Baobab seed purée, Moringa leaf porridge, peanut curry with squash: these are just a few of the special recipes found in the cookbook created by the Beira Hospital offering ideas for nutritious meals to help in the fight against child malnutrition.
The recipes are both simple and – most importantly – accessible to all, since the ingredients they call for are both easy to find and inexpensive. A team of Doctors with Africa CUAMM doctors and researchers in Mozambique studied each of the ingredients contained in the recipes, dividing them into staple foods such as flour, potatoes and cassava; growth foods, i.e. those that are fundamental for the proper development of children, such as eggs, milk, meat, fish and legumes; “defence foods” that help to strengthen children’s immune systems, such as cabbage, sweet potato and cassava leaves, and plenty of fruit and vegetables; and energy foods to increase calorie intake, such as honey, oil and sugar. They then prepared a cookbook featuring recipes based on these ingredients for nutritious meals for children from 4 to 8 years of age.
The recipes are now being taught to the mothers of malnourished children being treated at the Beira Hospital. The objective is to help accustom the women to preparing such meals and to learn how to properly nourish themselves and their families, thereby playing a crucial role in the fight against malnutrition. In a country like Mozambique, where almost 43% of children suffer from chronic malnutrition and 6% from acute malnutrition, teaching proper nutritional habits means sparking a process of positive change for the country’s future.