The Department of Food and Nutrition in the University of Helsinki carries out high quality research within two key areas: food production chains (i.e. food processing and packaging technology) and food quality and healthy nutrition (i.e. the impact of food constituents and their properties on healthiness). Factors associated with the food choice and the impact of diet in sustaining health are also important.
In Finland, most 4–6-year-olds attend public, municipality-organized preschools, which also serve the children three meals per day. Meals and food education are part of the pedagogical activities in preschools. In addition, the Finnish meal recommendations for early childhood education aim at strengthening self-regulation skills and promoting a positive attitude towards food and eating. Thus, preschools are an ideal arena for learning self-regulating skills and enhancing positive mealtime environment. As part of the EIT Food School Network, the objective of the activities carried out by the University of Helsinki researches include the development of a prototype of a game that can be used to learn self-regulation skills (especially the ability to delay gratification) and to promote positive mealtime environment in preschools. The long-term goal of the project is to increase the acceptability and consumption of vegetables in preschools. Our multidisciplinary team consists of experts from the fields of nutrition, early education and medicine. We collaborate with NordicEdu Ltd., which is a Finnish educational game company.