School is right around the corner and chances are your child will be asked to bring a snack to school. With more and more children showing allergies to food and the environment, many schools are requiring children to bring only fruit or vegetables for snacks at school. What we are also finding out is that more children are becoming identified with allergies after the start of the school year, so we must keep the school environment safe for all. Now, having fruits and vegetables sounds like a great and nutritious idea, but keep in mind how many fruits and vegetables there are that your child likes that you have to help prepare for your child. If you peel bananas and oranges, take the skin off and core and slice apples, or open a prepackaged container of apple sauce for your child now, then it is time for your child to start practicing these skills on his/her own in order to be able to eat snack independently in school. Not all children bring in snacks every day so most teachers will continue to teach and work with small groups while the children with snacks are eating. Please do not expect the teacher to help open 25-30 bananas etc. during snack time, there is just not enough time. It always amazes me the bananas, oranges and apples and even cucumbers that come to school and the children have no idea how to get to the fruit/vegetable on their own. Mom or Dad have always helped him/her at home. Please help your child enjoy his/her snack time at school by preparing the fruit at home. You could:
- peel an orange and put it in a container
- peel and slice an apple
- slice an apple but don’t peel it
- show your child how to start a banana on his/her own
- teach your child how to pull off the foil covering from packaged apple sauce, or fruit cups
- cut up strawberries and put in a container
- wash grapes and place in a container
- send in a small portion of raisins/craisins
- cut up cucumbers and place in a small container
- Please send in a plastic fork or spoon if the snack you send with your child cannot be eaten with fingers. Children need to refuel with a small snack mid-day so please help your child enjoy snack time by practicing now what to do with fruit.
Often parents will say my child does not like fruit or vegetables. It has been my experience that when a child is hungry, he/she will eat. At home there are other options when a fruit or vegetable is refused but during the day at school, there is only what you have brought in from home. Parents, help your child with this love of fruit and vegetables in order to promote a lifelong love of fruits and veggies.
Edited and Re-Posted from August 2009