Posted by: Hazel | 2008/05/31


I am involved in a centre that cares for street children and orphaned children. We are looking for a balanced menu for a week or so, with breakfast, lunch and supper... do you have any suggestions for where to look for it. We have limited funds so we cannot afford to pay someone expensive to do it...

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Hazel
You may be able to obtain this type of menu from the Department of Health or a local branch of the Department of Health (I don't know where you live?). Basically you will have to provide the children with energy and protein. Energy can be obtained from maize meal (pap) and/or wholewheat bread. These two staple foods are luckily fortified with essential vitamins and minerals by Government regulation, so anyone eating 3 portions of maize meal porridge or 6-9 slices of bread a day will obtain at least 1/3 of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins A, B1, B2, niacin, folic acid, and pyridoxine, and the minerals zinc and iron. To boost their energy intake you can add sugar to the maize meal and jam and/or margarine to the bread. To supply the children with protein you can use soya mince as a basis and add a complete protein like fat-free milk powder (1-2 glasses a day). Peanut butter is also a good source of plant protein, B vitamins and energy which you can use on bread. Add dark green or yellow vegetables like cabbage, spinach, pumpkin or winter squash and a source of vitamin C like one serving of citrus fruit a day. These basic foods will go a long way in providing the children with the nutrients they need not only to survive, but also to grow. Canvass your local food suppliers to provide you with discounted maize meal, bread, soya mince, peanut butter and milk powder. Ensure variety in this simple diet by adding flavours to the soya mince and varying the vegetables and fruit you provide for the children. Click on 'Diet' at the top of this page and then do a Search with the terms "Starvation on the Doorstep" to find the article I wrote a few weeks ago on this subject.
Good luck with this worthwhile endeavour.

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