Student - October 11, 2011

Healthy eating in the rain

The heavens have opened and the visitors to knowledge festival Food4You's general public day are crowding into the tents to escape the rain. It is warm inside and there is an aroma of delicious food. An elderly couple tries seaweed salad with mussels while in the background children watch a puppet show.

The theme this year is healthy eating but that has been interpreted very loosely. People are being challenged to think about what they eat. Holding up this mirror should make them more aware of their choices. Jacqueline Klein Gunnewiek, a clinical chemist at the Gelderse Vallei hospital, thinks the focus on nutrition is important. 'There is a direct link between a good diet and health. What is more, recovery is quicker and more effective in people who eat well. Better information helps people make the best choices.'

There is also plenty of consideration for the effect food has on your feelings and state of mind. For instance, there is a discussion whether eating a steak puts you in a happy, sombre, romantic or intellectual mood. The stands are also divided up according to these moods. You can get tips on how to eat your way out of the doldrums with alternative comfort food. Another popular stand demonstrates the many things you can do with seaweed in the kitchen.

There are lots of loyal, enthusiastic visitors on the general public day. 'We have a look every year to get new ideas and catch up on the latest developments,' says Joost Burgstede. But it is not that easy to choose healthy food in the Netherlands. 'We eat organic food and grow our own food too, but I think organic food should become more standard. Now people are often unable and unwilling to pay for it.'

You are never too young to learn so there is also plenty to do for the youngest visitors. A puppet show is being used to spread the healthy eating gospel among the kids. The parents present already seem pretty convinced. 'At home, I try to eat healthily and to make sure the children do too,' says visitor Daniƫlle Peters. 'This festival is a nice way to spend an afternoon. The children learn about food and they get to try new things.'