The advantage of eating healthy and cheap for a low-income family is priceless, in addition to helping to reduce public spending on health with the incidence of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

In the Dominican Republic, there is a way to consume healthy food produced locally, either in backyard gardens or in schools, and thus obtain options and free oneself from the food crisis that affects many countries in the world.

To deal with an unhealthy eating situation, which substitutes products that give energy such as fats, sugars and cereals, there are combinations with cereals, with legumes and fruits, the change of fish for tilapias from ponds or sardines that can provide the proteins that They guarantee the meats.

Food insecurity occurs in cases where a family only has enough to consume one or two meals a day and, even worse, when what they consume only provides energy and not the proteins and vitamins they need to be healthy. An ultra-saturated and very caloric meal only brings obesity, hypertension and diseases, affirms the resident representative of the FAO in the country, Rodrigo Castañeda, who together with Mariela Ortega, a specialist in food nutritional security of the United Nations organization, detailed part of the work and workshops with chefs to teach rural families how to prepare healthy diets. The Dominican Republic produces foods that contain protein, important nutrients for the growth and development of the body and that must be present in a healthy and nutritious diet, said Castañeda.

Products
The country produces and can increase the production of foods rich in protein (vegetable origin) such as legumes: Beans of all kinds, peas, lentils; for example, the combination of rice and beans offers a protein of high biological value (high utilization of the organism). Another food rich in protein (of animal origin) is dairy and also eggs. Castañeda stressed that these foods are included in the government’s social programs (Economic Canteens, School Feeding) and are sold at low costs in INESPRE and in national markets to provide a solution to the country’s Food and Nutritional Security.

In addition to foods rich in protein (animal or vegetable), the plate must contain a combination that offers all the nutrients necessary for the essential functions of the body, such as carbohydrates (whole grains, groceries, fruits, vegetables), as they provide energy immediately, and contain essential nutrients for health (vitamins and minerals). It also suggests thinking about foods rich in fat, especially vegetable fats (oils, nuts and other grains) and to a lesser extent animal fats. Food can be diverse. The country has varieties of food to consume. In the case of fruits and vegetables, their consumption should be daily (3 to 5 servings), however, there are other foods such as proteins of animal origin that do not need to be consumed daily, and combinations can be made between some foods, such as legumes and rice, and also take into account the portions of what is eaten to avoid excesses in the diet, and food waste, which ultimately affects the family economy.

Castañeda believes that initiatives that promote a more nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle are important and that these become public policies for the reduction of malnutrition and chronic non-communicable diseases, caused by a diet high in ultra-processed foods (rich in sugars simple, saturated fats, trans fats and sodium). In addition to giving higher priority to smallholder agriculture as a frontline humanitarian response to overcome access constraints and as a solution to reversing negative long-term trends.

“From the FAO we have been supporting, in an articulated way, the Government and more than 30 municipalities of the Southwest region, in the implementation of Law 589-16 SSAN, of Food and Nutritional Security and the awareness of the most vulnerable population in how diversify their diet with the support of culinary experts, creating healthy and nutritious menus with locally produced foods,” said Castañeda.

 DETAILS Consumption
In the country, according to the FAO, the Dominican diet is made up of more than 50% sugar (25%) and carbohydrates such as rice (32%), only 1% is made up of fish and 1.3% of vegetables (fresh vegetables ),

orchards
The issue, according to the FAO representative, is to provide access to local food with local production at a lower cost “and schools are essential in these times of tension.”

livelihoods
The provision of “means of life” with the delivery of a goat or a chicken to a poor family is an example of rural production that facilitates the sale of surpluses to acquire other goods.

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