Homemade preparations (HMP) is sufficient wholesome nutritious food for Infants

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Homemade preparations – Not always the best option

Goyal and Singh in 2007 reported preference of home cooked food by 81 percent of the consumers in comparison to fast food outlets [Goyal and Singh, 2007]. However, in developing countries, homemade foods are often known to be of low nutritive value. Bulk is a major problem of homemade complementary foods. For adults and older children, it is usually possible to achieve an adequate protein and energy intake by increasing the daily consumption. But for infants and younger children, the volume of the homemade complementary diets may be too large to allow the child to ingest all the food necessary to cover his or her nutritional needs. E.g., a 4- to 6-month infant would need 62 g of corn gruel to meet daily needs of energy (740 kcal) and protein (13 g), which would be an impossible task considering the size of an infant’s stomach [Abeshu et al., 2016]. 

A study conducted by Mesch et al demonstrated that both homemade and commercial meals for infants of 6 and 9 months of age were low in vegetable varieties. However, at 12 months of age, infants fed with commercial meals got a higher vegetable variety than those fed with homemade meals. The study also noted that carrot was the most frequently used vegetable in both homemade and commercial meals [Mesch et al 2014].

Mosha et al evaluated nutritional composition and micronutrient status of homemade and commercial weaning foods consumed in Tanzania. It was seen that both homemade and commercial weaning foods had some shortcomings in terms of nutrient composition and energy balance. However, Ca, Fe and Zn were the commonly deficient nutrients in homemade weaning foods [Mosha et al, 2000].

Inference

Results of the above studies indicate that macronutrients are met by HMPs but they lack micronutrients for recommended daily allowances and thus, are unable to meet the nutritious need of most of the population. In developing countries like India, there is need to focus on the quality and variety of both homemade and commercial meals.

Reference

  • Goyal A, Singh NP. Consumer perception about fast food in India: An exploratory study. British Food Journal. 2007;109:2 
  • Abeshu MA, Lelisa A, Geleta B. Complementary Feeding: Review of Recommendations, Feeding Practices, and Adequacy of Homemade Complementary Food Preparations in Developing Countries - Lessons from Ethiopia. Front Nutr. 2016 Oct 17;3:41.
  • Mesch CM, Stimming M, Foterek K, Hilbig A, Alexy U, Kersting M, Libuda L. Food variety in commercial and homemade complementary meals for infants in Germany. Market survey and dietary practice. Appetite. 2014 May;76:113-9.
  • Mosha TCE, Laswai HS, Tetens I. Nutritional composition and micronutrient status of homemade and commercial weaning foods consumed in Tanzania. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2000;55(3):185-205.