Kids say the darnedest things about nutrition

  • By Barbara Quinn The Monterey County Herald
  • Monday, May 5, 2014 1:05pm
  • Life

I did not really need a nutrition lesson as I went through security for a flight to visit my family. But the agent was alert to the See’s candy box poking out of my carry-on.

“Uh-oh,” he said with a serious frown. “That’s contraband. I may have to confiscate it.”

For a moment I thought he was serious. Then he smiled and waved me through. Very funny.

Once in the air on this early morning flight, I welcomed a glass of orange juice offered by the attendant. An hour later, she came through the cabin with cups of water.

“One cup for every hour of altitude,” she reminded us. Guess she’s right. We need more fluids to prevent dehydration when we are up high — even in pressurized planes.

I texted my daughter when we landed in Denver. She texted back, “Elways restaurant in the A concourse is a good place to grab a mimosa and breakfast.”

Very tempting, but at this time of the day, coffee was on the agenda more than champagne and orange juice.

And in case I need to justify my love of java, recent findings confirm an interesting yet unexplained association between increased coffee intake (both caffeinated and decaf) and a decreased risk for type 2 diabetes.

I glanced at my boarding pass for the connecting flight to … BFF? Nope, not “Best Friends Forever” but the airport code for Scotts Bluff, Nebraska. And away we went.

So as I settle into official Grammy duty this week, I am most amazed at the nutrition lessons I’ve learned from my almost 2-year-old granddaughter.

“Eat your blueberries, Grammy!” she reminded me one morning as she alternately popped one in her mouth and offered one to me.

This kiddo asks for milk instead of soda. She sits up and eats at the table with her family. And she requests, “S’cuse me, pweese,” when she is finished.

I made her a mini turkey sandwich for lunch and sliced some cucumbers on the side, just to see what she’d do.

“Mmmm … crunchy!” she declared. “I wike cucumbers!”

I’m observing first-hand what experts call “feeding dynamics” or the “trust” approach to feeding kids. Moms and dads and other caregivers provide a variety of foods to children at fairly structured meal and snack times.

They eat with their children in designated areas. And they keep the eating atmosphere pleasant.

In this setting, say child experts, children learn to be responsible for what and how much food they eat. They are encouraged but not forced to try new flavors and textures. And they develop the ability to self-regulate their intake as they grow.

Sit on the stool to eat your snack, I reminded Frances today.

“Great idea!” she said as she climbed up to eat her cheese and raspberries.

Later she asks, “More raspberries, pweese?”

I place a few more on her plate.

“Thank-ewe!” she says.

Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.

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