Early Eating Habits: Do You Remember Your First Time?


baby eating carrots

Do you remember the first time you ate junk food?   I have foggy memories of eating Arrowroot cookies (a gentler junk food but let’s be honest) and I recall pizza parties around age 6 but I can’t really recall “The First Time”.  I know when it was for Finn (my 9 month old).

He ate his first chocolate chip cookie (half of a chocolate chip cookie but the “half” was the size of many “wholes”!) last week.  I have to admit I felt a tinge of guilt, polluting his virginal digestive track with double chunk chocolate chip cookies, but I was eating it and his hands are fast and his desire strong. And what was worse was how much he loved it- and how much I hated the fact that he loved it. With most food, he will smell it, take it to his mouth, tentatively try it and then might proceed with the rest. With this, he spotted his goal, pulled it from my hand, and did not remove it from his mouth until it was well inside his belly. The cookie was conquered.

It does make me pause and really consider this issue, as I am so much more aware, now that I have a child, of how early eating habits are formed.  I vowed I would not sweeten Finn’s food in order to make him eat it. Well, nice try but until I added the pear puree, the broccoli sat alone, the beans lay limp and the lentil soup went untouched.  When Finn was not feeling well, I gave him pure fruit puree and it was like handing an alcoholic a bottle of gin.

I was in the park the other day and watched a group of school kids on a field trip having their lunch.  Every single one of them had either a soda or juice and there were chip bags being waved about like flags.  Did their mother feed them cookies at 9 mo’s?  Did that then lead to a daily diet of McDonald’s because that’s what the child later begged for?

I like to think Finn won’t be eating Doritos and drinking Coke for lunch, but I can attest to the fact that as much as you think you’ll be able to say no, the desire for sugar is so strong, and the ability for children to regulate themselves is virtually non-existent, so it does all rest in your hands. And that is kind of scary.  The cookie incident also made it abundantly clear to me that what you eat – your child eats.

Share your experience and thoughts: When is it okay to give a child junk food and can you ever really protect them from the inevitable lure of sugar and grease?

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