Energy density in foods given to infants and young children can be increased in four different ways:
- By adding a teaspoonful of oil or ghee to the child's food. Fat is a concentrated source of energy and substantially increases energy content of food without increasing the bulk. There is no reason to feel that a child can not digest visible fat when added to food.
- By adding a teaspoonful of sugar or jaggery to the child's food. Children need more energy and hence adequate amounts of sugar or jaggery can be added to their food.
- By giving malted foods. Malting reduces the viscosity of foods and hence a child can eat more at a time. Malting is germinating whole grain cereals or pulses, drying it after germination and grinding. Infant Food Mixes prepared after malting the cereal or pulse will provide more energy. Flours of malted food when mixed with other foods help in reducing the viscosity of that food. Amylase Rich Flour (ARF) is the scientific name given to flours of malted foods and must be utilized in infant foods.
- By feeding thick but smooth mixtures. Thin gruels do not provide enough energy. A young infant particularly during 6-9 months requires thick but smooth mixtures as hard pieces in the semi-solid food may cause difficulty if swallowed. Semi-solid foods for young infants can be passed through a sieve by pressing with a ladle to ensure that the mixed food is smooth and uniform without any big pieces or lumps.