The No-Vegie Blues..

Our (mostly) sugar-free eating plan is becoming the new normal. We have settled on one dessert and one batch of baking per week to 'leaven' our sugar-free days. This gives the children a sweet treat a couple of days a week in their lunch boxes, and even so, we are reducing the sugar in our usual recipes because they are starting to taste too sweet.

This week Rosy made a batch of Muesli Bar Cookies but decided not to cook them. Instead she rolled them into balls and covered them in coconut. SO yummy.

We also may have purchased a packet of marshmallows to make hot chocolate when we go up to the snow in the next couple of days with Daddy.. there may also be a large block of chocolate accompanying us. So clearly we are not being fanatical about sugar-free. But I do feel that we are moving towards sugar-as-a-treat rather than sugar-every-day.

I still have to find a way to get more vegies into Posy. And she has narrowed down her fruit choices to oranges, and tinned pineapple. She is as stubborn as the day is long, that child. Every night at dinner she is expected to eat one bite of everything on her plate. Last night she ate all her chicken, potato and peas, choked down one tiny piece of roast carrot, gagging and crying, and ate two pea-sized pieces of pumpkin. Whenever we have stew with onion in it, she spends most of dinner time carefully picking out the pieces of onion and draping them around the edge of her plate.

This is what she does at the table instead of eating:

Now I do have to say that all of the other children had food aversions at the same age, and they all eat everything now, but Posy has just taken it to a new level. And she still won't take fruit to school. I drool over all those 'lunch box ideas' websites, with boxes full of fresh fruit and vegie snacks, thinking, 'I could do that!' (and I do. For Rosy) But Posy won't have a bar of it. What to do, what to do?

Meanwhile, although Posy often only has pop corn and seaweed crackers for snacks in her lunch box because she refuses to take anything else, at least she isn't overdosing on sugar, and had I been tempted to slip in a little sweet something 'to fill her up', this chart I found yesterday would have soon put a stop to that.

The Sugar Content in Common Foods post is a little scary. Bearing in mind that the WHO guidelines recommend no more than 3-4 teaspoons of sugar for a child each day, a serving of any one of these foods would be an entire day's worth of sugar for Posy. The gram-to-teaspoons chart for sugar is an excellent tool for working out how much sugar per serve a food has, from the information on the nutrition panel on the packet. I just did this exercise with the last packet of muesli bars left in the cupboard, and the tub of Cadbury's hot chocolate I bought to take up to the snow. Each has around 12g of sugar per serving, which equals 3 teaspoons of sugar. So a child can have one muesli bar OR cup of hot chocolate a day, and NO OTHER SUGAR at all, and they will have reached their sugar limit. I am not even going to think about that packet of marshmallows....

Now I am not doing this to beat myself up, or make anyone else feel bad. I know that our whole family has been eating a lot more sugar than is good for us for most days of our lives. I suspect that much of our modern burden of chronic disease is linked to sugar consumption. I can't fix that by feeling guilty, but just by being aware that there is a problem - that is the beginning of change.

So here's to plain buttered popcorn in lunch boxes, and believe me, the day carrot sticks get added, there will be general rejoicing, and you will all be the first to know:)


Unknown said…
Food preferences, arghhhhhh, the bane of my existence. Textural preferences are worse. Trying to get past "i know you dont like that feeling but its ok not to like it and eat it anyway because its good for you. I wish i could wipe all bread and cheese from our diet but they appear to be staples. Gosh Jo, you are a great mother. One day when Posy is older and she is reading her Mums blog she will know how much you love her always.
Anonymous said…
You know you're doing something right when things begin to taste too sweet. :)
I've been missing the sugar in my coffee of late and I had a cup of teat just now without sugar and it was odd but after the first mouthful it's all fine. It takes time so definitely don't beat yourself up over it. We had a "sod it" moment the other day and had MacDonalds for lunch. To think I used to enjoy it! YURK! How time and changing your diet changes your palette. :)
Keep sticking to it and you will find yourself at the point where you don't crave sweetness anymore. :)
Anonymous said…
Make that a cup of tea please! ;)
Jo said…
Lynda, I'm hearing you... and bread and cheese still well part of our diet. Just not so much cake anymore.. and at the moment Posy thinks I am anything but a good mother!
And Jessie, such good work on reducing your sugar in tea and coffee - that is so much less sugar each day. We all have 'sod it' days. Well, I do. When my kids were little those days generally involved take away of some description. Now that they are all so big I have the complete luxury of being able to retire to bed with a good book, whilst instructing everyone 'to find their own dinner and put themselves to bed'. Oh, the bliss.
CJ said…
I totally agree with what you say about sugar, I feel SO much better when I don't eat it at all. I have a child who painstakingly picks things out of stews as well. And one that doesn't much like cooked vegetables, so I give him raw ones with his meals. I like the muesli bar/balls idea, and how relaxed you are with the ingredients. I'll give them a try. CJ xx
Tanya Murray said…
Tegan is now 27 and she still has an aversion to yellow/orange foods, both fruit and veg. I have wondered if this is a natural deep down instinctual aversion. I have since read that the carotene found in orange food is broken down in the liver and has me wondering if her body knows something about her liver that we don't? Not sure but I do think sometimes there is instinctual eating or not eating as the case may be. ??? I love the idea of the rolled museli bar recipe, what a genius idea girl!
Anonymous said…
I was one of those kids with food aversions. I hated dinner time and would usually be left crying at the table, being forced to eat my carrots and fish. In retrospect, I think I was a "supertaster:" things that had a trace of bitterness, like carrots, tasted extremely bitter to me, and I couldn't get past that "note" of bitterness. My long list of disliked foods included tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, turnip, squash, sweet potatoes...I started getting over it when I was about 23, living on my own, able to afford an occasional restaurant meal, being invited to work events and to people's homes, cooking for myself, etc. I am now the boldest eater in my family!
Anonymous said…
I tend to overindulge in savoury things and don't have a sweet tooth but know how easy it is to eat too much sugar even in savoury things (peanut butter anyone?!) Trying to get veggies into kids who don't want to eat them is the bane of a parents life. Again, all I can suggest it slipping them into things like smoothies. Carrots are pretty much undetectable if you blend them in milk with a little fruit to cover them up. It's not like you can even hide them in cake any more either...maybe give Posy her own garden? Would that maybe work? If she is eating potatoes and peas you are ahead! I have just returned to the fold after a 2 week long hiatus from healthy food. I walked on the wild side and am paying for my sins. I feel SO much more virtuous back in the fold but give me a week and I will be lusting after fried food and toast all over again ;) Have fun in the snow :)
Bek said…
I love that orange/mandarin/pea man! Pity she wouldn't eat it though.
I was the opposite to a veg hater as a child - I loved my veg (except eggplant - that was horrid although I love it now) but I hated meat. I remember being made to stay at the table for over an hour after everyone had finished dinner, and I still refused to eat my steak. You can lead a horse to water and all that. I eventually was a vegetarian for about 5 years, then I just started eating meat again. I really have no idea why.
One bite of everything is a pretty fair rule. Pity she will still think its child abuse. That's kids for you.
Anonymous said…
Whose peas were sacrificed for Posy's pea and orange man? He is very cute - and reminds me of a sci-fi character.

I could never eat cooked green beans but serve them raw and I loved them. Same with carrots. Maybe Posy will eat raw vegies? Not pumpkin, obviously.
Jo said…
CJ, I am feeling better for it as well. And you are such a kind mum, serving raw vegies with dinner. I have a child who is the same, and very occasionally I remember to leave some vegies raw for her. I am always relaxed with ingredients, because I find it impossible to follow a recipe!
Tanya, I am very intrigued by your yellow foods/liver theory!
Dar, fascinating to see your food turn around. I think many children are 'supertasters'. I wonder if it is something you just grow out of? Maybe our taste buds dull as we get older?
Fran, welcome back to the healthy eating fold. A little indulgence is a marvellous thing..
Bek, she ate the orange! My dad was very much into making us eat everything on our plate. I don't really want to make food a battleground, but I hate waste, and want the children to eat everything.. eventually. My compromise is only giving them bite-sized bits of the vegies they don't like. They can always have more if they discover they suddenly like roast carrots!
Jo said…
Lucinda, all my kids love raw vegies - except Posy. However today The Man asked her if she could choose any vegie to put in her lunch box, what would it be? And she chose snow peas - the most expensive out-of-season vegie available. I think she does it on purpose, just to push my buttons. So today I bit the bullet and remortgaged the house to buy snow peas. Let the experiment begin!

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