Teaching Children about the Bread of Life

I had a question from a reader last week that I wanted to share with you:

“How you have trained your children to appreciate the table and to see food as more than just physical sustenance?”

And here is my response–

I think the most important thing with my kids has been more “show, don’t tell.” It’s important to me that we say grace over a meal, thanking God for it, that we set the table decently even if we’re just eating pizza (we live in NY, after all! Pizza is artisanal, heavenly food around here!), that we wait for one another to begin eating, etc.

I do ask that they don’t say “that’s disgusting!” or similar things about food–it’s important that they recognize that while it’s OK to dislike a food and choose not to eat it, it’s not OK to proclaim it “bad.” And I try not to micro-manage what they eat or don’t eat (from the pre-selected group of things that might be on the table or available for snack.) One of my kids has extremely adventurous tastes, the other is fairly picky. I try to respect that.
The other side of that is that they help us with the gardening (to the extent that they can–they’re little) and so they have respect for the food that comes from the earth and from tiny, little seeds. They know that sun, soil, water, careful gardening, and, ultimately, God, makes food come from the ground.


I wrote more about feeding kids in the following posts–Eating with Children, Ellyn Satter, and What Chefs Feed Their Kids.

What about you? What has/hasn’t worked as you’ve endeavored to eat mindfully and well with children?

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