What are the most important points in selecting and preparing cereals?
The important things are that they are properly cooked and not used in excess. The ready-to-serve cereals should never be chosen for children, nor should a child, because he is fond of cereals, be allowed to make his entire meal of them, taking two or three saucerfuls at a feeding.
Many of the partially cooked preparations of oatmeal and wheat are excellent, but should be cooked for a much longer time than is stated upon the package, usually three or four times as long. Digestibility is chiefly a matter of proper cooking. Most of the grains,—oatmeal, hominy, rice, wheaten grits,—require at least three hours’ cooking in a double boiler in order to be easily digested. The prepared flours,—corn starch, arrowroot, barley,—should be cooked at least twenty minutes. I know of no preparation in the modern market which requires no cooking, which is to be recommended for children.
How are cereals to be given?
Usually with milk or a mixture of milk and cream; always with an abundance of salt and with very little or no sugar, one half teaspoonful on a saucerful of cereal should be the limit.
Cereals should not be served with syrups or butter and sugar.
BROTHS AND SOUPS
What broths and soups are to be recommended?
Meat broths are generally to be preferred to vegetable broths,—mutton or chicken being usually most liked by children. Nearly all plain broths may be given. Those thickened with rice, barley or corn starch form a useful variety, especially with the addition of milk.
Vegetable purees of peas, spinach, celery or asparagus may be used for children over seven years old. Tomato soup should not be given to young children.
BREAD, CRACKERS AND CAKES
What forms of breadstuffs are best suited to young children?
Fresh bread should not be given, but stale bread cut thin and freshly dried in the oven until it is crisp is very useful, also zwieback, the unsweetened being preferred. Oatmeal, graham or gluten crackers and the Huntley and Palmer breakfast biscuits, stale rolls, or corn bread which has been split and toasted or dried till crisp, form a sufficient variety for most children.
What breadstuffs should be forbidden?
All hot breads, all fresh rolls, all buckwheat and other griddle cakes, all fresh sweet cakes, especially those covered with icing and those containing dried fruits. A stale lady-finger or piece of sponge cake is about as far in the matter of cakes as it is wise to go with children up to seven or eight years old.
What desserts may be given to young children?
Mistakes are more often made here than in any other part of the child’s diet. Up to six or seven years, only junket, plain rice pudding without raisins, plain custard and, not more than once a week, a small amount of ice cream.