Development of low-cost nutrient-dense composite flours from locally available foods for children aged 1-5 years in Eastern Uganda
Birungi, Shamim Warugaba
MetadataShow full item record
Childhood malnutrition is a common problem in Uganda. Lack of proper nutrition during the early years can have lifelong consequences on educational attainment, health and economic outcomes. Locally available foodstuffs can be used to formulate nutritionally adequate food mixtures. This study aimed to develop acceptable inexpensive nutrient-dense mixtures from locally available foods for children aged 1-5 years in eastern Uganda (Kamuli, Buyende and Pallisa districts). The five least-cost sources of energy, protein, iron and zinc in each of the two rainy seasons and two dry seasons were identified from locally available foods. The gross energy, proximate and mineral compositions of the identified foods were determined and used to formulate optimal mixtures for the different seasons. The optimal mixtures for the dry seasons contained sweet potatoes, maize, sorghum, soybeans, beans, sesame and groundnuts. The optimal mixtures for the rainy seasons contained maize, sorghum, beans, sesame and groundnuts. The most acceptable formulations had functional properties that are desirable in foods for infants and young children such as high dispersibility (77.2-76.8%), low water absorption index (WAI) (1.7-2.0g/g) and high water solubility index (WSI) (0.2-.03g/g). The pasting properties indicated that the formulations form stable low viscosity pastes that can withstand breakdown during cooking and have high resistance to retrogradation on cooling. When cooked, the most acceptable formulation for the dry seasons had gross energy of 87.2 kcal, 2.3g of sugars, 9.5g of starch, 5.8g of protein, 1.6g of crude fat, 1.7g of fiber, 0.8g of ash, 7.5mg of iron and 1.6mg of zinc per 100g. The most acceptable formulation for the rainy seasons had gross energy of 71.4 kcal, 2.6g of sugars, 7.1g of starch, 4.2g of protein, 0.9g of crude fat, 1.0g of fiber, 0.6g of ash, 8.1mg of iron and 1.4mg of zinc per 100g. The cooked samples provided more than 50% of the Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNI) for protein, iron and zinc for children aged 1-5 years per serving. The adoption of the formulations developed in this study has the potential to reduce undernutrition in children aged 1-5 years. However, it is recommended that in vitro digestibility and mineral bioavailability studies of the formulations are carried out to predict the fraction of nutrients that would be absorbed by a child`s gastrointestinal tract and as such make necessary readjustments to the formulations.