India's growing incomes and increased spending on food has translated to greater consumption of fried foods, junk foods, sweets and aerated drinks. Today, 10 to 19-year-olds in every Indian state face an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
As per FAO’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 (SOFI 2020), a nutrient-adequate meal costs PPP $2.12 or ₹25 per meal or ₹50 for 2 meals per day and a ‘healthy diet’ about ₹100 per day. However, for over 370 million poor people in India, this is a big amount for them to spend on a daily basis.
Nutrition experts across India have emphasised that besides vitamin D and calcium, supplementation, food rich in micro-nutrients (such as B complex vitamins, plus Ca, Fe, Zn, Iodine, Se, Zn) be offered, so that immunity against any infection is also ensured. Such an addition takes care of what is called ' hidden hunger ' in poorly nourished people.
As cooked food is given in schools in several states, anganwadis and such, the meals offered should have the kind of menu that offers the best combination of vegetable components in the meal. Many nutritionists have suggested that besides dal (or sambar) using pulses, such meals include vegetables like spinach and other green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, carrots, tomato, potato, milk/curd and fruits like bananas, and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (and an egg) are contained in the meal. Likewise, they have suggested what a balanced non-vegetarian meal could be, which is wholesome, yet affordable.