Weaning is an important milestone in a baby’s life and weaning practices are strongly associated with culture of a society. The use of traditional foods is important since they contain vital nutrients and essential vitamins important for the proper maintenance of human health, especially for children who are often vulnerable to malnutrition and diseases. The focus of this study was to identify traditional weaning foods with public health potential for complementary feeding. The study was conducted in six villages in the Northeast District of Botswana. The qualitative research comprised focus group discussions, key informants, and non-participant observation. The target population were women in childbearing age, which is between 20 and 40 years, including fathers, local chiefs, older women, and men who have been residing in the villages over a long time and are knowledgeable with the traditional foods consumed. Traditional food stuffs such as cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables and animal and animal products were identified and perceived by the respondents to have health and nutrition benefits. Different traditional processing methods were identified. There is a need to promote the consumption of traditional foods in a bid to improve nutrition and health security in Botswana.
Key words: Traditional foods, weaning foods, food processing, nutritional values, food security.
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