How do your views on food affect your kids?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse  February 27, 2009 11:20 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

A study by the Journal of American Dietetic Association last year indicated that parents of kids in daycare centers in Texas don't know how to pack a proper lunch. The study was tiny -- just 74 kids -- but half the lunches provided less than a third of the recommended intakes of key nutrients (like carbohydrates, protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C), most provided too much sodium and not enough fiber, fruit, veggies, or milk.

Parents regularly beat themselves up about what they're feeding their kids. But there are also people who, battling their own eating disorders, inadvertently pass their food phobias on to their kids. The issue usually has to do with weight, but not always; yesterday I read a fascinating article about parents who are so obsessed with eating well that their kids end up terrified of food.

“It’s almost a fear of dying, a fear of illness, like a delusional view of foods in general,” Lisa Dorfman, a registered dietitian and the director of sports nutrition and performance at the University of Miami, said in the article. “I see kids whose parents have hypnotized them. I have 5-year-olds that speak like 40-year-olds. They can’t eat an Oreo cookie without being concerned about trans fats.”

Now, I'm concerned about trans-fats -- to an extent. And about high-fructose corn syrup and excess sodium and Red Dye No. 40. After reviewing "The Hundred-Year Lie" by Randall Fitzgerald a couple of years ago, I started paying more attention to the chemicals in our food. And then, my youngest daughter got really picky.

All of a sudden, she was only willing to eat cheese, pasta, cheese, whole-wheat toast, cheese, apples, and cheese. She might have nibbled at other things from time to time during that phase, but those were the only things she really ate.

I started to fret, and then obsess about it. She wouldn't touch meat, not even kid-friendly chicken nuggets or burgers. She lobbed her roasted sweet potatoes at the dog. She constructed vast forests out of broccoli, and left them on her plate. She wouldn't even eat her multivitamin... how could she possibly be getting adequate nutrition?

And then I stopped fretting. Our older kids are omnivorous and, eventually, she would be, too. I kept offering her a variety of foods at every meal, instituted the "polite bite" rule (one bite -- just one! -- and if she didn't like it she didn't have to eat more at that sitting), made sure she saw the all of us eating plenty of different things, and you know what? She got curious -- and hungry. She still avoids meat if she can help it, and she certainly doesn't devour everything I put in front of her (she is 4, after all), but she eats a good variety of foods and is fit and healthy. She even gets sweet treats now and then. And, as for what's going into her lunchbox... I'm not beating myself up about it.

Everything in moderation, right? Isn't that just common sense?

What food issues are you facing with your kids? How do you handle them?

Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at lalphonse@globe.com.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

22 comments so far...
  1. every kid should consume a glass of milk for the daily intake of calcium to support nutrients, minerals for strong bone. most kid do not like milk, you can give them chewable vitamin calcium. some of these pleasant tasting chewable calcium tablets can now give your daily supply of calcium.
    www.1wallmart.com/calcium%20supplements/64/

    Posted by organicfood February 27, 09 02:03 PM
  1. organicfood...that's a nice idea, except my kid has a dairy and soy allergy

    not *every* kid should do anything

    Posted by C February 27, 09 03:10 PM
  1. organicfood, I disagree on the milk thing. It's weird and unnecessary to consume the milk of an animal that is made for their baby animals. I am not anti-milk, we have it in the house for cooking and cereal and use other dairy foods such as cheese, yogurt, ice cream etc., but there are other ways to get calcium. Animal milk should not be forced on kids, they're probably better off without it. We are considering switching to raw milk but don't really consume enough for that to make it to the top of our to-do list.

    Back the the article, LMA I'm with you on the approach for pre-schoolers. IME, most three- and four-year-olds go through a choosy phase when even the ones who used to be great eaters refuse foods. If you make it a big deal, it lasts longer. If you take a calm, reasonable approach they will eventually come around.

