"Children eat the foods their bodies need" Really?
Posted by admin on January 10, 2013
Many parents comment to us in our workshops and consultations that their little one eats lots and lots of the same food over and over again - and they let them do it, because they believe they are craving a nutrient, vitamin or mineral from that food their body needs.
We've searched the archives tirelessly and are yet to find quality evidence supporting the claim that "children will eat what their bodies need", since so many factors come in to it - psychological, emotional and behavioural.
It's common for little ones to go through a short phase of eating the same things over and over again. Short-term it is often not a problem but very quickly this can be the start of narrowing your baby's palate and restricting their tastes.
It could be that your little one has tasted some yummy things and thought “I like that – I want more of it!”. No food is “bad” when it is eaten in moderation and rotating these foods in to your baby's diet so they don’t come to expect them is a great way to gain balance.
Routine For Security
An example of a psychological factor would be that very quickly, children can slip into routines. Routine gives children a sense of security, and so are good things when they are constructed by their parents (ie by people with the maturity of thinking to know what the child's needs are and who construct a routine around this).
However, routines can mean something entirely different if they are self-created and/or if they become rituals that the child 'must' stick to or they get upset and seem to be about needing control (e.g. only eating food when it doesn't touch other food). These kinds of 'routines' represent the child's effort to manage anxiety/insecurity. This may occur when change or instability happens in the home (e.g. possibly mum has gone back to work or breastfeeding has stopped). This could therefore also manifest in food in terms of always wanting to eat the same things over and over again, and only you can gauge if your child seems to want these foods to gain control in some way.
Children frequently are drawn to sugary foods in times of stress as breastmilk/formula milk has always been a comforter - and those are super-sweet and triggers the release of serotonin which is an enormous comforter!
You're the parent!
You're the parent and you're in charge and if you're okay with your child eating those foods in that volume and you know it's short-term because it's a special occasion then there shouldn't be any problem - but don't kid yourself that your child knows best and her body is craving calcium or some other nutrient. It's more likely, the foods are new tastes, yummy and sweet and most likley being super-sugary they trigger serotonin which all make her feel happy making her want even more.
Plenty of adults demonstrate this same refined sugar reaction over christmas day when they couldn't stop eating "just one more" mince pie or slice of yule log despite their buttons bursting from a big turkey dinner!
Lots of sugar switches off your ability to feel full
When you consume fructose, a hormone called Leptin is down-regulated. Leptin is the hormone that makes us feel full and so with that not circulating in our bodies telling us to stop eating, we instead keep eating and eating and eating. This is one of the many reasons why we are such advocates of zero sugar in all our recipes.
|image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net|
Water Can Change The Way Your Child Eats
Posted by admin on December 15, 2012
Our taste preferences are heavily influenced by repeated exposure to particular foods and drinks. This begins from the moment you start to wean your child through exposure to meals served at home and by meal combinations offered by restaurants.
If your child gets used to drinking fizzy, sweet drinks, then you're also inadvertently developing their preference for processed-tasting sugars and flavours. Think about how different these flavours are to natural flavours; for example, processed sugar ismuch sweeter than the natural sugars found in fruit. Fruit doesn't even seem sweet if you've just had a chocolate, does it? It's nowhere near as satisfying, if you're used to that processed sugar flavour.
The extreme sweetness and strong flavours in fizzy drinks (and the saltiness of processed foods) can therefore make natural food seem less flavoursome. If your child gets used to drinking strongly-flavoured drinks with food, the artificial flavour may overwhelm the natural flavours of, for example, the vegetables in front of them. These may well then become less interesting, as the flavours are more subtle.
Sweet drinks can also contain extra empty calories and energy and we already know that many young children are obese. For example, smoothies contain much more fruit than a child (or an adult, for that matter!) would ever eat in one sitting. Even fruit juices and smoothies (often thought of as the healthy option) can therefore fill up your child and make them less hungry for the food in front of them, as well as providing much more energy and sugar that you'd like your child to consume.
As a nation, we're fighting obesity and many chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, which is often preventable and can start with eating too much sugar. So don't let your child develop a taste for having too much sugar when they're young, as taste preferences gained in childhood often persist throughout life.
Finally, drinking water is a habit that needs to be learned, and as many of us know as adults, we don't drink nearly enough water. Many adults are chronically dehydrated. Serving water with meals is therefore a great way of making sure your child gets into the habit of drinking water regularly.
- Always serve water with meals
- Treat squash, smoothies, fizzy drinks and even juice as meals in their own right
|image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net|
Images copyright to Yummy Discoveries Ltdgar
Mince Pie Parcels
Posted by felicity on December 15, 2012
Mince Pie Parcels
(Refined Sugar & Aspartame Free!)
"Your Sister is Eating it - Why don't you?"
Posted by admin on December 12, 2012
"Your Sister/Brother/Friend is eating it - Why Don't You?"
Such a common and natural thing for a parent to say to a little one who yet again isn't eating their meal. This small sentence that trips off your tongue could be fuelling your fussy eating issues. It could also create self-esteem issues for your child and could associate food with negative emotions.
"So-and-so is eating it - why don't you?"
Your child may well hear (well, the adult equivalent of this follows, because they aren't aware of the meaning they're attaching to your words but the message gets through)":
"I love so-and-so more than you",
"So-and-so is better than you",
"So-and-so is a good child and you are a bad child"
These kinds of comments are unhelpful on three levels:
1. You're setting up your child to become insecure and jealous (you happen to be talking about food, but the food becomes irrelevant in terms of the message your child may hear).
2. Eating may now well become associated with a horrible feeling for your child, evoked by the above message. The more your child hears these comments, the more you may unwittingly be creating a cognitive pathway in your child's brain between food and negative emotions.
3. You are putting pressure on your child to eat, which is likely to give them an opportunity to resist you, as they will quickly understand that you really want them to do just that.
Instead of using this line, take the attention and focus away from your child eating and place it on something else. Ask the sibling/friend who is eating the food questions about it, such as "can you tell me what it tastes like?". With the attention on the other child you may find the resistant eater wanting to join in too.
Asking funny questions such as "do your peas taste like ice cream?" can create a light-hearted, fun eating experience with you all sat around not focusing on what one child can't do but what all the children can do.
Make it Fun to Munch Christmas Lunch
Posted by admin on December 4, 2012
- Don’t be surprised if your child behaves differently to their usual mealtime behaviour.
- Keep your behaviour the same as usual.
- Use the opportunity to help your little one discover something new.
- Give them space to explore and don’t make a big deal of things.
|Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net|