In 2019 we had a program in India that was advocated by the government in an effort to inspire the people of India to stay fit and physically active, “The Fit India Movement” launched on the 29th Aug is a great initiative to reiterate and reinforce the importance of getting up from your chair and being active, of not being the proverbial couch potato!
Along with this, there was also the hope that people will pay more attention to the food on their plate. Which of course is not just a decision that can be made momentarily but needs deliberation, attention and a lot of determination. With India becoming largely global in nature, the travel quotient has increased by leaps and bounds as careers take on global connotations. People are no longer always eating out of their homes and need more health favorable options when they travel.
Hence it’s important that we also start seeing change in the menus served within corporate canteens. Gone are the days when it was pure glee to be served elaborate menus at complimentary canteen lunches finished sumptuously with a dessert on a full stomach. Now the youth especially has started to look out for healthier options and may actually be disappointed at not finding them.
Air India also announced healthy meal plans keeping in mind the health of it’s crew as they are constantly eating foods in flights. This is a great initiative that has been trending in some corporates but a first in the flying segment.
With metabolic diseases & syndromes like hypertension, diabetes, inflammation and obesity on the rise, the need of the hour is a holistic, environment positive outlook. This just means that people should look at wellness not just from an exercise or food point of view but also from the angle of keeping themselves gut healthy, low on stress, emotionally well and striking the right balance between exercise and food eating practices. And this is not possible without a lending hand from the environment. From the employer, who can make healthier food options available, who can offer facilities related to wellness within the work space, who can encourage team dependency (this is a tough one!!) and liaison to regulate stress.
From the home ground where families must educate themselves to eat healthy, cook together for support such that providing healthy meals is not singular responsibility. When decisions on food meals are unanimous, coaxing even younger kids to eat healthy is more about reiteration than force.
Today our environment may breathe of pollution and adulteration but it also encourages variety. Food source availability in terms of variety is no longer difficult. Right from black rice to quinoa to millet to avocado to all kinds of local produce to organic choices, nothing is beyond our reach.
And hence making food versatile and interesting is no longer difficult. All you need is the net, a few good recipe options and a shopping list!!
We are fast, achingly approaching a country where obesity is on the rise even amongst children and teenagers, where disease strikes at the prime ages between 30 & 40. We need to open our eyes, sit up and take charge of our health. Exercise has to become an uncompromising part of our routine, healthy food options at work spaces must become not just an option but a requisite. Eating healthy has to become a habit not a burden. Fit India is a dream which must become a reality. All this dream needs is each and everyone of us.
Anupama Menon is a nutritionist and food coach based in Mumbai and Bangalore offering sustainable nutritional plans with 3 chEATs per week. To book an appointment call 9902060225 or follow her on Instagram @iamanupamamenon