The Body Ecology Diet (BED) Column
......with Donna Gates
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Wednesday, September 28th, 2011:
Building a Healthy School Lunch: How to Explain Food to a 5 Year Old
What your child learns about food begins with you.
Whether you know it or not, as a parent, you are always educating your child about food. This is especially true during the first decade of a child’s life.
- Taste is an individual matter; at the same time, you are developing and refining your child’s palate.
- Food, whether fermented or full of starches and high fructose corn syrup, is constructing the inner ecology of your child’s gut.
- Keep in mind that children typically have a strong sweet tooth and will naturally enjoy sweet foods. Offer alternatives to the processed food that most children on the Standard American Diet consume.
The majority of school lunches are not healthy.
- These foods come from factory farm animals.
- Much of cafeteria food is not only full of hidden sugars, but often these sugars come in incredibly dangerous forms, such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
- The food provided at many schools is typically processed with, cooked in, or filled with toxic, refined vegetable and seed oils. This means oils like corn oil, canola oil, soy oil, safflower oil, and vegetable oil.
How to Explain Food to a 5 Year Old
Explaining the differences between traditional, whole foods and factory foods usually does not make sense in the mind of a five year old. Try these techniques:
- Use visual tools as much as possible: Purchase a standard factory farm stick of butter and compare it to the golden yellow butter made from the cream of a pastured cow. Or crack open an egg from an industrial chicken and one from a free-range chicken. Compare together the strength of the shell and color of the egg yolk. Explain how the bright sun and green grass produce a beautiful golden color.
- Take field trips: Visit small, family farms together whenever possible. Compare these farms to photos of animals raised in factory farms.
- Taste is another tool: Cooking food in coconut oil or ghee tastes better, and these fats are also stable under high temperatures. When cooking with your child, explain these benefits.
- Science in the kitchen: Fermenting foods is a great way to introduce your child to the microorganisms living in the gut.
- Learn with the body: If your child eats a sugar-heavy food, there can be mood swings, tantrums, a runny nose, or even a rash. Talk about these changes in the body and how much the body relies on healthy foods for stability.
Preparing a Body Ecology lunchbox teaches your child about health, the body, and the natural world.
Preparing a lunchbox full of foods that your child will enjoy is important. Below are some suggestions that may offer a good starting point:
- Use leftovers. Think about what your child enjoys eating while at home or what is usually eaten most during dinner. If the whole family follows healthful eating habits, preparing a nutrient dense lunch will come from whatever is hanging out in the refrigerator and cupboards.
Follow the 80/20 Body Ecology principle.
- Include a small portion of veggies that are durable even when cooked. Some examples are beet, carrot, cauliflower, peas, and squash. Sauté in coconut oil or ghee. Squeeze a little lime juice over cooked veggies for flavor.
- Vegetables and seaweeds that are fermented with Body Ecology Veggie Culture Starter give your child specific microbes that strengthen the immune system, help with digestion, and help to unlock the nutrients found in food. Try fermenting thinly sliced carrot sticks mixed with hijiki seaweed or making pickles at home with Persian cucumbers.
- Baked or dehydrated kale chips are a crunchy snack and can be sprinkled with healthful salt, like Celtic Sea Salt or pink Himalayan salt.
- Include protein fats: Healthy oils and fats can be a major source of energy for children and adults. They are also filling. Protein fats combine well with fruits and make a great snack.
- If your child tolerates nuts, pack a small handful of nuts with your child’s favorite fruit. Make sure that these nuts are soaked for 12-24 hours. For example, try a few soaked almonds and a small handful of blueberries.
- Homemade raw-milk kefir and yogurt from grass-fed dairy are both versions of incredibly nutrient-dense superfoods. Fermenting dairy unlocks many of these nutrients and gives an extra boost of probiotic power! Fermentation can be done at home with Body Ecology Kefir Starter.
- A sweet fermented coconut pudding can easily be made by blending coconut meat with Stevia Concentrate and the beneficial microflora found in the Kefir Starter.
What to Remember Most About This Article:
What your child learns about food starts with you. Unfortunately, the majority of school lunches today are not healthy since they are full of hidden sugars like high fructose corn syrup.
You can protect your child's health at home and at school by educating them about healthy food choices using visual tools, field trips, taste testing, and science in the kitchen. Preparing a Body Ecology lunchbox for your child to take to school will protect their health away from home with fermented vegetables, healthy fats, and fermented dairy for a boost of probiotic power!
Learn more from The Body Ecology Diet book: