How Food and Education are Co-related?

Personally, I cannot concentrate even for five minutes when I am hungry. And, even if I push myself, I will end up doing a half-baked job that will require me to ultimately rework on the same thing. Least had I realised, until recently, that each day millions of children undergo incessant hunger pangs while trying to concentrate in classrooms. It made me to think ‘can right to education be achieved if we do not take care of the basic necessity called food?’

Food and education

Many research studies have indicated that food and education are inter-related factors. While it is true that without food children cannot concentrate well in classrooms and school activities, it is also a matter of concern that with food and no education, children will turn out to be dependent citizens of the country. Thus, it is important for food and education to go hand in hand. But, one should also be mindful of the fact that food here is indicative of nutrition-rich diet. Only a balanced nutritious meal will support proper physical and cognitive development in children. Only such a meal will maintain the nutrition equilibrium in the body that is vital for children to be active and focus on learning. This is being well-understood by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO in India that has been providing wholesome school meals for the past 17 years. With their school lunch programme, they aim to provide ‘unlimited food for education’ and achieve the vision of ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.’

In order to address the need of providing nutritious food to school-going children and to garner support from all sections of the society, Akshaya Patra recently began ‘Feed the Future Now’ campaign. This campaign is an attempt to spread awareness regarding the criticality of hunger and hidden hunger in the development of children. It intends to advocate the right to food while providing a platform for each and every one of us to contribute towards what we all believe ‘children are the future of a society’. And, it is heartening to see that corporate giants such as GlaxoSmithKline, PepsiCo, Nestle, Reliance Fresh, Viacom18, Facebook, Big FM PVR Cinemas and The Lalit Group of Hotels, along with renowned individuals namely Shankar Mahadevan, Vivek Oberoi, Sanjeev Kapoor, and Sonali Bendre have joined hands with the NGO in this initiative. Expressing her view, Ms. Deepa Menon, Senior Vice-President (Corporate Communications & CSR), PVR Ltd. said, “Nutrition and development are interlinked. Therefore, being a socially sensitive organisation, PVR is supporting ‘Feed the Future Now’ initiative through the use of its physical infrastructure. The initiative is also in sync with the ethos of PVR Nest which concentrates its efforts towards mainstreaming underprivileged children and restoring confidence among them by investing on education, health and nutrition, skill development, and employability through our ‘Childscapes’ programme.”

In my opinion, Akshaya Patra has opened the door to a path, on which when we walk, we can ensure Right to Food and Right to Education of millions of our young citizens. And, as we know that the nation is fast progressing towards the day when it will be a home to the youngest and largest working-age population in the world, the least we can do is participate and contribute in the endeavour of this Foundation.  Let us donate for children and give them the benefit of nutritious meals and rightful education.

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Know about 6 vegetables that has high nutritional value

 

Nutritious food

Food is important for healthy growth of mind and body. This helps in stopping hunger now. Elders have always been particular about their children eating vegetables. But, children prefer to avoid them, as much as they can. But, no matter what, children need a balanced diet to be healthy.

Potato, tomato, beans, pumpkin, bottle gourd, carrot, beetroot, etc., should be eaten regularly for a healthy life. Or, you end up with ailments that can affect your mental and physical well-being.

By using the different seasonal mixed vegetables like spinach, beans and such others during their respective seasons The Akshaya Patra Foundation ensures that children get a balanced diet all-year-round.

Spinach: Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain antioxidants that combat free radicals. These are absolutely necessary for one to remain healthy and help avoid ailments and physical issues in future. Like spinach, tomatoes too contain antioxidants that fight free radicals.

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Free radicals damage contributes to the development of many chronic health problems such as cardiovascular and inflammatory disease, cataract, and cancer. Antioxidants prevent free radical induced tissue damage by preventing the formation of radicals.

Beans: Beans are a great source of nutrition. They contain lysine, an essential amino acid which helps the body convert fatty acids into energy and helps to lower cholesterol. They also contain folate, a B vitamin which affects neurotransmitters that can boost your mood. It is among the important vegetable which ensures you stop Hidden Hunger.

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Brinjal: Brinjal is rich in minerals such as potassium which is good for metabolism, and magnesium which helps to relax your muscles and can aid in improving your sleep. If you lack vitamin B and K this is a good vegetable. The skin has extra nasunin, a nutrient and antioxidant which has anti-ageing properties.

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Pumpkin: Pumpkins contain essential nutrients such as folic acid, manganese, vitamin C and zinc, all known to help in strengthening the body’s natural immune system.

Pumpkin

Brussel Sprouts (mini cabbage): Not only are sprouts rich in vitamin C and K, which help to maintain healthy bones, they also contain carotenoids, essential for supporting good vision. Sprouts are a great source of vitamin C and also contain very low sodium and fat content, making them a great vegetable for supporting heart’s health.

Group of Brussel Sprouts isolated on white background

These and more are used by Akshaya Patra to Feed the Children Now. You can participate in this initiative by donating towards the Foundation and eradicating classroom hunger.

Seasonal Nutritious Dishes Keep Children Healthy

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Nutritious and healthy food is the birthright of every child. But, not all children get to have it every day. There can be varied reasons for the same.

The school lunch provided by The Akshaya Patra Foundation to over 1.6 million schoolchildren every day ensures that the children get nutritious and healthy food containing seasonal dishes as a part of their school lunch. It also ensures they get a balanced diet and are saved from hidden hunger.

The Foundation ensures that children get fresh and different variety of dishes in their meals. It has been observed that children like different kinds of dishes in their meals every day. This, in a way, ensures that the food wastage is less. While feeding the seasonally available food, the Foundation ensures that the children get the kind of food cooked in their region. For this, every Akshaya Patra kitchen has different menu. This is necessary to feed the children nutritious meals every day.

As seasons change, the types of vegetables and fruits available differ. Hence, it won’t be possible to give children the same food and vegetables throughout the year. There are different types of pulses and varieties of beans that grow only during certain seasons. Hence, when they are available. The children from the region where these season fruits and vegetables are harvested can relish dishes made from these ingredients.

India is blessed with numerous climatic zones and climatic conditions. Therefore, the fruits and vegetables grown across the country vary. This also affects the nutritional properties of all them. Keeping this in mind, the ingredients in the menu are changed. Sometimes, new dishes are introduced in the menu to make it suitable for the season. With this Akshaya Patra has been able to stop hunger now. Donations from the organisations and philanthropists form an important part of our initiative to bring a change.