MOTHERS should start growing their own vegetables to reduce the burden of rising food costs.
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) education officer NV Subbarow said the rising prices of greens were a cause for concern for mothers trying to feed their children healthy food.
“It is quite easy to grow our own vegetables at home.
“Fruiting plants like okra, brinjal and chilli as well as leafy vegetables like sawi, kangkong and bayam can easily be grown in a small space such as a balcony.
“The same goes for plants like mint, pegaga, kesum and selom,” he said during a three-hour CAP forum on “Healthy Lifestyle for Women and Green Home”.
About 40 mothers learned more about starting home gardens at the event held at the CAP office in conjunction with Mothers Day.
Subbarow said common household items such as milk cartons and juice bottles could be used for plants which have smaller root systems such as leafy vegetables.
“For plants with deeper roots like okra, brinjal and chilli, you can use biscuit tins, five-litre oil cans or five- to 20-litre water bottles.
“With proper sunlight, water and compost, anyone can grow vegetables even in small places.”
CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader, in his opening speech, said mothers played an important role in ensuring their children eat nutritious food every day.
CAP education officer O. Saraswathi in her talk titled “Art of Eating”, said CAP never advised people to shun most types of food.
“We just want people to choose their food wisely and carefully.
“Most of the time, we end up taking supplements because there are no proper nutrients in the processed food we consume daily,” she said.
She also urged mothers to get creative in making healthy food more attractive to their children.
“During the pandemic, it was noted that children consumed more chicken than during pre-Covid days.“Why don’t we look into replacing chicken with healthier alternatives for our children such as grains like millet?
“They are also cheaper than processed food,” she added.
In her talk on “Chemicals in Our Lives”, CAP research officer Hatijah Hashim pointed out that many households used a wide range of products that contained chemicals.
“We have to be cautious about exposure to some of the chemicals,” she warned.
“Studies have shown that toxic chemicals in our home cleaning and personal care products are three times more likely to cause cancer than other pollutants.
“The chemicals contribute to many other health problems like obesity, coronary heart disease and diabetes,” she said.
At the end of the forum, the mothers were presented with a herbal plant each.