    I'm confident enough with the quality of foods that I serve at home that if we're out somewhere and there is junk food or candy or soda or some weird excuse for fruit juice that's just colored sugar water, the kids can have some. It's funny to hear the kids voice the messages that they're internalized over the years. My 10-year-old was recently talking up brown rice when he had a friend for dinner: "oh you've never had it? This is so much better than the white stuff that has no flavor...it's like wheat bread and white bread...wheat tastes so much better and the white stuff has no nutrition in it...". Now the challenge is to get him to say that without inadvertently insulting the other child's parents' food choices.

    Posted by Jen February 27, 09 03:26 PM
  1. organicfood, I disagree about milk, too. I recommend The China Study and www.diseaseproof.com for nutritional information. www.notmilk.com is interesting, too, but may be too polarizing for some. The key is that the whole "milk it does a body good" is propaganda from the dairy industry (an industry that has an oversupply, due in part to the decision to add hormones to the cows). By the way, if anyone is noticing his or her kid wetting the bed at night, try eliminating dairy. Lots of people I've talked to have had success with this, as it could be a sign of lactose intolerance.

    I do tell my 7-year-old about how bad HFCS is--I'm glad she's avoiding candy and even things like certain brands of ketchup. But, I also promised her to buy cookies and other sweets that don't have HFCS--she's not deprived in any way. I feel like some kids need to understand why you're saying no, to some extent. They can understand fake sugar (HFCS, aspartame) is "not good". Just like they can understand not eating something because it's too sticky for their teeth. My son (4) is too young for explanations like this. We just don't have certain things in the house--that's all.

    I'm not completely winning the milk argument, though my kids pretty much only have it when it's an ingredient in another food, either at someone else's house or a restaurant. (Or at a party--we're not cruel!) Coconut milk ice cream, and rice or almond milk on cereal are fine substitutes! Since 3/4 of us are lactose intolerant, it's easy to avoid.

    Posted by Beth February 27, 09 03:52 PM
  1. Thanks for the article. I like the link to the NYTimes piece about being afraid of food. Just from my own experience, I was such a picky eater growing up, my parents were thrilled if I put any type of food in my mouth - didn't matter if it was junk. My parents grew up in an era of poverty in a 3rd world country - they didn't have the privilege of choosing foods so it didn't bother them that my diet was not ideally healthy as long as I was not impoverished. As an adult, my tastes are now broad - there's pretty much nothing I won't eat. Versus, my husband who was forced to eat only healthy & organic foods - homemade whole wheat breads, beans, veggies. Now, his brothers and he are all facing weight issues and are addicted to junk food. Of course, this is all anecdotal and NOT scientific by any means but it makes me not get too concerned/anxious over my childrens' diet.

    Posted by D-cubed Mom February 27, 09 05:30 PM
  1. Great ideas

    Posted by Lisa B February 27, 09 07:02 PM
  1. I love ya Jen! I think my kid and your kid are the same kid. And organicfood, I'm not sure if I agree or disagree on the milk thing, but my kid (just like his dad) is lactose intolerant, so I'll disregard your recommendation that "every kid" have a glass a day. He eats enough broccoli for the entire block, so I think he's getting enough calcium (and iron). Like the author, my kid eats cheese and broccoli and cheese and other stuff and cheese and some other stuff and cheese. Every type of cheese is his favorite... except soft cheeses (many forms of soft cheese have lactose, while most firm and hard cheese has little or none).

    Posted by Alex's Mom February 27, 09 07:12 PM
  1. I don't obsess but we "eat the rainbow" every day.
    I bake my own cookies so that I know what goes into them and we don't eat HFCS.
    As for not eating meat, we're a vegetarian family and when ever anyone asks about protein (and why is it always protein?) we simply say, "Where does the cow get it's protein from?"
    When people realise that the answer is, or at least should be, "grass" they tend to stop asking about it.

    Posted by Vege-mum February 27, 09 09:51 PM
  1. Being a teacher of special needs preschoolers, I see what kinds of bad eating habits that they have developed so far. All due to parents and grandparents wanting to appease these little "princes" and "princesses". I'm able to undo some of it during the day, where it's eat or go hungry. They can pout and cry all they want, they are ignored until they eat what is served to them.

    One suggestion that I would offer to parents regarding picky eaters, is to keep something REALLY preferred nearby. For every bite that the child takes of the new food, they get a TINY bite of the preferred item. Each and every time. Then its two bites etc..... you'llfind things will really move along!

    Posted by Teaching Always February 28, 09 07:28 AM
  1. A great book I read a few years ago: "Let Them Eat Cake!:: The Case Against Controlling What Your Children Eat" by Ronald E. Kleinman. Dr. Kleinman is Chair of Peds at MGH and head of Pedi GI. More or less, it says not to worry about what your kids eat too much UNLESS they have some condition which would warrant worrying. Keep offering them healthy choices.

    Posted by bv February 28, 09 08:32 AM
  1. Fear of Oreos is a healthy fear to me. Just as a fear of debt. I congratulate any parent who wants to teach their children how to say no to things that are bad for them - I think you are doing your job as a parent. I believe that the focus should be on nourishing your body with healthy foods - not so much on weight.

    If you think you're being nice by giving sweets to kids, please stop offering junk food to other people's children. Trust me, they are going to get enough junk food without your intervention. Love does not come in the form of candy, cookies and junk food - I seriously think that a lot of people don't understand that!

    Posted by Anne February 28, 09 08:48 AM
  1. My kids (7 and 9) know that we choose local and organic whenever possible, and why, because we get our produce from a CSA from June-December, and our meat from a different CSA year-round. I don't think they are terribly aware of my quest against HFCS, because they don't generally grocery shop with me, and I don't buy much processed junk anyway, so it's mostly an issue with things like condiments. We talk about healthy foods, and how it's OK to eat junk as long as most of what you eat is healthy. My 9 year old is generally unsatisfied with the lame options on kids menus, and will order from the adult menu in a restaurant. The 7 year old is picky, at home and out, but we're trying to ignore it and hope it passes soon. She's certainly exposed to a wide variety of foods, and eats them when she feels like it.

    Posted by akmom February 28, 09 08:57 AM
  1. akmom - I don't know if this blog will let your reply through, but could you post the names or links to your CSAs if you're in MA? I'm looking for one for meats. We don't use a CSA now because the season for produce overlaps the same time that I can get produce from our garden and the local farmers' market but I haven't found a supplier for other things, especially meat. Thanks!

    Posted by Jen February 28, 09 11:03 AM
  1. ENOUGH! As long as children eat in moderation and you offer a variety of foods and MOST IMPORTANT they are not stuck in front of a TV all day then you are fine and doing the right thing for your family

    Posted by mjm March 1, 09 07:22 AM
  1. Jen - there are several meat CSAs in Massachusetts, they will come up on a google search. Mine is actually in Vermont and delivers to my town in MA. Try localharvest.org to find local sources for all kinds of stuff. Good luck!!

    Posted by akmom March 1, 09 09:13 AM
  1. The parents views DO have a long have a long term effect on the kids. From my personal experience: I take my kids once a while to eat the so called 'junk-food'. However I never ask for anything for me there besides water there. Over time, they started noting this and get very surprised if I try to steal a French fry from them. Also at home they they get some soda (very rarely, thanks to their mom's benevolence). But again I don't take any (except once a year or so when I use small quantities the darker sorts of them to improve from food sickness, which also they make fun of).
    I can tell for sure that enjoy eating those kinds of foods or drinks like any other kids. However, at the same time, they also have clear that is something they do because they are kids and they will voluntary give up as they grow, as they try to 'imitate' his dad.

    Posted by Jaime Lima March 1, 09 10:41 AM
  1. Food: We consume it and it consumes us. Keep it simple. Choices at food stores are made for your convenience which in turn benefits a company that is benefiting from your "convenience". They add all kinds of ingredients that are harming us with diabetes, heart disease, stokes, obesity (Watch some more How it's made episodes and see, Or read the label). Let's please feed our children like babies for as long as they are alive...obviously not completely. Pack lunches for the kids for school... wake up early and cut up veggies and fruit. Use a system like laptoplunches.com for convenience. No more dyes or sweeteners, Stick to it and yes in moderation ( 1 -2 a week ) have your treat. Most people feed their pets better than our schools feed the kids, it is so depressing. Parents please help your kids be successful and happy without medication and drugs. You will never regret packing a healthy lunch every day. No more packaging, just fresh food.

