Virtual Meal PlannerFeeding hungry children is one matter. Feeding hungry children nutritious meals, however, is an important aspect of ending hunger. About 360 million children sit down to a school meal every day. For some, this could be their only meal for the day.

Knowing this, countries such as Ghana have taken steps to improve school meals. Ghana School Feeding Programme provides free school meals to over 1.7 million children every school day. Additionally, Partnership for Child Development and Dubai Cares are working with the government to improve the nutrition of school meals.

Partnership for Child Development has created a virtual meal planner. The meal planner can be accessed both online and offline in order to be helpful to more people. This meal planner could allow school cafeteria workers to create menus with local ingredients. Also, the virtual meal planner includes local prices of ingredients. Thus, users can plan the cost of each meal.

In order to combat child malnutrition, the meal planner includes virtual gingerbread children graphics that show the amount of daily nutrients and vitamins the meal offers. The gingerbread measurements are based off of recommendations by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization. Additionally, the meal planner uses “handy measures.” This means that ordinary utensils, like spoons and buckets, have been calibrated to international measuring units. School cafeteria workers can accurately measure different components of meals without buying expensive kitchen utensils.

Schools can learn about healthy eating, and local farmers can learn what foods are nutritionally beneficial to grow for schools. The virtual meal planner can be used by many people in the community in order to boost the nutritional values of meals.

As a result, Ghana is leading the way in combating malnutrition. This program was trialed in Ghana in 2014, and is still in use today. Other countries around the world could also combat child malnutrition with this easy-to-use program.

More and more children are going to school, and more and more children get their one daily meal from free school lunches. By improving the nutrition of school lunches, we could greatly impact the health of a great number children.

– Ella Cady


Sources: HGSF, Impatient Optimists, ModernGhana World Food Programme

Photo: Adumasa