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Schools plan to keep an eye on children's tiffin

Need to be firm in implementation

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 24.03.24, 04:56 AM

Several schools have decided to monitor what a child eats in school.

Healthy options are not popular with children but the schools said there could be change if they were firm about their plan and its implementation.


A school had a meeting with its canteen vendor to ensure more healthy options are there on the menu.

Mahadevi Birla World Academy and BD Memorial Junior School have asked parents to send fruits to be distributed to other children instead of chocolates on their child’s birthday.

BD Memorial Junior School has asked parents to share recipes for healthy tiffin that the school can share with other parents.

Indus Valley World School spoke to its canteen vendor and asked them to tweak the menu. Parents have been told to send one fruit every day.

St Augustine’s Day School for Girls, Barrackpore, will share a diet plan for five days a week and the school expects parents to follow that when they are packing the child’s tiffin.

The schools are planning the changes ahead of the start of the academic session so parents can be briefed during orientation or parent-teacher meetings from April.

The Early Childhood Association, a forum of pre-schools, and the Association for Preparatory Education and Research (for primary schools) sent a note to member schools earlier in the month to encourage parents to replace junk food in tiffin boxes with healthy options.

“The note set me thinking,” said Nupur Ghosh, vice-principal, Mahadevi Birla World Academy.

“While we have pulled the stops there was another place where we could bring a change and that was during a student’s birthday. During our parents’ orientation, we will tell them to send fruits for distribution instead of chocolates.”

BD Memorial Junior School will introduce the menu change for birthday treats “as a policy”. Time will tell whether the children are interested in a friend’s birthday goodies anymore.

“At times, parents would send a cake to school and request it to be cut with the teacher and friends. Henceforth, we will not allow it,” said Suman Sood, director, BD Memorial Junior School.

Often parents end up sending unhealthy options because they are easier to procure and pack.

Sood said: “Sharing recipes or menu options with parents might make it easier for them.”

The hassle of preparing food at home before school every morning is something beyond many families.

“We have conducted a health check of our children and noticed that many of them are either obese or underweight,” said Jhuma Biswas, principal, St Augustine’s Day School for Girls, Barrackpore

“After the pandemic, the frequency of eating unhealthy food has gone up because whatever they want can be easily ordered at home,” Biswas added.

Many schools said canteens “lose out on business if they serve only healthy food”.

But a balance must be struck, said a principal.

“We have asked the vendor to reduce the unhealthy options and increase healthy options. We have given them an example of eggs, which can be boiled or poached and served,” said Amita Prasad, director, Indus Valley World School.

Last updated on 24.03.24, 04:57 AM

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