HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014
What college canteens dish out
Ankita Saha, Hindustan Times
August 07, 2012
First Published: 16:20 IST(7/8/2012)
Last Updated: 17:59 IST(7/8/2012)
Are students being served healthy food? The fare may be cheap but are the authorities paying attention to quality?

While some of Delhi college campus canteens and smaller grub joints are popular, they leave many things to be desired. Many students we talked to complained of smaller portions and weren’t too happy with the amount of oil in the food they were served. Here are the findings of a small survey we carried out across eight north campus colleges in the 2011-12 academic year.

“Though the committee says that the food is nutritious, we hardly get to see any green leafy vegetables in the sandwiches and noodles,” says Sabahat Jahan, treasurer, Students Council, Ramjas College.

“The food is really affordable and cheap but all that we get for the money is very little chholey in the chholay kulchay and loads of oil in chholay bhature and chowmein,” says Nayantara Nath, BA programme student, Miranda House.

These eating joints are convenient but there’s also the question of whether students should depend on them completely for their meal requirements. “We can have food from the cafeteria but depending on it for the entire day is just not worth it,” says Anjali Verma, BCom (hons), student, Kirori Mal College.

“The vegetables used for making the dishes are not fresh, and you’re lucky if you find veggies in your noodles,” says Bharti Rautela, a BSc (hons) botany student, Ramjas College.

 “The food is not always served hot and snacks such as bread pakoras and samosas are reheated in the microwave; we are not aware of how long they had been kept,” says Shelly Mehta, BCom (hons) student, Hans Raj College.

“Half of the items written on the board in the cafeteria are not available. The only thing which all of us like are the fresh fruit juices, says Neha Aggarwal, a BA (hons) philosophy student, Hindu College.

‘No attempt to make menus healthy’

There is virtually a standard menu in all colleges, with south Indian, paranthas, snacks, etc. There is nothing like a conscious attempt to make the menu healthy — nothing innovative or imaginative, says wellness expert Dr Shikha Sharma.

“I don’t blame the contractor. We should look for solutions. Students should be more responsible and constructive. They should form a student body which decides on a healthy menu, on which items could be rotated. About 40% of the eatables should be nutritious. They should do an audit or inspection weekly or monthly to ensure hygiene on the premises and ensure no expired food stock is on the shelves; look for signs of infestation and check sanitation level in the bathroom.

As told to Rahat Bano

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