84% of Jordanians eat unhealthy food — report

junk food
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AMMAN — According to the Global Nutrition Report, 84 percent of Jordanians eat unhealthy food, and 34 percent of children and women of childbearing age have anemia, Khaberni reported.اضافة اعلان

Social media platforms in Jordan are filled with advertisements encouraging healthy meals and nutritional supplements or following a healthy lifestyle.

Despite the high prices of these products, they are highly sought after by different groups of Jordanians, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, which established a new healthy culture and lifestyle.

With the millennial generation’s growing interest in living an active life, local sales of healthy food products, mostly imported, increased — estimated at $50 million — and market shelves started getting full of healthy food items, which had, for years, been the preserve of certain social groups.

In the capital, Amman, in particular, hundreds of restaurants that offer healthy daily meals that count calories and ingredients are racing to win customers with monthly subscriptions that do not exceed $120 for two meals a day, while markets that sell sugar-free and gluten-free products, or cater to those that follow the “keto” diet, are booming.

Years ago, healthy types of bread started being most in demand, after having been just a “luxury” for some; later, Jordanian food companies found themselves forced to keep up with the obsession for healthy products, such as sugar-free juices, lactose-free milk, energy bars or even organic products.

In contrast to this boom in healthy food production and consumption, the UN ranked Jordanians last year among people who do not eat safe and healthy food.

The UN in Jordan recommended coming up with a mechanism to help provide healthy and affordable food for all.

According to Rouhiya Barham, head of the Nutrition Department at the Ministry of Health, Jordanians consume less vegetables and fruits than people in other countries in the region, and about 30 percent of them rely on canned food.

In this context, many entrepreneurs in Jordan promote a healthy food culture. Among them Thuraya Al-Dulaimi, who transformed the traditional “Eid Maamoul” from an unhealthy sweet to a healthy food free of sugar, gluten, and dairy products.

Dulaimi founded the “Bia Bakes” project for healthy desserts; she replaced the traditional dough with one made of almonds and rice powder, uses coconut oil instead of ghee or butter, and mixes homemade peanut butter with dates to fill the maamoul, having felt that healthy eating in Jordan was unattractive and not tasty.

A group of young men is active manufacturing what is known as energy and protein bars, which include oats, dates and homemade protein, in an attempt to compete with world-famous products. The same applies to a small project making healthy sweets and well-known breakfast meals with granola.

Mujib Organic Farm has for years grown organic vegetables in Jordan. It is a family project of a Jordanian family that left the hustle and bustle of the city to devote itself to its project on a 15-dunum land to produce 50 types of vegetables and fruits without preservatives, pesticides, or fertilizers.

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