Good eating habits start in school

Damai Primary School pupils having their meals at the school canteen.
Damai Primary School pupils having their meals at the school canteen.PHOTO: ST FILE

It is heartening to know that a new initiative to promote healthier food choices is being pushed out on the National University of Singapore (NUS) campus ("On the menu: Healthier meals across NUS campus"; last Monday).

The truth is, most students pay little regard to the food they eat, so long as it fills their bellies as they grab a bite in their hurry.

Hence, NUS' move to display the nutritional values of each meal will be effective as it allows students to have a better understanding of their food and, thus, make better choices, such as switching from white to brown rice.

One's choice of food is something that is cultivated from a young age.

The food offered in school canteens can make up a large proportion of students' intake, affecting their health. It is, hence, essential for schools to ensure that students receive the correct nutrition.

Thus, this initiative should start in secondary schools.

The Health Promotion Board could make it mandatory for all canteen stalls to use olive oil, and offer brown rice as well as white rice.

Stalls could also collaborate with the fruit stall, so that students can add fruit to their meals.

This push for healthier food choices from a young age would not only cultivate better eating habits, but also prevent the occurrence of diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

While there may be a concern about the higher prices these changes would bring, the health benefits are worth the price hikes.

Tiffanie Lim Hui Jun (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2016, with the headline 'Good eating habits start in school'. Print Edition | Subscribe