My daughter was adopted from a Chinese orphanage when she was 10 months old. Before we travelled to China to bring her home, we were sent a report of her health and personality at 6 months old. It mentioned that she liked “chocolate and cookies”! It seemed the very lovely nannies who looked after her (who we later met) liked to feed her titbits of these foods on top of her bottles of milk.
To this day, she still has something of a sweet tooth!
When we got her home, I fed her a savoury diet and didn’t re-introduce sweet treats until she was old enough to really ‘clock’ them – just as I’d done with her big (non-adopted) brother. But despite that, she still has a bit of a pull towards sugary foods that my son doesn’t have in the slightest. It has ‘stuck’ from her infancy. After all, chocolate and cookies were her first introduction to food!
What’s my point?
We all know that sugar is unhealthy. We all know that if a child fills up on sugary foods, they’re less likely to eat their meals. But the key issue is this:
Sugary foods *train* a child’s palate to want and crave that intense, blissful ‘hit’ of sugar on the tongue! And that’s bad news in the fight against fussy eating! Savoury and nutritious foods – the ones you want them to eat – will struggle to compete with a doughnut or a packet of chocolate buttons! And their natural human ability to tune into what their body really wants and needs will be blasted away!
Plus children live in the moment. Whereas an adult might think to themselves “I really fancy another biscuit but I’m not going to”, a child won’t! Even if you’ve talked to them about healthy eating, when faced with carrot sticks or a piece of cake, they’ll choose cake! We need to limit our child’s intake of sugary foods so we can re-train and re-programme their palate to lean towards the savoury and nutritious.
How much sugary food your child has really will affect how successful you are at solving their fussy eating.
I’m not suggesting for one minute that you ban sugary foods or eliminate them from your child’s diet – that’ll make them hanker after them more! – but it is important to keep a careful eye on how much they have.
For advice and tips on how to reduce the amount of sugary foods in your child’s diet – in as painless a way as possible! – read this.