Lugaw or rice porridge is used to be one of the common meals for malnourished children during feeding programs. It’s cost-effective, simple to make and easy to digest not to mention that it can be added with toppings such as sliced meat, fruits, and vegetables to increase its energy and nutrient value to meet a portion of a child’s recommended energy and nutrient intake.
While lugaw is the go-to meal for supplementary feeding programs from either government or non-government organizations, having a 90-120 day feeding of having lugaw as a meal may be too monotonous for children which may possibly lead them to dropping out.
With the passage of Republic Act 11037 also known as Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act and RA 11148 or Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act, National Government Agencies in coordination with the National Nutrition Council and Food and Nutrition Research Institute have developed a menu guide calendar which contains wide range of nutritious meals for young child (6-23 months), preschool (24-59 months) and school children (kindergarten to grade 6) which meets to the age groups recommended energy and nutrient intake.
Through the DOST-FNRI Menu Guide Calendar, no longer a child will eat the same type of meal every day as the Menu guide calendar showcases recipes that uses wide range of ingredients such as meat, fish, poultry, beans and legumes to support body growth and development; rice and root crops for source of energy to sustain daily activities and fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals to regulate normal body functions and promote resistance to diseases. The menu guide also teaches the users to prepare and present vegetables which is notoriously avoided by most children due to its unusual flavor to seamlessly mixed through the dishes in such a way that the children will not notice it.
For young child, transition recipes were introduced for 6-8 months and 9-11 months. The recipes have modified quantity of ingredients, portion sizes and method of preparation transitioning from pureed/mashed/soft to semi-solid and solid but small pieces and finger-sized friendly.
The Menu Guide Calendar is a useful tool for government and non-government organizations of Dietary Supplementation Program in crafting sound cycle menu that will entice the children to attend the daily feeding which will ultimately improve their nutritional status. Parents and caregivers can also use the Menu Guide Calendar for planning, preparing, and serving nutritious meals for their children.
From the basic lugaw that only fill one’s stomach to a multitude of healthy and appetizing dishes that can supplement a child’s growing body. The Dietary Supplementation Program has truly revamped and will continue further to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in the country.
Written by: PNFP Francis Erik P. Bacena
Republic Act 11037
Republic Act 11148
DOST-FNRI Menu Guide Calendar 2020
DOST-FNRI Menu Guide Calendar 2021