On May 9, 2012, Martha Payne uploaded the first image of her blog NeverSeconds [Mai repetim segons plats], who had created with the help of his father. There was a tray of one of the meals in the dining room of his school in Scotland: on the right, a pizza cut; accompanying, a croquette of potatoes and some corn grains; and left, a cupcake dessert. A few days later, the girl, who was nine years old, had already published another photograph. At the bottom, I also wrote a short text explaining if the meal of that day had been liked or if it thought it was healthy. "I'm growing up in age and I can not do it with just one kibble," he said in one of the entries. But despite the leadership of the Center has tried to censor it, in less than six months the blog has reached almost nine million visits. Behind the clicks there were mostly schoolmates, as well as other centers, who for the first time started talking about eating. Among them, at school and also with parents.
The initiative of Martha Payne was only the embryo of a revolution that is also taking place in the dining rooms of many Catalan schools, which strive to make school meals healthier and that even the midday hours are what children learn
Although sometimes they are the same centers that promote this change of food, often families do it. Six years ago, for example, in the school of Barcelona at Univers, a group of families decided to take the initiative. "There were many elaborate, many fried ones; it was not what we wanted families for our children," explains one of the mothers involved, Zahara García, in the school dining room as she fills a spoonful of brown rice with vegetables, which it's the first dish of the menu of the day.
Looking at the children's dishes, the second is a cheese trout with salad. And for the sweet apple. "Ui, and today there are still no strange recipes!" This mother exclaims. The other midday, he says, the chef at the center prepares the millet cake with meat, vegetable couscous, lentil burgers, chickpeas and carrots hummus … Dishes, all, which would have been impossible to find in a school menu of only a decade.
"It's a question that children eat in a healthy way, they learn to do it and at the same time their taste loses the fear of trying new things: we have not detected any change in the students who are left to eat, but if you study he would see that the risk of suffering from obesity has decreased or that they are more focused on afternoon classes because they do not have such a full stomach, "emphasizes García. Recognizes that it is a "tasty" challenge but involves many hours of work. Not too much money, he adds: "Legumes are much cheaper than red meat".
"Before I ate & # 39; normal & # 39 ;! & # 39;
Now, the big question is: how do you accept all these little changes? "When I went to the other school I ate normal! ", She laughs at a six-year-old girl, who has come to the table where the family representative sits." Here we eat vegetables, vegetables, … ", adds the girl in front of her, rosette, who also comes close to seeing a circle has formed around it, and then García intervenes: "Let's see, but why do you think we eat so many vegetables in our school?", he asks them.The silence is made, of shame, until the answer more answers : "It's okay for the body, the brain …" "For the bones!", He has the courage to say another, which is encouraged: "I ask my mother to cook the turkey stew with the mill!" , He says what she ate normal. And then they come to the conversation in those colonies where they ate "meat, chicken, meat and chicken every day", because it had to be "what the children always ask for", according to the owners of the house. "For the first time in my life I asked for vegetables and fish when I came home!" One says, and everyone laughs.
Most dishes cooked at the Universe School appear in the guide Eat healthy at school, which the Generalitat processes periodically and which seeks to promote, among others, proximity products and whole grains. "It is a pity they are only recommendations and that this change is not led by the administration", concludes García.
The processes of changing habits are accompanied by a growing demand for dieticians-nutritionists, who advise school-age children to design their menus. One of these is Roser Martín, who deals with the catering of three schools: "Families need to strengthen the menu if it is not healthy, there are others that do not respect the number of portions of fruit or vegetables, and, d & # 39, on the other hand, do not offer too much fat or precooked ", he complains. But it is also true, he says, that the balance between the offer of a healthy menu and the "braking", as they say from the Alícia Foundation – which has a section dedicated to the advice of the school centers – is difficult.
"It is good to add sporadically products that are not our home, but without losing the gastronomic identity: we must teach children that we have more than enough organic products in the area," says Martín. "Do you need quinoa? Here we have lentils!", Adds Elena Roura, responsible for the health and eating habits of the Alícia Foundation.
Parents who do not cook broccoli
To educate the palate of children – and here there is unanimity – there is not enough commitment of the school, because it is estimated that only 10% of the meals of the year. "I can not teach him to eat broccoli to a child if I do not eat him alone! Parents must give an example why the main block of meals is at home," insists Martin, who is also a spokesperson for the college of nutritionists-nutritionists Catalonia. Nor is it worth it – and there are more and more people, they say, – to apologize for the lack of time.
In December, students at the Els Pinetons school in Ripollet will hang the recipe for a blog post in the dining room. The cook has spent the last few weeks photographing each of the steps that should be followed to cook it. Cecilia Bertinetti is called and for six years has started to introduce new products in the center menu at the request of the association of families: "We note that when we introduce different things, the relationship that children have with food changes; it's more fluid, they give it much more importance, and some even say they want to be cooks! "He explains. He recognizes that all this requires more involvement behind the stove: "The first time we did it was crazy!" Remember. In these days he prepares the material so that students can upload new recipes that families can repeat at home. Initiatives like this, he says, are reformulating the relationship that children have with food. As Martha Payne and colleagues did a few years ago, even the new generations of Els Pinetons have started talking about food. Among these, at school and with the family.