Norwegian children deserve better food! – VG

CHANGE FOOD NOW! – Bacon in cheese tubes and farmers in nurseries, writes Lorelou Desjardins. The picture is from the Ammerudlia kindergarten, which was visited by the then Minister of Knowledge and Integration Guri Melby (V) in 2020.

Normally Norwegian is good to have, Gro Harlem Brundtland said. But it’s clearly not Norwegian to give your children good food.

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LORELOU DESJARDINS, French jurist and author

“Your child won’t start talking”, we heard at the nursery development talk. My son was 18 months old then.

“Why not?” I asked with great concern in my voice. Maybe he had some disease that I hadn’t seen, since I’m not an expert in pedagogy or medicine.

“He doesn’t eat enough bread. Without bread he can’t strengthen the muscles he needs to speak later. He has to have one Norwegian diet to develop”, was the explanation.

My husband and I were so speechless that we ran out of words to give a sensible answer. When we came out of the meeting, we asked each other, “Did we hear the same thing? Was that really what he said?”

I became angry and depressed. Indians, Chinese and probably more than 80 percent of the world eat rice, cassava or corn every day. The whole world, minus five million Norwegians, has been able to learn to speak and grow without a Norwegian diet.

That got me thinking. What exactly is the “Norwegian Diet” for children? Can the rest of the world learn from this?

“NORSE DIET”: What exactly is the “Norwegian diet” for children? Is there anything to learn in other parts of the world, the columnist asks with an ironic twist.

When we give babies solid food in France, we give them the best there is. They should have as clean and unprocessed food as possible. The idea is to avoid preservatives, additives, sugar, salt and artificial colors. We want children to develop a healthy sense of taste for raw materials and a versatile diet as early as possible.

This is actually more or less the same as the Norwegian Directorate of Health’s dietary advice. That’s why I was happy when my child started Norwegian kindergarten. I have had some of the best meals of my life in Norway because the country produces amazing ingredients.

Norwegian farmers grow vegetables and apples. Here are currants and blueberries. The best cheese in the world. Norwegians have developed ways of preserving food, from pickling to drying. The best potatoes I have ever tasted in my life are grown here. I look forward to the ski season every year. You have cod, trout and wild salmon. Norwegian carrots taste good in the sun and there are so many different varieties of pumpkins.

I was shocked when they saw what they had in the fridge. There were no skrei from Lofoten or garden currants in my son’s nursery. There was a lot of bread and a big fridge with big variations … in tubes. Pink pipes, blue pipes.

I know this is the case in “all” kindergartens in Norway. I was shown something with bacon cheese and another with shrimp cheese.

Who actually had the idea to mix shrimp, salt, sugar and liquid cheese, put it in a tube and give it to small children? Is there food, I thought.

“They get bread twice a day, every day. And hot food once a week.” Warm food in a Norwegian kindergarten can be something they prepare with the children, but it can also be a red powder made from sugar, salt and tomato-based wheat flour that they call tomato soup.

Normally Norwegian is good to have, Gro Harlem Brundtland said. But it’s clearly not Norwegian to give your children good food.

NORWEGIAN LANGUAGE IS TO BE GOOD, SAID GRO: – But it’s obviously not Norwegian to give good food to your children, believes Lorelou Desjardins.

When I tell Norwegians about liver paste, brown cheese or caviar, they don’t seem to understand that such food contains different ingredients. These processed side dishes have become a Norwegian tradition, almost like skiing.

It is possible to change habits, but it is difficult. For example, in France, all children eat chocolate and cookies every day at 4:30 p.m. The reason is that the parents are not home from work before 6 p.m. Then the children are hungry. If you try to tell a French family that this is completely wrong, they won’t know what you mean. The whole society is built on this model.

The only thing that is good to talk about is which liver pate or caviar is the best in the test. Liver pate isn’t one thing, it’s 21 things, from sugar to sodium nitrite. The first and third ingredients in caviar are sugar and contain more salt than a small child should eat, according to the guidelines of the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

40-60 percent of children’s meals take place in kindergarten. A Norwegian study by the Volda University College shows that children very often get bread three times a day, with the same toppings. Several international studies, including one recently published, show a link between processed foods and memory loss, cancer and death.

I’m not an “Instagram mom” who makes dinosaur lunch boxes so my kids think it’s fun to eat lunch. Nor is it my intention to “sham” other parents. People have little time, energy and motivation. Money too.

Cooking unprocessed food can be cheap. Vegetables and cabbage are some of the cheapest things you can find in a Norwegian grocery store. I buy fish heads from the fish counter. They are cheaper than anything else and make small pieces of fish for stews. It can also be used for quick cooking and as a cold dish.

The last word here goes to a Norwegian lady who has worked in a kindergarten for 25 years. She told me that when she started working, they had their own cook at the nursery school. Now, he said, “We have to butter 9 to 24 kids’ slices of bread at once, feed them and put them to bed so we can get a little break. We don’t have the time or energy to become nutritionists. Most of us have learned very little about nutrition in school anyway. There are others priorities.”

Where does the money go to ensure the health of Norwegian children?

I hope that Norwegian municipalities will join a big effort to give our children the best good Norwegian food.

Away with bacon in cheese tubes and farmers in nurseries.

I look forward to it!

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