Why homemade cerelac for babies when instant ready-made baby foods are available?
What are the benefits of sathu maavu or homemade cerelac over packaged baby food?
How to prepare healthy homemade cerelac or sathu maavu in the proper way?
I am a person who believes in everything homemade for my bundle of love. Even my hubby and I refrain from having packaged and processed foods. This quality I got from my mother who puts so much effort to give the right and pure homemade food for her children and grandchildren.
So here I am with my signature style homemade cerelac or sathu maavu for babies, a recipe I got from my very health-conscious mom who prefers everything traditional and homemade.
What is sathu maavu or homemade cerelac?
Sathu maavu/ energy mix / homemade cerelac for babies is one of the rich foods which gives wholesome energy and strength. It is filling and can be consumed by everyone, even by our grandparents, but for babies strictly above ten months.
It is a porridge mix made using several kinds of cereal, grains, pulses and dry fruits. Some ingredients are soaked and sprouted too to increase the nutritional value.
Homemade cerelac is also known as sathu maavu porridge. In Kerala it is also known as the navadhanya mix or 9-cereal-mix as mostly this mix is made with 9 dhanyams or grains. But you can customize this mix according to the cereals you have at home.
Why go for homemade cerelac when packaged one is easily available?
We always have the tendency to go by the easy way, but forget the fact that easy doesn’t always mean safe. When we go behind hundreds of varieties of packaged instant ready to cook or ready to eat foods from the market, we always purposefully forget the fact that it is not the safest choice for our health. It stands true for baby food too.
It is true that the cerelac baby food powders or the kinds we get in tins from the market are hassle free and easy to make. But do you know how much of preservatives go into these baby foods to increase the shelf life? Preservatives eventually aren’t good for a little baby’s developing intestine.
Then again flavored baby foods that can make even adults drool are another hit in the market. But a quick look at the ingredients will tell you that such baby foods have nothing but artificial flavors in it. So what you are feeding your teeny tiny sensitive baby is nothing but a load of chemicals and additives.
Again we can never be sure about the storage conditions. The process passes through many stages before reaching our kitchen counter. We never know if the packaged food got infested during manufacture, godown storage, transportation and what not.
Then comes the allergy part. Kids who are allergic can have allergies from the ingredients in the store-bought baby foods. When we prepare baby food at home, we can avoid the allergy causing ingredients and make baby food accordingly.
A mom made food will be virtually safe food to be consumed. Is there a second reason required to tell why one should choose homemade food over packaged food! Moreover, entertaining homemade food will inculcate good eating habits and simultaneously you end up saving a great amount along with opting for home-made food.
Benefits of sathu maavu
- As it is homemade the quality of the ingredients is guaranteed and also you can adjust the ratio of ingredients in the recipe according to your liking.
- It is the best complementary food that can be introduced once basic early food items are introduced
- It is the best food for weight gain in babies
- Homemade cerelac boosts stamina
- It comes with a combination of healthy dietary sources such as cereals, dry fruits, and pulses
- It is highly beneficial for pregnant and breastfeeding ladies for it contains tremendous healthy ingredients
- The sathu maavu mix can be used to make idlis, dosa, laddoos, cakes etc. and so can be enjoyed by the entire family
Let us see the health benefits of the ingredients used in homemade cerelac.
Health benefits of the ingredients used in sathu maavu
I have used 16 ingredients here. It is not mandatory to include all the ingredients, but if you include it is the best.
Ragi or finger millet is easily digestible and is a rich source of calcium, fiber, thiamine, protein, carbohydrate and iron.
The other names of ragi are kooravu/kora/panjapullu/ in Malayalam, kelvaragu in Tamil, mandika or ragi in Kannada. It is called taidalu in Andhra and nachni in North India.
#2. Bajra (kambu in Tamil)
The starch in bajra or pearl millet has high energy content. Bajra also contains a good amount of calcium. Pearl millet is rich in fiber content and prevents constipation. It is also good to control diabetics and heart diseases.
It is called kambam in Malayalam, sajjalu in Telungu, Sajje/kambu in Kannada.
