Our food, our health – World Food Day in retrospect – Myjoyonline.com

Posted: October 20, 2019 at 9:32 am


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Last Wednesday was observed as World Food Day. It focused ones mind on one of thebig issues in nutrition today- obesity.

All the introspections of the day brought one to the conclusion that obesity is a problem for both the haves and the have-nots. It is causing serious health concerns for families and nations. One has come tothe realisation that what one eats coupled with ones lifestyle determines ones health status. In other words, the food we consume would determine how frequent our visit to the doctor is.

Fast foods

In afast-movingworld offast foods and out-of-home cooking,one of the agenda for active discussion, therefore, has beenwhat to eat and what not to drinkas experts keep shifting the goal post for us. Today, a glass of red wine is good for the heart, they would tell us. Then comes tomorrow and it would have changed to alcohol is not good for ones health. Yesterday it was eggs are unhealthy in our diets, today it is one can eat up to three eggs in a weekso long as one takes out the yolk.

Unfortunately,in the name of busyworkschedules, families are no longer eatingtogetherat a tablewithfood cookedand servedfrom theirownkitchen. Parents stop by, on their way home to picktake-away dinnersordered from the comfort of their mobile phones. Children have been introduced to so much junk food they prefer the oil-soakedmenuswith the fatty cuts of meatand detest the balanced menus preparedat home.

School feeding programme

Thank God, however,fortheschool feedingprogramme.If done wellwith organic locally produced food items,wewouldgradually be introducing our children to home-cooked nutritious foods.We have some of the best organic foodcropsgrownhere on our soil and they arerelativelycheap compared to organic foods sold elsewhere.We spendscarce foreign exchange importing refined rice andsugar which the producers themselves are running away from.

Coincidentally, as we celebrated World Food Day, a two-day nutrition training programme wason-going in the Central regionorganised by the Ghana School FeedingSecretariat.It was supported by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection with the aim to engage caterers of the school feeding programme.

According to news reports, the training programme was used to sensitise the caterers and introduce them to the preparation and serving of gari fotor, fortified with vegetables and soybeanson the school feeding menu. Though high in carbohydrate, some of us would eat gari anytime due to its high fibre content. That is why Iwould support theintroduction of gari fotor with as many vegetables and beans to make it even more nutritious for our children.

Blessing

The School Feeding Programme in many ways is a blessingtothe country.If the children enjoy the varieties served at school, no doubt they would influence their parents to prepare the same with even better variations at home.

It was at boarding school at the age of nine that some of us first tasted Tom Brown and corn grits porridge. It was atthesame boarding school that one got introduced to gari and beans, gari fotor and gari soakings with groundnuts and milk. All those nutritious servings in thedininghalland in our pantrieshave lived with us to our old ageand we have in turn passed them on toourfamilies with even more variations.

With World Food Day on our minds, let the school meals programme introduce our children to healthy organic homegrown foods that would build their bodies and nurture their brains. The programme managers should insist onmenuinnovationby the caterers andget themassessedon thequality ofinnovations introduced in their menu plans.We could fall on the children to do their end of term assessmentsfor us.

World Food Dayindeedcomes toremind usofthe importance of good nutrition and food safety, especially for our growing children. We should all be made aware of the dangers of out-of-home cooking and begin tosay no to fast and instant foods. Theyprovidevery littleor no nutrients toour bodies.We should help to build a nation of healthy young people and say no to foods that would contribute to obesity and malnourishment.

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Our food, our health - World Food Day in retrospect - Myjoyonline.com

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October 20th, 2019 at 9:32 am

Posted in Organic Food