Food and Nutrition
Nutrition doesn’t sound like the most appealing idea after a long day of fasting, when all you can envision is how much you want to stuff your face. BUT, it is very important to learn and understand, especially when your body is undergoing a major decrease in food and liquid intake.
I consulted with a Registered Dietician Nutritionist on everything we need to know about eating during Ramadan. Here is her easy to follow summary you can download: Nutrition-While-Fasting. The information in this document can be used with the following activities:
For younger children:
- Print out pictures of different foods that fall under the proper food groups (vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, protein).
- Attach Velcro to the back of each picture. Kids love Velcro.
- Label the proper food groups across a manila folder and put multiple pieces of Velcro under each.
- Ask your child to attach the food to the corresponding food group.
An alternative to this activity: Teaching the use of proper pronouns (he/she/they) and present participle (–ing ending).
- Print out a picture of your child’s favorite cartoon character’s face and cut a hole where the mouth is. Have your child “feed” each one a food item from each food group, while saying “He/She is eating _____.”
For older children:
- Have them plan out an iftar or suhoor once a week that includes all the proper food groups. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), allowing your child to help in meal planning allows them to feel involved and will increase their sense of responsibility. You will also equip them with the knowledge to help prepare a well-balanced meal.
- First, take 5 minutes to teach them the basic food groups and what to include in a meal.
- Then, give them a range of options in each food group and have them plan out one iftar each week.
- For older children, AOTA suggests letting them help with calculating food costs and reading the nutrition labels.
Food Sensory Box
Skills: sensory, spelling
Materials: empty container, macaroni/rice/coffee(jelly…)beans/cheerios, plastic/wooden alphabet letters, paper, marker.
What to do:
- Fill up an empty container with macaroni/rice/coffee(jelly…)beans/cheerios and put plastic alphabet letters inside.
- For infants, let them feel around and pick the letters out. Say the letter out loud as they pick it out.
- For preschool-aged children, write down a few Ramadan related words (using big letters) on a paper, such as: moon, date, fast, pray, ayah, dua, eid, salah. Have them match the letter they find to each large letter you wrote, until they spell out the whole word.
- For my DIY divas: To make it more challenging, you can DIY a deck of cards with Ramadan pictures and corresponding words on them and have the child pick a card and then find the right letters by feeling for it before pulling it out. If they get the wrong letter, have them put it back in the box and try again.