Students in all government-aided schools in Uttar Pradesh will get fruits in the morning as part of the mid-day meal scheme from the new academic session in July, officials said on Thursday.
The Akhilesh Yadav government passed the order to introduce fresh and seasonal fruits in mid-day meals on Wednesday.
“We will provide something that not only satiates their appetite but is nutritious also,” an official said.
Students will be served fresh fruits like peach, pear, custard apple, orange, bananas and other seasonal fruits every Monday, he said.
Authorities have chosen Monday for the distribution so that it motivates more students to attend school as the attendance is usually low on the first day of the week. It will also allow those responsible for the distribution of fruits to make the necessary arrangements a day in advance.
The fruits will be served as a morning snack so that the students get a sufficient calorie intake before starting school and also to maintain a time interval between the morning snack and the mid-day meal served later in the day.
“Studies show that the mid-day meal served in schools is the first meal of the day for many children. If they eat a fruit between the previous night’s dinner and lunch it will help cut down the long gap between their meals,” an official at the mid-day meal office said.
Fruits like watermelon and musk melon will not be served to keep a check on quality and ensure that the fruits remain fresh.
“All fruits will be washed before being served to the students. We will ensure that only fresh fruits are distributed,” an official said.
Nutrition experts say if chosen properly, the snack will be a good option for children in rural areas.
Children in primary and upper primary classes in government and government-aided schools were served one cooked meal till now. Milk was added to the menu last year.