Welcome to my new blog series, Mom to Mom, where I’ll rehash the ups and down’s of life [weekly], pretending that you are reading my post while enjoying a cup of coffee—or better yet, a glass of wine. Get ready to laugh, learn, and share, in a judgment free zone!
Joey loves carbs. Fried, baked, toasted, or as-is, this kid doesn’t discriminate. Oh and let’s not forget about fruit—that’s a carbohydrate too! If he’s given a quesadilla filled with cheese, veggies, and meat, there’s one thing that doesn’t hit the floor: the tortilla. Now I know most Italian’s love their carbs, and he’s a little pasta man himself, but what’s with this carb obsession?! He was loving vegetable and meat purees before finger foods- what’s changed?
Even though I feel like I’m raising a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (remember how they lived off of pizza?!), Joey’s eating habits really do make sense: carb-rich foods like bread and tortillas are easy for young kids to like. They are energy-rich and don’t overwhelm the taste buds. Their texture is also very consistent — which is why some kids only eat the bread when faced with a new or different meal.
Additionally, hunger drives the “carb” desire, as it gets the blood sugar to normalize quickly. If you’re not on time with meals and snacks, you may see that your child goes for the carbs first–it relieves hunger quickly & gets the blood sugar up–allowing your child to keep moving.
Do I worry about his preference for carbs? Some days, yes. I want him to enjoy the nutrients and taste that accompany all of the food groups. Keep in mind he’s growing according to normal growth charts and not refusing to eat all together. As parents we have to be able to see the process of learning about foods unfold in front of us. I still offer a variety of foods at each meal and snack. I see that as my responsibility. It’s then Joey’s choice whether or not he wants to eat the healthy buffet, and how much he wants to eat of it. Yes, that’s easier said that done most days!!!
And if there is one thing I’ve learned about feeding young kids — not interfering with their eating is very, very hard. Joey and I talk about eating (and trying) a variety of food at non-mealtimes (play kitchens and books are the best for this). And I engage him in the process of food by having him watch me cook—soon enough he’ll help me pick out foods at the grocery store. My hope is that even though he’s not eating the variety of food I would like, he will one day have positive outlook on a variety of food — a precursor to actually eating that way.
So tell me, am I the only one? Any other carb kids out there?
This post continues—- read on if you’d like to learn more about which carbohydrates are best for your little one (and parents too!).
There are 2 types of carbohydrates:
- Simple carbohydrates(or simple sugars): these include fructose, glucose, and lactose, which are found in fruit and dairy
- Complex carbohydrates(or starches, fiber-rich foods): found in foods such as starchy vegetables, grains, rice, and whole grain breads and cereals
So how, exactly, does the body process carbs and sugar? All carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars, which are absorbed into the bloodstream. As the sugar level rises, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin, which is needed to move sugar from the blood into the cells, where the sugar can be used as energy. The carbs in some foods (mostly those that contain simple sugars and highly refined grains, such as white flour and white rice) are easily broken down and cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly. Complex carbs (found in whole grains, those higher in fiber), on the other hand, are broken down more slowly, allowing blood sugar to rise more gradually and giving you the feeling of fullness, longer.
Despite the recent craze to cut carbs, the bottom line is that not all foods containing carbohydrates are bad for kids, whether they’re complex (as in whole grains) or simple (such as those found in fruits). If carbs were such a no-no, we’d have a huge problem since most foods contain them.
Still, some carbohydrate-dense foods are healthier than others. Healthy sources of carbohydrates include:
- whole-grain cereals
- brown rice
- whole-grain breads
- low-fat dairy
Nutrition Takeaway? Don’t fret when it comes to carbs. We all need them for energy— the key is to choose carbs wisely!