Mid-day meals: Solution sprouts for state govt

The state government is examining the possibility of including 'sprouts' in the existing mid-day meal menu.

The state government is examining the possibility of including ‘sprouts’ in the existing mid-day meal menu across the state, as it looks to silence lobbyists pushing for the introduction of eggs in the scheme. 

The move, according to the department, is expected to increase the nutrient quotient in the diet, thereby addressing the issue of malnutrition as well.

The education department is already sitting over a proposal seeking inclusion of eggs in the mid-day meal scheme. But the demand led to an uproar, with a section of parents opposing the move tooth and nail.

Caught in a pincer, the department began to think about alternatives, and ‘sprouts’ is being seen as an effective alternative to eggs.

A senior official attached with the mid-day meal scheme across the state said, “Both eggs and sprouts are high in protein. Also, the introduction of sprouts in the mid-day meal scheme will put to rest all the controversies surrounding the distribution of eggs.”

Acknowledging the development, S Suresh Kumar, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, said the government is “still thinking” about introduction of sprouts in the mid-day meal scheme. “But nothing has been finalised until now,” he said.

However, a nutritionist said eggs were better than sprouts. “Egg is better than sprouts in terms of protein quality and absorption. Egg contains fat along with protein and good fat is always recommended,” Rajeshwari Hanchinal, a nutritionist, said.

At present, kids in government and government-aided schools are served rice and vegetable sambar, curds, dal, upma, avalakki, pongal and bisibele bath as part of the mid-day meal programme.

Under the Ksheera Bhagya scheme, kids are also served with flavoured milk besides nutritious milk in a few districts supported by NGOs.

Recently, the Union HRD ministry had directed states to introduce millets in the mid-day meal scheme.

 

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