Breakfast for Kindergarten schoolgirls in Pakistan

by Zindagi Trust Vetted since 2009
Steel Utensils!
Steel Utensils!

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
Warming, delicious and nutritious methi paratha
Our girls at KPS
Our girls at KPS
Milk is served to the girls everyday
Milk is served to the girls everyday
Girls eating in the new safe utensils
Girls eating in the new safe utensils

Links:

Breakfast Picture of Nomber.jpg
Breakfast Picture of Nomber.jpg

Last time we told you about expanding our free school breakfast program to 200 more children at Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government Girls School. This time we bring you updates exclusively from that school. In the last quarter, fruits and vegetables were added in different dishes served to students in an attempt to get students to develop healthier eating habits. Fresh fruit with natural yoghurt was a new item added to the breakfast for students and enjoyed by them. Whole wheat flour roti (flatbread) was prepared for 200 students thrice a week with spinach omelette, potato cutlets and stir-fried vegetables being rotated each day. Pulses were added to the menu since they are a rich source of protein and also familiar to the students being a staple at the dinner table at home for most of them.


The school management and the breakfast team re-assessed the breakfast menu for the winter with the goal being that we should ensure that every breakfast meal served to the students should be full of nutrition along with being healthy, delicious and efficient to prepare and serve. At the beginning of November, when the first of the cold Quetta winds arrived to Karachi, our team decided to add a new dish in the menu called Upma. It has a deep tradition in the sub-continent and is made from suji (semolina) and yogurt which are blended together with egg. Some vegetables were also added to make it more nutritional.

 

The students were not very keen on this new item on day one but as their teachers coached them about the nutritional value of an upma and encouraged them to give it a chnce, they started developing a taste for it and even demanding it for breakfast! This shows how much of an influence role models have on students and demonstrates that teachers and parents can play a positive role in shaping children's attitudes towards food preferences. This was an exciting realisation for the team and all of us are now even more motivated to explore variations of healthy meals to be added to the school meals program.


It has also been observed that students across the school have not been in a habit to eat a complete breakfast and thus skip what we think is the most important meal of the day. Teachers have to often force students to complete their
breakfast in the breakfast room. Keeping this in mind, the health teacher organized interactive morning assembly presentations conducted by students of multiple grades. Older students presented the importance of breakfast through entertaining skits. Younger students from primary classes talked about the nutritional values of different vegetables, pulses, fruits and dry fruits. The audience was also asked questions to ensure that they were actively listening and thinking about those benefits.

 

Please continue to support this program and share any ideas you may have for affordable, local and healthy menu options as we establish this program to fuel the brains that will shape Pakistan's future!


Author Name: Anam Palla, School Project Manager


Link: Zindagi Trust homepage

Breakfast Picture of November (1).jpg
Breakfast Picture of November (1).jpg
Breakfast Picture of November(2).jpg
Breakfast Picture of November(2).jpg
Breakfast Report of November(3).jpg
Breakfast Report of November(3).jpg
A student enjoys fruit salad
A student enjoys fruit salad

We have expanded our Breakfast Program to 200 more children at Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government Girls School (KPS), the second school we adopted under our School Reform project. In addition to the 250+ students of Kindergarten at SMB Fatima Jinnah Government School (SMB), we are now providing a daily breakfast to more than 200 students of Kindergarten, First and Second Grade at KPS.

From our experience at our first adopted school as well as from established practice around the world, we know that children who eat a nutritious breakfast have more energy, do better in school, and make healthier choices throughout the day. We are already reaping the benefits of breakfast at KPS - with both teachers and parents reporting a change in the students. The youngest students at school who used to be specially irritable, restless, tired and unable to focus on their lesson are now perceived to be taking keen interest in classroom activities.

“I find my students more active than before as a result of which they are able to give excellent class performance. The breakfast has really boosted their energy levels in a positive way,” remarked a Kindergarten teacher at KPS.

As with our first school SMB, the weekly breakfast menu at KPS has also been carefully developed with consideration given to nutritional value, availability of quality ingredients and an aim to develop a taste for a wide variety of foods in our students. Special attention is paid to the maintenance of hygiene standards in the kitchen. Some of the items featured on the KPS menu include different varieties of eggs (scrambled, boiled, half boiled egg), fruit and bean salad, oats, porridge, milkshakes, dates, chickpea salad and homemade chapati along with different vegetables.We are also happy to report that the student have now started to love sago in milk or milkshakes.

