World Food Day is a universal health campaign observed on October 16 annually, to underscore the central role of food, among economies, communities and for maintaining optimal health. It was first established by one of the United Nations’ (UN) key committees – the Food And Agriculture Organization (FAO), in 1979 and commemorated as a worldwide happening, starting from 1980. In fact, 2020 marks 75 years since the FAO was founded, back in 1945.
As every single person is still coming to terms with the new normal amidst the widespread COVID-19 pandemic, this time around, this global health drive is all the more significant. The unexpected closure of all industries in India, which began on March 25 and lasted for nearly three months, emphasized that food was a primary necessity, for which hordes of people lined up in long queues outside their neighbourhood stores. They realised that they could even forego other luxuries of shopping for clothes, shoes, watching movies in theatres and travelling on vacation, summer holidays, but existing with no food was not possible.
Indeed, the strict government-imposed lockdowns, shortage of essential groceries, closure of large-scale vegetable, fruit markets and social distancing norms have taught the Indian population at large, many vital survival lessons in tough times. The foremost of them being to conserve a basic commodity that almost everyone often takes for granted – food and taking care to ration requisite supplies, cook in a minimalistic manner, thereby preventing wastage.
The theme for World Food Day 2020 is “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together”, with a focus to provide ample wholesome dietary sources for every individual. It aims to recognise the fundamental role of farmers in ensuring raw harvest bounty was delivered to people everywhere, despite the unprecedented shutdowns in the first few months of the coronavirus disease outbreak. Another objective is to eradicate hunger, malnutrition in countries across the globe, for though abundant quantities of foods are being produced nowadays, they are still not evenly distributed among societies.
Therefore, from now, all individuals need to relish all the tasty, nutritious food prepped at home in moderation and also keep in mind to donate meals to charity whenever possible, to help the underprivileged. Being grateful to the agricultural community and following some simple tips is of utmost importance henceforth, while cooking, eating, to reduce food wastage, junk items and over-consumption, for the wellbeing of yourself and the society around you.
Valuable Guidelines To Adopt Every Day, To Avoid Wasting Food:
It is common in Indian households to have a considerable amount of staple foodstuffs like rice and dal remaining at the end of the day. However, do not toss these leftovers, not only to curtail wastage, but also because old rice is quite rich in nutrients. Store them in a clean container in the refrigerator and warm them the following day for breakfast or lunch. They can be eaten as such, or spruced up with some spicy tadka i.e. tempering, fresh coriander leaves.
Consume Fermented Foods
As quintessential desis, idli, dosa batter are certainly familiar foods. But apart from whipping up these fermented pastes with cereal grains, pulses, millets like rice, urad dal, ragi, that last for 3 – 4 days, even unused or ripened fruits and veggies can be preserved. Lemons, raw mangoes can be dried, soaked in oil, spices for a few days and enjoyed as pickles, that are laden with beneficial probiotics. Even overly ripe apples and strawberries which lack an inherent appealing taste, can be crushed and heated in sugar syrup, and savoured as delicious jams, with bread toast, chapatis.
Make One-Pot Meals
Having breakfast, lunch, dinner, be it with family or friends, must not be an elaborate three-course meal every single time. Of course, during special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and religious, cultural festivals like Navratri, Diwali, Eid, Christmas, concocting a variety of delicacies is alright. Nevertheless, on regular days, instead of cooking rice, frying vegetables and brewing dals, sambars, curries separately, it is more convenient and environment-friendly to make one-pot meals. This way, considerable quantities of cooking gas, fuel are saved and throwing away surplus food is averted.
Choose Local Produce
Eating a diet filled with indigenous crop produce, consisting of locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables, enhances physical fitness and mental wellness, as well as boosts the economic status and guarantees a comfortable livelihood for native farmers. Moreover, sustainable food habits, both while cooking and eating, are gaining popularity currently, which assist in preserving the soil, environment and planet, not only for the present times, but also for the future generations to live and thrive in.
Mostly, fruits, vegetables, herbs are purchased in large volumes, to last a family of three or four individuals, for a week or even a fortnight. While some veggies have a relatively long shelf-life, other natural bounties tend to get spoiled after a few days. The best solution to be frugal, use up all the purchased groceries and not waste food, is to rustle up some stocks. Mash old vegetables into a puree and put it in the fridge, to use while cooking, as the paste stays fresh for a longer duration. Blend the maturing fruits with ice into a refreshing smoothie and make chutneys, thick sauces of herbs.