Vegetable khicdi, rajma-rice and idli - vada are set to be among the dishes that replace pizza, noodles and pastries in school canteens across Maharashtra as the state government gets ready to ban sale of junk food in school cafeterias.

Healthy Foods for Kids

Yesterday, the Maharashtra government banned the sale of foods identified as 'High in Fat, Salt and Sugar' (HFSS) at school canteens across the state.

A list of 12 categories of foods covering potato chips, noodles, carbonated soft drinks, pizza, burger, cakes, biscuits, buns, pastries, etc., which cannot be sold, were mentioned in the Government Resolution (GR). It also listed 20 items allowed for sale, which include wheat roti, vegetable pulav, idli-vada, coconut water and jaljira.

The GR stated that the Union Government had set up a Task Force under the chairmanship of Director, National Nutrition Institute, Hyderabad to promote consumption of healthy food by children in schools and to ban sale of junk food.

The task force in its report said that junk food containing high levels of fat, salt and sugar and very little nutritional content leads to obesity, dental diseases, diabetes, and heart ailments later in life.

The state government, taking note of the Task Force's recommendations, decided to impose a ban on junk food in school canteens, the GR stated. It also called for creating awareness among children about consuming nutritional food. Schools should counsel students on this, it said.

The broad list of 12 banned food categories covers fried food items like potato chips, sherbets, ice gola, carbonated soft drinks, non-carbonated soft drinks, rasgullas, gulab jamuns, pedha, kalakand, noodles, pizza, burger, tikka, pani- puri, all kinds of toffees, chocolates and candies, jalebis, imartis, all kinds of sweets, cakes, biscuits, buns, pastries, jams and jellies.

The food items allowed to be sold are rotis made of wheat, parathas, multi-grain rotis, rice, vegetable pulavs, rice with cereals and pulses, rice and black gram, halva made out of wheat, with channa, sweet daliya, rice with rajma, idli-vada sambar, kheer, firni, milk and milk products like curd, lassi and buttermilk, vegetable sandwich, vegetable khichdi, coconut water, shikanji and jaljira.