You bet it is!
Finger Millet, or Ragi, is one the first weaning foods given to infants when they are six to seven months old.
Ragi porridge (kanji) is also a wholesome and most popular food given to children of all ages.
Ragi is an excellent source of calcium and carbohydrates. Around 100 grams of ragi has 72 grams carbohydrates, and gives 328 Kcal of energy. The calcium content in ragi (340 mg/100g) is almost ten times higher than the content in wheat (30mg/100g)!
Ragi also contains good amounts of iron, protein, fiber, B-complex group of vitamins and many essential amino acids, including the multifunctional methionine.
Benefits of Finger Millets
Packed with so many nutrients, ragi is absolutely very beneficial for consumption by everyone, especially children.
Ragi-based foods are easy to digest because of the high fiber content. In their growing years, kids need optimum amounts of protein, iron, calcium and minerals for their bodies to develop healthily.
Ragi is most useful for children during their teething years because of its high content of calcium and amino acid threonine.
Regular consumption of ragi boosts immunity in children and lowers the levels of harmful cholesterol.
Ragi improves bone structure and health.
The amino acid tryptophan found in ragi keeps children mentally agile, and helps to overcome feelings of anxiety and depression. It also induces peaceful slumber in kids who have difficulty sleeping at night.
- The iron in ragi aids in blood formation.
- Ragi induces release of growth hormones in children.
- Amino acid methionine keeps the skin and hair healthy.
- Ragi helps control blood sugar in obese children.
How to Give Ragi
You may include ragi in their diet in the form of dosas, cakes, kanji, idlis, vermicelli, halwa, cutlets, porridge and health drinks (mixed with boiled water/ milk).
Ragi biscuits are an ideal tea-time snack.
Include ragi in your everyday meals by mixing ragi flour with the wheat flour used to make chapattis.
Fast food and comfort food look more tempting to children but these pose great risks of juvenile and adolescent diabetes and obesity. Children should be encouraged to have healthy food options like ragi, which is even highly recommended by paediatricians.