Friday, September 10, 2010

lingering effects of sugar

M this morning, "Can I have that sweet cereal again? I want sugar for breakfast! Sugar! I want something sweet!"

We talked about how we would have ice-cream tonight for dessert, but that breakfast was cereal, oatmeal, toast or a sandwich with melon. She's been eating ham sandwiches for breakfast recently with pickles. In Germany, lunch meat is a common breakfast thing, so we go for it. Breakfast seems to be a meal where we all sort of get what we want within reason. She is given choices, but we don't all eat from the same things like we do at dinner. I'm OK with this. M doesn't chose toast, or cereal much, and we have a pleasant time.

Just thought I'd share the morning conversation. I have to chuckle when I think of what I do for a living, at how fastidious we've been about optimal feeding, but she's still a kid!


  1. Yes, cute story. Children will always put egg on our faces. My kids put 2 or 3 teaspoons of sugar on their Cheerios, but I just couldn't bring myself to buy sugar-coated cereal. I figured they were learning to like the taste of grain and told them that they could have desserts and sugar but I wasn't going to buy them dessert and call it cereal. They hated it when I said that. Anyway, when we went camping I relented and bought sugared cereal and they loved it. I learned later my friends with whom we camped thought I bought the stuff all the time. That's how rumors get started! Now all my children depend on Cheerios for their children but don't let them put sugar on. So did I teach my children moderate behavior or not? I think it is fine to let them put sugar on their cereal. They need the calories. But their in-law parents don't like sugar on Cheerios. Maybe the bottom line is not making a big deal about it.

  2. I like the comment about egg on our faces. I am struggling now with what I do for work, but I also have a normal kid. When we're with others I worry that they will watch everything she does and use her as a barometer for the success of the model. I'll have more to say about this soon, but it is an odd dynamic as the "feeding lady" when your kid pitches a public fit or chooses Cheetos...

  3. This post confuses me. Wasn't M following intuitive eating? Is this not limiting a type of food? Would this not create in sugar-sweetened cereal a "forbidden food"? Not trying to be difficult, just trying to understand, as I am trying to follow intuitive eating myself. And there are days (not often) that I want sweet cereal for breakfast, while usually I'm just fine with my old-fashioned oatmeal.

  4. G-
    Great question. No, you're not being difficult. This gets to the nuance of definitions of "intuitive eating" and how some people interpret that, and "internal regulation."
    You are insightful in that "sweets" are treated differently for children, as they can propose difficulties with learning to like new foods. (Sweets tend to replace other foods and worse overall nutrition, whereas high-fat foods do not.) Also, I don't think young children can really practice full-on "intuitive" eating, because I believe they do best when the parents provide that reliable experience of meals and snacks that include enough variety so kids can pick and choose. Kids are not responsible for choosing what to eat in terms of meal planning. Watching parents of toddlers ask their kids at an open fridge, "What do you want for breakfast" is an often difficult exercise. Kids do best when the parent makes the choices available to them. I am learning more about this topic as well. I've read "intuitive" eating for children (preventing eating problems...) book-review coming some day :) and I just don't think it works for kids in the same way.
    I can honor her wanting something sweet by offering oatmeal with sugar, or fruit or jam on toast, and occasionally sugary cereals. (read the post I linked to on sugary cereals.) It's complicated and I'll think some more about "intuitive eating for adults and how some parts work for kids and others don't. She got over her request quickly and ate happily, a nice balanced meal (that day anyway...)
    Great ?!
    Did any of that make sense?

  5. Yes, it did make sense. Thanks! :)