Nutrition security is as vital as food security

Monday, April 26th, 2021 00:00 |

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Christine Nderitu

At how much are you buying tomatoes from your local grocery? How about the other vegetables?

We have had lots of calls and interventions over the years to improve food security. But Covids-19 has made it clear that many Kenyans are still at risk of hunger, especially in the urban areas.

It has also become clear that many other Kenyans do not have consistent access to and cannot avail and afford foods and beverages that promote well-being—nutritious foods.

It turns out, other than the ‘new normal’, there is also the triple burden of malnutrition, where we have undernutrition (hunger), micronutrient deficiency (hidden hunger) and over nutrition (overweight or obesity) all existing within the same population.

What’s worse is that this burden has co-existed in households where  a mother is obese, and a child is either anaemic or undernourished.

This shows it is not enough to simply have food on the table. Rather, have quality food.

This brings me to what informs your food choices.

First, we need to understand nutrition needs of the people we live with. Eating from the same pot doesn’t necessarily mean eating the same portions of food.

While children, adolescents and young adults may need more calories and calcium-rich foods, older adults need less calories, but still need calcium-rich foods.

At the same time, adolescent girls, women of reproductive age and pregnant women need more iron rich foods. 

It is also important to diversify our diets, and learn how to work with what is in season.

Tomatoes for instance are at the moment a delicacy; therefore, work with other more accessible and affordable vegetables.

If you are lucky to have a kitchen garden, plant your cherry tomatoes. Same goes with fruits: eat what is available.

Let’s also learn how to preserve. When it’s a time of plenty, make pickles, blend, dry and store and you can use them for longer.

But remember eating right alone isn’t enough. We must also remain physically active while taking care of our spiritual, emotional, mental and social well-being. We are only healthy when all facets of our lives are taken care of. — @dietfity1

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