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BBC: Bakery and Boarding Canteen !

We were talking after almost 15 years. A shy sincere and very loving batch mate of mine had called me and  put a very different issue to seek help. Her daughter has been selected in a boarding school through a tough entrance exam. This Taluka level government school is supposed to be a gateway to the success for the brilliant hardworking and mostly rural students. She a proud mother had posted her daughter’s pictures on school premises in Whats App group too, I remember.

She was worried for her daughter and as well as for other students for a very weird reason. The reason was the regular use of bakery products for breakfast and evening munch, like bread, toast, biscuits, khari, bun, cake etc. The school canteen has accepted it is as a regular food for their students.

Being a president of PTA association of the school she raised this issue in meeting. But the explanations from the authority made her furious. The reasons were children are fond of these food, It is easily available, students will not feel home sick if they eat their favorite biscuits and cake etc. Also among such reasons one more reason he mentioned that there are no alternative food to these snacks.

She asked me for the scientific facts of bakery products and also the good alternatives for them,so that she can put it before the concerned authority again.

Jayshree this blog is for you.

Facts about backery products:

The bakery industry is the largest of the food industries with an annual turnover of Rs.1,000 cores  and in India small scale bakeries are estimated at around 75000.

  • Though banned, most of the bread is found with higher levels of potassium bromate and potassium iodate. Potassium bromate a potent carcinogen(cancer causing chemical)and other is responsible for overload of iodine which causes Thyroid dysfunctions.
  • The plain flour or Maida is basic ingredient in all types of bread and biscuits.The so called whole wheat, multigrain things too contain Maida in some extent. Fibreless Maida creats digestion problem and later on various metabolic impairments like obesity.
  • Consuming regular and in more quantity these kind of food contribute only in Carbohydrate and other nutrients are spared leading to imbalanced nutrition in students.
  • Use of baking powder is for more fermentation and more spongy nature of the food which for health is not beneficial. Flatulence (gases), hyperacidity are the symptoms usually found due to the same.
  • Margarine, fats and other trans fats or lipids are used extensively which are unhealthier examples of fat. Ghee and other seed oils are recommended for us to consume regularly.
  • Excessive use of salt and sugar is another unhealthy ingredient.
  • The artificial flavours,preservatives and antioxidants used lavishly make these bakery products doubtful as food for regular consumption.
  • These food produce imbalance in Vata and Pitta dosha causing many digestion and metabolism related imbalance.
  • Overall dryness in intestines and disturbed gut flora is other complication of the excess use of bakery products.

Students need more nutrition in their adolescent age. Everyday bakery product in regular consumption is a bad idea. The portion size and frequency need to be looked for.

Once in a week on weekend it is OK to include the bakery products  in their’ food table’ in boarding school.

Other easy practical substitutes for bakery products:

The canteen can take help of local home based cook and small scale catering team to provide them regular good snack items. In  such a way there will be local employment too.

Following can be very good substitutes to regular bakery products and biscuits:

  1. Any traditional breakfast item like poha, upma,halwa,partaha,occasionally idali vada sambhar
  2. Rice flake Chivda, jowar flake Chivda,Bajra flake Chivda etc.
  3. Rajgira flakes in buttermilk or milk
  4. Spicy Shevai (noodle ) using vegetables.
  5. Boiled or Roasted corn ,corn chat
  6. Peanut chikki, dried fruit chikki, coconut chikki.
  7. Nutritious laddu , coconut barfi, besan barfi etc.
  8. Banana , papaya,pomegranate, guava and other fruits regularly as a compulsory portion of everyday breakfast or snack.
  9. Boiled egg or omelette
  10. Chapatti roll ( spicy chapatti or bhakari : fodanichi poli or bhakari)
  11. Spicy Nachani ukad (cooked pearl millet) balls with buttermilk
  12. Cooked sprouts bhel with chopped onion, tomato and very less Farsaan just to make it appealing
  13. Mix flour biscuits made by local person using dry ginger,shatavari and jaggery
  14. Chakali, shakkarpale ,anarase etc
  15. Cooked spicy shredded sweet potato (ratalyacha Chivda)
  16. Once in a while potato vada or samosa too will please the students.

I think enough options for a well equipped canteen of a well known and responsible school.

Dear schools you are shaping the brains and bodies of tomorrow’s strong foundation of nation. The responsibility is anytime high and worth to take upon shoulder.

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