Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Matter of Taste

Why do kids go nuts for Halloween?
Why care about the Easter basket at all?
Why did I think I'd get at least half of that bag of M&M's to myself?

Sugar (sing it! "do do do-do, do-do, OH, honey-honey do do do-do, do-do) is possibly driving my older daughter's every waking thought.

Are we going to Chick-fil-A? Well are we getting ICE CREAM???

Kids are small sucrose-powered machines.

And now we have it confirmed that there's a decent biological reason for the disappearance of all things sweet and tasty.

The Salt, an NPR.org food blog, has published piece that reveals research suggesting that kids' taste buds and receptors are wired differently than adults, to give them a much higher affinity for all thing sweet.  This is true of children up through age 15 or 16, when puberty drops them off on the curb in their big boy pants, almost done their growing.

Blogpost by "The Salt" Here!

In this report we also learn that children have very different taste buds overall than adults.  They are wired to crave the most calorie-rich roods, because that's the best thing from them, biologically, to grow on.
This kind of makes me wonder about the whole Eat-Your-Vegetables thing.
Yes, our munchkins need to eat a variety of whole, nutritious, healthy food... said the woman who fed her daughters a tub of Chef Boyardee mac-n-cheese for dinner. WHAT? They had mixed veggies too!  And E had apricots!  Don't judge me, it's a Band night!

Miss M, who until the age of 3 would eat anything and everything put in front of her, no matter how green, has sent most new foods packing lately. She has a two-bite chart. It sort of works. Actually, right now it's sort of MIA, I think it fell under the fridge.  And she was half-way to a trip to Sahara Sam's for trying new foods. That's how desperate we were getting. 

Here's our system with food, Miss M:
"We are making for dinner whatever we make for dinner.  You have to TRY a bite of it. If you try 2 bites, it goes on your Two Bite Chart. If you don't want any more than one bite, fine. You do not get something else.  You do not get dessert. You do not pass 'go and collect 2,000 M&M's. Breakfast will taste really good. The End."
She's not wasting away. Skinny does not run in our family.  We have no need of the 'clean plate club' in our house, for any of us.
I'm sorry, for 75% of us.
E, on the other hand, has just about earned herself back the title of "The Little Project".
Physical therapy. Orthopedic ankle braces. Rx fiber powder. "Lazy eye" patch. And she's supposed to drink at least one pediasure a day, because she's still technically "underweight".
Did you hear that? That's my ancestors laughing their ample butts off.
Ok, "Failure to Thrive", until two weeks ago, when she was weighed and she's climbed back up in the percentiles. Woo-hoo!

E the Project gets whatever she'll eat for dinner, almost always something different than what we're having, and if she doesn't want that, she can have something else.  And so on.
Her dinner is usually macaroni and cheese or chicken nugget-related. With some veggies. And some fruit. And more cheese. But hey, she's eating.
If she's not eating, she gets what is basically a (pediasure) ...milkshake.

OH what a fabulous message.  

Where's her biological wiring telling her to consume the most calories possible, huh?
What's the research say about kids who won't eat?

She's getting better, she's gaining, and she is starting to show that toddler pattern of peaks and valleys in her eating routine.
I'm 100% on board with the "do what it takes" feeding of the small one.
But seriously, kid: I'm a teacher! I'm having a Hell of a time with the consistency and fairness issues you're bringing into this house. Not to mention that then there's macaroni and cheese left on her tray as I carry it to the sink, and I have a heck of a time with the "no grazing" rule that Weight Watchers enforces. How many points for this toddler-sized piece of cheese-and-pasta-goodness?

I'm wondering what other families do:
Were you/are you consistent child to child with your dinner routines?
Or did you have to tailor your food rules to each child? (And hope the other didn't notice?)

1 comment:

katemc said...

I have recently started tailoring meals, since the pediatricians recommended smaller portions less snacks etc (we never say diet) for my oldest. However my two youngest are very picky, barely eat anything and are all around pains at meals. They eat chicken nuggets and mac and cheese for dinner a lot, something the oldest can not have. Even though at the ripe old age of 11 knowing all there is to know about everything, there is still a constant battle of "but he's having that" and "she had this". I do my best to keep everyone happy and fed but sometimes it's impossible.

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