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For many urban Indians, self-cooked food is not a healthy choice. If they can afford it, they will be better off not cooking their own food.Many urban Indians should get a cook or buy food from restaurants. There are many restaurants that now offer excellent, healthy, options.

The reason is simple; Nutrition.

People in Indian cities who have a cook can create and implement healthy menus. However, people who cook their own food are usually unable to invest the time and effort needed to cook nutritionally complete food.

For example, a working mother or a housewife is the typical cook for a child in Indian cities and, at home, breakfast is usually some quick and easy parathas, or poha, or idlies, or the occasional omelette.

In addition to the above, the child may be given a glass of milk, and often mixed with some malt drink like Horlicks or Complan.

The omelette and milk are certainly very nutritious. Unfortunately, none of the other stuff is.

The poha, parathas, and idlies have practically no micronutrient diversity. Where are the vegetables? The malt drinks like Complan and Horlicks are sugar bombs, and not at all recommended for many children, especially with the rapidly increasing rates of obesity, and early onset of lifestyle disease, both caused by sugar (including sugary drinks like these).

What about lunch that the child carries to school? Some rice or chapattis with a little bit of vegetable (often potatoes). Again, very poor macro and micronutrient diversity.

And dinner? You can bet that vegetable diversity continues to be low.

It is now believed that a whopping 90 percent of urban Indian children have some micronutrient deficiency or the other. Adults too are in the same boat with many diets deficient in protein as well.

The widely held belief that “home cooked food is best” is, unfortunately, no longer true for most people. It is causing nutritional deficiencies and “hidden hunger”.

Here’s an article in the Wall Street Journal that’s not from India but makes more or less the same point –

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