New Delhi: Region-specific millet recipes have been developed for school canteens, defence messes and train menus among others, and the Union Health Ministry has proposed signing MoUs with five ministries to create awareness about their nutritional benefits through collaborative approach. With 2023 being celebrated as the International Year of Millets, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has written to ministers of Defence, Railways, Education, Women and Child Development and Youth Affairs and Sports informing them about books with the region-specific recipes developed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
In his letter, Mr Mandaviya said FSSAI, under the aegis of the Ministry of Health, has been promoting incorporation of Shree Anna (millets) as part of a healthy and diverse diet among different sections of people through its Eat Right India initiative.
In his letter to Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Mr Mandaviya said healthy children and youth are the foundation of a healthy nation. The introduction of Shree Anna, which is an important part of India’s culinary heritage, would ensure that school-going children and the youth receive wholesome and nourishing food.
Mr Mandaviya said,
Children are also more receptive to new ideas and practices and the awareness about the health and nutritional benefits of Shree Anna would ensure that it would remain a part of their regular diet in the future too. In addition, children and the youth can be catalysts for positive change and spread awareness about the benefits of Shree Anna in their household and community.
He said FSSAI has developed a book with region-specific recipes — “Healthy Recipe for Schools” — which can be used in mid-day meal scheme, canteens/messes of schools and institutions of higher education and at different canteens under the Ministry of Education. The letter stated,
The Ministry of Health proposes to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education, which would put in place a mechanism to create awareness about the health and nutritional benefits of Shree Anna through a collaborative approach and to enhance food safety and hygiene practices at mid-day meal kitchens, canteens/messes of schools and institutions of higher education and other canteens under MoE.
In his letter to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the minister said,
On the strong shoulders of our defence forces lies the huge responsibility of ensuring the security of our nation, counter hostile situations and battle challenging terrain and extreme weather conditions.
Nutritional food is a prerequisite for sound health and the inclusion of Shree Anna, which are rich in micronutrients, would make the diet of our defence forces more varied and nourishing, Mr Mandaviya said while suggesting that a wide repertoire of millet-based recipes can be included in the menu of mess/canteens at base camps and training institutes. Menus can be specifically tailored keeping in mind the conditions and limitations at difficult terrains. He said FSSAI has developed a book with recipes along with nutritional value per serving of each dish — “Healthy Recipe for Defence” — which can be used at different canteens and food outlets under the MoD and proposed signing an MoU with the Ministry for creating a mechanism to create awareness about its nutritional benefits through a collaborative approach and to also inculcate food safety and hygiene practices at mess/canteens of defence forces.
In his letter to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Mr Mandaviya said Indian Railways is the lifeline of our nation and the common thread that binds us all.
“It not only transports over 13 million passengers every day but touches the lives of all Indians,” he said, adding it is essential to create better awareness about food safety and hygiene practices among Railway personnel and also food handlers at other outlets in and around railway stations.
The massive ecosystem of the Indian Railways also provides the opportunity to spread awareness about the health and nutritional benefits of Shree Anna across the length and breadth of the country. The FSSAI’s “Healthy Recipe for Railways” book can be used for preparing food served in trains, restaurants and other food outlets and at different canteens under the Ministry of Railways, the minister said.
Mr Mandaviya has also written to Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani stating Anganwadi Centres play a crucial role in ensuring that children of the age of up to six years get nutritional food in the form of snacks, hot cooked meals and food supplements. He said,
To take forward the cause of introducing Shree Anna in our regular dietary intake, millet-based recipes can be included in the menu of anganwadi centres, as well as canteens and other food outlets under the Ministry of Women and Child Development across the country.
This would not only encourage consumption of Shree Anna among children but the anganwadi centres would also become centres for spreading awareness about the health benefits of Shree Anna among the community.
The FSSAI has developed a book with region-specific recipes – “Millet Based Indian Recipes for Anganwadi Centres”, which can be used by anganwadi workers for this purpose, Mr Mandaviya said.
He has also written to Sports Minister Anurag Thakur stating that sportspersons are the pride of the country and train hard to reach their athletic potential but eating right also plays a major part in achieving the goal. The inclusion of Shree Anna in their diet would make it more varied and enhance its nutritive value. Sportspersons are role models for the society and increased adoption of Shree Anna by them would also help create awareness about its health and nutritional benefits among the community at large, Mr Mandaviya said.
The FSSAI has developed a book with separate recipes and suggestive diet plans for different types of sports “Eat Right Recipes for Sportsperson” which can be used at sports training centres and canteens/messes under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, he said.
The book also provides information about the practical application of nutrition in daily life while performing sports or fitness activities, he said.
Mr Mandaviya also proposed signing MoUs with ministries of Railways, Women and Child Development and Youth Affairs and Sports.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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