One of the biggest challenges each day as a parent is providing healthy choices for my children at meal time. The best way I have found to get my 4-year old son to eat a variety of foods is to involve him in the food shopping, meal planning and meal preparation process. This place setting and book from Kidliga provide another teaching tool for mealtime itself, focusing on balanced nutrition and healthy portion sizes.
Livliga, the parent company of Kidliga, was founded by a mother who was “waging a personal war against obesity” and “supersized dinnerware.” The Kidliga Sammie & Sax porcelain place setting contains a large dinner plate (containing portion measurements by food group), an 8 oz. mug and a 12 oz. cereal/soup bowl.
We received a set in shades of blue, but it also comes in pink, appealing to both girls and boys. Also included with each set is a copy of the book Sammie and Sax in the Land of Quinoa, a tale about a sister and brother searching for the definition of a balanced meal.
We started by reading the book to learn the purpose of the corresponding artwork on the dinnerware. Sammie and Sax in the Land of Quinoa tells the story of siblings who are tasked by their mother to develop a balanced meal. Their magical spoon takes them to an imaginary land with puzzle pieces that each depict a food.
After interviewing many of them, they end up at the local farmer’s market where the puzzle pieces join together to illustrate a balanced meal. We found the book a bit hard to follow as it jumps right in without much of an introduction, but the pages are full of beautiful, vibrant illustrations, and with a little parental explanation it did pull together a clear lesson in the end. The book received the 2013 Moonbean Children’s Book Award Bronze Medal for Health issues, and I would say it serves as a great resource for parents to teach healthy eating habits.
Next we got out the place setting. Each piece is quite heavy, breakable porcelain, but does seem to be very durable for children. It washed well in the dishwasher, with no visible effects on the painted illustrations. The plate has four circles on it, each with a different character/icon, that indicate portion measurements. The large, 1 cup circle is for vegetables or fruit. The next circle is ½ cup for a starch or grain. The last two circles are for protein (2-6 oz) and a 1/8 cup for sauce, condiment, salad dressing, etc.
The bowl has two lines, 1 cup and 1 ½ cup, to accommodate different cereals and soups, and the mug is 8oz, a popular children’s drink measurement at mealtime.
The Kidliga description says the portion indicators are “self-explanatory images to guide kids.” My son and I each had a hard time identifying the images, especially the vegetables/fruit (a picture of Sammie with a small piece broccoli on her shirt) and the “sauce” (a bee hive) as they were not immediately clear, even after re-reading the book. However, once we got the hang of it, he loved filling up the circles with different foods and has been constantly asking about dinnertime choices, if they are healthy, and what food group they fall under. e is also starting to actively “measure” his foods and eat them up, finding he is sufficiently full if he follows the guidelines on the plate/bowl/mug.
I am very pleased with the teaching aspect of this book, as we had not fully addressed healthy eating, food groups and portion sizes and I didn’t quite know how to approach the subject properly for a preschooler. This book and dinnerware are a great jumpstart for kids of all ages into a lifelong lesson about healthy choices and controlling portions to stay balanced and satisfied at mealtime.
Kidliga Sammie and Sax 3 Piece Porcelain Place Setting and Book
Manufactured by Livliga
Ease of Use: 5
I would purchase this for my child: No
I would purchase this as a gift: No
Overall rating: 4
Easy to Read: 3
Quality of Illustrations: 5
Appealed to both boys and girls: 4
Kept my child(ren)’s interest: 3
I would purchase this for my family: No
I would purchase this as a gift: No
I found information in this book helpful: Yes
Overall rating: 3.5
All ratings on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being highest.
Christy Petrak is a systems engineer currently taking a leave of absence to raise her two children, Thomas (4) and Eliza (1). She enjoys spending time with her family, swimming and baking/decorating cupcakes.