Improved recipes provide better complementary feeding in young children: findings of community-based trials in Bangladesh | European Journal of Clinical Nutrition –



In Bangladesh, only 34% of children receive minimum acceptable diets as complementary foods (CF) for appropriate age while the rest of them remain at the risk of growth faltering, micronutrient deficiency, compromised cognitive development, and increased morbidity and mortality.


The purpose of the study was to develop nutritious recipes for complementary feeding and provide necessary guidelines for improving complementary feeding practices for doctors, nutritionist and caregivers.


This qualitative study including a baseline survey and Trials of Improved Practices of recipes (TIPs) was conducted on families having 6–23 months old children selected by Multi-stage random sampling methods from 2010 to 2012 throughout seven divisions of Bangladesh. Thirty-five food recipes were developed from local food items based on the ‘WHO indicators to assess the adequacy of CF practices’ for the TIP. Thirty (30) cooked recipes were analyzed for 10 nutrients in an accredited laboratory in Bangladesh.


The baseline survey found that energy density of local recipes was low and did not have the required diversity, adequacy, and nutrient density according to IYCF indicators established by WHO. The TIPs found that 28 recipes out of the 35 recipes were most acceptable by both mothers and children. A manual of improved complementary food recipes and a complementary feeding guideline has been developed with calculation of dietary diversity scores, energy and nutrient density.


This report will provide evidence-based practical knowledge for training and serve as nutrition education tool for nutrition practitioners, policy makers, and academicians.

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Fig. 1: Acceptability (100%) of different recipes by the children in different Divisions when served by thier mothers or caregivers after being cooked.
Fig. 2: Acceptability (100%) of different recipes by the mothers in each Division after the preparation of foods.


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This study was financed under the Research Grants Scheme (RGS) of the National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Program (NFPCSP) Phase II. The NFPCSP is being implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Food Planning and Monitoring Unit (FPMU), Ministry of Food with the financial support of EU and USAID.

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SKR was involved in designing the study concept and conducted the study. SK, AKMIK, KJ contributed to supervision, quality control, provided substantial advice on analysis of data, and interpretation of result. MAM was involved in editing and interpreting the manuscript and provided significant advice. LB was involved in methodology and interpretation of results and provided technical inputs. NAK was involved in data analysis and interpreting the manuscript.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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The study was approved by Ethical Review Committee of the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC), Mohakhali, Dhaka.

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