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‘Dishkoffer’ for children with hypothalamic dysfunction

Pip Bär, a student in the team of dieticians, completed her Food Innovation study project. She developed a kit with snacks for children with hypothalamic dysfunction and won the Food Innovation Award. 

The light blue cardboard box contains seven pre-packaged snacks for one week and a taste passport. Each snack consists of a healthy, fresh vegetable-based dip with sticks. The sticks are made from whole wheat flour and legumes. Pip Bär, a Food Innovation student, came up with the idea. She says: ‘The concept of the Dishkoffer focuses on flavors from all over the world and playfully invites you to eat the snacks with attention.’ She tested her assumptions on a group of children around 11 years old. The idea of travel is woven into the concept, hence the catchy name: Dishkoffer (dish/discover/food case). 

Satiety mechanism 
Six months ago, intern Pip began working on a nutritional issue for children with hypothalamic dysfunction due to a brain tumor near the hypothalamus. As a result, the child experiences fewer satiety signals. In addition, the resting metabolism is often reduced. Dietitians Jannet Dekker and Rianne Ruitenburg specialize in the care of these children. Rianne: ‘It's a difficult combination for the child and the parents: a reduced need for food on the one hand, with the urge to eat and less satiety on the other, and (the risk of) being overweight. How can you give these children sensible snacks? 

Pip says: ‘I wanted to develop something for children with hypothalamic dysfunction to stimulate mental satiety. I came up with the concept of a Dishkoffer of healthy snacks that involves both the child and the parents. For the parents, a website will be created with recipes for the dips and other healthy recipes with worldly flavors for at home. Jannet Dekker: 'The dietary code is very strict for these children and parents. The food innovation is very positive, focusing on what is possible rather than what is not possible or allowed. The Dishkoffer encourages healthy eating and parents to work with it at home. And so in the long term it can make a positive contribution to lifestyle change in children with hypothalamic dysfunction.’ 

A professional jury consisting of HAS teachers, ambassadors and alumni awarded Pip's Dishkoffer with a Food Innovation Award. So what's next for the box of snacks? The concept has great potential for use at the Máxima Center. In addition to children with hypothalamic dysfunction, it may also be suitable for other children because it fits into a healthy diet. Pip will continue to develop the concept to make it even better in terms of sustainability, logistics and appreciation.