Porridge Saves the Day
by Esther from California
Porridge was a staple during my childhood days, in my mother country Uganda. Most schools and families prepared it for breakfast, especially for the kids. In the junior boarding school that I went to, we had it every morning for breakfast.
Porridge is usually cereal or cornmeal or oats boiled in water, which makes a delicious paste. It is very basic and cheap yet very nutritious, depending on the additional ingredients that you put in. It is also a very good source of energy for active children.
I grew up during a civil war and so foods were quite expensive. So, the cooks at my school usually mixed cornmeal in water and stirred on the fire until it was ready. Since they never added anything to it, we became creative with the snacks that our parents brought us on their monthly visit to check on us. Most parents would bring lasting snacks like roasted peanuts, roasted soybeans, powdered milk, sugar and others, depending on the parents’ thoughtfulness. We would take to the dining room a cup with some sugar and powdered milk mixed with soybeans and peanuts, and then the cook would fill the rest of the cup with porridge. We would then mix it all up and scoop the mixture with a spoon to eat, and we left the dining hall with a full stomach to take us until lunch time.
So as soon as my daughter hit six months and was ready to try food, I started her on porridge and what a blessing it has been! My little girl is really picky, so I come up with all sorts of ideas. She tries some a few times and completely refuses others. Nowadays she loves to snack on cucumber slices layered with mozzarella cheese, but I know that will be short lived. However, one thing she has held on to, that she asks for even before she goes to bed at night, is porridge. I usually put three heaping scoops of yellow cornmeal with only milk in a small pot and stir for about 30 minutes and leave it to cool. I vary it with oatmeal, milk and raisins and stir for about 10-15 minutes. She eats this 3 times every day. I deliberately leave out sugar in anything that I make for my family, and my daughter is used to it, which saves us visits to the dentist.
I’m glad I was raised on porridge because it saves the day in my house. My husband and I like to eat it on Saturday mornings.
This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Esther.
My name is Esther. I live in Santee, CA with my husband and 4 year old daughter. I'm a stay at home mom during the day and a caregiver in the evening.
Want more information on this topic? wichealth.org has a free online lesson called Help Your Child Develop Healthy Eating Habits. Or, try our lesson called Solving Picky Eating! Find both of these lessons on wichealth.org in the Children Ages 1 to 5 category.