Tu Bishvat Education and Expectation

It’s not often that I go to a Pre-school party and smile from ear to ear the WHOLE time :

Usually after my child has performed (this one actually rocked the house for once!) and the “proud parent” part is done the pre-school will put on a spread for the parents and the children – and that’s the part when I start the eye rolling – really? Are the soft drinks absolutely necessary? Is bourekas and rogelach what we really want to be feeding them as a “treat”. And then comes the debate in my head – to say something, or not to say something – do you want the pre-school teacher to think of you are the crazy health mom and the repercussions that generally come with it for my child…

At this Tu Bishvat party I was so pleasantly surprised when I saw that this amazing pre-school teacher had decided to take the treats into her own hands and there was a big table with platters of fruits and vegetables, with all the colors of the rainbow cut up beautifully and available to eat. There was a juice squeezing station where the parents and children could make themselves fresh orange juice and that was that!!!

It was enough and it was beautiful and the message rung so clear- let’s celebrate with the raw produce that G-d gives us! – the fruits and the vegetables – the amazing colors and tastes and not to mention the vitamins and minerals and fibre that come with eating fruit and vegetables as a by-product – which is so much better for our kids than ruglach and boerakas and the empty calories that come with them as a by-product…

I think at the end of the day it all comes down to EDUCATION and EXPECTATION

EDUCATION – if we educate our kids that treats are connected to sugar – the sweets, the boerakas, the rugelach, soft drinks to name a few – then naturally they will EXPECT that type of food at the next party or “special event”.
If we EDUCATE our kids that fruits and vegetables are great for us and tasty and ENJOYABLE – (yes – that comes with role modeling- if they see us eating fruits and veggies for snack time in various shapes or forms then they are much more likely to try them out…) then they also can learn to EXPECT them for a snack or treat or special event- even dessert or at a gan party…

We are living in a world where there are so many different messages regarding food and health and well-being and the message of Tu Bishvat is such an important underlying message with regard to this topic.

Tu Bishvat is a festival when we celebrate the birthday of the trees – but it is celebrated in the winter when the fruits are not yet on the trees? Why is that? – because we are celebrating the potential of the fruits – the tiny seeds that are in the earth that need to be watered, nutured and cultivated eventually into fruit. This can be likened in a way to the education that we give our children regarding eating and eating habits – if we want them to be healthy eaters and enjoy the raw produce then we also have to educate them in the right way about food, eating and health and help them develop and cultivate their own expectations with regards to treats and special events. Treats don’t always have to means sugar or processed food- treats can also be something that’s good for them and enjoyable as well! (As my 5yr old son said fruits are G-d’s treats for us)- These are some of the many seeds that we should be planting as we bring our children up – educating them that fruits and veggies are also an option when it comes to treats and parties and celebrations. It’s not easy in today’s day and age – but if its a constant message that we can give them then please G-d we will all be able to reap the fruits we plant 😉

Some fun Tu Bishvat treats inspired by Avital the awesome Pre-School Teacher!

Dates and Nuts
Get your kids to open the dates take out the pips and stuff them with nuts.

Apricot hearts
With a cookie cutter cut out shapes from apricots and decorate with craisins

Date balls
Take a packet of mashed dates and break up and roll into small balls. Roll the balls in sesame seeds, coconut, or crushed up nuts.

Fruit skewers
Cut up fruit and place on skewers
You can make a dipping sauce with strawberry yogurt or chocolate melted in milk/cream.

Chag sameach! And remember- it all starts with a seed of inspiration!

About the Author
Tova Kramer was born in South Africa, grew up in Australia and is a Proud Israeli. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and 5 children. She is is a registered clinical dietician and has a private practice specializing in eating disorders and helping clients find a healthy balance to nourish, respect and trust their bodies.
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