The Department of Agriculture (DA) reminds the public to be mindful of their food consumption this holiday season during the culmination of #RICEponsiblePlateChallenge, a social media campaign that encourages consumers to prepare the healthiest and most balanced meal in a plate.
â€śWastage and eating more of what our body requires are prevalent in this season of food abundance. So we try to lessen this behavior through the prompts we launched during the National Rice Awareness Month. Letâ€™s SET rice! Save rice, Eat healthy, and Try brown rice,â€ť Myriam G. Layaoen, campaign director of DAâ€™s Be RICEponsible campaign, said.
The 8th National Nutrition Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology showed that 14 grams of rice were wasted in Filipino households. Moreover, 7 in 10 Filipino households do not meet their dietary energy requirement.
â€śImproving food security by minimizing food wastage is gaining momentum in the country with the filing of legislative measures including House Bill No. 5746 and Senate Bill No. 357 and 984, known as Zero Food Waste Act. But thereâ€™s more work to be done, especially on conscientiously finishing our food,â€ť Layaoen said.
Layaoen, also a senior science researcher at Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), said that eating more rice does not equate to getting the right nutrition.
She explained that Filipinoâ€™s usual dependence on too much rice for energy may not be the healthiest option as the sugar content of a bowl of rice is equivalent to more than that of two cans of soft drink.
Pinggang Pinoy, the countryâ€™s guide on healthy eating habits, recommends that rice should only be 33% of the plate and that each food group must have the same portion.
â€śIt is interesting to note that the entries we evaluated in the #RICEponsiblePlateChallenge comprised the appropriate quantity of rice based on the participantâ€™s age and sex. Healthy forms of rice such as pigmented rice, rice with camote, and brown rice were also included on their plate,â€ť the campaign director said.
Production and consumption of brown rice, Layaoen said, is supported by Presidential Decree 1211 or â€śRegulating the milling of riceâ€ť signed by former Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos on Oct. 12, 1977; Senate P.S. Resolution No. 321 or â€śUrging the committee on agriculture and food to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on ways to support the farming and production of brown rice in the Philippines with the end in view of curbing the rice production deficit in the countryâ€ť; and House Bill No. 3445 or â€śAn act providing for the consumption of brown rice through food and retail establishments as an alternative to white rice.â€ť
â€śAs we celebrate the holidays, we may want to pattern our family feasts after the plates of those who won the challenge. They have proven that healthy food are fun, cheap, and delectable,â€ť Layaoen added.
Among the 500 submissions across the country, entries from Benedicto B. Gonzales, Nestor C. Humiwat, and EJ Cruz were chosen first, second, and third, respectively. Other than Layaoen, contest judges were Rosaly V. Manaois and Dr. Riza A. Ramos, PhilRice food scientists; and Jomarie Tongol, nutritionist and dietician at the National Nutrition Council. The winning entries are posted on the Be RICEponsible Facebook page.