Food Guide For Children: Principles of planning a preschooler’s menuNuturemite
Balance is important while choosing food for your preschooler since you want to strive to combine foods that are nourishing in their property but at the same time are good in their taste. Balance of flavor is important since it makes the food more appealing to a child. It makes the food taste and smells good.
- A proper balance of spices in food saves it from becoming bland in taste and also from becoming too spicy which may present a problem for a preschool kid which will present a problem for kids to develop an aversion to such foods in the future due to a bad experience first-hand.
Balance foods containing fat since different food contains a different amount of fat content
Some foods contain high-fat content others are low in their fat content. To balance fatty foods serving low-fat side dishes along with balanced high-fat entrees should be done.
- For example, Grilled cottage cheese sandwich along with carrot and celery sticks or use low-fat mozzarella cheese serve carrot and celery sticks with a grilled cheese sandwich. Too much fat food should be avoided in a week. For example, cheese-pizza, cheese-cake, fried chicken sausage should be avoided in the same week. These foods should only be used as a getaway from the normal monotonous routine of your child to maintain balance and good ethical food habits. So avoid using too much fat laced food as it may make your child overweight.
Variety is also an important aspect so an emphasis on variety should be practiced. Variety is also important since one food group can never be enough for our daily need for a healthy and balanced diet. Variation in foods makes menus exciting for a kid since a kid is then able to experience different foods instead of the same regular meal every day which builds a child’s interest making the menu more appealing.
The menu should include a wide variety of foods.
- Avoid the same type of foods on consecutive days such as fried chicken on Monday and steak on Tuesday. Main courses in a menu are its crux so varying main course helps in building a good menu for the children by keeping the taste on the tongue.
- For example, serve a vegetable salad one day, soup another day, rice and fish, and so on. Change and experiment with the manner of serving food.
- If a particular food or vegetable is usually served raw then try serving them cooked. The use of different seasoning will change the flavor of the food and will add variety to the texture of the food. Experimenting with new and different foods periodically will help with finding out new combinations of foods.
Serve foods that are contrasting with each other, the texture and method of preparation give the contrast to food. Taste and appearance along with texture should be kept into account.
- For example, serve bread and butter along with spaghetti, since bread and butter being too bland in taste will be in contrast with spaghetti which is spicy in flavor. Serve apple along with dry fruits and cheese sandwiches. Mix all those things up and plan pleasing combos of foods with different shapes and sizes.
- Presentation of food is important for adding contrast to the plate of the child, foods cut and presented in different shapes such as stars, moons, cube, shredded bits, strips, and mounds. Try mixing carrots cut into cubes, round fish crackers, milk along shredded chicken wings.
Color of the food.
Visual appeal and contrast in food are also done by using foods with different colors and mixing them together. Too many foods of the same color should be avoided in the same meal.
- A meal with chicken, rice, cauliflower, white bread, pears, and milk would lack color contrast since these all foods are bland in color hence at a glance will not look attractive to approach. Fruits and vegetables are great for adding natural color to side dishes.
- Slices of colorful fruits such as strawberry, watermelon can beautify diced pears or tomato slices in a salad of cucumber and onion livens up the salad.
- A dash of lime or paprika and a sprinkle of coriander can make the food look and taste great. The nature of contrast is to make bland food or food with little or no color look bright and lively.
Consider eye appeal
It is always said that the first impression is the last impression. The same way the first impression of the food when it is served to the children will decide the fate of the food, which is to be either finished off completely or left untouched. Hence making sure that food should look as good as its taste.
- While planning for the color of the food the color of the plate as well as the serving dish should be kept in mind.
- In the end just visualize how you would like to be served if you were a child. Thinking from a child’s perspective is important during their meal planning.
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