Dubai teen creates healthy eating app

When Kunal Valrani’s mother and brother started arguing about healthy and unhealthy food options while sitting at the dinner table, it got the 15-year-old thinking.

With a background in computer programming, the teen decided to create something which would improve our understanding of nutrition. His idea? A fun app game to help people learn about healthy and unhealthy choices.

Valrani explains: “I did a lot of research, and checked out existing apps and games. I researched the issue of malnutrition. I wanted to see what people were struggling with the most, and what they wanted help with and I found a lot of people didn’t know what is classified as healthy and unhealthy.”

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Kunal worked with a nutritionist, Right Bite owner, Nathalie Haddad, to research the field and topic. From there, ‘Hungry Harry’ was created.

The game shows how a character’s health improves or deteriorates as they consume select foods on the screen.

Valrani admits he learned a whole lot himself while creating the app.

“We had to choose 50 foods – 25 healthy and 25 unhealthy to include in the game, with 10 superfoods. So I talked to the nutritionist about the foods and what are considered superfoods.”screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-4-48-15-pm

The experience has already had an impact on Kunal, and he hopes that others in the UAE will get something from it.

“I’ve been working on this game for a long time now – it has taken a year, and now when I’m eating, I think ‘oh this is healthy, I should eat more of this’, and I’m considering how to make my diet more balanced,” he explains.

The dinner table arguments have stopped now too, as Kunal reveals: “Now when something like that comes up at the dinner table, my parents and my brother just ask me and I can refer to Nathalie’s nutrition information. It has been very helpful.”

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