MEET THE TEEN BEHIND HEALTHY EATING APP
How Hungry Harry is helping with children
When Kunal Varani’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 an interest in computer programming, the American School of Dubai pupil decided to create something that would improve people’s understanding of nutrition. His idea? A fun app game to help users learn about healthy and unhealthy choices. Varani 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.”
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.
Varani 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.”
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, I can refer to Nathalie’s nutrition information. It has been very helpful.”
TEEN TEACHER: 15-year-old Kunal Varani created an app to teach more about healthy eating. Available on iOS and Android.