Time, Money, and Religion

Eleven student leaders from Zamboanga City participated in the Chikainan forum held at the Western Mindanao State University.

The participants talked about the time and financial constraints that prevented them from eating healthy, as well as the unavailability of choices given their religious affiliations.

They admitted not being able to manage their time wisely given the distraction of social media and online gaming. Sometimes they combine meals – breakfast and lunch, for instance – or choose food that require little or no preparation time.

Financial constraints also confine the students to the cheaper option. Safe and nutritious food are always costlier and because the young people have to stretch their allowance, they often end up getting what is cheaper, more accessible and more filling.

Finally, Muslim participants to the discussion said that the absence of the Halal label in the food that they buy prevents them from eating healthy.

Despite these constraints, the participants said there were some positive measures being undertaken in their respective communities to address food security: among these were maintaining a backyard garden, raising animals, buying wholesale to save money, and consciously avoiding preservatives and other unhealthy food additives.

They believe they have a role in pushing for an inclusive food policy, raising awareness about food waste, and leading a frugal example by, for instance, buying only healthy viands in school while bringing home-cooked rice.

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