Changes to midday meals in Puducherry make for tastier experience

Children appreciate introduction of pulses to their lunch at school

Updated - May 19, 2016 07:48 am IST

Published - March 11, 2014 12:30 pm IST - PUDUCHERRY:

DELICIOUS OPTIONS: Most children welcome thereplacement of eggs in the midday meal scheme inPuducherry. PHOTO: T. SINGARAVELOU

DELICIOUS OPTIONS: Most children welcome thereplacement of eggs in the midday meal scheme inPuducherry. PHOTO: T. SINGARAVELOU

Till a year back, the School Education Department served eggs on a daily basis as its protein supplement, in the midday meal scheme. Once the price of eggs became high, the Department was forced to change its tack. Its new ideas, however, seem to have encouraged the children to eat more. Sumitra, who studies in Class VII in one of the rural schools felt that the tomato rice, which is being served since recently, was very tasty. “Even the sambhar and poriyal taste much better. Till last year, I used to waste a lot of food, but now since it is so tasty, I eat more,” she said.

Now, the menu includes a number of pulses to provide the protein input. This has been a welcome change for most students, since the eggs that they were given were not always well received.

“The eggs that were saved used to be in the boiled format, and many of the children did not like the yolk or the white. Some times, the eggs that were boiled would be really old and would smell and the children would not eat them. Now, that problem is not there,” one of the lunch ladies said.

For sometime now, the tomato rice has been stopped because the quality of rice is not good enough to make mixed rice, but even the sambhar and the kuruma are quite popular with the students. Compared to a couple of years back, there is very little food wasted, she added.

The new menu was designed using the help of the Pondicherry University’s Department of Food Science and Technology to provide nutritious alternatives for students, assuming that they received a bulk of their nutrition from the midday meals. As a result, the recipes are well balanced to provide maximum nutrition, with a number of vegetables and pulses added into the mix, an official said. Unlike in other States, the midday meals scheme in Puducherry comes under the School Education Department and not the Welfare Department.

(This story has been facilitated under the One World-POSHAN fellowship grant)

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