Monday, April 24, 2006

Family Meal time with Children

Children and Foods

Preschoolers and children should be taught about proper nutrition at an early age. They love to use their sensorimotor skills to taste and smell of foods. They can learn about nutritious foods through games, tasting, smelling foods and measuring and pouring ingredients. Talk about how good the food will taste as it is prepared and how good it is for strong bones, teeth, etc. They also learn by sharing their food as gifts to others.


I. They can learn the names of foods by placing 3 fruits or vegetables in a bag. Let the child see the food object and tell the child the name of the objects before starting the game. Allow child to feel of the food object in the bag. Let them guess what it is and pull it out. Talk about the name and repeat the process.

II. Serve seedless grapes to the child and talk about the color.

III. Go to an apple orchard and pick apples.

IV. Use pre-cut apples and cook apples into applesauce so children can see and taste when cooled.
(Dip apples into a fruit wash to reduce oxidation.)

V. Place banana slices on toothpick and allow child to dip in chocolate and taste.

VI. Allow child to glue spices like cinnamon on paper and smell.

VII. Make pancakes with child: child can help add ingredients, mix the batter and watch from a safe distance as the pancake cooks. Allow child to help pour syrup or add fruit and cream to the pancake.

VIII. Allow child to taste a lemon and an orange slice. Talk about sour and sweet tastes.

IX. Allow child to help juice a lemon or orange. Allow child to drink orange juice or make lemonade.

X. Serve for a snack foods like olives, figs, honey and grape juice. Talk about foods that people in Bible times ate.

Food for Thought:
Bible Stories with foods:

January: May make snow people out of marshmallows and raisins for eyes. In the beginning: Use cookie cutters to make toast and cheese in shapes of suns, moons, stars or trees. Make pig in a blanket with crescent roll and hot dog or bug in a rug with a tortilla and hamburger sloppy joe mixture rolled up. Add lettuce and chopped tomato.
Noah and Ark: Use potatoes for fish or boats. Hollow baked potato and mash and refill. Attach olives with toothpicks for eyes and pimento slivers for fins. Use cheese on toothpick for sailboats. Make blue beverage with blue food coloring in water or coolade.
Jonah and whale: Hollow a watermelon and make melon balls; mix with other fruit and refill. Make eyes and mouth from fruit and attached with toothpicks. Use left over watermelon rind to make a tail and fins. Score with a fork to make more like fins.
February: Valentine’s Day: Talk about God’s Love and make heart-shaped biscuits or pancakes or make a heart shaped meatloaf with tomato sauce on top.
March: Talk about missionaries like St. Patrick and make green jello. Talk about color green. May talk about Lottie Moon and make her favorite sugar cookies or Annie Armstrong and make ginger cookies.
April: Easter: Talk about Jesus’ love; make Tomb egg-white cookies out of egg whites or a cross with braided bread.
May: Talk about a mother like Ruth and make pancakes.
June: Talk about a father like David. Use cheese spread and pipe sheep, instruments or musical notes on top mashed potatoes.
July: Talk about how God blesses America and bake flag sheet cake or cookie dough and use fruit for the colors on top: blueberries and pipe stars of whipped cream for states, use strawberries or cherries for red and applesauce for white strips.
August: 2 Peter 3:18: Talk about how God wants boys and girls to learn. May make cake school bus or car shaped cake. Allow child to place Oreos for wheels and wafers for windows or gumdrops for rocks on the road. May make the bus out of meat loaf and decorate with carrot, cucumber, tomato and cheese slices. Talk about some boys and girls ride buses to school or child may ride in car to preschool or church. May make books with sandwich bread. Make a tuna-rice loaf and decorate like a ladder of success with cheese spread.
September: Tell story of talents. Talk about how people jobs people have to use their talents and skills for the Lord. Make tools out of candy or decorate a house cake made from ginger bread or make butter by shaking cream in a jar until it turns to butter. Make a barn with animals out of gingerbread. Make a tractor with a meatloaf and decorate with vegetables.
October: Tell about Daniel and his healthy choice of vegetables (and fruits) and water (juices).
Talk about harvest and decorate with corn stalks, pumpkins and gourds.
Make pumpkin cookies or pies with inside of pumpkins; allow child to help cut open. May place a candle inside and talk about Jesus is the Light of the world and shines in us.
November: Psalm 23. Talk about God’s blessings and allow child to tell things he/she is thankful for. May make turkey out of apple for body and gumdrops on toothpicks for legs and feathers.
December: Talk about Jesus born and make stars with cutters or make tree jello or fruitcake tree and allow child to decorate.

Favors and presents:
Allow child to help:
Make chocolate-coated peanuts and place in attractive containers to give as a birthday gift.
Make individual pecan pies and give to a shut-in.
Make fruit baskets and give to a senior citizen.
Make musical note cookies and give to the choir or music teacher.
Make sparkle cup cakes and give at a Fourth of July party.
Make kite cookies and give at a birthday party.
Make a dirt cake or peanut butter pie and place in a toy dump truck lined with plastic wrap for Earth Day. Make potato salad and serve in dumb truck for rocks. Serve with a toy shovel or spade.
May help take cans of food to a Food Pantry.
Make a cake and decorate in flag colors of another country and take it to a newcomer from that country.

From Nutritionist: The meal planner should always be concerned about keeping children healthy. Provide meals and snacks with adequate calories and nutrients. Children do not eat as much as an adult and may not be able to eat all on his plate. Serve nutritious snacks to make up for food or nutrients not eaten at mealtime. Children love to eat fast food; family meal planners should balance take out meals with fruits and milk. Remember that growing, well-adjusted children need some fat as well as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals every day. Also provide a pleasant mealtime atmosphere and calmness while eating. Prayer has much value at mealtime. Meals can be story times where each food can have a meaning such as at Easter. Snacks can be fun story times where you read a book to a child. Family meal planners should be creative, so children will learn to enjoy various foods, yet obtain a balanced diet. Parents should also help the child to exercise properly by playing active games with them, if possible. Don’t forget to encourage deep breathing as part of the fun time.



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