Carbs: A Coda

And here’s a quick little coda to my last post on the comfort of carbohydrates. It’s International Week at my daughter’s preschool, which means they’ve been learning little bits about the cultures represented within the student body. And yesterday, we saw this in our daily classroom report (that’s Violet in the background; I’ve cropped her friend’s face to protect that family’s privacy):

Instead of presenting neophobic three-year-olds with lots of unfamiliar foods from different cuisines, these clever teachers used what may be our most universally beloved food to ease them and get them excited about trying new shapes, textures and even flavors in the form of tortillas, pita, naan, croissants, baguettes, bagels, etc. I also like that the lesson offered such a low pressure way to explore new foods, since the kids were empowered to choose for themselves and then talk freely about what they liked or disliked about each (fairly small) piece. Violet’s teacher reported that the bread shop was a smash hit; almost every kid tasted every type and many went back for seconds. And for those who might worry that this would only dig a kid in deeper on an all-carb kick, I was interested to note that at dinner last night, Violet went straight for her chicken and ignored our bread plate entirely. Self-regulation for the win!

Of course, it’s a lesson plan that could easily translate to other foods — fruits (or even just berries) of the world could also be a big hit with many toddlers — but when it comes to helping kids feel enthusiastic about food, you really can’t lose by starting with bread.

PS. Violet’s other favorite foods are pasta and eggs, which is reminding me to try Mark Bittman’s spaghetti with fried eggs. It might blow her mind?

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