How To Feed Millets To Kids: 10 Millet Dish Ideas

Millets, a popular superfood, have been gaining popularity in recent years. Every dietician and nutritionist is vouching for millets for their remarkable health benefits. They are ancient grains, and mankind has known their nutritional value for centuries. Millets such as foxtail millet, finger millet, pearl millet, sorghum millet, buckwheat millet, barnyard wheat, Kodo millet, etc., are amongst the healthiest grains available today. Whole organic millets can easily replace rice, wheat, and other grains!

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What Are Millets?

Millets are cereal crops and small seed grasses widely grown around the world. They are naturally gluten-free and have a low glycemic index (GI), making them ideal for wheat allergies/intolerance in humans.

Millets are amongst the most nutritious grains, which are an excellent source of fiber and protein. Millets are rich in iron, calcium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and B vitamins. They also come with antioxidants, flavonoids, certain amino acids, and tryptophan. 

Health Benefits of Millets For Kids

Following are the excellent health benefits of millet for kids:

1. Promotes digestion: The presence of a good amount of dietary fiber in millets works nicely to improve the digestive system function. It combats constipation, flatulence, bloating, and cramping and regularizes bowel function.

2. Regulates blood glucose levels: A high amount of dietary fiber, proteins, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals present in millets, helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels and promoting insulin sensitivity.

3. Supports the cardiovascular system: Millets are loaded with several antioxidants, namely beta-glucans, flavonoids, anthocyanidins, tannins, lignans, and policosanols. These antioxidants play a crucial role in lowering bad cholesterol and helping maintain healthy blood vessels healthily, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

4. Improves iron deficiency: Millets are an excellent source of iron, and recent studies show that regular consumption of millets can improve hemoglobin and serum ferritin levels to reduce anemia.

5. Promotes bone development: Millet contains a high proportion of calcium and regulates the bone development process of small and growing children.

How to Feed Millets to Your Kids? Here are 10 ways you can.

Here are 10 ways to feed millets to your kids that are easy to prepare and are also packed with protein, fiber, and other essential vitamins and minerals for their healthy growth and development!

1. Millet Porridge

If you are worried about how to feed millets to your kids, Millet porridge makes a quick, easy, and healthy breakfast for busy mornings. They are easy to digest, and millet porridge is highly recommended as a weaning food for babies.

Recipe:

  • Place the water in a saucepan, add the foxtail millet and bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook at a very low simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  • Add milk and cook until the millet is the consistency of oatmeal.
  • Remove from the heat, let it cool down, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle some cinnamon powder.
  • Add toppings of your choice like banana, berries, almonds, shredded coconut, etc.

2. Millet Pancakes

Kids love pancakes, and these millet pancakes can be a great way to get some much-needed nutrients into your kid’s diet. They are super delicious and easy to make, and you need less than five ingredients!

Recipe:

  • In a bowl, mash a ripe banana until very smooth with only a few lumps.
  • Add in the ragi flour, egg, and cinnamon (if using) and mix until everything is combined.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat, and grease it with little butter.
  • Pour the batter on the skillet into tiny puddles and let cook for 3-4 minutes or until the sides start to become firm and the bottoms are golden brown.
  • Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let them cool slightly. Stack them up and top with honey (if needed) and fresh banana toppings!

3. Millet Salad

how to feed millets to kids

Millet salad is quick, simple, gluten-free, and loaded with the goodness of vegetables like broccoli, sweet corn, and carrots. It sits perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! It is a solution to the cumbersome task as to how to feed millets to your kids.

Recipe:

  • In a saucepan, add the millets and 1 cup of water. Bring the millets to a boil, then turn the heat to low. 
  • Cover the pan and allow the millets to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the millets are cooked. (You can also cook the millets in the pressure cooker to speed up the cooking process, but they should be grainy once cooked.)
  • Let the millets cool down before adding them to the salad. You can also use leftover millets if you have any.
  • Meanwhile, steam the broccoli, chopped carrot, and sweet corn.
  • Add steamed veggies to a mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, pepper powder, and salt, and give a good mix.
  • Now add the cooked millet mixture and coriander leaves and mix it well.
  • Top it with some almonds or peanuts before serving!

4. Millet Dosa

how to feed millets to kids

Millet dosa is a simple and nutritious breakfast that can be served with chutney of your choice and a smart way to feed millets to your kids. The batter needs no fermentation and hence can be prepared in a jiffy.

Recipe:

  • Wash 1 cup of foxtail millets in a fine sieve under running water and soak it for 4 hours.
  • Likewise, wash and soak all the dals (1/2 cup tur dal and 1/2 cup green gram) separately for 4 hours, along with two red chilies and one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds.
  • Drain the water out and first grind the foxtail millets using a mixer grinder to a little coarse paste adding little water at a time. Transfer it to a bowl.
  • Grind soaked dals, red chilies, and fenugreek seeds into a fine paste. Mix this with ground millet paste along with salt to prepare the batter.
  • Add finely chopped spinach leaves and onions to the batter.
  • Heat a dosa pan on medium heat, pour the batter on the hot pan and spread thin.
  • Cook on both sides until it turns golden and crisp.
  • Serve millet dosa with coconut chutney or pickle.

