INFORMATION SHEET 4
NUTRITIOUS AND TASTY SNACKS
FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
Young children and teenagers must eat adequate food as they pass through critical stages of growth and development. If intervals between family meals are too long, children become hungry before the next meal is served. When children are hungry, they lack energy and become tired easily, they cannot concentrate or learn well at school. Children in many rural areas walk long distances to school and spend a long time away from home. To ensure proper growth and development, and support their high activity levels and help them to concentrate at school, children must have access to energy- and nutrient-rich snacks between main meals.
Three- to ten-year-old children are growing rapidly and require more energy per kilogram of body weight than teenagers. They must also eat more often than older children, which means three main meals a day plus two smaller meals (snacks) between the main meals. Teenagers need two to three main meals and one or two snacks. A home garden providing a wide variety of crops for snack foods helps children maintain good nutritional levels.
Snack foods that provide energy, can be eaten raw or cooked and are suitable for filling the gap between main family meals include: boiled or roasted roots and tubers (cassava, yams, plantains, potatoes); boiled or roasted green maize; roasted groundnuts or oilseeds such as melon or pumpkin; bread spread with groundnut paste; fried fish, meat or sausages; eggs; dairy products such as milk, curd or cheese; insects such as locusts or termites; and fruits such as bananas, oranges, mangoes, or sugar cane.
A mother of small children who works away from the home can easily prepare these types of snacks in advance and instruct the children's caregiver (e.g. grandparent, sibling or other relative) to give the children two or three snacks during the day, between family meals. School-age children can take any of these foods to school. Such foods provide energy and other nutrients (e.g. vitamins from fruits, proteins and fat from nuts) and are easy to eat.
The following recipes are for nutritious and tasty snacks, such as biscuits and cakes, that can be prepared at home using locally available ingredients.
12 tablespoons crushed raw peanuts
4 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons maize flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1. Mix the ingredients together.
2. Shape mixture into flat cakes.
3. Cook cakes slowly on a greased hot plate or frying pan.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup shelled and roasted peanuts
1. Dissolve sugar in a pan of water.
2. Heat the pan and stir until a syrup forms. When syrup is golden brown, add the peanuts and mix well.
3. Pour the firm mixture on to a large oiled dish, spreading it into a 1-1½-cm-thick layer.
4. Let the mixture set, but before it gets hard, cut it into small squares.
200 g raw cassava, grated
½ cup milk
75 g butter
225 g sugar
50 g wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1. Mix cassava with egg and milk.
2. Beat butter and sugar until creamy.
3. Mix butter and sugar mixture with the cassava, egg and milk mixture.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add flour mixture to egg mixture. Mix well.
5. Pour into cake pan and bake for 40 minutes.
2 ripe but firm plantain, peeled and sliced
1 cup cooking oil, preferably red palm oil
1. Deep-fry plantain. Drain excess oil.
½ cup milk
30 g butter
2 cups self-raising flour
1. Mash bananas.
2. Add milk and mix.
3. In a separate bowl, cut butter into flour and salt.
4. Add banana and milk mixture to flour and butter mixture. Mix well.
5. Roll out dough. Use glass or jar to cut into round pieces.
6. Bake in hot oven (230°C or 450°F) for about 15 minutes.
Moinmoin (steamed bean flour cakes)
Cassava flour (if necessary)
Dried fish or boiled eggs (optional)
1. Mix bean flour with water to form a paste. (A little cassava flour can be used for binding the mixture.)
2. Add pepper, onion and salt (and other ingredients, if desired) to paste.
3. Wrap paste in banana leaves and steam.
Sweet potato pastry
Sweet potato (preferably yellow-fleshed), grated
Some wheat flour
Pineapple juice or coconut milk (optional)
1. Mix ingredients together.
2. Bake as you would other biscuits.