Millets are superfoods not just for adults, but they’re extremely beneficial in developing good health in children as well. We’re definitely better off incorporating these in our diets, thereby reducing the dependence on wheat and rice.
The most common varieties available in India are jowar (sorghum), ragi or nachni (finger millet), sama (little millet), korra (foxtail millet), bajra (pearl millet), and jhangora (barnyard millet). They are gluten-free and alkaline, packing in essential nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, manganese, tryptophan, phosphorus, Vitamin B and antioxidants.
So, the next time you run out of ideas for a healthy dabba for your kid, let millets come to your rescue. Here are some recipes that are easy to make and will stay fresh for at least three hours after being packed.
While it’s a great breakfast staple, there’s no harm in packing it as a meal for your child’s school lunch. Ragi is a natural relaxant and stress reliever. It is rich in calcium, protein, carbohydrate, fiber, and iron; it is easy to digest and curbs cravings.
- Take 100 ml water in a bowl
- Add one big spoon of the porridge mix and combine well, ensuring there are no lumps
- Put the vessel on the stove and put it on medium flame.
- Keep stirring for 5-10 minutes
- Add a natural sweetener like palm candy or jaggery for taste
Little millets are packed with minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, smart carbs and protein, which makes it an excellent alternative to the artificially flavoured noodles available in the market. It’s the perfect example of health and taste.
- Little Millet Noodles
- ½ cup of diced mixed vegetables such as carrot, capsicum, green peas, onion
- Curry leaves
- 1 tsp each of red chilli powder and garam masala powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- In 500 ml of boiling water, add a few drops of cooking oil, some salt and the noodles.
- After 12-15 minutes, when the noodles are soft enough, take them off the flame and drain the water. You may wash them in cold water so as to avoid them from sticking together.
- Saute the vegetables in the masala
- Add salt to taste and mix well
- Add 1/2 cup of water and cover the vegetables until they are soft
- Add the cooked noodles and toss it with the masala
- Take it off the flame, let it cool for a bit before packing it in the dabba
Paniyaram or paddu is a South Indian dish made by steaming batter using a mould. The batter is usually made of black lentils and rice and is similar to the batter used to make idli and dosa.
However, this mix is slightly more nutritious (it packs in minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium) since it’s made with a variety of millets such as foxtail millet, kodo millet, little millet, barnyard, jowar and urad dal.
- Add 200 ml of water to 100 gm of the mix and mix well.
- Let the batter rest for 30-45 minutes.
- You can add finely chopped onion, chillies, curry leaves for some added taste.
- Heat the mould, add some oil, and spoonfuls of batter.
- Cook the paddu on either side by turning them over as they turn golden brown.
- Pack with chutney.
A great ready-made mix for your child’s health, the millet and rice khichdi, is made with natural ingredients and spices. It comes with the goodness of moong dal, rice, kodo millet, barnyard millet, foxtail millet, little millet, cumin seeds, clove, cinnamon and turmeric.
- Mix 2 tbsp of the mix with 50 ml of water
- And constantly stir so that no lumps are formed
- Add 150 ml of extra water to the above mixture
- Cook on low flame for 7-10 minutes and stir continuously
- Add some nuts (optional) and pack.
This instant mix comes with the goodness of supergrains such as foxtail millet, amaranth, atta and jowar, along with some yummy chocolate chips and natural banana powder, making it a delicious treat, especially for kids.
- Blend one measure of the pancake mix with one measure of milk.
- Blend the batter until you get a running consistency
- Let the batter stand for five minutes before cooking
- Warm a flat, non-stick pan
- Add butter, and pour the batter on to the heated pan
- Cook well on both sides
- Pack it with some peanut butter and fresh fruits on the side.
While it’s absolutely normal to worry about what you can pack for your child’s school lunch everyday, here’s bringing you some respite with these easy-to-make millet recipes.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)