The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has said healthy snacks will be served at official meetings instead of biscuits, IANS reported. It has instructed the health department to provide healthy food such as roasted gram, almonds, dates and walnuts.

“The health and family welfare Minister has desired that healthy snacks only to be served in official meeting and biscuits are to be avoided,” the ministry said in an order dated June 19.

“Henceforth, therefore, biscuits shall not be dispensed through the departmental canteen,” the order stated. “Healthy snacks such as lahiya channa, khajoor [dates], bhuna channa [roasted grams], badam [almond] and akhrot [walnuts] will be served in the official meetings in the department.”

A previous order on not using plastic water bottles will be implemented “in letter and spirit”, according to the circular.

An unidentified official told ANI that ministry employees were happy with Health Minister Harsh Vardhan’s move. “The minister is a doctor who himself knows the ill-effects of eating fast food and hence ordered this step,” said the official.

In the past, Harsh Vardhan has identified the prevalence of fast foods in school and office canteens as a target area for lifestyle improvement. The health ministry has instructed schools to cut down junk food in canteens for several years now. Other measures taken by Vardhan include not using plastic file covers in government offices and usage of glass jars and recycled paper glasses.