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Students behind the made-in-Mexico meal for children. The students behind the made-in-Mexico meal.

Students looked to MX for key ingredients

Diverti-Lunch provides a nourishing meal for schoolchildren

Three biotechnology students at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) have developed a nutritious and appetizing made-in-Mexico breakfast and lunch for primary schoolchildren.

The motivation of Karla Martínez, Guadalupe Ponce and Nayeli Villegas was to find a solution to child malnourishment, and to reduce the number of children that don’t eat breakfast, or don’t eat a nutritious one.

Their product, called Diverti-Lunch, consists of pancakes, jam, atole and jelly, all of which are staples of breakfasts throughout the country. What’s different is the unusual but highly nutritious alternative ingredients the students used in their preparation.

The pancakes’ main ingredient is plátanos machos, or plantains. The students added amaranth flour to absorb some of the plantain’s moisture, and for its high protein, vitamin and mineral content.

The pancakes don’t require milk and are served with xoconostle jam, the sour-flavored fruit from the nopal cactus, which is a source of carbohydrates.

Accompanying the meal is a serving of coconut atole, a hot beverage common throughout Mexico that typically includes masa (corn hominy flour), water, piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar), cinnamon, vanilla and optional chocolate or fruit.

The IPN students chose to base their version of atole on coconut as this fruit has the right amount of lipids required for a child’s constitution. The drink has fatty acids of vegetable origin, so they don’t contribute to cholesterol build-up. The students said that coconut also aids in the formation of tooth enamel during childhood.

Diverti-Lunch, which roughly translates as Fun Breakfast, is rounded off with a portion of spirulina jelly, a microalgae rich in many easily digestible vitamins and minerals, and an aid in the synthesis of proteins.

Together, the ingredients provide children with what the students see as the necessary nutrients for a favorable academic performance. Along with satisfying the children’s macronutrients needs, each breakfast provides them with 344 calories, well within the accepted maximum of 500 in children’s breakfasts.

The IPN biotechnology students haven’t ruled out the creation of a business that would distribute Diverti-Lunch to primary schools, meeting the demand that public institutions sometimes cannot.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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