- Wheat: Wheat is a staple in Indian cuisine because it is rich in Vitamin B, manganese, potassium, calcium, zinc and fibres. Wheat is beneficial to the gastrointestinal health in general and also helps to improve the body’s metabolism and thereby prevent obesity and other chronic inflammations.
- Orange Corn: Orange corn the one that is used to make popcorns is rich in carotenoids and vitamin A. This helps in baby’s vision development.
- White Corn: White corn/sweet corn/ maize is rich in fibres, vitamin C, potassium, niacin, iron, folate and magnesium. This makes it good for the skin and heart health and helps children to build up immunity and muscle power.
- Red/Brown rice: Rice comes in several variants each with a goodness of its own. Brown rice as opposed to its white counterpart retains the bran and the germ layers thereby keeping the nutrients and minerals intact. In addition to this it is also rich in selenium, manganese, natural oils, anti-oxidants and fibres.
- Green Gram: Green gram contains iron, magnesium, vitamin A,B, C and E and is an excellent source of lean vegetarian protein that also builds up immunity.
- Chickpeas: Chick peas is rich in iron, protein, zinc, folate and manganese thereby preventing anemia, building immunity and helping the proper functioning of the body and the brain. It helps in the hair growth in kids too.
- Fried Gram: Rich in protein, vitamins, iron and minerals, fried gram helps in reducing constipation, preventing heart diseases and also works at reducing the iron deficiency in the body.
- Urad Dal: Split Black Gram is one of the richest sources of Vitamin B in addition to iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and protein.
- Almonds: Almonds are vital for the development of strong bones, immunity and mental development of children. It is also good for the hair and skin.
- Cashew nut: The most popular nut from the nut family is rich in Vitamin E, K and B6. Also it contains copper, zinc, phosphorous and magnesium.
- Peanut: Peanut/groundnut is a legume that is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, dietary proteins, Vitamin E and B, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc, copper and selenium.
- Pistachios: These contain fibres, protein, copper (which aid in iron absorption) and several vitamins and minerals.
- Cardamom: It helps in not just adding flavour and aroma to the food also helps in building up appetite and improving the kidney function. Being rich in iron, potassium, calcium and manganese it is greatly beneficial in aiding digestion and preventing acidity and heart burn.
- Dry Ginger: It greatly helps in curbing gas and acidity and works at improving digestion in little children. When added to home-made Cerelac it negates the heavy effects, if any, of the several pulses and grains. In addition to this it also works at fighting cold and flu when given with honey and holy basil to little children.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION AT A GLANCE:
Carbohydrates, protein, thiamine, iron and calcium
Calcium, fibres and very high energy quotient.
Vitamin B, manganese, potassium, calcium, zinc and fibres
Carotenoids and vitamin A
Fibres, vitamin C, potassium, niacin, iron, folate and magnesium.
Selenium, manganese, natural oils, anti-oxidants and fibres.
Iron, magnesium, vitamin A,B, C and E
Iron, protein, zinc, folate and manganese
Protein, vitamins, iron and minerals
Vitamin B, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and protein.
Development of strong bones, immunity and mental development of children
Vitamin E, K and B6, copper, zinc, phosphorous and magnesium.
Mono-unsaturated fatty acids, dietary proteins, Vitamin E and B, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc, copper and selenium.
Fibres, protein and copper
Building up appetite and improving the kidney function. Rich in iron, potassium, calcium and manganese
Curbs gas and acidity
Home- made Cerelac packs in a punch of health benefits and contains the goodness of several minerals that are essential to the growth and development of your toddler. Also it contains ingredients that are locally sourced and are easily available at a store near your house.
Do try the home-made Cerelac and also share with us other such home-made recipes that contain the goodess of natural minerals.