Schools Are Using Raw Mangoes, Bitter Gourd, And Fruits From Their Own Trees In Mid-Day Meals For Students

As the scorching heat envelops West Bengal, schools are getting creative with their meal offerings to keep students refreshed and energized. Instead of the usual fare, students are now treated to a unique delicacy prepared from the abundant mangoes growing on school premises.

Traditionally, schools in the region have been providing dal (lentils) as part of their mid-day meals almost daily. However, in response to the intense heat, schools like Narayan Das Bangur Memorial Multipurpose School have innovated by incorporating raw mangoes from their own trees into the menu. This refreshing twist sees students enjoying a tangy mango dal alongside boiled rice, potatoes, and eggs.

Mid Day Meals For Students

Principal Sanjay Barua emphasised the positive response from students, noting their preference for this novel dish over conventional options. "We believe in offering easily digestible meals during this heatwave," Barua stated, highlighting their commitment to providing nutritious yet palatable food.

In addition to mango dal, schools are exploring other uses for their garden produce. Sarbani Sen, headmistress of Santoshpur Rishi Arvind Girls' School, revealed plans to incorporate guavas and figs into their meals. "Consuming fruits like guava and incorporating them into dal can provide relief from the heat," Sen explained, underscoring the nutritional benefits of such additions.

However, challenges persist, especially for schools without dedicated kitchens. To address this, self-help groups, under the guidance of education authorities, are preparing meals and supplying them to multiple schools. Institutions like Bhowanipore's Mitra Institution and Jodhpur Park Boys School are urging kitchen staff to minimise oil and spices, opting for lighter preparations like mango dal.

Despite the simplicity of the dishes, nutritionists like Anirban Dalui caution against certain cooking methods that may diminish their health benefits. "While mango dal is easily digestible, excessive heat can degrade its vitamin C content," Dalui warned, advising schools to ensure minimal cooking time to preserve nutrients.

In conclusion, amidst rising temperatures, schools in West Bengal are adapting their meal plans to offer refreshing and nutritious options. With mango dal leading the charge, students can stay energised and hydrated during the sweltering summer months.

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