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New menu promises to offer nutrition-rich food in schools

Thousands of students in municipal schools across the city have a reason to look forward to their afternoon meal.

Written by DEBARATI BASU | Vadodara |
February 4, 2009 3:08:06 am

Thousands of students in municipal schools across the city have a reason to look forward to their afternoon meal. A new menu specially formulated by the M S University’s Faculty of Family and Community Sciences (FFCS) for the Mid-day Meal (MDM) Scheme will be implemented shortly.

The menu has been put into effect after identifying the low nutrition value and a strong dislike of the students for the food given earlier.

As per the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NPNSPE),every child under the MDM scheme should receive food consisting of 100 grams of cereal,20 grams of dal,10 grams of oil and 50 grams of vegetables everyday. For this,the scheme allocates a budget of Rs 1.70 per child per day.

The Central government supplies the annual requirement of rice and wheat,while the state government provides cereals and oil.

But each school has to take care of the fuel,vegetable and spices from the remaining budget of 70 paise per child per day.

“This led to the use of poor quality vegetables and local spice brands to cut costs. With our study,we also found that the children failed to receive the quantity prescribed under the NPNSPE guidelines,” said Vanisha Nambiar,faculty member of Food and Nutrition Department,FFCS and project head of food modification in the MDM scheme.

With pilot studies done in some of the schools,the Department of Food and Nutrition,FFCS have modified and changed the menu as well as the recipe.

“We found that children somehow best responded to rice and dal. So,we have tried to incorporate maximum combinations of this in the weekly menu chart,” said Nambiar.

The revised menu will have combinations of rice,dal,sambar,sheera,palak,fada,lapsi,and khichdi. “We know that the children don’t like fada and lapsi but we couldn’t afford to remove it,as it gives the maximum amount of nutrition. But we have made a different recipe for it so that children like it,” said Nambiar.

The menu has been approved by the board and is likely to be introduced from Wednesday. “The changes are necessary,as there is no point in continuing with the food that the children don’t like at all,” said D H Shah,Deputy Collector of MDM Scheme.

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