By Thomas Pere
TO some people, breakfast is incomplete without milk, while to others, it is for babies. â€œI used to buy five sackets of half-litre milk for my family everyday, but I have stopped. I will resume when the prices normalise,â€ a parent says.
A litre of milk costs between sh1,200 to sh3,000, up from sh600. Bright Rwamirama, the agriculture state minister, says 750,000 litres of milk are being collected daily countrywide, which is a shortfall from the normal production of 1,500,000 litres daily.
The deficit, Rwamirama says, is a result of the prolonged drought in some parts of the country.
However, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics 2009 abstract says the production of milk increased from 1,250,000,000 litres in 2006 to 1,458,000,000 litres currently.
Tinned milk is one of the alternatives, but it is expensive. A 250mg tin of skimmed milk costs about sh8,900. So what does this mean to the ordinary person? The shortage has left many people wondering how to maintain a steady supply of milk nutrients (calcium and protein) without spending more.
Dr. Hanifa Bachou, a nutritionist at Mwanamugimu Nutrition Unit in Mulago Hospital, says the shortage mainly affects vulnerable groups, including babies because those who are not in this category can rely on other foods for the nutrients.
According to Wikipedia encyclopedia, milk contains significant amounts of saturated fat, protein and calcium as well as Vitamin C. It is recommended even beyond infancy due to its nourishment value. A family of two adults and two children, needs at least a litre of milk everyday.
Milk aids bone and teeth growth. The aging group also requires it because their bones tend to weaken with age.
â€œAlthough children need milk most, those who are below six months have the alternative of breast milk.
Mothers who cannot breastfeed, including HIV-positive patients, but can afford alternative milk are encouraged to buy it, as per the conditions set by the health ministry,â€ says Bachou.
Alternatively, one can buy soya milk. It is a highly nutritious liquid extract from soya bean and is especially good for people who are allergic to protein in animal milk. Soy milk can be bought already packed or be prepared at home.
One can also opt for soya porridge, which is made from whole soya. Nutritionists say it is more nutritious than soy milk because it contains complete protein.
Milk can also be substituted with sim sim and groundnuts. â€œThere is plenty of sim sim and groundnuts countrywide, especially in northern Uganda. A ratio of four parts of groundnuts to one part of simsim is recommended.
The combination is usually eaten as paste or put in porridge or sauce,â€ she adds. To make the paste, dry-fry the simsim or groundnuts and grind on a stone or in an electrical grinding machine. You can also pound the foods in a mortar.
Jolly Gonahasa, the director of Jovay School of Cookery in Wandegeya, Kampala, says soy milk is ideal for people with lactose intolerance or those who are allergic to cow milk protein.
Soy milk has less saturated fat and contains roughly similar protein and fat in cow milk. However, it is low in calcium. She says it is not advisable to feed young babies on pure soy milk as it contains phytic acid which hinders the ability to absorb minerals and may retard digestion of protein.
Soy milk can be bought, but it is expensive. A bottle of 300ml costs sh12,000 at the Faculty of Food Science, Makerere University,â€ says Gonahasa.
How to make Soy Milk
Sort the soy beans, then soak them overnight in water to cover the seed.
Drain and crush in a motor using a pestle.
Using a clean fine muslin cloth, squeeze out the liquid soya milk and heat it over low heat.
Keep stirring until bubbles start to form, then heat to a low temperature and allow to cool.
Dilute with water.
You can also fortify with calcium.
EGGS HAVE ESSENTIAL ACIDS
Eggs are an excellent source of high-quality protein and contain all the essential amino acids for the body. One egg has about 11% of the daily value of protein.
Proteins in egg yolk may help reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack by inhibiting blood clot formation. Eggs are also a good source of omega 3, which increases good cholesterol and decreases bad cholesterol and lowers high blood pressure.
BROWN RICE HEALTHIER
Brown rice provides the necessary carbohydrates and is rich in fibre. It helps control blood sugar and cholesterol. Brown rice is a body building food, beneficial for stomach and prevents intestinal ulcers and for diarrhoea.
It is easily digested starch. Because of the mineral content, it supplies important nutrients for the hair, teeth, nails, muscles and bones.
PACK YOUR CHILD'S LUNCH
Between helping with homework, making dinner, and the nightly bedtime routine, it is difficult to find the time to pack a healthy lunch each day for your child. It helps to monitor your childâ€™s eating habits and provides better food variety for your child. Cost saving from making the meals yourself and preparing your childâ€™s meals gives you satisfaction and shows your love.