Read the original article in The Hans India
In a latest study it was found that millet-based mid-day meals can boost growth by 50% in just three months. Children rated the meals, which were designed by scientists and chefs and included little millet as a rice substitute, over 4.5 on 5 for taste. This Smart Food study, ‘Acceptance and impact of millet based mid-day meal on nutritional status of adolescent school going children in a peri-urban region of Karnataka state in India,’ published in the journal Nutrients, was undertaken by The Akshaya Patra Foundation and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
“It is not good enough just to say we are going to add millets to the meal,” said Dr S Anitha, a nutritionist at ICRISAT and the study’s corresponding author. “The type of millet, its variety, how it is cooked and the foods it is combined with are some of the key elements that can make a difference in nutrition. For instance, the amount of iron available in a meal can be doubled by selecting the right variety of millet. This is the first known scientific study of millet based meals in a school feeding program.”
The researchers gave the study group children meals including idli, khichdi, upma and bisibella bath in which rice was replaced by pearl millet (bajra), ragi (finger millet) or little millet (kutki). The anthropometric measurements at the end of the feeding program were compared with that of control group children who consumed fortified rice with sambar.