Wheat is rich in vitamin B, manganese, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc. Wheat is rich is fiber and improves metabolism
It is good for diabetic patients, helps prevent obesity, prevents chronic inflammations and is good for gastrointestinal health.
#4. Orange Corn
Orange corn is rich in carotenoids and vitamin A , a must for good eye health.
It is the same corn that we use for making popcorns.
White corn is rich in fiber, niacin, vitamic C and potassium. It also contains small amount of iron, folate and magnesium. For this reason it is good for skin, heart and muscles. It is also good to improve immunity.
It is also called maize or sweet corn. Maize or corn is chollam in Malayalam, makka in Hindi.
#6. Red / Brown Rice
In the brown rice the bran and germ layers are kept intact and so it doesn’t lose nutrients and minerals like white rice in the making process.
Brown rice is rich in selenium, manganese, naturally occurring oils and anti-oxidants. It also has good fibers. It lowers the risk of diabetes, cholesterol and childhood asthma. It is one of the best baby foods.
#7. Green Gram
It is rich in iron and magnesium. It also contains the Vitamis A, B and C along with Vitamin E. Green gram or whole moong dal is a good source of lean vegetarian protein.
It is considered anti-cancerous and is good to boost immunity.
#8. Chana Dal
Chana dal is chickpeas. It is rich in iron, protein, zinc, folate and manganese. It helps prevent anemia, helps improve immunity and hair growth. It is also considered goof for the in the proper functioning of the body and brain.
#9. Fried Gram
Fried gram is roasted gram / pottukadala/ porikadalai or pottukadalai.
It is rich in protein and various vitamins and minerals. It is good for iron deficiency problems as it contains a good amount of iron.
It is also good to lessen constipation and heart diseases.
Urad dal or split black gram is Ulunthu in Tamil, uzhunnu in Malayalam, Minumulu in Telugu, Uddu in Kannada and mashkalai ḍal in Bengali.
Urad dal is one of the richest sources of Vitamin B. It also contains iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It is also protein rich.
Almonds or badam are good for bones and boost immunity. It helps improves skin complexion and is good for maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
Cashewnut is kashuvandi in Malayalam and Kaju in Hindi.
Cashewnuts are rich in vitamins E, vitamin K and B6. It also contains minerals like copper, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium. Iron and selenium are also found in cashew nut. All these minerals and vitamins are important for the proper healthy functioning of the body.
Peanut is also known as groundnut/ goober. It is a legume and is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids and dietary proteins. It also contains Vitamin E and B plus minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium zinc , copper, and selenium.
Pistachios are a nutritionally rich food containing good amount of protein and dietary fibers. It also contains high content of copper, which aids in better absorption of iron. It also has various other vitamins and minerals.
Cardomom is Elakkai / Elaichi/ Yaalakkaya or Elakkaya.
It is rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium and manganese and helps to fight against nausea, acidity, bloating and heartburn. It is also good to improve appetite and better kidney function.
Dry ginger is known as sukku, chukku or sonth and is good for improving digestion and curbing gas related problems. It also helps improve immunity and fight flu and common cold.
Adding dry ginger to home-made cerelac lessens the chances of indigestion and gas that can occur from consuming so many pulses and grains.
How to prepare homemade cerelac for babies?
As said earlier, sathu maavu is recommended for babies above 10 months of age as by that time babies will be introduced to most of the ingredients used to prepare this health mix.
I started to prepare this from the ninth month end so that I can start giving sathu maavu to my darling daughter as soon as she is 10 months old. I have used almost 16 ingredients as listed above and I have sprouted certain cereals too to increase the nutritional value.
So here is the step by step method to prepare homemade cerelac.
Step By Step Method With Pics To Make Homemade Cerelac For Babies
Step 1: Soak all the ragi, bajra, wheat , corns, green gram and chana dal separately in water overnight.
Step 2: Drain each of them and tie them in a piece of cloth separately as shown in the image and place them in a dry area.
Step 3: When you open the cloth, they will turn into sprouts after almost 8-9 hours.
