Several schools issue guidelines banning the students from bringing eggs, non-veg noodles and curries made of garlic and onion to school. Eggs seem to be disappearing from the menu of mid-day meals of several states. In a country of over 132 crores belonging to different terrains and cultures, speaking different languages, having different social and economic conditions, there is bound to be a plethora of food habits and preferences. While we have the freedom to choose what we eat, travel, practice a profession of our choice or reside anywhere in India, it would be ridiculous to have such a divide. We have to teach our children to be tolerant and live harmoniously with one another.
Agreed, good health forms the cornerstone of good living. So we have to inculcate health consciousness among the students with healthy eating habits, physical activities and discipline. In fact most countries formulate student food plan based on the right nutritive requirements. The CBSE has issued a circular to schools to inspect student tiffin boxes and create awareness programs in schools by highlighting the nutritive value of food consumed. To prevent unhealthy eating habits, it suggested foods rich in fat, sugar and salt like chips, fried food, carbonated beverages, ready-to-eat noodles, pizzas, burgers and confectionary not to be sold in the school canteens or even close to the school. Constant monitoring of height, weight and BMI is also recommended.
While these guidelines will help, food should be a matter of one’s choice and not be made a matter of coercion.