Chocolate is a smooth, rich meltable. It starts solid, but begins to melt because of the mouth’s temperature without any chewing and no help needed from the enzymes in saliva. A square of chocolate melts into a delicious, smooth, bite and as it melts, it’s thick enough that it stays put on the tongue so it can be swallowed easily.
Chocolate is a delicious desert but can also be a decadent snack. For kids who need increased calories we try to increase caloric intake with foods like butter, cream and oil. Chocolate (dark chocolate, not milky sugary chocolate) is a calorically dense and nutritionally dense food. Dark chocolate is high in fiber, iron and magnesium as well as important fats and other minerals and antioxidants.
Chocolate is not recommended, however, for anyone who experiences reflux, heartburn or Gastroesphogeal Reflux Disease (GERD). It’s on the list of foods to avoid if you have reflux and new studies continue to show how chocolate relaxes the muscle holding food in our stomach allowing stomach acids to enter the esophagus and cause or exacerbate reflux.
If chocolate is something you and your child can eat, play with chocolate can be messy, fun and delicious! You can practice making teeth marks in solid chocolate squares. Partially melt some chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler and pretend play with the partially melted squares, they can be chocolate cars, chocolate sleds or chocolate snails, leaving a trail of chocolate ooze behind them.
Fully melt some chocolate and finger paint with the puree. Make animal tracks and go on a bear hunt, a bird hunt or a dog hunt. Make squiggles, a pattern or a picture. If your child really doesn’t want to touch the melted chocolate you can put some in a baggie, cut off the tip (like making a pastry bag for the for the frozen yogurt drops) and have your child help you squeeze the chocolate out to draw with it. Dip a spoon into chocolate and use it like a paintbrush. Taste the chocolate from your fingers or a spoon or paint on chocolate lipstick and taste it from your lips.
Get creative! How did you and your child play with chocolate?
I hope you enjoy this food play treat!
Happy food play!