Mealtimes are sensory experiences that can be used for relationship building. They are experiences in which you can slow down, relate and spend time nourishing your body and soul!
At Bridges Care and Education Center we provide Family Style meals; meals where food is served from a communal bowl and everyone is at at the table at the same time. We serve family style meals in order to provide young humans with opportunities to eat with their peers and the adults who care for them. Showing and modeling that eating food is a shared experience that brings people together.
We place importance on a variety of healthy foods for introduction to new tastes and textures.
Family style meals also allow young humans to learn how to eat by serving themselves. Moreover, family style meals allow adults to model socially acceptable behaviors and scaffold learning as needed.
Mealtimes are a time for developmentally appropriate exchanges non-verbal as well as verbal.
In this Family Style mealtime model, food is an experience where caregivers invite young humans to eat and wait for them to respond. If they seem interested in eating, then the young human is invited to wash their hands. Self-talk is used to describe steps involved in the mealtime routine. Caregivers label the items that are used during mealtimes. Young humans are invited to partner with caregivers by being encouraged to participate in developmentally appropriate mealtime tasks. For example, a caregiver may offer a bin and encourage them to place the plate and spoon in the bin when they are done eating.
"If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him - the people who give you their food give you their heart."
- Cesar Chavez
Some of our favorite recipes: