Today, at the Children’s Clinical University Hospital, the healthy eating initiative “Ēstprieks” (Latvian for ‘Joy of Eating’) was presented, which is based on a healthy, local, wholesome, and tasty diet. Also, a new, modernly equipped hospital kitchen was opened, which is a part of the years-long dream of a richer cuisine and menu that would be more attractive for children, so that every meal not only strengthens children’s health, but also motivate children to eat healthier.
About 15,000 children are treated in the inpatient wards of the Children’s Hospital every year, and the stay in the hospital environment can feel alarming to them. One of the tasks of the Children’s Hospital is to make the environment as friendly for the child and their family as possible, so that the child feels calmer, finds joy also to play and every meal bring them joy. Therefore, the kitchen of the Children’s Hospital has undergone extensive changes, where a new menu is now available to patients, developed in collaboration with nutritionist Lizete Puga. The menu includes 8 types of diets so that meals are not repeated within the period of 10 days.
The opening of the new kitchen and catering concept is only the first step towards the implementation of the healthy eating movement “Ēstprieks”. The inspirer of the initiative “Ēstprieks” is the company “Maxima Latvija” which together with responsible Latvian entrepreneurs is committed to providing patients in the Children’s Hospital with local, fresh, and pure products that will allow the Children’s Hospital chefs not only to prepare delicious and visually appealing food, but also to inspire children and parents to maintain their healthy eating habits when back at home.
“A menu that is healthy and attractive for children, the opportunity to order food for parents too, the delivery of meals to the ward in thermal trays – these were the tasks of this year, which we had planned in the strategy of the Children’s Hospital. The next steps also include the ability to order food electronically by selecting from a range of options, as well as providing meals outside of scheduled meals, for instance, for the patients in the Emergency and Observation Units, as well as for patients who had no appetite during the day but feel hungry late at night. Patient- and family-friendly, personalized meals will soon become one of the intended improvements of the Children’s Hospital,” says Valts Ābols, Chairman of the Board of the Children’s Clinical University Hospital.
“Every mom and dad want their child to be strong and healthy, but there are times when the offspring get sick and go to the hospital. Then we, as parents, want the child to receive the best care in the hospital – good treatment, kind nurses, as well as a pleasant environment. Nutrition is another important step towards recovery. Today, the Children’s Hospital has acquired a new and modern kitchen and I am convinced that every child patient of the hospital will look forward to these meals with pleasure,” says the patroness of the Children’s Hospital Iveta Vējone.
“The dream of a new hospital kitchen and meals that are healthy and fun for children comes true thanks to a great team that brings together hospital staff as well as companies and supporters. For years, one of the most common complaints in the hospital has not been about treatment or medical care, but about nutrition. We are grateful to the parents for expressing their opinions, including criticism, because often it is their experience that allows us to better understand how the child patient is feeling in the hospital, as well as helps to find solutions and make various improvements. Maxima Latvija has been supporting both the Children’s Hospital patients and their parents for a long time, and this time, thanks to their initiative and responsiveness, wonderful Latvian companies, whose products are healthy and popular, have joined the circle of supporters. Therefore, I am convinced that in the future the hospital will receive compliments from its child patients!”, Liene Dambiņa, the Chairman of the Board of the Children’s Hospital Foundation, thanked the supporters.
In order to make the stay of child patients in the hospital a more pleasant and joyful event, the project sponsor Maxima Latvija today presented a gift worth 60,000 Euro. “We, Maxima Latvija, stand for quality, local and tasty products. For food that is not only healthy for children and young people, but also tastes good and can be enjoyed. We are grateful to the Children’s Hospital for the opportunity to participate in the creation of a new and modern kitchen, which now provides children with local, pure, tasty and modern food; food that, hopefully, will become the most anticipated part of the day during their stay in the hospital,” says Viktors Troicins, Head of Maxima Latvia.
More than EUR 700,000 have been invested in the construction and equipment of the new kitchen of the Children’s Hospital with the support of the ERDF and the involvement of donors.
The changes in the Children’s Hospital kitchen have been inspired by chef Elmārs Tannis and Agnese Freimane, a partner of the Latvian Restaurant Association and a representative of BKUS Parents’ Council. The new menu is already available to child patients, their parents and hospital staff thanks to responsible companies that supported the project, providing the necessary products for the implementation of the new menu – “Smiltenes piens” JSC, ALPRO, JSC “Dobeles dzirnavnieks”, Cooperative Society “Baltijas dārzeņi”, JSC Poultry Factory “Ķekava”.