Cerelac is most often the first weaning choice of food for the child. Never for my baby though!. As a big believer in home-made and organic, I searched high and low to find the perfect recipe which would be healthy, wholesome and incredibly delicious. And find I did! My baby’s pediatrician too advised me to stay away from packaged baby food and always go home-made. And who better to trust than the doc himself? Right?
But first, why is Cerelac not good for your child?
If you take a careful look at the ingredients, you’ll notice it contains sucrose. Heavy dosage of sugar added to your baby’s first food leads to many complications later in life such as gout, tooth decay etc. It also contains preservatives and flavour additives- you cannot really be sure if that apple flavor actually contains real apple or a flavored additive. Besides, there can never really be a comparison between homemade and packaged food especially with food industry scandals coming out every now and then.
About the home-made mix:
This is a porridge mix made using several kinds of cereals, grains, pulses and dry fruits. Some mothers may prefer using it after the 10 month mark because of nuts but I gave it to my baby at 6.5 months and she loved it. You may or may not choose to include dry fruits in your mix if you fear allergies. However, according to a recent study by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, highly allergic foods like nuts can be introduced into infants’ diets as early as six months. In fact, some research shows introducing them early may reduce the risk of children become allergic to these foods later in life.
Benefits of home-made Cerelac:
Since its home-made, quality of ingredients and hygiene is ensured.
It’s great for weight gain without sugar and harmful ingredients.
It boosts stamina and contains a fabulous combination of healthy dietary sources such as cereals, dry fruits and pulses.
Can be consumed by adults too!
Home-made Cerelac recipe:
1.5 cups Brown/White Rice
1 cup Bajra
1 cup Corn (white/orange)
1 cup Black Urad Dal
1 cup Green Gram
1 cup Mung Dal
1 cup Wheat or Wheat Dalia
1/2 cup Sago
1/2 cup each- Almonds, Cashewnuts, Pistachios
10 pods Cardamom
There are 2 ways to prepare it. One way is to soak all ingredients ( separately) in water for 10 minutes , rinse and dry them. The second method involves sprouting some of the ingredients. Sprouting is a tedious and long process but helps increase the nutritional value of the grains while making it easier for the body to absorb nutrients especially Iron, Zinc and Vitamin C.
Ingredients such as Pulses, Chickpeas, Wheat, Corn and Barley should be rinsed separately to remove debris/stones etc.
Then soak them all overnight or for atleast 8 hours.
Drain and rinse all the grains separately after which they should be tied up in a soft cotton cloth and each individual bundle be placed separately.
After 8-10 house, you will notice some sprouting from the grains but if you prefer longer sprouts, you can wait longer.
Dry all under sun for a day and proceed by dry roasting all.
Some grains can be sticky and moist to touch but that’s absolutely fine. However, if you detect a putrid smell or the texture of grains is too sticky or greasy, it’s better to discard them. I’ve tried both methods (sprouting and without sprouting) and they taste just as good.
After drying ingredients, dry roast them all.
Roast rice till they become a little like puffed rice.
Roast lentils golden-brown.
Roast sago till its dry and crispy.
Roast wheat daliya until golden brown.
Roast green gram till it changes colour to mild brown.
Roast corn golden brown or till it crackles.
Roast almonds and cardamom till it releases aroma.
Roast cashew until golden brown.
Let them all cool for few minutes and grind them to fine powder.
Sift to make it more finer
This mix can be stored in airtight container for upto 6 months.
Mix 2 tbsp in water/milk and cook for atleast 10 minutes in medium flame. Fruits can be added to sweeten it- I preferred dates.
You may add desi ghee or butter to increase nutritional value.
It’s best suited for breakfast and can be served in dinner too. Will help in keeping the baby full for longer ( For all ye Bfíng moms!)
You can add breastmilk to this porridge.
Start with 1 tbsp of powder and slowly increase following the 3 day rule.
Discard leftover after 2 hours of preparation. It’s best to prepare fresh batch everytime you want to feed your child.
If you feel it makes your baby gassy ( it didn’t mine!), you can add a bit of dry ginger.