“What infants need is the opportunity and time to take in and figure out the world around them.” Magda Gerber
There are some special foody people in the big wide world who have ingredients on their fingertips, recipes coming out of their lips and the smell of cooked or baked gold floating around them wherever they go…there are chefs, writers, food critics, bloggers who occupy the internet, social media and publishing…YET…I believe the true flavour of food, and therefore, life, is only really known to the most natural of the population, to the most knowledgeable of the food-experts and to the most honest of judges, children.
Kids nowadays seem to have an interesting relationship with food. It is due to many characteristics of modern day living: quick and instant lifestyle, poor quality offer, hormonal effects of the 21st century to name but a few…it would be pointless to go on a quest in order to find one reason…it is a multi-factor mess!
It -children and healthy food- is, however, not at all a hopeless! The key is adding a not-so-secret ingredient: love…A love-filled approach toward the children and towards the ingredients in the same time, creates a life-long taste sensation and real healthy food-experts. Children need to meet ingredients…children need to be able to express likes as well as dislikes…children need to be able to make decisions…children need time when meeting ingredients…Children and food need love.
From the foods offered, kids choose what they will eat or whether to eat at all. Kids need to have some say in the matter. Schedule regular food-play, cooking and snack times. Quit the “always clean-plate rule”. Let children stop eating when they feel they’ve had enough. Lots of people grow up under the clean-plate rule, which completely ruins their ability to listen to their own bodies when they feel full. When children notice and respond to feelings of fullness, they’re less likely to overeat. Start them young. Forming the healthy relationship with healthy food has to be started at a young age. Preferences are developed early in life, so offering a variety and allowing involvement in food related activities without a force will encourage a child to eat, to love healthy food and to love it healthily.
Lovely Becca and Mark of the Shayler-Adams family has tried one of my suggested activities, vegetable body training: the sit the children around some washed, but not peeled vegetables (such as cucumber, marrow, onion, butternut squash, pepper, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and celery). They encouraged the children to touch and smell the vegetables, then involved them in cutting the goods and making a creamy soup. This activity stimulates exploration mainly through touch, weight, texture and smell and together with their four beautiful children, Becca and Mark seem to have had a tremendous fun. They are a family raising two bubbas with special needs, and indeed, they do it exceptionally. So when in a family, where time really matters, food and the togetherness of the food-events can still matter too, one can only admire the power of ingredients, above that of the main ingredient, love!
Read Becca’s article here… on the ‘amumdoingherbest’ blog, where the readers can take a peek into the family’s fun-filled life with four kids, and learn from their love-filled approach towards daily tasks and issues.
1 kg mixed vegetables
3 tbsp pumpkin seed oil
A handful of marjoram and a handful of parsley
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Juice 1 lime and 1 lemon
“I believe that parents need to make nutrition education a priority in their home environment. It’s crucial for good health and longevity to instill in your children sound eating habits from an early age.” Cat Cora
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Chop the vegetables into small pieces. Place in a roasting tin. Mix the oil with the herbs and seasoning, and the lime and lemon juice. Pour over the vegetables and toss thoroughly. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are tender and well browned. Place in a saucepan with 750 ml of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Cool. Blend half of the mixture, then return to the pan to reheat.
Images courtesy of Becca of amomdoingherbest and photographed by Mark of markshaylerphotoraphy.