Often parents worry about school lunch program. However very few parents are aware of the nutrition quality of the food their child get in the school. Question to parents is, Is your child’s school an eat right school?
The FSSAI has put together the Eat Right School – a program under the supervision and guidance of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to create a safe, healthy and sustainable food environment for the children through an interactive learning model. This program is aligned with School Health Program under Ayushman Bharat, a movement that Government of India initiated with several interesting features
“The key objective of the Eat Right School program is to create an enabling environment in schools so that children can have access to safe and healthy food. The Food Authority has recently finalized Food Safety and Standards (Safe Food and healthy diets for School Children) Regulations, 2019 that will ensure nourishing and wholesome food to the school children by not allowing any food item that is high in fat, salt and sugar, to be sold and advertised within school premises as well as in an area within 50 meters radius of the school gates. Each school will have a certified Health and Wellness Coordinator and will be supervised regularly by the State/ Municipal Authorities.” – Arun Singhal, Chief Executive Officer, FSSAI, New Delhi
Eat Right program Matrix is an amalgamation of the prerequisites that every school must incorporate in both teaching and management. It has three sections which judge performance of school based on Curricular and co-curricular inclusion, Alignment with Swatch Vidyalaya scheme and School health and nutrition programs. Based on the scores schools are then awarded with a recognition and certificate as an Eat Right School. Under this program all over India 35,000 schools have been registered.
Parents, teachers and students can be part of the team to engage children in co-curricular safe food, health and balanced diet activities. Upon completion of the training module those who participated in training will get certification as a health and wellness coordinator for the respective school.
Government of India is encouraging health eating habits in children to remove obesity and to make children stop eating unhealthy foods. Children while at school especially young adults tend to eat outside food during lunch time. With Eat Right Program students are encouraged to eat local and seasonal snacks like nuts, puffed rice, millets, makhana etc. and drinking water, lassi, buttermilk and coconut water instead of soda and sugary drinks. Students are encouraged to eat nutritious leafy and other vegetables during tiffin and lunch.
To support the program in schools, several resources are created.
- The yellow books 1 & 2- Help students to understand healthy habits available in all languages
- Training manual – Gives in-depth understanding of nutrition and food safety
- Activity book- To teach and reinforce safe and nutritious food habit
- Lesson plan booklet- For teachers to learn the fun way of conducting test food adulteration.
- Eat right school portal – Online portal for Eat Right Program registration and to help access activities under the program.
To engage children in the program, Eat Right Creativity challenge idea was introduced on Mahatma Gandhiji’s 150th Birth anniversary to promote and inculcate healthy eating habits in students. In the phase 1 -Over 75100 students from 3621 schools participated in the challenge. The second phase of the challenge will take place between October 16th – December 16th 2020. The challenge comprises two categories – Eat Right Poster competition and Eat Right Photography Competition and the theme is “Eat Safe, Eat Healthy’ and Food safety during Covid-19.
To make sure our children eat right at school, it is responsibility of both parents and teachers to understand and participate in this program that shapes the health and future of next generation.
Image credit: https://fssai.gov.in/CreativityChallenge/home
Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: November 20, 2020