Essence of Akshaya Patra’s Nutritional Mid-Day Meal Programme

Dictionaries define nutrition as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” Unfortunately obtaining food for health and nutrition worldwide has proved to be tougher challenge than it was perceived. Providing healthy food for children is a concern that transcends geographical boundaries. Fresh and healthy food is a basic right of every child, and there is a need to make sure that they get it every day.

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Akshaya Patra has been operating Mid-Day Meal Programme in schools since the year 2000. It has been meticulous in its approach to ensure that the food served to children has rich nutritional values. But this is no coincidence. There’s a serious roadmap that’s gone into the creation of a flawless process that enables the serving of hygienic and nutritious food to these schools. In the previous blog, we had shared how important is nutrition for children. Today, we wish to give you a walk-through of the nutritional essence of our Mid-Day Meal Programme.

Nutritious food is hygienic food

One of the foremost steps to cooking, serving and consistently providing nutritious food is hygiene. Where is the food cooked? How’s it cooked? Do the cooks follow hygiene norms? How’s the food transported? How’s it served? These are the questions that have been converted into a meticulous process of serving food. The process begins right from buying the ingredients for the food – be it fresh vegetables, pulses, rice etc. Our centralised and decentralised kitchens across 11 states in India have been designed for the most hygienic conditions of cooking food. Everyone working or even entering these kitchens must go through a process of cleaning their hands and feet before they start to work. Our workers wear gloves while serving the food and the children in school are required to wash hands before they sit for school lunch programme.

Nutritious food is balanced

Another vital aspect of nutritious food is that it must be rich in various combinations to be able to fully benefit a child’s growth. Nutritional values include nutrients, vitamins, fats, carbohydrates and fiber. Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals provide a balanced diet including various nutritional values. We encourage people who wish to offer donation for NGOs to contribute for our kitchens or vehicles so that we are able to fetch the right ingredients for our mid-day meals on a daily basis.

Often in schools, the time allotted for lunch is barely half an hour in which the children also want to play and relax. As a result, they don’t get enough time to sit at leisure and eat everything that their lunch boxes have. This often kills the entire nutritional value of the food as it is not consumed in totality. The school lunch should not be a burden to children. Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals have a lunch menu that can be consumed in less time and it doesn’t look like a burden to children. The lunch is the right blend of dairy, proteins, oils, vegetables and nutrients (click here to read more). In addition, we ensure that children get enough time to truly enjoy their lunch and get complete value from their meals.

Feeding the hungry is a great cause and there’s nothing more motivating for us to know that when we are feeding the children, we are also bringing them to school and contributing towards their future.

Through Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal programme in schools, we have been able to feed over 1.6 million children so far and recently accomplished 2 billion meals. If you wish to offer donation for an NGO, we encourage you to join our cause and contribute.

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How Nutritional Value is Important for Children?

Dictionaries define nutrition as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” Unfortunately obtaining food for health and nutrition worldwide has proved to be tougher challenge than it was perceived. Providing healthy food for children is a concern that transcends geographical boundaries. Fresh and healthy food is a basic right of every child, and there is a need to make sure that they get it every day.

role-of-ngos

Unfortunately, we live in a divided world where one section of the society is wasting food while the other is deprived of it. Children are on the receiving end because quite often they are not the bread-earners to be able to fetch food. Several children, who do get food, may not get a diet full of health and nutrition.  At Akshaya Patra, when our target of 2 billion meals was achieved recently, nutrition was still top of our priority. 

The Global Nutrition Report 2016 reveals data on the status of hunger, malnourishment and poor diets in children and adults as well. The report suggests that it’s even more difficult for little children who have to experience hunger and a hard time to get meals twice a day. Nutrition is required for children so as to ensure their growth and a hunger-free life. In India, however, the reality is major part of the population isn’t capable of arranging food for hungry children even once a day.

Nutritional status of children in India:

  • UNICEF reports, almost 20% of children less than 5 years are wasted due to undernutrition.
  • Approximately 61 million children are stunted due to chronic undernutrition
  • More than one-third of wasted children and three out of every ten stunted children in the world, live in India itself
  • Millions of children suffer from micronutrient malnutrition and calorie deficiency
  • The ratio of underweight children is in rural areas increase every year unexpectedly
  • Around 50% of the children under 5 years are underweight and prone to infections

 How’s nutrition vital for children?

Physical growth: Studies have proved that a child needs proper nutrition in order to achieve full height. The same is also true for the rest of his physical growth. There are children who suffer from several physical ailments due to lack of nutrition and good health.

Mental faculties: Health and nutrition pave way for the children to develop their mental faculties. Any pediatrician would testify that the right balance of omega fatty acids in children’s daily diet contribute towards brain activity, development and capabilities. Similarly, each ingredient in a balanced diet adds to a child’s mental growth. That’s precisely why we combined mid-day meals with education in schools and emphasised on providing healthy food for children.

Feeling of wellness: Children who get regular diet and nutritious food are often active in their school and on playground. Remember that children are still exploring the world with their little experience. They have more energy that needs channelising physically. This can happen only when a child has ample nutrition in his body. Such children have a greater sense of well-being and wellness.

Health and nutrition have a lot of value in a child’s growth. It goes without saying that for the overall mental and physical development of any human being, nutrition plays a vital role. It becomes crucial especially for children who are not aware what’s best for them. The children need help and guidance along with a regular supply of nutritious food. We have been providing mid-day meals in schools through our centralised kitchens in 24 locations across 10 states.

You can help children get the right balance of diet with just a click. Donate to charity today!