The Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association are one of the Member Organisations taking part in our new Nutrition Programme
About Sri Lanka
Lying off the southern tip of India, the tropical island of Sri Lanka has attracted visitors for centuries with its natural beauty. Sri Lanka is a lower middle-income country of 21.2 million people. There are more females in the country compared to males.
While Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages, English is commonly used in the government and day today business of the common people as a “link language”.
Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam co-exist in the country. Sri Lanka has always been home to multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies.
About girls in Sri Lanka
Education is the number one priority for girls in Sri Lanka. Schooling is compulsory for children from five to thirteen.
Education is state-funded and offered free of charge at all levels, including university. Youth literacy stands at 97 per cent.
Most girls in Sri Lanka are enrolled in schools and continue to complete their higher education, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Did you know... the Sri Lankan national sport is Volleyball. Many people mistakenly think that it is cricket which is considered the most popular sport!
What do girls eat in Sri Lanka?
The central feature of Sri Lankan food is rice, served with vegetables, lentils (dhal), cooked green salad and either fish, chicken or other meat products. Vegetables are prepared using spices and coconut milk. This rice and curry meal is traditionally eaten at midday, although it may also be served for dinner.
The traditional morning and evening meals are usually composed of a traditional starchy staple, such string hoppers (fresh rice noodles), hoppers (cup-shaped pancakes), roti (coconut flat bread), orthosai (sourdough pancakes), served with a sambol (a mixture of chillies, coconut, hot peppers and other vegetables) and one or two curries.
‘Short eats’ or snacks can be bought in bakeries. Sri Lankans eat few dairy products, but may drink milk as part of breakfast or with tea. Strong tea, usually with milk and sugar, is drunk alone or following a small serving of finger food or sweets, especially at mid-morning and late afternoon. It is popularly known that in Sri Lanka “any time is tea time”!
The food habits of Sri Lankan girls are also determined by many other factors like a busy academic schedule, customs and cultural practices.
Today, many urban girls prefer to consume very light snacks and short eats rather than food with high nutritional value.
In contrast, girls in rural areas have more opportunities to consumes greens, starch and protein with high nutritional value easily accessible from their home, gardens and neighbourhoods.
Nutrition in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is experiencing a range of malnutrition challenges including eating too little, eating too much and not eating enough vitamins and minerals.
One-third of women aged 15-49 do not receive enough iron in their diets leaving them feeling tired and lacking the energy to be the best they can be.
In contrast to this, one-third of women over 20 are overweight or obese.
Many girls feel that they have access to enough food, but not all of it is healthy. Girls often eat on the go, as they move between school and extra-curricular activities.