News - September 10, 2009

Healthy lunchboxes for kids in hospital

It is no Happy Meal. But it should cheer up the children in the Gelderse Vallei hospital. Twice a week they'll be treated to brightly coloured lunchboxes courtesy of Wageningen UR.

Happy with a lunchbox
The boxes were presented to the Ede hospital yesterday afternoon. Just this once, the children were allowed to put their own lunch together. Then they ate it up on the grass in front of the main entrance. The brightly coloured lunch boxes are intended to boost the children's appetites. 'Sick children have poor appetites and the attractive presentation could stimulate them to eat a bit after all', says Elserike Lubbersen, head of the paediatric department. 'We are the first hospital to present food this way.' But not every day - just twice a week.
 The colourful boxes are a gift from a dozen or so sponsors including Facilities and Services (FB) at Wageningen UR. FB collected the money (2000 euros) at the opening of a new building for two of the departments. Wageningen UR has been working with the hospital for a couple of years in the field of nutrition research. They came up with the lunchbox idea together.
One thousand of the boxes have been bought. 'That will keep us going for a while', says publicity manager Thea van Dijk. 'They are for a small number of children.' The boxes picture a frog called Koos Kikker, who resembles the storybook characters of Max Velthuis. Koos Kikker is the mascot of the paediatric department. 
 As well as healthy food ('Not always, though', adds Van Dijk) the boxes contain a little surprise. And the outside is adorned with rhymes and questions. How long can a rabbit live, for example?