Part 6 – Nutrition

October 2023

After the recent issue-based training session on time management, the children have been improving daily and are doing well with daily routines and taking them seriously.

For the upcoming issued-based training session, the topic chosen is nutrition. This decision was made because it has been observed that most of the children are consuming junk food and not having a balanced diet consisting of 3 types of food.

Prior to commencing the session, I enquired with all the children about their dietary intake in the past 24 hours. Most of them mentioned rice, dal and some vegetables. Based on their responses, it was evident that the children weren’t receiving adequate nutrition. I explained to them that the food they were consuming was insufficient for their bodies and that they should consume a balanced diet throughout the year instead of eating seasonally. For instance, if the bean season starts, they should not limit themselves to just beans but also consume other nutritious foods. I inquired about the children’s understanding of nutrients and, based on their responses, provided an explanation about nutrition. We talked about the fact that there are three types of food: energy-giving food (such as bananas, sweet potatoes,  rice, maize, sugar, potato, millet, buckwheat, oil, etc.), body-building foods (such as meat, dairy products, all kinds of beans, fish, egg etc.), and foods that protect us from diseases (such as mango, papaya, tomato, broccoli, vegetables, fruits, citrus, green vegetables). Concerningly, many children eat junk food at school. I explained its negative effects and the potential diseases it can cause. I encouraged all children to make a change in their eating habits. The body requires 20% of protein to function, and it produces 12% of this protein itself. The remaining 8% must come from the food we eat. If we fail to obtain this 8%, the 12% provided by the body will be lost. Therefore, it is crucial that we eat a balanced, nutritious diet and avoid junk food.

To assess understanding, I suggested we played a game. When I asked if they were interested, they all responded eagerly with a resounding “Yes!” I then divided them into three groups: the first group focused on energy, the second on bodybuilding, and the third on protection from disease. I placed all the cards with pictures of food on the floor and instructed them to pick up the cards that matched their group. It was a fun game that helped recall what they learned.

Finally, the children discussed local food availability and seasonal changes, pledging to do their best to eat at least three different types of food and to refrain from eating junk food. I will discuss this further with their parents during the next  home visits.