You have just entered the next adventurous phase of parenting. Your 6-month-old is sitting up and has started showing interest in your meals. You and your little one are going on an exciting ride called weaning.
I am sure you’re wondering what all the fuss is about. Why this is such a big deal?
Well, according to UNICEF, 2 out of 10 children under the age of 5 in Nigeria; suffer from malnutrition. Another 2 out of 10 are dealing with hidden hunger. This is an excessive intake of macronutrients (such as carbs) and not enough micronutrients (vitamins, minerals). It’s mainly because most parents focus more on caloric intake (and weight gain) versus nutrient density when weaning.
These issues stem from:
- Misconceptions about child nutrition,
- Higher interests in foreign processed foods
- Poor replication of a balanced diet using our Nigerian foods.
It is important to note that for any weaning journey the ultimate goal is to help the child wean from a liquid diet and transition effectively to eating family meals by 12 months.
In this article, we will explore the amazing benefits of 3 must-have meals for a 6-month-old which are made from foods that are locally found, easily accessible and highly nutritious for any Nigerian.
1. Potato Porridge
This is often a forgotten dish. Just like yam porridge, potatoes can be paired with almost anything to give a balanced, nutritious and tasty meal. One of my favorites when weaning is sweet potatoes paired with chicken and carrots.
The chicken provides good protein. On the other hand, potatoes provide vitamin A, fiber and complex carbohydrates. The carrots are a great source of beta carotenes. Beta Carotenes are important for eye-sight and building immunity.
2. Avocado Purees
Filled with omega 3’s, magnesium, B vitamins and manganese; this fruit makes for a great first food for any 6-month-old. Avocadoes can be paired with bananas for a sweet tooth or with a boiled egg yolk for a savoury twist.
They can also be taken a step further by being pureed with fish and tomatoes. This combo is a vitamin-rich, iron and DHA (a type of omega 3) filled meal.
“Swallows” as they are popularly called are basically milled grains or boiled pounded tubers that are eaten as an accompaniment to Nigerian soups.
From Eba to Plantain swallow, Amala, Tuwo, and even pounded Yam; introducing different kinds of swallow to your 6-month-old is a great way to welcome them into any Nigerian family.
When paired with the numerous varieties of soups available, swallows and soups are a great way of getting a lot of nutrients into a 6-month-old meal.
What’s more, you don’t need to worry too much about the combination. Another great benefit of the swallow is the fact that almost any cereal or grain can be made into a swallow.
This encourages any child who may not appreciate a meal in one way but would enjoy it when made into a swallow paired with their favourite soup.
Why are these meal ideas great?
With just these 3 meals, any 6-month-old is sure of getting a balanced diet that doesn’t break the bank. This is essential for proper growth and development, especially when weaning to solids. Exploring these meals while breastfeeding and offering other wholesome foods, ensures that more children avoid being a statistic of malnutrition. We then now look forward to preserving the lives of the next generation.