CHILDREN: THEIR HEALTH AND HAPPINESS- 8

FOURTH YEAR (three years of age ) TO SCHOOL AGE

    Beginning with the fourth year: For breakfast, toasted bread and butter, which must be eaten dry, then follow with fruit; or give fresh fruit and all the milk desired.

    At noon, toasted bread, vegetable soup made without meat or milk, and combination vegetable salad; or fruit salad (apple, orange, grapes), or any combination desired; in winter, the Delicious apple.

    At dinner in the evening, toasted whole-wheat bread, Shredded Wheat, corn bread, or baked potato, with a reasonable amount of unsalted butter; follow with vegetable puree, or vegetable or fruit salad. Prepare the puree as follows: Cook equal parts by weight of spinach, cabbage, carrot, potato, and celery; run through, or rub through, a sieve or fruit-strainer; no dressing is necessary. A puree can be made of any combination of vegetables. Evening meals may vary: corn bread, butter, and salad; baked potatoes, or any toasted or dry bread, and unsalted butter, combination salad, ground or not, no dressing, or a salad of fruit if desired. Vegetables should be cooked tender and made into a puree, or the child may eat the vegetables without making them into a puree.

    Dry or toasted whole-wheat bread should be the regular bread for children. Change occasionally to Shredded Wheat or other dry breads.

    Children must be taught to eat dry breads before eating other foods at a meal, and positively no drinking should be allowed while eating. Americans will become toothless unless they learn to masticate and insalivate the foods, and unless they learn to feed their children in such a manner as not to produce intestinal putrescence, which cultivates "diseases peculiar to children"; keeping in mind that putrescence is built by feeding starch and protein in the same meal. Putrescence is at the bottom of early breaking-down of the teeth.

    If the child is of good weight, the above starchy dinners may be alternated with a meat meal. Well- cooked lamb-stew, eggs, chicken, or fish, being the lighter meats, are the best for children. The meat should be followed with a large combination salad, and perhaps one cooked vegetable. Use the meat meals for about four nights a week, and the starch dinners for about three nights, where the weight is good. If the child is thin and needs weight, the starch dinners more often would suit better.

    It is generally understood that meat should not be fed to children. This is true when it is taken in the same meal with starch, but the combinations of meat or milk and bread, or cottage or cream cheese and any food made from grains are altogether to blame for any bad results.

    
SCHOOL AGE

    The undernourished child is a bugbear of about all mothers and most doctors. This fear has no foundation in fact, except in famine-stricken countries. In this country, overfeeding and sickness are universal. The fact is that sickness is expected--indeed, looked for--by everybody, and a child that has no sick report up to five years of age is a rarity--a rara avis.

    Parents should know what causes enervation in children and know that an enervated child cannot digest food--any kind of food--as well as when not enervated. A child, when very tired, should not be given hearty food. If possible, it should be sent to bed supperless, or given fruit juice only.

    Children often play too hard, and become nervous, cross, and hysterical. When parents see their children becoming nervous, loud, and boisterous, they should stop their playing and have them lie down until rested.

    All the so-called epidemic diseases of children affect only those with a cultivated gastro-intestinal irritability, with frequent flares of indigestion--"catarrhal fevers." At the risk of springing an Irish bull, I will say that a child who is well will not be sick. A well-cared-for child--one free from petty indigestions--is free from enlarged tonsils, adenoids, etc.

    Children should be fed three times a day, but they should not be urged to eat. When fussy for food at off hours, if they cannot take a piece of dry bread and eat it with a relish, they have appetite, not hunger. Clamoring for food, with no desire for plain, wholesome foods, is an indication of a morbid state--food-drunkenness--and should be corrected by withholding all food until a relish for plain food returns. Unless such strenuous measures are adopted, with children or grown people, disease of a serious nature will develop.

     Children returning from school clamoring for food may be given an apple or orange.

    Rapid eating, with insufficient chewing, must lead to digestive derangements. This is one of our national bad habits.

    As soon as teeth are developed, a child should be taught to masticate well.

    Several years ago I went on record as opposing the eating of starch (bread and cereals) and fruit together, because I observed fermentation frequently following that combination. I have since learned that the fermentation was caused by the milk that is almost invariably fed with bread, and insufficient insalivation, and by fresh bread and milk in combinations.

    Breakfast.--Some form of starch such as toasted whole- wheat bread or Shredded Wheat, followed with fresh or sweet dried fruits. The bread should be well dried out and then toasted. Eat the starch first. Swallowing of starch should be delayed until the starch begins to turn sweet in the mouth, which it will do if the butter is unsalted and the bread carries but little. Those who would know when starch turns to sugar should demand bread and butter without salt. No one can insalivate moist or fresh bread as much as is necessary to insure the perfect digestion of starch; hence only dry or toasted bread should be eaten, and without salt in the bread and butter.

    Occasionally a cereal may be taken in the winter time, dressed with a little butter and salt. The cereal should be cooked to a jelly. But only children in the best of health should be allowed this food, and then they should be taught to hold the cereal in the mouth long enough to mix it thoroughly with saliva before swallowing.

    When the starch is all finished, fruit may be taken. Avoid the tart fruits where there is a sensitive state of the stomach. In winter time, use the Delicious apple or winter pear. When fresh fruit cannot be had, use dried prunes and pears, soaked over night, not cooked.

    The black fig is a fine winter fruit food. In the summer time, fresh or cooked fruit (not too acid) may be eaten. Uncooked apples, or any cooked fruit, may be served. Occasionally baked apple may be given in place of uncooked fruit. When the meal is finished, teakettle tea, as much as desired, may be given. Cream and hot water (teakettle tea) after starch meals; milk and hot water (fifty-fifty) after fruit and cottage cheese or milk meals.

    Lunch.--For lunch, toast and butter, as recommended for breakfast. Follow with a vegetable soup and salad. For children under seven years of age, the vegetables may be run through a vegetable-mill. The salad may be dressed with oil and lemon, or not, at the pleasure of the child. If no oil is used on the salad, more butter may be used on the toast.

    Dinner.--Vegetable soup or puree, baked apple, prunes, or any cooked fruit, dressed with fifty-fifty milk and cream. Follow with as much fiftyfifty (milk and water) as the child wants.

    If possible, feed children toasted bread that has been made without salt. Much bread contains a disagreeable amount of salt for even grown people who masticate and insalivate as they should. Bolting food enables many people to eat bread so briny that it would be rejected if properly masticated. The popular craze for candy would be ameliorated if everyone would masticate and insalivate starch as he should.

    Children should be taught correct eating habits. Those who eat with the usual "limited express" speed will never know how much more bread they consume than they need. Such children should learn perfect mastication and insalivation. "As a twig is bent, the tree is inclined"; hence the child should be taught to masticate. Ingrown habits are seldom, if ever, eradicated.

    For children that are robust, full of "pep," and carrying good weight, the above dinners are sufficient. Where a child is lacking in "pep," and also in weight, the evening meal may be a little more substantial. Use meat one night and some form of starch the next, with a combination salad and one cooked vegetable. The lighter forms of meat should be used, such a lamb, chicken, fish, or eggs. The starches should be of the dry form most of the time, so as to produce thorough mastication. Occasionally baked potato, rice, or macaroni may be used. It is usually necessary, when the soft starches are used, constantly to insist on thorough mastication, in order to bring about the proper mixture of the starch with saliva in the mouth and prevent fermentation from taking place.

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