Millets are one of the ancient grains which offer plenty of incredible health benefits. Millets have an impressive nutritional profile and can be an excellent whole-grain option to substitute white rice in many traditional recipes. Despite being highly nutritious, they remained vastly ignored for a long period and were considered as an inferior grain.
Things have changed drastically since the declaration of 2023 as an “International year of millets”. With various government initiatives and events, people have started to recognize the health benefits of millets. However, we still have a long way to go to popularize millets and make them a routine part of our diet.
But let’s start with the basics,
Why should we make efforts to popularize millets
Millets are high in nutrients
They contain various essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and other micronutrients. Including millet in the diet can be a good option to treat and prevent nutritional deficiencies.
Millets are great for the environment
Next, millets are good for the climate too. They can grow in adverse weather conditions and require less water and less fertile soil to survive. They are the best option to provide food security for the growing population.
Millets are good for farmers
Millets offer natural resistance to pests and do not require pesticides to grow and survive like other traditional crops (wheat and rice), hence they reduce overall costs and can be a great option for providing sustainable income to farmers.
Millets are a great cereal option for diabetics
Millets have low GI and absorb slowly, preventing sugar spikes. They are high in fiber and keep us fuller for longer. Thus, they are the best cereal option for diabetics. Millets play a vital role in preventing other lifestyle diseases like hypertension and heart disease.
5 ways India can make the international year of millets popular for a sustainable food system!
Use the power of social media to popularize millets
In the last decade, the power of digital media has grown tremendously and become a part of our day-to-day life. Then, why not use its power to make the international year of millets popular? Creating appealing video content like reels and live videos related to millets can work great in popularizing millets. Health, nutrition and fitness influencers can lead the way to educate people about millet’s benefits and influence their lifestyle choices for better health.
Organize millets workshops and events
Organizing millets workshops and events can be a great way to raise millet awareness among people and inspire them to make millet a routine part of their diet. These sessions can include FAQs about Millets, innovative millet recipes and deep insight into millet benefits which can help people to solve their queries related to millet consumption and help them to understand the role of millets in preventing and treating various lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases.
Introduce millets to kids early in life and incorporate millets in various childhood development programs
Millets are a great cereal option for infants and young kids. If we introduce millets in early childhood, it helps in developing a taste for millets in young kids and will provide them with excellent nutrition too. Millet khichdi, millet and apple porridge and millet Pongal are some tasty millet recipes for infants and kids.
Moreover, we can incorporate the millets recipe in various childhood development programs like mid-day meals to popularize millets in upcoming generations.
Introduce millets in restaurants menus
in this fast-paced world, eating out is a major part of the urban lifestyle. People become more curious when they see new recipe additions in restaurant menus or food services. It is a good idea to include millet recipes on these food platforms to increase the opportunity for people to try millet recipes and popularize millet.
Increased availability of ready-to-eat millet products like millet snacks
With a hectic lifestyle, people want easy-to-make and ready-to-use food products. Increased availability of Millet snacks and other ready-to-make products like millet dosa, millet idly, millet cake mixes etc. can be a great option to popularize millet and help people to make millets a routine part of their diet.
By implementing the above-mentioned steps, millets can be popularized, and we can hope to make the 2023 international year of millet a great success.