Food is one of the basic necessities for sustaining human life. Therefore, the food in the diet should be nutritionally balanced. We need a sufficient supply of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water, salts, vitamins and minerals for proper nutrition and nourishment. Since it is not possible to get all these elements in sufficient amounts in any single food item, the right amount of all these elements should be achieved by including various food items in the daily diet.

In order for the child to be well nourished, it is important that the child’s mother get the right kind of food, right from conception. Eating sufficient food does not mean that the person is getting proper nutrition. It is just as important to get nutrients like salts, vitamins, and so on. The meals should include a balanced and nutritious diet. It is also very important to include local food grains, fruits and vegetables grown in that area. Adequate nutrition is essential for the child’s growth and development to be normal.

Very Important

The components of a balanced diet are as follows. They should be included in the child's feeding

Pulses, oilseeds and nuts

Milk and dairy products



Yams and potatoes

Other vegetables and fruits

Yellow fruits and vegetables


The food should include all the three major components that energies and replenish the body as well as keep the body healthy by boosting the immune system.

The body gets energy from carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrates are found in all types of cereals, legumes, and tubers. Lubricants are obtained from all types of oils, oilseeds, eggs, meat, fish and ghee.

Proteins replenish the body's waste. Protein is obtained from all cereals, whole grains, oilseeds, milk and milk products as well as eggs, meat and fish.

Vitamins and minerals protect the body by boosting the immune system. All fruits, vegetables and legumes provide vitamins and minerals.

In order for the body to be properly nourished and healthy, it is necessary to have different colored food items like the colors of the rainbow. For this one must use the seasonal foods that are easily available around them.

Hunger Cues - 0 to 6 months

The child sucking on his/ her hands
Intensifying his/ her limb movements
Salivation from the mouth
Trying to find the mother by looking around
Demonstrating fondness for breastfeeding by turning his/ her head toward the breast
Ultimately crying

Hunger Cues - 6 to 12 months

Walking behind the mother
Pulling on to the mother’s clothes
Taking the mother to the kitchen or near the snack box

Fullness Cues - 0 to 6 months

Turning his/ her head away or closing the mouth
Moving away
Refusing to eat
Removing the food from the mouth

Complementary Feeding

While Feeding the Child…


Sing songs, narrate stories, take them into a scenic environment.


It is very important to touch, talk with the child while feeding.


Encourage the child to eat with his/ her own hands.


All family members should be included.


The caregiver should pay complete attention to the child.


The child should be fed in a separate plate.


Do not try to force-feed the child.