Chai with biscuits is an integral part of every household and office across India, with even Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pitch of Chai pe charcha turning out to be a very successful campaign.
However, on June 28, an official order by the Health Minister Harsh Vardhan surfaced on the Internet, stating that biscuits though baked, are not the best options for the stomach, digestion and an overall attempt to stay healthy. Further, the order issues the inclusion of more healthy snacks in government offices, with a list including dried chana, khajoor (dates), badam (almonds) and akhrot (walnuts).
While the new snack replacements are high in protein and other essential nutrients, the report also adds that the use of plastic bottles needs to be cut down.
Welcoming this move, Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar says, “As far as Hyderabad city police is considered, we already stock fruits, majiga (buttermilk) and lassi for our meetings, which are all healthy options. Some officers are addicted to cookies, so we do have them, but in the interest of public health, we should have healthy snacks. That’s why fruits are the healthiest options.”
While most agree that gorging on greasy, high-calorie and not-so-healthy snacks like samosas, mirchi bhaji and butter cookies is the more enjoyable way out, replacing them with healthy alternatives has its own benefits. Agreeing on the issued order, Chief Secretary, Telangana, S.K. Joshi says, “Personally speaking, I too prefer healthy food. But I must confess that it requires tremendous self-control to refrain from eating unhealthy food.”
Interestingly, the advisory is by no means a pioneering one although it is uncommon in government circles. Special Chief Secretary Ajay Misra feels, “The Ministry has taken a positive step in the right direction, with all desirable and required initiatives like replacing unhealthy snacks with healthier options such as dry fruits and roasted chickpeas.”
With so many of our daily calories being consumed at work, bureaucrats seem to be realising the importance of healthy options. “For me, it has to be healthy snacks like dry or fresh fruits. I also serve green tea to my visitors,” shares Swati Lakra, IGP Women Safety & ADG CID.
Remembering his carefree childhood days with simple food habits, Inspector General Soumya Mishra says, “When I remember my childhood days, I remember the simple Indian snacks that we ate and how healthy they were, be it puffed rice, roasted channa, chudwa, many types of boiled and shallow fried sweets. There was no fear of putting on weight or harming our health. Not many soft drinks too.
We drank coconut water or drinks made of fruits, herbs or dairy products — both sweet and sour like sherbet or lassi. Also, we drank from earthen pots and not from plastic bottles. Life used to be simpler, healthier and environment-friendly.”...