5. Millet Stir Fry

how to feed millets to kids

Millet stir fry is delicious, filling, and nutritious, and it makes a light, refreshing meal. You can make it with the vegetables of your choice, and it’s great for lunch or dinner!

Recipe:

  • Wash the foxtail millets in a fine sieve under running water and soak them for 15-20 mins.
  • Bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil in a large saucepan and add the millet. Simmer it down and cook, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes (You can do this ahead of time and refrigerate the leftover millet).
  • Heat vegetable oil in a pan. Add ginger, garlic, onions, carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, and stir in for 30 seconds. 
  • Stir in the cooked millet and cook for a minute. Add soy sauce and scrambled eggs and stir in for another 30 seconds.
  • Season it with pepper powder and salt. Top it with some fresh coriander leaves, and serve hot!

6. Millet Fritters

millets fritters

One great way to feed millets to your kids is by making these Millets Fritters or Pakoras. Millet fritters are great for kids as they’re full of hidden veggies, and your little ones will never find out. You can serve them with ketchup or any sauce or on top of a fresh salad.

Recipe:

  • Wash the foxtail millets in a fine sieve under running water and soak them for 15-20 mins.
  • Drain the water and transfer the millets to a bowl. Add sweet corn, all-purpose flour, onions, coriander leaves, chili powder, pepper powder, and salt.
  • Mix to combine, then shape the mixture into balls and press each ball down to form a patty.
  • Place the patties into a heated pan with a drizzle of oil and fry on medium heat until golden brown, then flip the patties to the other side.
  • Serve millet fritters with the ketchup or sauce of your choice.

7. Millet Upma

millet upma

Millet upma is a wholesome breakfast or dinner which can be made with just a few ingredients in less than 30 minutes. The variations are endless, and the addition of vegetables adds nutrition and makes it colorful!

Recipe:

  • Wash the foxtail millets in a fine sieve under running water and soak them for 15-20 mins.
  • Heat oil, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds, and let them splutter.
  • Add asafoetida, green chilies, ginger (optional), curry leaves, and onions, and saute them.
  • Add chopped mixed vegetables, soaked millet, water, and salt and mix well. Pressure cook it for one whistle.
  • Lastly, add grated coconut, coriander leaves, and lime juice and mix well.
  • Serve millet upma with coconut chutney.

8. Millet Roti

millet roti

 Millet roti is an Indian bread made out of sorghum (jowar) millet along with fresh fenugreek leaves and Indian masalas, which is not just delicious to taste but also contains a good source of nutrients. 

Recipe:

  • In a mixing bowl, add the sorghum millet (jowar) flour, wheat flour, methi leaves, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt, and knead well with lukewarm water.
  • Roll out a portion of the dough into a round, thick circle like roti.
  • Place the rolled roti on a hot pan and cook it for a minute. Flip it and cook on the other side.
  • Millet rotis are best served with gravies!

9. Millet Chocolate Cake

Millet chocolate cake made with ragi or finger millet is gluten-free and full of fiber. It is a healthy cake to include in your child’s lunch box or for an after-school snack! It is also a fun and parent-approved way to feed millets to your kids.

Recipe:

  • Sieve together 3/4 cup ragi flour, 3/4 cup wheat flour, a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
  • To the same bowl, add 1 cup of sugar or jaggery.
  • Pour 3/4 cup of milk, 1/2 tablespoon vinegar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1/3 cup of curd, and 2/3 cup of unsalted butter into the bowl. (Whisk the curd before adding it.)
  • Mix everything well just until combined. Do not overmix.
  • Pour the mixture into the greased tray; Bake at 170 C for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Pour 1 cup of milk, 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup of sugar into a pan.
  • Mix well and heat the mixture by constantly stirring. Once the mixture thickens, add vanilla extract, turn off the heat, and let your chocolate sauce cool down.
  • Once the cake is cooled down, pour the chocolate sauce on top and slice the cake.
  • Add topping of your choice and serve!

10. Millet Cookies

Millet cookies are effortless to make and a healthier alternative to store-bought cookies. They are made with ragi flour and have a very rustic flavor. These millet cookies are a healthy snack for kids as they are free of refined sugar! 

Recipe:

  • To a large bowl, add 1/2 cup ragi flour, 1/2 cup wheat flour, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. Mix everything using a wire whisk.
  • Add 1 cup jaggery powder and 1/4 cup chopped almonds and mix well.
  • Pour 6 tablespoons of melted ghee and 1 tablespoon of milk and mix well to form a dough.
  • Bring the dough together to form a ball and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 170 C for 15 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into lemon-sized balls. Place them on a tray 1 inch apart.
  • Flatten them gently and press them using a fork. Bake them for 15 minutes.
  • Cool them completely before serving.

Conclusion

Millets are very high in terms of their nutritional content. They can be eaten like any other grain, and each variety of millet is three to five times nutritionally better than highly processed rice and wheat. They are packed with vitamins and minerals and are gluten-free, non-allergic, and non-acidic – the perfect combination for children’s demanding but sensitive digestive systems. 

Millets are versatile and easy to cook, so you can be as creative as you want while cooking them. You can choose from different types of millet, and every kind of millet has its unique taste. You can make side dishes, appetizers, or desserts or include them in the main course. Millets provide multiple health benefits and provide your kids with the energy they need to get through the day. Including millets in your kid’s diet is one of the best decisions you can make!

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