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1. Eating through stories
­ Use stories to
engage children with food and eating. Many
traditional tales include food. One example is
Goldilocks and the Three Bears, which offers a
great chance to talk about the importance of
breakfast, and making healthy food choices.
You can explain that porridge is made from
oats providing Goldilocks with energy to get
through the day, as well as discussing healthy
options for porridge toppings.
2. Use music and song
­ Engage children to eat
well through music and songs. A good example
is the English nursery rhyme "Five currant buns
in a bakers shop" and letting the children try
cherries. Children love to discuss their colour,
texture and sweetness and you can explain
they contain natural fruit sugar, which gives us
energy. Cherries also help us to eat our daily
rainbow as their red colour contains valuable
nutrients and explaining they grow on trees
in the summer, also helps children to begin to
understand where our food comes from.
3. Grow your own
­ The miracle of growing their
own food for their own plate can encourage
children to try something different. Foods that
grow well in containers or small spaces include
cress, baby gem lettuces, radishes, carrots and
tomatoes. Tomato plants in pots put in a sunny
spot, either inside on a window ledge or outside
on a patio will provide a plentiful resource.
These come in many different shapes, sizes and
colours and are rich in vitamin C, which will
help to keep their immune systems strong and
protect their eyes and skin. For the children to
see them turn from flower to fruit, and ripen
from green to yellow or red would be a great
family focus through the summer months.
4. Food and Play
­ Providing opportunities for
children to be exposed to different foods can
easily be incorporated into role-play. A café,
restaurant or farmers market set up using real
food can give children the chance to prepare,
cut and taste food, as well as seeing and playing
with fresh seasonal produce. They can even sell
the food they grew in their cafe!
5. Hands on
­ Getting children in the kitchen
with you from as young an age as possible is
an ideal way to teach some basic cookery skills
such as cutting soft foods such as dates and
apricots with scissors, counting out ingredients,
mixing, mashing and using a rolling pin. There
are plenty of great recipes that don't require
baking such as dips, smoothies, vegetable and
fruit kebabs.
Using these strategies and regular exposure to
a wide range of fruit and vegetables will help to
shape their understanding of the importance of
healthy food choices and its intrinsic link between
optimal health.
The Food Teacher,
Katharine Tate, has worked
as a teacher and education
consultant internationally
in primary and secondary
schools for over 20 years.
Qualified as a registered
nutritional therapist,
Katharine, combines her unique education and
nutrition expertise to offer schools, organisations
and families advice, education programmes,
practical workshops, and individual/family clinical
consultations. Katharine also presents The Food
Teacher show on UK Health Radio where she
discusses the importance of food for health and
wellbeing. She has published several books: `Heat-
Free & Healthy', the award-winning `No Kitchen
Cookery for Primary Schools' and her new series of
Mini-Books
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