    Posted by guigal March 1, 09 08:43 PM
  1. Another good book: What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained by Robert L. Wolke. Has some great simple explanations of how difference sugars are purified. I won't try to convert anyone here, but the book makes the point that the more refined sugars are no worse (or better) than the less refined. They are simply purer.

    Posted by bv March 2, 09 01:33 PM
  1. LMA, your four-year-old is at one of the classic ages for becoming a vegetarian. That's about when I first wanted to become one, but my mom wouldn't let me till I was older. My neighbor's son also became a vegetarian at that age. Please let her if she wants to. I hated being forced to eat meat as a child. My entire family (and that includes aforementioned MOM!) are vegetarians now. My teen children are the healthiest on the block. Vege-mom, love your comment about the cow/grass/protein. Yeah, what IS that about the protein obsession?

    Thanks for commenting, Sasha! I get that impression about my 4-year-old, too. As long as she gets adequate protein from other sources, I'm fine with it! -- LMA

    Posted by Sasha March 3, 09 11:19 AM
  1. Sasha - I agree. Vegetarian is fine by me. However, there are eight essential amino acids which can not be synthesized by the human body. Without ingestion of these in the form of protein or amino acid, you cannot live and will certainly die. I am not saying that you cannot get these from plant material or supplement (I know plenty of vegetarians who are..well...alive)s, but you must get them from some source. That is where the obsession comes from.

    As far as cows, I am no expert. I've been led to believe that microbes in their stomachs allow them to produce all of the amino acids directly from non-protein based sources (ammonia, urea, etc.). Essentially, they can produce all the types of amino acids they need to live from more basic sources (i.e. grass) and can skip ingestion of protein to some extent. Even at that, though, they require supplemental protein sources to thrive (instead of just surviving).

    Posted by bv March 3, 09 01:35 PM
  1. Food is extremely important. Good parents should find the time to cook meals with their children from a very young age so that they understand what goes into making a meal and why you eat more whole foods than processed crap. They won't be such picky eaters in the end, and even if they are, at least they'll know what's healthy and setting a good example as a parent is the most important thing. Make salads fun by shaking up ingredients or including meat & cheese in them; eat a variety of foods and stay away from routines; always try different recipes with them and see what they like best. Food is an important aspect of culture and dinner time is sacred - you should sit down and eat meals together as a family if you want your kids to respect food and cooking.

    Posted by FJ March 6, 09 11:54 AM
  1. organicfood - milk is pretty bad for you. check out doctors who support the paleo diet and they'll tell you why - there's no reason beyond infancy for anyone to be drinking mlik.

    magnesium is just as important as calcium in terms of staving off osteoporosis early, and calcium can be had from means outside of cow milk. why would i drink the milk of another mammal?

    Posted by FJ March 6, 09 11:57 AM
 
22 comments so far...
  1. every kid should consume a glass of milk for the daily intake of calcium to support nutrients, minerals for strong bone. most kid do not like milk, you can give them chewable vitamin calcium. some of these pleasant tasting chewable calcium tablets can now give your daily supply of calcium.
    www.1wallmart.com/calcium%20supplements/64/

    Posted by organicfood February 27, 09 02:03 PM
  1. organicfood...that's a nice idea, except my kid has a dairy and soy allergy

    not *every* kid should do anything

    Posted by C February 27, 09 03:10 PM
  1. organicfood, I disagree on the milk thing. It's weird and unnecessary to consume the milk of an animal that is made for their baby animals. I am not anti-milk, we have it in the house for cooking and cereal and use other dairy foods such as cheese, yogurt, ice cream etc., but there are other ways to get calcium. Animal milk should not be forced on kids, they're probably better off without it. We are considering switching to raw milk but don't really consume enough for that to make it to the top of our to-do list.

    Back the the article, LMA I'm with you on the approach for pre-schoolers. IME, most three- and four-year-olds go through a choosy phase when even the ones who used to be great eaters refuse foods. If you make it a big deal, it lasts longer. If you take a calm, reasonable approach they will eventually come around.

    I'm confident enough with the quality of foods that I serve at home that if we're out somewhere and there is junk food or candy or soda or some weird excuse for fruit juice that's just colored sugar water, the kids can have some. It's funny to hear the kids voice the messages that they're internalized over the years. My 10-year-old was recently talking up brown rice when he had a friend for dinner: "oh you've never had it? This is so much better than the white stuff that has no flavor...it's like wheat bread and white bread...wheat tastes so much better and the white stuff has no nutrition in it...". Now the challenge is to get him to say that without inadvertently insulting the other child's parents' food choices.

    Posted by Jen February 27, 09 03:26 PM
  1. organicfood, I disagree about milk, too. I recommend The China Study and www.diseaseproof.com for nutritional information. www.notmilk.com is interesting, too, but may be too polarizing for some. The key is that the whole "milk it does a body good" is propaganda from the dairy industry (an industry that has an oversupply, due in part to the decision to add hormones to the cows). By the way, if anyone is noticing his or her kid wetting the bed at night, try eliminating dairy. Lots of people I've talked to have had success with this, as it could be a sign of lactose intolerance.

    I do tell my 7-year-old about how bad HFCS is--I'm glad she's avoiding candy and even things like certain brands of ketchup. But, I also promised her to buy cookies and other sweets that don't have HFCS--she's not deprived in any way. I feel like some kids need to understand why you're saying no, to some extent. They can understand fake sugar (HFCS, aspartame) is "not good". Just like they can understand not eating something because it's too sticky for their teeth. My son (4) is too young for explanations like this. We just don't have certain things in the house--that's all.

    I'm not completely winning the milk argument, though my kids pretty much only have it when it's an ingredient in another food, either at someone else's house or a restaurant. (Or at a party--we're not cruel!) Coconut milk ice cream, and rice or almond milk on cereal are fine substitutes! Since 3/4 of us are lactose intolerant, it's easy to avoid.

    Posted by Beth February 27, 09 03:52 PM
  1. Thanks for the article. I like the link to the NYTimes piece about being afraid of food. Just from my own experience, I was such a picky eater growing up, my parents were thrilled if I put any type of food in my mouth - didn't matter if it was junk. My parents grew up in an era of poverty in a 3rd world country - they didn't have the privilege of choosing foods so it didn't bother them that my diet was not ideally healthy as long as I was not impoverished. As an adult, my tastes are now broad - there's pretty much nothing I won't eat. Versus, my husband who was forced to eat only healthy & organic foods - homemade whole wheat breads, beans, veggies. Now, his brothers and he are all facing weight issues and are addicted to junk food. Of course, this is all anecdotal and NOT scientific by any means but it makes me not get too concerned/anxious over my childrens' diet.

    Posted by D-cubed Mom February 27, 09 05:30 PM
  1. Great ideas

    Posted by Lisa B February 27, 09 07:02 PM
  1. I love ya Jen! I think my kid and your kid are the same kid. And organicfood, I'm not sure if I agree or disagree on the milk thing, but my kid (just like his dad) is lactose intolerant, so I'll disregard your recommendation that "every kid" have a glass a day. He eats enough broccoli for the entire block, so I think he's getting enough calcium (and iron). Like the author, my kid eats cheese and broccoli and cheese and other stuff and cheese and some other stuff and cheese. Every type of cheese is his favorite... except soft cheeses (many forms of soft cheese have lactose, while most firm and hard cheese has little or none).

    Posted by Alex's Mom February 27, 09 07:12 PM
  1. I don't obsess but we "eat the rainbow" every day.
    I bake my own cookies so that I know what goes into them and we don't eat HFCS.
    As for not eating meat, we're a vegetarian family and when ever anyone asks about protein (and why is it always protein?) we simply say, "Where does the cow get it's protein from?"
    When people realise that the answer is, or at least should be, "grass" they tend to stop asking about it.