Step 4: Sundry or dry under the fan till the entire moisture is removed.
Step 5: Roast all the sprouted ingredients as well as the other ingredients like dry fruits, rice, fried gram and urad dal separately.
Step 6: Once roasted well and all the moisture is gone, mill it into fine powder with cardamom and dry ginger.
Step 7: Store in airtight containers.
Note: You can exclude any of these ingredients if you don’t have it available or if your baby is allergic to it.
- Ragi - 1 cup
- Bajra (kambu ) - 1 cup
- Wheat - 1 cup
- Orange Corn - 1 cup
- White Corn - 1 cup
- Red / Brown Rice - 1 cup
- Green Gram - 1 cup
- Chana Dal - 1 cup
- Fried Gram - 1 cup
- Urad Dal - 1 cup
- Almonds - ½ cup
- Cashews - ½ cup
- Peanut - ½ cup
- Pistachios - ½ cup
- Cardamom - 2 pods
- Dry Ginger - small piece
- Soak ragi, bajra, wheat , corns, green gram and chana dal separately in water overnight.
- Drain each of them and tie them in a piece of cloth separately as shown in the image and place them in a dry area.
- When you open the cloth, they will turn into sprouts after almost 8-9 hours.
- Sundry or dry under the fan till the entire moisture is removed.
- Roast all the sprouted ingredients as well as the other ingredients like dry fruits, rice, fried gram and urad dal separately.
- Once roasted well and all the moisture is gone, mill it into a fine powder with cardamom and dry ginger.
- Store in airtight containers.
Precautions while preparing cerelac at home
- Since the process includes sprouting of certain ingredients, at most care should be taken.
- If you find the sprouted product smelly or sticky or greasy, it means the sprouting process is not proper and the sprouted grains are spoilt. In such a case discard the sprouted product.
- If you are not sure of the sprouting process, you can leave that step and simply wash and dry the ingredients separately and roast them well to make the sathu maavu
- Roasting each ingredient is very important as this ensures that the moisture content is gone completely. If the moisture content is present it cannot be powdered properly and also can attract mold and bacteria growth.
- Store sathu maavu safely in an airtight container
- Exclude any ingredient that you think can cause allergy to your kid.
How to store homemade cerelac?
Store the health mix in a BPA free airtight containers in a dry place. If stored properly it can be stored for 2-3 months. In refrigerator, it can be stored for 6 months or more. But I always prefer and recommend mothers to prepare this as fresh batches for 2 or 3 months.
Can home-made cerelac be given to babies below 10 months?
It is best to exclusively breastfeed babies up to 6 months for it is a natural way to nourish a healthy baby.
Homemade cerelac can be given to babies below 10 months and above 6 months by excluding the dry fruits. Also it will be best if cereals and grains the baby is not introduced to are excluded to rule out the chances of allergy.
For babies above 10 months you can include all the ingredients mentioned in the list but do follow the 3 day golden rule while giving this for porridge for the first time.
How to cook cerelac porridge?
For babies above one year you can use milk and for babies below one year you can use water to make this porridge.
Add 2 tbsp of the health mix powder or homemade cerelac mix to 1 cup of water/milk and break the lumps. Cook it on low to medium flame for 5 to10 minutes. You can add ghee or jaggery too. Once the porridge is cooked, it starts coming off from the edges of the cooking utensil and becomes thicker. A nice aroma also comes. Adjust the consistency by adding boiled water or milk and serve according to the baby’s preference.
For the frequently asked questions on homemade cerelac for babies and the step by step pictorial instruction on how the make the sathu maavu porridge, please read the article Everything About Homemade Cerelac for Babies You Need to Know.
Hope you now got an idea on how to make cerelac powder at home. Though the process of making sathu maavu is strenuous and requires great patience, it is worth all the efforts. It gives the best nutrition for your kids minus the preservatives and artificial flavours.
Where to buy sathu maavu online?
If you are not confident to prepare this health mix at home or if you have no time or patience to put into this strenuous process, you can buy it from bumpsnbaby online store.
Hope you liked this article on sathu mavu or homemade cerelac for babies.
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