The only way for parents to be assured of the quality of food eaten by the children is to prepare and cook these themselves, according to the Food and Nutrition and Research Institute (FNRI).

More importantly, the agency attached to the Department of Science and Technology underscored that meals brought to school by kids (baon) should be those that do not spoil easily. Among foods that easily spoil are pasta especially if prepared with tomatoes, and anything with sauces and mayonnaise, Salvador Serrano, a nutritionist, explained.

He said there was a need to teach kids at a young age about the value of nutritious meals so they are provided with the right information and will have a better understanding of good and healthy food to keep them from being tempted with unhealthy choices later.  

The FNRI, a branch of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), reminded parents that fast foods - as alternative choice during mealtimes - contain high levels of fat, salt, and sugar which are harmful to kids' health. 

He also warned that teaching kids early about the value of nutritious meals and be provided with the right food information, as there will be a time when their choices can no longer be swayed, he added.

The FNRI also reminds parents that fast food – as alternative choice for meals – carry much fat, salt, and sugar which are harmful to their kids’ health.

Classes recently opened and some 27 million students returned to school.

Relatedly, the Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones issued a department order which details the balance in food intake among students in schools last March.

The order is meant to achieve energy balance, limit energy intake from total fats and free sugars, increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, and limit intake of salt from all sources.

It also noted that Filipino school children are suffering from the double burdens of under-nutrition and over-nutrition.

“The canteens in school and DepEd officed shall not sell foods and beverages high in fat and/or sugar and/or sodium,” according to the order.

There are three categories for the school food menu. First is the Green category which lists fresh coconut water, unsweetened milk, milled rice, corn, vegetables, fresh fruits, and wheat bread, among others. These should be available in the school canteen at all times.

The Yellow category lists food items that may be served once or twice a week only – such as banana cue, pancakes, fried rice, waffles, processed food, and stir-fried vegetables, among others.

Finally, food items under the Red category are not recommended in the school menu as they contain high amounts of fat, sugar and salt, such as ice cream, French fries, instant noodles, and chicharon, among others. MIMS

Read more:

PPAN 2017-2022: Updated national nutrition plan launched
Tilapia Lake virus threat to global food security - UN FAO
5 eating tips to boost brain health