World Food Day: Mindful eating, sustainable food choices are important to achieve 'zero hunger'

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Written By: Sparshita SaxenaUpdated: Oct 16, 2019, 10:42 PM IST

Our daily diets are calorie-rich and nutritionally hollow. Photograph:(ANI)

Story highlights

The challenge is to bridge the gap which has hunger and obesity stationed at its extreme ends.

Nutritious foods for a healthy diet are not available or affordable to many across the globe; those with access to it choose calorie-rich, nutritionally empty foods instead - what a dichotomy!  

Today is World Food Day, a day to call for action from the global community to ensure that no one goes to sleep on a hungry stomach; a day for us to pledge to adopt a lifestyle that ensures reducing food wastage and adopting sustainable eating habits. 

This World Food Day, the theme revolves around achieving 'Zero Hunger' through 'Healthy Diets'. 

'Zero Hunger' is among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) laid down by the United Nations in its mission to attain sustainable global development by the year 2030. 

But how is feeding the world's hungry related to pushing people to choose healthy, sustainable diets? The link here is an obvious one, something that has come to light very recently. This calls for a closer look at the lopsidedness, the dichotomy that plagues the world. While over 800 million people across the globe suffer from hunger, the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations estimates "even more people suffer from obesity" and its side effects.

While over 800 million people across the globe suffer from hunger, more suffer from obesity and its side effects

When more than 800 million people across the globe have no food to meet their nutritional needs, parallelly runs a scenario where people are suffering because of the over-abundance of food. The FAO states that nearly 670 million adults, across the globe, are obese and the world spends close to $2 trillion annually on health problems tied to obesity.

The challenge now is to bridge the gap which has hunger and obesity stationed at its extreme ends. The only two ways to start taking baby steps towards solving this gigantic problem is by ensuring, personally, that no food goes wasted; and, by being mindful of what we consume by making healthy and sustainable food choices. 


Making healthy eating choices assumes greater significance when the concept of 'hidden hunger' hits us hard in the face. The fact that our daily diets are calorie-rich and nutritionally hollow, points to the fact that we are all deficient in some essential nutrient or the other - therefore, hidden hunger.

We can even pass nutritional deficiencies and different forms of malnutrition down to generations. The FAO states that the "environmental damage caused by the food system could increase 50-90 per cent due to the increased consumption of processed food items, meat and other animal-source products in low and middle-income countries". 

This year, India slipped from the 55th spot in 2014 to come 102nd in the Global Hunger Index. Facts and data similar to this will continue to pour in and inundate us; figures will change and statistics will paint a more alarming picture of global hunger and the rising incident of non-communicable and lifestyle diseases. In the end, it all boils to just one thing - how can we start about a revolution within ourselves? It is all about getting rid of our eating styles, consumption pattern and being mindful, more watchful of what we eat and how we prepare, or even store, our food. 


The following points should initiate you to the world of sustainable eating. Take these as your baby steps towards ensuring the planet's healthier, hunger-free future. 

1. Add vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and whole grains to your diet

2. Cut back on refined starches, sugar, fats, meat, processed items, packaged foods and salt

3. Swap refined ‘white’ foods for more nutritious ‘brown’ options

4. Choose foods with unsaturated fats over saturated and trans-fats

5. Eat traditional diet, local, seasonal and organic

6. Eat sustainably sourced fish

7. Consume fresh food, avoid stale food, reduce waste

8. Eat more home-cooked meals

9. Try healthier cooking options like pressure-cooking, steaming, boiling, stir-frying, slow-cooking

10. Read your labels

11. Exercise daily

12. Grow your own greens and veggies

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)