Never before have we had so many food choices and never before have we eaten so poorly!
Healthy eating habits are inculcated in the child’s youngest years.
Eating nutritious food together as a family, including children in the preparation of meals, allowing a child to follow her natural appetite in terms of the quantity of food she eats and saying NO to junk food are some of the ways we can inculcate lifelong healthy eating habits.
One way we are trying to encourage healthy eating habits at school is by having the elementary children try their hand at cooking nutritious snacks.
According to studies conducted overseas, children are more prone to eating fresh vegetables and fruit, after a cooking session.
I do not not know if our cooking sessions at school have resulted in children making better food choices in their daily lives, YET. However, what it has definitely done, is generate a conversation of what is healthy and what is not.
In the past few weeks we have made a beetroot and mushroom salad, a carrot cake (with whole wheat flour) and a healthy version of aloo chaat (Indian potato salad).
The food is served to the entire school.
Besides being a wonderful exercise of practical life, it also provides opportunities to build community.
It is a time when we make our way out into the neighbourhood to do our grocery shopping. We have become well known faces at the push cart of our neighbourhood vegetable vendor and at the corner store.
The children spontaneously apply the grace and courtesy presentations received. From the “please’s” and “thank you’s” when buying something, to how to serve courteously; how to politely decline a snack and how to respect the declining child’s wishes.
The older children love being the bearers of these gifts of food and the younger children enjoy being the recipients of these gifts.
One never knows how and when a seed will germinate. To follow Dr. Montessori’s advice – let us sow as many seeds as possible and let the rest be the child’s work!