Indigenous plant foods play a major nutritional and cultural role in the diets of rural people in Africa.
However, they can contain high levels of antinutrients, which may exacerbate nutritional and health
problems in young children consuming nutrient deficient diets. Also, the rapid increase in urbanization
in Africa has led to the need for convenience type meals. This study investigated the potential of
micronization (infrared treatment) in combination with extrusion cooking in developing a ready-to-eat
sorghum and cowpea based porridge supplemented with cooked cowpea leaves for young child-feeding.
Micronization not only inactivated the trypsin inhibitors in cowpea, it also produced an instantized
product with excellent hydration properties. When served as a stiff porridge with cooked cowpea leaves
in the recommended portion sizes for children aged 2e5 years, one daily serving would meet 40% of the
children's protein and lysine requirements. Further, the calculated Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino
Acid Score would be comparable to commercial maize-soy instant products. This is notwithstanding that
the cowpea leaves had a negative effect on protein digestibility due to their high tannin content. This
nutritious ready-to-eat meal from locally available plant foods could contribute substantially to food
security in both urban and rural communities in Africa.