At work and at play | To go veg or not to go veg
We serve a hot vegetarian lunch every day to the children at Montessori International Preschool. I am not a vegetarian. I love eating meat and would never consider giving it up. Nevertheless, we opted to go vegetarian at our school for several reasons.
First of all, we are an international preschool so we have children from various religions that influence their diets. It would be extremely hard for us to attempt to cater to all these requirements. Some people cannot eat beef and others cannot eat pork for example. Accommodating certain diets was not practical for us.
Another consideration is that many children do not eat enough vegetables or even any at all. This is something that I have struggled with as a parent with my daughter. Therefore, serving vegetable dishes at a point in the day when children are at their hungriest will encourage them to try what we serve, and unknowingly they are taking in all those wonderful vitamins and nutrients. Some children resist at first, but seeing the others tuck in, they find the courage to try new foods, and many end up asking for more.
Once, we bought purple carrots (yes, there is such a thing!) and we made a vegetable soup that included them. The soup did not seem that appetising at first. It was a strange dark brown and purple colour, and we were worried that not a single child would touch it. The theme that month at the preschool was dinosaurs, so we thought we could call it ‘dinosaur soup’ and see what happened. It was a roaring success! They loved it.
Also, at our preschool, we have a food preparation area where children can help out with scrubbing, cleaning, peeling and cutting vegetables. It is part of the Montessori environment, and they learn practical skills that will last them a lifetime. It also interests the children in what types of food they will be eating that day. It’s all part of their education.
Our decision to go vegetarian was vindicated by the fact that we now have four vegetarian children with us at the preschool. They can eat with everyone else and enjoy the same food together. Naturally we do not forget to give them protein. We serve eggs and different types of beans. And the non-vegetarian children still have evenings and weekends to eat all the meat that they want.
So keep your children interested in healthy foods and bon appétit!