Millet mania among city kids
Students learn food diversities, importance of organic and local foods in exhibition
With the increasing health consciousness among people over the past few years, there has been a revolution in the concept of healthy food and millets have grown as a fad among the city residents and children alike for their umpteen health benefits, thanks to the efforts taken up by a number of organisations like Living Farms.
An array of millet-based food has been prepared and displayed at the exhibition-cum-recipe demonstration on cultivated & uncultivated foods at Sri Aurobindo Institute of Integral Education, Khandagiri, here in order to develop knowledge on food diversities and the importance of organic local foods among the students and teachers. The foods on display include finger millet porridge, finger millet laddu, finger millet chapati, finger millet arisa pitha, koshala (little millet) bara, pakudi, chakuli, puri, little millet kheer, foxtail millet kheer, millet chakuli, sorghum rice, millet halwa and millet cookies.
According to Barsharani Sahoo of Class-X, who was part of the long queue to the food stall to satiate her taste buds, said, “I have been an ardent lover of fast food and oily stuff though I know that they are unhealthy. But here the recipes prepared by millets are not only visually appealing but tastier too. Varieties of recipes are culinary innovations and have their unique taste. After learning the health benefits of the nutrient-rich millets, I will never go for fast food or junk again.”
Jyotirmayee Sarangi, who imparted training to the teachers, parents, and students on the preparation of millet-based recipes, said it is fun to experiment on the preparation of millet recipes and a test of your culinary skills. Millets make for a perfectly healthy meal and preparing food out of them is extremely easy. Parents need to be a little bit creative to make the dishes visually appealing and palatable. Millets porridge is extremely beneficial for growing kids and aging adults. They are loaded with a high amount of starch and proteins, which can be beneficial if added to the daily diet.
Gluten-free millets play a vital role in preventing and curing several health issues. They are a rich source of fibre which can help in digestion and can relieve bowel issues, said Jagdish Nayak, organic food marketing specialist. A rich source of magnesium, they can help in stimulating the level of insulin and thus keep diabetes under control. They are also loaded with minerals like phosphorous, iron, calcium, zinc and potassium. Regular consumption of millets can naturally detoxify the blood, he added.
Bibhuprasad Panda deliberated on the negative impacts of using plastic containers and encouraged the students to use metal containers for bringing food to schools. He maintained that BPA, a dangerous chemical present in plastic containers, has negative effects on human health. Children are more susceptible to potential harm posed by the chemicals present in plastics.
Jagatbandhu Mahapatra, Project Coordinator, Living Farms, explained the negative impacts of junk food and processed food like polished rice, pulses and legumes, refined sugar and packaged masala. He encouraged the students to opt for unpolished rice, cereals, and pulses, organic oil and jaggery instead of sugar and whole masala.
School Principal Rabindra Padhi, said, as the term “organic,” has become a buzzword for health, it is an encouraging fact that children are giving a lot of attention to organic food, farming, and agriculture practices. As we believe that healthy eating is an inevitable part of the integral development of a human being, organic food plays a vital role. In a recent visit to Muniguda in Rayagada district, students interacted with farmers who practice organic farming techniques and learned a lot about the benefits which encompasses greater nutritional value in produce, support for the local economy, promotion and preservation of biodiversity, strengthening of community, less environmental contaminants, so on and so forth.