    Posted by Vege-mum February 27, 09 09:51 PM
  1. Being a teacher of special needs preschoolers, I see what kinds of bad eating habits that they have developed so far. All due to parents and grandparents wanting to appease these little "princes" and "princesses". I'm able to undo some of it during the day, where it's eat or go hungry. They can pout and cry all they want, they are ignored until they eat what is served to them.

    One suggestion that I would offer to parents regarding picky eaters, is to keep something REALLY preferred nearby. For every bite that the child takes of the new food, they get a TINY bite of the preferred item. Each and every time. Then its two bites etc..... you'llfind things will really move along!

    Posted by Teaching Always February 28, 09 07:28 AM
  1. A great book I read a few years ago: "Let Them Eat Cake!:: The Case Against Controlling What Your Children Eat" by Ronald E. Kleinman. Dr. Kleinman is Chair of Peds at MGH and head of Pedi GI. More or less, it says not to worry about what your kids eat too much UNLESS they have some condition which would warrant worrying. Keep offering them healthy choices.

    Posted by bv February 28, 09 08:32 AM
  1. Fear of Oreos is a healthy fear to me. Just as a fear of debt. I congratulate any parent who wants to teach their children how to say no to things that are bad for them - I think you are doing your job as a parent. I believe that the focus should be on nourishing your body with healthy foods - not so much on weight.

    If you think you're being nice by giving sweets to kids, please stop offering junk food to other people's children. Trust me, they are going to get enough junk food without your intervention. Love does not come in the form of candy, cookies and junk food - I seriously think that a lot of people don't understand that!

    Posted by Anne February 28, 09 08:48 AM
  1. My kids (7 and 9) know that we choose local and organic whenever possible, and why, because we get our produce from a CSA from June-December, and our meat from a different CSA year-round. I don't think they are terribly aware of my quest against HFCS, because they don't generally grocery shop with me, and I don't buy much processed junk anyway, so it's mostly an issue with things like condiments. We talk about healthy foods, and how it's OK to eat junk as long as most of what you eat is healthy. My 9 year old is generally unsatisfied with the lame options on kids menus, and will order from the adult menu in a restaurant. The 7 year old is picky, at home and out, but we're trying to ignore it and hope it passes soon. She's certainly exposed to a wide variety of foods, and eats them when she feels like it.

    Posted by akmom February 28, 09 08:57 AM
  1. akmom - I don't know if this blog will let your reply through, but could you post the names or links to your CSAs if you're in MA? I'm looking for one for meats. We don't use a CSA now because the season for produce overlaps the same time that I can get produce from our garden and the local farmers' market but I haven't found a supplier for other things, especially meat. Thanks!

    Posted by Jen February 28, 09 11:03 AM
  1. ENOUGH! As long as children eat in moderation and you offer a variety of foods and MOST IMPORTANT they are not stuck in front of a TV all day then you are fine and doing the right thing for your family

    Posted by mjm March 1, 09 07:22 AM
  1. Jen - there are several meat CSAs in Massachusetts, they will come up on a google search. Mine is actually in Vermont and delivers to my town in MA. Try localharvest.org to find local sources for all kinds of stuff. Good luck!!

    Posted by akmom March 1, 09 09:13 AM
  1. The parents views DO have a long have a long term effect on the kids. From my personal experience: I take my kids once a while to eat the so called 'junk-food'. However I never ask for anything for me there besides water there. Over time, they started noting this and get very surprised if I try to steal a French fry from them. Also at home they they get some soda (very rarely, thanks to their mom's benevolence). But again I don't take any (except once a year or so when I use small quantities the darker sorts of them to improve from food sickness, which also they make fun of).
    I can tell for sure that enjoy eating those kinds of foods or drinks like any other kids. However, at the same time, they also have clear that is something they do because they are kids and they will voluntary give up as they grow, as they try to 'imitate' his dad.

