by Wendy E. Cook

copyright © Wendy E. Cook 2003

Clairview Books, Temple Lodge Publishing, Hillside House, The Square, Forest Row, East Sussex

RH18 5ES Britain



Recently I spent one day a week observing in a local Waldorf kindergarten where

the teacher was particularly keen on having healthy food habits as part of the

learning in the classroom. Every day a different cereal dish was created for the midmorning

break: apple‐crumble, oat porridge with molasses, millet patties, barley

and wheat bread. The children were allowed to participate in the preparation as and

when they wanted to. They always played vigorously before the break and smelling

the food cooking usually stimulated their appetites.


There were about 16 children: when the time came the tables were nested

together, laid with napkins, a candle and flowers. Then the children went through a

hand washing ritual while a song was sung with their own name mentioned in it.

When seated they said a simple grace and two of the children took the food around

to each child. Spoons were the last item to be handed out so they could start

together (and practice a little delayed gratification). They drank herb tea made from

herbs that they had collected from their kindergarten garden. It was so touching to

witness the beginnings of conversation and caring for each other's needs. The bowls

were emptied and the ones with really healthy appetites usually wanted second

helpings. If there was a grumble it was met by some creative response by their

teacher who used humour often to make them laugh and see another way of looking

at matters.


I was very impressed by the whole experience. Children are like blotting

paper, absorbing much of the influences around them. By the end of their first

seven‐year period, when the second teeth have come in, much of their physical basis

for life and their orientation towards the world has been set in place. The Jesuits

used to say, 'Give me a child for seven years, and I'll give you the man,' and we can

see that there is much in this. Traditionally royal children were fed only vegetarian

food for the first seven years of life.


The first three years of a child's life are also very important. We have spoken

about the importance of breast milk as a beginning in life, then starting with solids

around six months or when the baby indicated a readiness. We should remember

that each new food represents a complete new world to the little child. You give

them a spoon of fruit purée for the first time and a look of puzzlement or delight

comes over their face. You spoon it back in ‐ 'What is this you're giving me of the

world? How does it taste?' So it continues, adding new substances gradually one by

one. Puréed fruits from the rosacea family that are ripe, and gently cooked if

necessary, are a fitting introduction to solids, followed by a cereal gruel. 'Holle' is a

brand if biodynamic prepared cereal especially for young babies. To it can be added

the 'fruiting' type vegetables such as courgettes [zucchini], pumpkin(puréed)[squash],

then leafy vegetables, bearing in mind the importance of seasonality. The roots, carrots

and parsnips may come next, and later some cooked beetroot, though this may be rejected

at first. A little honey or butter can be gradually included, but substances such as salt,

refined sugar, the nightshade family and beans are best kept back for later.

Eggs have the potential ingredients ‐ fats and proteins ‐ to grow a whole new

chicken. They are therefore a very concentrated food consisting of strong

reproductive protein, so use only a little at a time. As for mushrooms, observe how

they grow, quickly and at night, bypassing the chlorophyll process. So they are not a

'sun' food. Save them to until later.


The process I am advocating aims to keep the child as 'plastic and permeable'

as possible, open to the forces of the imagination, so that he can stay in touch with

all his senses and come in a timely way to be a full earth citizen. Certain foods such

as salt, sugar, meat, potatoes and spices can tend towards a 'hardening' effect on the

child's etheric body and may interfere with a harmonious and balanced physical/spiritual



I can only present a small outline here. There are many books on the subject

of child nutrition, but in the end we have to use our own discretion as parents. Eating

the right foods does not always guarantee adequate nutrition ‐ no two people eating

the same diet will necessarily receive the same nutrients. The digestive system and

its unique functioning are a product of one's constitution and one's temperament,

and as we have pointed out in the section on the family meal, it is powerfully

influenced by our emotional life. Most of all, food should wherever possible be

freshly prepared from biodynamic or organic sources ‐ and served with joy.