Porridges prepared from the staple, and soups, are often used as early complementary foods. However, these are usually watery and contain little energy and few nutrients.

To improve the nutritional value of porridges and soups:

  • Use less water and make a thicker porridge.
  • Replace some (or all) of the water with milk when making porridge.
  • Add oil, sugar, margarine or ghee to porridge.
  • Add groundnut or sesame seed paste to soups.
  • Take out a mixture of the solid pieces in soups such as beans, meat or vegetables, and mash well with the staple food. Soften with a little margarine or oil for extra energy.
  • Toast cereal grains before grinding them for flour. Toasted flour does not thicken much, and uses less water to make porridge.


  • How do mothers usually prepare porridge to feed to babies? Do they normally add anything to make these more nutritious?
  • What foods could be added to porridge to improve the nutritional content? Are there beans, groundnuts, lentils or mung beans available?
  • Do people normally roast grains before milling? Could this be done easily?
  • Are there any special flours (as in the recipe below) available in the local area that would help mothers with little time to quickly produce nutritious food for their babies? Do large companies produce these? Could a small group of women in our community produce and sell these nutritious flours?

Baby food recipe

  • Three parts roasted cereal (maize, millet, rice, sorghum or wheat). Use a mix of two cereals if possible.
  • One part roasted pulse (soybeans, groundnuts, lentils, beans, grams and peas). Use a mix of two of these if possible. 

Clean the grains and pulses well, roast them well (separately) and grind into fine flour (separately or together). 

Store the flour in a container which keeps out air for one to three months. 

The flour is stirred into boiling water and cooked for a short time to make porridge. Salt should not be added.