Last March 12, 2020, Belgian volunteer and Nutritionist and Dietitian Melissa Moretti invited Virlanie house parents to her Nutrition and Diet Training for Children and Teenagers. The goal of the seminar is to provide guidance on how to plan a well-balanced meal for the beneficiaries, provide nutritional recommendations and give examples of new menus that would be beneficial for them.

During her lecture, she highlighted the use of the Asian Food Pyramid which shows the hierarchy of food. In this model, she showed the value of every food’s ability to give nutrition for the body. In this part, she was able to give information to the house parents on what type of foods they should prioritize for kids to consume, and what are things they should lessen.

Melissa believes that the power of vegetables in a child’s meal is important. According to her, “a child can help himself/herself learn how to eat vegetables if they are taught well about its benefits.” For her, vegetables should be the food reward of every children because these give them have better nourishment and immune system.

During the presentation, Melissa also brought up the common nutritional problems of children and one of which is obesity. “Obesity can create a lot of complications to children, and this is not only limited to cardiovascular problems. Their psychological health is also affected, due to low self-esteem,” she said. Due to obesity, many children and young adults have low confidence because they become more concerned with their appearance. “Obesity is caused by consuming too much calories which is not according to your physical activities. In order to fight this, you must take more fibers, and make sure to exercise at least 30 minutes a day,” she explained.

Before she conducts her Menu Workshop with Virlanie House Parents, here are few of her nutritional recommendations for beneficiaries. First, vegetables and fruits should be included in meals at least twice. Second, she recommends decreasing the quantity of meat to meals. Third, consuming sweets should only be twice a week, therefore, should be limited. Fourth, drink more water. Lastly, more physical activities such as sports for children.