At SMB, the previous quarter's additions to the menu such as whole wheat chapatis and porridge are going strong. A new addition this month has been an elaborate fruit chaat or salad featuring cucumber, carrot, red beans, chickpeas, along with seasonal fruits and dates. Vegetables with chapati, yogurt and sago pudding or kheer was also introduced. Children are given information about every new item added to the menu so that they learn to recognize and appreciate it for the nutritional value, taste, origin, as well as the benefits of eating it.

Milk is served daily as usual at both the schools.

Please consider making a donation to this program to continue supporting breakfast to fuel the brains of tomorrow's world!

Omelette and Flatbread
Omelette and Flatbread
French toast treat day!
French toast treat day!
Breakfast chef Abida at work
Breakfast chef Abida at work

Links:

Three months ago, our team sat down to re-assess the menu for the breakfast we serve to our Kindergarten students at SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School. Our goal was to ensure that every breakfast our students eat is nutritious, delicious and efficient to prepare and serve.

We got rid of things like French fries and muffins from the regular menu and decided to avoid foods high in sugar and refined flour in the future. We also replaced bakery bread with home-made whole-wheat chapati (flatbread) where possible, to ensure students get adequate fibre in their diet and avoid the inevitable mid-day sugar crash. To keep a balance between savoury and sweet breakfasts, we drafted various preparations of chickpeas and other beans such as curries or salads with seeds, grilled vegetables and vegetable sandwiches. It was also decided that we would try homemade jams and sweeten porridge with fruits instead of with sugar.

In the months of April and May, our tiny tots in the KG section enjoyed chapati, sweet porridge, spicy porridge, boiled chickpeas and vegetable sandwiches from the new menu. They also had milk every day, as usual. They enjoyed all the new additions, though it took them a while to get used to vegetables or jam rolled up in chapatis instead of in  sandwiches. Their parents also appreciated the changes.

April was the beginning of our new term, which meant a brand new class of Kindergarten 1 got introduced to school breakfast (not common in Pakistani schools) for the very first time.The parents of these new students were blown away by the breakfast program and were all praises for it.

Overall, a total 263 students were served a daily breakfast in the last three months. We at Zindagi Trust are fully committed to serving students a healthy and nutritious menu and are constantly trying to improve it. Please share any suggestions you may have for nutritious breakfast ideas and keep supporting our program.

Links:

I love potato cutlets with milk!
I love potato cutlets with milk!

We fed a daily breakfast to more than 250 kindergarten students at SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School in Karachi. The menu remained the same as the last quarter, featuring a tall glass of milk along with one of the following: fruit salad, potato cutlets, French toast, bread with jam and butter, eggs, sandwiches, wheat porridge, pancakes, sweet porridge, chick peas, and boiled potatoes.

Dr Seema Hassan (MD, MPH, CPH), a doctor specializing in public health and nutrition evaluated our menu to review the nutritional value of the food offered to the students. She has proposed certain changes, such as introducing wheat porridge and using homemade jams instead of store-bought ones loaded with preservatives. She also urged us to check the ingredients list of all packaged items such as oil, spices and butter to prevent the use of unwanted additives and guard against contamination. Earlier, our management urged upon the school to avoid refined floor products such as biscuits and sugary cereals. These changes will be incorporated at the onset of the new academic year starting April.

The Sindh province is plagued with malnourishment and stunting, which is one of the reasons for our introducing the breakfast program at a public school. To determine the impact of the breakfast as well as of the changes in the menu, we measured the baseline weight and height of the students in August. A follow-up was taken this month and the endline weight and height record has shown a considerable improvement in the health and growth of our youngest students.

The class teachers and the section incharge get regular feedback from the parents of the kindergarten students, as they come to school to pick up their children every day. In general, the parents have given a great positive response to the new breakfast items being served at school and have noticed an improvement in the overall eating habits of their children. They are thankful to donors like you who make this breakfast program possible!

Milk and Sandwiches!
Milk and Sandwiches!
Our breakfast room
Our breakfast room

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Zindagi Trust

Location: Karachi, Sindh - Pakistan
Website: http:/​/​www.zindagitrust.org
Project Leader:
Abdul Haque
CEO
Karachi, Sindh Pakistan

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