The Department of Health (DOH), thru the National Nutrition Council (NNC), today highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy diet even in times of emergencies.
Healthy diets during emergencies mean providing adequate nutrition, but it should be emphasized it is not just adequate amount of food or calories. Energy needs can be met by providing a range of commodities while protein needs could be satisfied with mixtures of animal and plant-based food.
There are considerations in ensuring this nutritional level during emergencies, which include the following: that proper infant and child feeding practices should be continued; exclusive breastfeeding of infants up to six months and breastfeeding with complementary feeding for children up to two years and beyond should be practiced; and, breastfeeding mothers should receive adequate food and fluids to be able to support breastfeeding.
Meanwhile, community involvement is equally important in this endeavor during critical periods. Community kitchens that provide wet rations, or cooked foods/ready-to-eat meals, should be able to provide balanced diets from all food groups to individuals whenever possible.
Ready-to-eat meals, such as high energy/protein biscuits, healthy packed or canned protein sources rationed daily may be useful as an immediate response to emergencies when no other foods or no cooking facilities are available. Healthy canned protein sources include canned sardines, canned tuna, canned beans, nuts and seeds. Canned fruits may be drained and washed to control sugar consumption among those with diabetes.
On top of these, food preparation should be carefully supervised to prevent outbreaks of food- and water-borne diseases.
“The DOH is calling on all Filipinos to turn away from unhealthy diets in favor of healthier foods. We can’t think of any alternatives to accomplish this one than to introduce more pulses into our diets, as expressed in the theme. Having said that, the NNC shall introduce more pulse recipe’s this Nutrition Month, to encourage our partners in the field in promoting a road to better health through improved nutritional status of Filipinos,” Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial stated.