At the onset of winter in Karachi, the team at Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government Girls School (KPS) sat down to plan the breakfast menu for the new season. Warming foods such as boiled eggs and methi paratha (a type of flat bread with leafy greens) were added to the menu and cooling foods such as yogurt were eliminated. At SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School, a delicious vegetable pulao (pilaf) was brought on board alongside the diverse mouth-watering regular menu: Spinach or lady finger with chapatti (local flatbread), boiled red beans, omelets with chapatti, mung bean halva, khichdi (rice and lentil pilaf) with yogurt, vegetable soup, boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, wheat porridge, potato kabab, fried vegetable with chapatti, vegetable and fruit salad, sago pudding and chickpeas. Milk is served daily as usual.
As Karachi’s short winter came to a close at the end of February, the schools sat down once again to re-assess how the meals could be made more nutritious, delicious and efficient to prepare and serve. Yogurt, a classic source of vitamins and minerals was gladly brought back, this time being served with seasonal fruits.
A few wonderful changes took place at KPS. Stainless steel crockery replaced plastic crockery in the breakfast room. One of the teachers, Amtul Lateef, took the initiative to sponsor this change and was successful in raising funds to replace all the plastic plates, bowls and spoons with stainless steel options. She felt strongly that our students should not be eating from plastic and melamine which have been shown to leach harmful chemicals specially when heated and hamper the development of young children. Stainless steel, apart from being safer, is also reusable, more durable and environment-friendly. Way to go Amtul!
Learning from our success in introducing our students to a healthy breakfast, we took on the challenge of improving the nutritional value of the offerings at the school canteen/cafeteria, where students had been observed buying unhealthy items like chips and cookies for lunch. The school team at KPS met the independently-managed canteen staff and encouraged them to adapt their menu to inculcate the value of healthy eating across the school. The first step in this regard has been to add one healthy item every week. New additions to the canteen under this initiative include daal chawal (rice and lentils), fruit salad, roasted sweet potato (a popular seasonal snack), kakri (a crunchy vegetable from the cucumber family), and popcorn. It is heartening to report that the students have responded positively to these healthy additions.
At KPS, breakfast is served to students of Kindergarten, first grade and second grade totaling 200 students. However, due to its larger student body, SMB is currently only able to serve breakfast to their 268 kindergarten students. Although students are happy to be growing up and moving on to higher grades they really miss starting their day with the breakfast “class.” First grade students repeatedly ask their teachers about the breakfast program which they grew to love. Breakfast had fast become an activity for them that not only provided them with a healthy delicious meal— which they probably otherwise would not eat— but also an opportunity for social interaction and learning eating etiquettes. The current KG 2 students who will be promoted to the first grade from April are being mentally prepared, along with their parents, to bring home-made nutritious meals to eat in lunch break. The provision of breakfast has really boosted student admissions in the Early Childhood Development grades (ECD) at SMB which we are glad to see.
Please consider making a donation to our breakfast program to continue supporting nutritious meals for children in Pakistan’s public schools!
Warming, delicious and nutritious methi paratha
Our girls at KPS
Milk is served to the girls everyday
Girls eating in the new safe utensils