    Posted by Jaime Lima March 1, 09 10:41 AM
  1. Food: We consume it and it consumes us. Keep it simple. Choices at food stores are made for your convenience which in turn benefits a company that is benefiting from your "convenience". They add all kinds of ingredients that are harming us with diabetes, heart disease, stokes, obesity (Watch some more How it's made episodes and see, Or read the label). Let's please feed our children like babies for as long as they are alive...obviously not completely. Pack lunches for the kids for school... wake up early and cut up veggies and fruit. Use a system like laptoplunches.com for convenience. No more dyes or sweeteners, Stick to it and yes in moderation ( 1 -2 a week ) have your treat. Most people feed their pets better than our schools feed the kids, it is so depressing. Parents please help your kids be successful and happy without medication and drugs. You will never regret packing a healthy lunch every day. No more packaging, just fresh food.

    Posted by guigal March 1, 09 08:43 PM
  1. Another good book: What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained by Robert L. Wolke. Has some great simple explanations of how difference sugars are purified. I won't try to convert anyone here, but the book makes the point that the more refined sugars are no worse (or better) than the less refined. They are simply purer.

    Posted by bv March 2, 09 01:33 PM
  1. LMA, your four-year-old is at one of the classic ages for becoming a vegetarian. That's about when I first wanted to become one, but my mom wouldn't let me till I was older. My neighbor's son also became a vegetarian at that age. Please let her if she wants to. I hated being forced to eat meat as a child. My entire family (and that includes aforementioned MOM!) are vegetarians now. My teen children are the healthiest on the block. Vege-mom, love your comment about the cow/grass/protein. Yeah, what IS that about the protein obsession?

    Thanks for commenting, Sasha! I get that impression about my 4-year-old, too. As long as she gets adequate protein from other sources, I'm fine with it! -- LMA

    Posted by Sasha March 3, 09 11:19 AM
  1. Sasha - I agree. Vegetarian is fine by me. However, there are eight essential amino acids which can not be synthesized by the human body. Without ingestion of these in the form of protein or amino acid, you cannot live and will certainly die. I am not saying that you cannot get these from plant material or supplement (I know plenty of vegetarians who are..well...alive)s, but you must get them from some source. That is where the obsession comes from.

    As far as cows, I am no expert. I've been led to believe that microbes in their stomachs allow them to produce all of the amino acids directly from non-protein based sources (ammonia, urea, etc.). Essentially, they can produce all the types of amino acids they need to live from more basic sources (i.e. grass) and can skip ingestion of protein to some extent. Even at that, though, they require supplemental protein sources to thrive (instead of just surviving).

    Posted by bv March 3, 09 01:35 PM
  1. Food is extremely important. Good parents should find the time to cook meals with their children from a very young age so that they understand what goes into making a meal and why you eat more whole foods than processed crap. They won't be such picky eaters in the end, and even if they are, at least they'll know what's healthy and setting a good example as a parent is the most important thing. Make salads fun by shaking up ingredients or including meat & cheese in them; eat a variety of foods and stay away from routines; always try different recipes with them and see what they like best. Food is an important aspect of culture and dinner time is sacred - you should sit down and eat meals together as a family if you want your kids to respect food and cooking.

    Posted by FJ March 6, 09 11:54 AM
  1. organicfood - milk is pretty bad for you. check out doctors who support the paleo diet and they'll tell you why - there's no reason beyond infancy for anyone to be drinking mlik.

    magnesium is just as important as calcium in terms of staving off osteoporosis early, and calcium can be had from means outside of cow milk. why would i drink the milk of another mammal?

    Posted by FJ March 6, 09 11:57 AM
add your comment
Required
Required (will not be published)

This blogger might want to review your comment before posting it.

About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

Submit a question for Barbara's Mailbag


Ask Barbara a question

Barbara answers questions on a wide range of topics, including autism, breastfeeding, bullying, discipline, divorce, kindergarten, potty training, sleep, tantrums, and much, much more.

Send your questions to her at:
meltzbarbara (at) gmail.com.
Please include your name and hometown.

Child in Mind

Moms
All parenting discussions
Discussions

High needs/fussy baby

memes98 writes "My 10.5 month old DS has been fussy ever since he was born, but I am getting very frustrated because I thought he would be much better by now...has anyone else been through this?"

More community voices

Child in Mind

Corner Kicks

Dirty Old Boston

Mortal Matters

On Deck

TEDx Beacon Street

RSS feed


click here to subscribe to
Child Caring

archives