Silverspot provides a morning and an afternoon snack, which is 100% organic.
Snack time is an excellent opportunity to teach children about good nutrition. It is a time to feed both the body and the brain. Children are dependent on their families, caregivers and communities to provide a nurturing environment that will enable them to become healthy and productive adults. Optimal nutrition is an investment in the future. That is why Silverspot has a firm policy regarding snacks and meals. Vegetarian foods are prepared to share with the children, although meat is acceptable in lunches brought from home. We follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Guide Pyramid for Young Children that recommends whole foods from four basic groups: whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, protein foods and natural dairy products. Foods that include a lot of fats, oils, sweeteners and Salt are strongly discouraged.
Whole grains (wheat, rye, oats, barley, rice, millet) provide children with needed fiber, iron, vitamins, and energy. A product is considered whole grain if the first ingredient listed on the label includes the word “whole”. For example, bread made from “whole wheat flour” is a good choice, while bread made from “wheat flour” is simply white bread. Avoid artificial preservatives (EDTA, BHA BHT, Sodium Nitrate, Polysorbate 80, etc.), colors and flavors.
- Whole grain breads, bagels and crackers
- Brown rice cakes
- Corn or whole wheat tortillas
- Homemade bread, muffins (honey or fruit juice-sweetened), vegetable pizza, pasta, or casseroles
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide important vitamin, minerals, and fiber. Children need atleast one Vitamin C food (citrus and tomatoes) and one vitamin A food (dark green, leafy green, dark yellow vegetables) each day for optimal health. Please wash all fresh fruits (including bananas) and vegetables and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Fresh fruit such as berries, pitted cherries, oranges, apples, pears, bananas, melons, plums, peaches and pineapple
- Raw vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, cucumber, peppers, and green beans
Foods such as cooked dry beans and tofu supply the bosy with needed protein, iron, and minerals. Made into dips, these protein foods make snack time fun.
- Hummus and other bean dips
- Tofu and soybeans
Natural Dairy Products
Dairy products are an important source of calcium for strong teeth and bones and contain other nutrients necessary for bodily function an growth.
- Unprocessed cheese
- Plain yogurt with “live active cultures” sweetened with vanilla, fresh fruit or honey and served with fruit or granola
Play with your food! Children enjoy a variety of foods with different shapes, textures, colors and hardness. “Ants on a Log” or “Broccoli Trees” with dip are great ways to make snack time fun. Preparing foods in the shape of animals, faces or familiar objects is a creative way to teach good nutrition. You may even decide to bring in a simple snack time project and let the children put the ingredients together. Whether simple or elaborate, healthful snacks are a great way to establish positive eating habits. There are many excellent recipe and nutrition books for preschoolers and the Silverspot staff is happy to answer any questions.
Foods to Avoid
Children receive proportionally more cancer-causing pesticides than adults, due to their relative size and diet. They consume a higher percentage of fruits and vegetables, including those especially high in pesticide residues. Apples (sliced, juice, leather, etc.), ALL berries, peanut butter, soy products and cherries are among those foods with particularly high levels of these carcinogens. Whenever possible, choose organic foods to minimize exposure to pesticides.
Conventional Dairy (non-organic dairy)
Organic dairy cows are fed organic feeds which means that no toxic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, nor fertilizers or sewage sludge were used in the cow feed. Organic Dairy Cows are not treated with antibiotics or the bovine growth hormone rBST. Organic milk is not irradiated. Organic products are third party certified as being from ecologically responsible dairies.
The US currently allows dairy cows to be injected with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), also known as recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST). This controversial, genetically engineered hormone forces cows to artificially increase milk production by 10 to 15 percent. The European Union and Canada have banned the use of rBGH as a result of safety concerns revealed during product testing. Since the abnormally high rate of milk production induced by rBGH strains cows’ immune systems, the animals are more susceptible to sickness– this leads producers to administer larger doses of antibiotics and other drugs, which increases the risk that trace residues of these drugs will appear in cows’ milk. In 2003, approximately 33% of the 9 million U.S. dairy cows were in herds treated with rBGH. The U.S. does not require milk from these cows to bear any special label. Some dairies have pledged not to use the hormone and have created “rBGH-Free” labels for their milk and cheese products. If you cannot find organic dairy products, choose dairy products that have the “rBGH-Free” label. Organic Dairy Cows are fed organic feeds which means that no toxic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, nor fertilizers or sewage sludge were used in the cow feed. Organic Dairy Cows are not treated with antibiotics or the bovine growth hormones rBST or rBGH. If organic dairy is not available, please make sure the dairy products that you purchase for snack are labeled “rBGH-Free.”
Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Fats
Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats are processed vegetable or seed oils. Hydrogenation destroys the nutritional value of oil, rendering it inert, or resistant to spoiling. However, this process also creates harmful, chemically altered metabolites and traces of the metal needed to catalyze the reaction. Partially hydrogenated fats are even more harmful than hydrogenated oils, because the process generates trans-fatty acids, which interfere with the body’s natural metabolism. Therefore, avoid these fats, including most margarine.
Sugar (white, brown, raw, glucose, fructose, sucrose) causes tooth decay, provides “empty calories,” or calories with little nutritional value, and leads to a rapid rise in blood sugar, followed by a rapid drop. Children may react to these changes in blood sugar with hyperactive behavior and an inability to concentrate, followed by fatigue and irritability. Sugar is also implicated in childhood obesity. Honey, fruit juice, rice syrup, molasses, barley malt and maple syrup are good alternatives in baked foods or yogurt. However, these more complex sugars should still be used sparingly. Using applesauce or other fruits is a healthy way to sweeten baked goods.
Artificial preservatives such as BHA, BHT, TBHQ, EDTA, Sodium Nitrate and Polysorbate 80 are linked to poor academic performance. In addition, preservatives such as BHA, BHT and TBHQ are derived from petroleum (the same source of gasoline). There is little research on their effect on child development and behavior.
Artificial Coloring or Flavoring
Synthetic colorings and flavorings may contribute to poor academic performance, ADD, ADHD and other disorders in children. Synthetic dyes are also derived from petroleum, and artificial flavorings are made from an array of chemicals.
Processed or Refined Foods
Processed foods may contain refined sugar, preservatives, artificial coloring/flavoring and partially hydrogenated oils. They have little nutritional value and are often more expensive than whole foods. In addition, complex carbohydrates cause a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels, which helps children feel energetic and alert throughout the day.
Some foods may cause preschool-age children to choke. Please avoid:
- Round foods such as grapes and peanuts
- Hard foods such as nuts and raw vegetables that are not cut into bite-size pieces
- Foods with pits, such as cherries and olives that still have their pits intact
As a school, we will not serve nut butters, as some children have severe allergies. It is permissible for children to have nut butters in their lunches from home, however.
Child Health Guide, Randall Neustaedter, OMD
Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers & Up, Mollie Katzen, Ann L. Henderson
The Family Nutrition Book, William and Martha Sears
Super Baby Food, Ruth Yaron
Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child, Janet Zand, Robert Rountree, and Rachel Walton
Nutrition Almanac, Lavon J. Dunne
Why Can’t My Child Behave?, Jane Hersey
The ADD Nutrition Solution, Marcia Zimmerman
Safe Shopper’s Bible: A Consumer’s Guide to Nontoxic Household Products, Cosmetics, and Food, David Steinman & Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.