More vegetables in healthcare

Tholen – The cook and the doctor, they both have a white coat, are specialists in their profession and both take care of the health of the patients, only the available budget to practice their profession differs a bit. The phrase “It’s like hospital food” should be a compliment, not an insult. At the 6th vegetable congress, the central question was how to get more vegetables into the healthcare system.


Pediatrician Koen Joosten, Menrieke Menkveld from Alliance Nutrition in Healthcare Foundation and Annemarie Borgdorff from GroentenFruit Huis

The conference started with a difficult message from science. Research shows that eating more vegetables has a positive effect on health. Studies show a reduction in blood pressure, reduction in cardiovascular disease and stroke. However, the causal relationship is difficult to prove. More research is needed to substantiate health claims, and it is very difficult, said Alie de Boer of the UMCM. Moreover, it is very difficult to prove that vegetables can serve as medicine.

Alie de Boer from UMCM

One of the spearheads in the national prevention agreement from 2018 is a healthy food supply in hospitals. Three hospitals that have embarked on this presented their approach. Preparatory hospitals Gelderse Vallei, Flevoziekenhuis and Reade rehabilitation center have adapted the food offer for patients, employees and visitors to the Guidelines for good nutrition. This means that more vegetables have been offered, among other things by offering extra mealtimes, soups with more vegetables, and there has also been more focus on the experience factor and food environment.

Being sick has a big impact on your appetite. When it comes to sick patients, they are often malnourished. They need protein for recovery. So what does eating more vegetables mean for other food intake? Not much is known about this yet, said dietitian Merel Ambrosius from Rijnstate Hospital. They offer extra vegetables in the form of raw vegetables, but note that these often come back as well, which means they have to deal with the loss of vegetables.

The vegetable congress took place at Floriaden in Almere. The Deputy for Agriculture and Food in the Flevoland province Jan-Nico Appelman – who grew up on an arable farm with potato, carrot and onion cultivation – opened the network lunch and inspiration market and argued for a transition of the entire food system, from the land to the consumer. . “Chefs are central to tempting consumers to the menu of the future: sustainable, healthy, plant-based and local”. This also ties in with Floriade’s themes: “Feeding the City” and “Healthying the City” to “provide everyone in the future with enough healthy food made with respect for the sustainability of the earth.”

Chefs Niels Gerz and Franscois Vane from HMC Westeinde showed during a live cooking session how you can use more vegetables in dishes. Under the guise of Tasty is the trigger, they made a spicy shot for breakfast as examples with carrots, oranges, ginger and chili cooked sous vide, which immediately wakes you up, and a red cabbage soup and vegetable-rich lasagna. During the session, a discussion arose about the budget, the specialization and the use of nutritional drinks.

Need more and better cooperation to take advantage of the opportunities
According to Menrike Menkveld, director of the Alliantie Nutrition in Healthcare Foundation and project manager of the Good Care Taste your project in hospitals, realizing a healthy and varied food offer requires collaboration with several disciplines, where there is close collaboration with catering companies and suppliers. with the health institution is desired. Charles Jansen is one such connection. He took the audience back to the time when in the 1990s they took the wrong path by focusing on more service and flexibility, economies of scale and cost savings at the expense of the quality of the dish and the products. Eating and drinking must be seen as the primary process in the healthcare organization.

A healthy diet with plenty of vegetables is a challenge. More and more suppliers are coming up with solutions that make it easier to eat more vegetables. Three companies were allowed to pitch their solutions. Anouk Snelders of Health Food Wall did this externally. Health Food Wall is the company of the smart refrigerators, which offers healthy meals with lots of vegetables for health institutions and has a sustainable concept. The smart refrigerator is now installed in a number of healthcare institutions.

Eating more protein is a challenge that is very important for healing the sick. The older you get and the sicker you are, the more dire the need for protein, said Fred Bergmans, director of Carezzo. The company makes protein-enriched food that makes a high protein intake achievable without eating more. However, the protein transition is a new challenge because the quality of vegetable protein is not optimal, and therefore more must be eaten.

There is growing scientific evidence that lifestyle changes can reverse diabetes2. Ekomenu is a partner in a study of the influence of lifestyle on blood sugar levels. The company develops lifestyle-related meal boxes and recently introduced a vegetable counter that shows users the extent to which they meet the recommended daily amount.

If only eating vegetables was child’s play… Spoony devised a playbox that stimulates children with eating problems in a positive way to eat more vegetables. Kids, parents and dietitians responded enthusiastically to this, Phaedra told People. There were parents who responded ‘to be amazed’ because their child suddenly wanted to eat a dish. 91% of parents enjoyed using the playbox as a family; As a result, 78% of children tasted new flavors or products, and 72% continued to play the games regularly. 85% of the dietitians indicated that the games gave children extra motivation to taste new flavors.

“We are in a split with each other regarding the price aspect.” A discussion about the budget followed between the suppliers Hutten, Bidfood and the Facility Affairs manager for Erasmus MC. Erasmus has 8 to 9 euros available per patient per day, which is very tight to meet all functional requirements for the patient’s nutrition. Should the specialists sound the alarm and present the demand to the board: “I want my patient’s diet to be in order?”

At the vegetable conference, José Vogelenzang made the link to the roadmap Food, Health and Living Environment. Three of the top ten Dutch sectors have agreed to put their shoulders to the wheel with Greenports Holland and regions. How can the themes ‘nutrition’ and ‘health and care’ come together?

This is due, among other things, to the interactive map that Herman Peppelenbos, associate professor at HAS, is developing. The regions are responsible for the health of their residents, and the interactive map shows which municipality does what.

The slogan “eat healthy” has little effect when it comes to encouraging people to change their diet. Nicole de Wit from WUR presented the results of a study on providing personal nutrition advice. A fiber tool was developed that provided insight into how much fiber a person consumes in relation to the recommended amount. The results of research into the long-term effects of food choice behavior within healthcare institutions and the restaurant industry will also be available shortly.

Award for Best Practice 2022
Companies that make healthy food in healthcare easier and/or tastier could compete for the Best Practice Award 2022, a new initiative at the Vegetable Congress. Out of 15 entries, Helsekostmuren won first place. Second place went to Rebels from Vitam, which presents vegetables as a tasty snack on the go. Green credit came in third place, which develops vegetable spreads based on vegetables that do not meet the standards in appearance. The Purple Pride eggplant shawarma received an honorable mention.

The congress ended with chef Sharon de Miranda, known from the television program BinnensteBuiten. As a chef in the province of Flevoland, she first looks at ‘what is available locally’ and then decides what she wants to make with it.

How urgent is it to get more vegetables on the plate? Rob Baan was a little tired of always having to explain why vegetables are so important to people. “The future is busy,” he concluded. He had also discovered a secret weapon: soup. You can store a lot of vegetables in there. “Everybody falls for it.” He hopes that hospital food in the future will represent the healthiest and tastiest food available.

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