At five or six years old, the school-life of the majority of children begins, and the food question, that which will best supply waste and build up the growing body, assumes a new importance. Children are sometimes difficult to manage in regard to food. They have their “notions,” they imbibe prejudices, and are distressed by tastes which parents frequently consider should be ignored. Children are quite dependent on the presiding genius of the family, not only for the kind of food they get to eat, but for the time allotted to them in which to eat it. After long years of experience, I have found few families in which children were considerately and deliberately and zealously provided for. A hasty and indigestible breakfast is generally gulped down; a piece of bread and butter, with or without a scrap of cold meat, and a piece of dried or soggy cake is picked up for lunch, and upon this the active young body does its work. No wonder children grow pinched and sallow, and either succumb to the early inroads of disease, or struggle with all forms of dyspepsia.
The food may and should be plain, but it should be of the best, carefully and thoroughly cooked for school children, and served so as to give them abundance of time to eat without hurry, and start well the process of digestion before starting upon the school work of the day. Mothers often complain that their children will not eat healthful food—oatmeal and the like. The reason of this is frequently because the meal is not good, or well, or at least not regularly well-cooked. Some mothers do not even know the difference between one kind of oatmeal and another, or how it should be cooked, or with what it is best and most healthfully served, and will not take the trouble to cultivate healthful tastes by preparing nourishing and simple food in its most attractive way.