By D. Masaro, Celebrating Mealtime: Importance of Healthy and Whole Foods
No one can refute the fact that the foods we eat are vital to our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. What we put into our bodies can either heal or harm us in many ways, concluding that the quality of our food very much determines the quality of our lives. Anne-Marie Fryer Wiboltt writes in Cooking for the Love of the World that “a diet of wholesome, locally grown seasonal foods lays a foundation for clear, open, and living thinking, a healthy inner life of feeling, and a strong will to fulfill our life’s task and purposes.
A strong flexible body with a healthy inner life is the chalice and instrument for true listening and receiving of soul/spirit wisdom.” When considering what snacks shall be prepared in the kindergarten class, one must pay careful attention to which foods should be incorporated and which foods should be avoided. One must, of course, also pay attention to the individual needs of each child and take into consideration sensitivities and allergies. Organically and biodynamically grown foods should be used whenever available to avoid ingesting foods that have been grown or treated with pesticides, insecticides and other harmful chemicals, foods that have been genetically modified, and foods that come from animals that have been given antibiotics, hormones and other growth enhancing drugs. Whole foods as opposed to processed foods and foods free of preservatives are also more beneficial.
In A Guide to Child Health, Michaela Glockler, MD recommends including the following foods in a child’s diet: cow’s milk and other dairy products, grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as eggs, meat and fish. She also suggests the ever important factor that food be appetizing to a child and that special attention be paid to the preparation of food itself. Snack time should be an enjoyable time and not one dreaded by the children due to unsavory foods. Other foods that should be limited or avoided by children may include processed foods, margarine and hard fats, high fiber foods, processed sugars and sweeteners, and excessive salt. According to Rudolf Steiner, potatoes and bananas should be limited, and according to Joan Salter, nightshades should be avoided as well.
It is however, important to take these statements and suggestions as recommendations and not as law. Each school and teacher will individually need to establish what is most feasible for them in terms of availability, financial feasibility, and parental requests. Most importantly the preparation and eating of food should be a joyous process and experience for both child and teacher, for it is in this happy and healthy sharing of mealtime that the child will be best served.
Daniela Masaro is a certified Waldorf Early Childhood Educator and a freelance writer from Toronto, Canada.
Works Cited Blanning, Adam MD “Sensory Nutrition” Unknown Source Cowan, Thomas S. MD. with with Sally Fallon and Jaimen McMillan The Fourfold Path to Healing New Trends Publishing Inc. (2004) Darian, Shea Seven Times the Sun Gilead Press (2001) Fryer Wiboltt, Anne-Marie Cooking for the Love of the World Benson, NC Goldenstone Press (2008) Glockler, Michael MD A Guide to Child Health Floris Books (1990) Hildreth, Lisa and Valens, Jo The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book Bellpond Books (2006) Salter, Joan The Incarnating Child Hawthorn Press (1987) Daniela Masaro is a certified Waldorf Early Childhood Educator and a freelance writer from Toronto, Canada.