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Cole-slaw and Coke: Two Things my Kiddo Decided She “Loved” This Week

Posted by on Feb 9, 2011 in Blog Posts | 19 comments

M (age 4) seems to be coming out of a relatively “picky” phase that is typical of the preschool years. (It’s why it takes the patience of a saint not to pressure with foods and wait and support your child with feeding.) So, this week I decided to make a few things she had rejected the last several times I made them. I realized I had been getting into a rut of primarily serving foods she readily accepts (a good variety, but still, I was considering her tastes too much when meal-planning.)

So yesterday  I made cole-slaw and a roasted chicken with squash and peas. I knew she liked squash and peas so she’d have plenty to chose from. Today barley soup (I usually do noodles) with the left-over chicken, with store-bought spanikopita.

She tried the slaw that I made and practically moaned. I think it’s hysterical when she closes her eyes and shakes her head saying, “Mmmmm!” It’s such naked pleasure. I have a feeling I do that, but never thought of it until I saw her express her love of good food with her whole body… :)

Anyway, I was thrilled about the slaw, and the spinach triangles (frozen from Costco are quite good and left-over from a recent get-together) as these are great winter food and last-minute pantry/freezer dishes.  She also ate the barley soup, saying “It’s OK.”

I was not thrilled  though when she tried my Coke. (Also left-over from the get-together 10 days ago and I am still working on the 2 liter, and I have a late client call so I enjoyed the pick-me-up with dinner. ) Alas, she loved that too… Until now she declared all things “soda” as “too spicy.” She had a few sips, declared her love, had a few more before I casually mentioned that she could have more water if she was thirsty, which she did with no fuss.

I haven’t had to deal with soda before now, but I hear that it’s a big deal from a lot of parents. I’ll keep you all up with how it goes. For now, I won’t be drinking it at meals with her anymore. I do enjoy a half a can with lunch a few times a week. (I really enjoy the half can, but then I don’t want the rest. It’s just too sweet.) Since we rarely eat out these days, it shouldn’t be too much of a big deal. I’m hoping it’ll be like other sweets and “forbidden foods” which are going pretty well right now.  If it becomes an issue, I will find a way to incorporate it in a balanced way so that she learns to manage it, but isn’t obsessed or drawn to it.

In general with soda, I don’t think it’s a great choice for kids as it replaces other drinks like milk and water, and it’s got a lot of sugar. Interestingly, in a study in the ADA in 2009 on removing soda from the schools, an incidental finding was that the fat and lean kids drank the same amount of soda…

How are you handling soda?

Update age 5 and 6: When we eat out she can chose between lemonade and soda or desert. Most times she chooses desert.

Age 7: Most often chooses water over soda even if it is an option. Sometimes adds water to soda. Have never called it “junk” or “bad for you.” Generally it’s not something we drink at home and she prefers water, but when we do eat out, it is an option. Enjoys slurping the bubbles from my soda when I drink one, then enjoys water.

For many children, as with “forbidden” foods, the forbidding fuels the craving. If your child loves the bubbles, consider fizzy flavored waters, or fizzy juices.

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19 Comments

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  1. ruth bernstein

    My son loves coleslaw–I really need to make it more often. I often forget how delicious it is!

    We don’t drink soda much at all, but last night we had one can split between two kids and I had a beer (my husband got his own can, but he is a soda-leaver). I prefer not to keep giant sodas in the fridge because of space issues–also, I really like a fresh, fizzy can. I like a diet soda sometimes, usually when I am super-thirsty and have drunk a ton of water already, and it’s often on days when I am just exhausted.

    I don’t know if soda is a big issue for us–if we are out at a restaurant I usually ask the kids to choose between soda and fries or some other kind of food we don’t have at home (egg roll, chips, etc.), and I think it’s fine. We eat out somewhat regularly so I just want them to understand that it’s not a free-for-all whenever we do eat out.

    • katja

      Sounds like you’ve found a great way to handle it eating out. Since you eat out regularly its a great idea to include the restaurant meals when planning your variety etc for the day/week. If eating out is a rare treat, one can be a little more loose about it :) I too prefer a fizzy can. M happened to get some from a pretty flat 2 litre that we bought for a party. She said she liked it because it was “less spicy.” Maybe she just prefers less bubbles? She hasn’t brought it up since, so we’ll see how it goes.

  2. Twistie

    Until I was in my teens, I hardly ever got soda. I would be given a little 7up if I had an upset stomach, so now I associate 7up with feeling sick, so I don’t drink it. Once in a very blue moon if we were eating out Mom and Dad would allow us to order a soda, but usually made it VERY clear they preferred we drink milk or – in a pinch – water. It wasn’t often that I chose to get that root beer instead.

    Somehow, though, soda never really acquired the lure of the forbidden for me. Maybe it was offered just enough, maybe it’s just something that never was meant to appeal strongly to me. To this day, though, I drink maybe a couple dozen sodas a year, most of them either root beer, ginger beer or a brand like Hansen’s or Izze that comes in less standard flavors. I never have liked cola much at all.

    You know, I think I know – more or less – what it is! Most sodas are too sweet for my taste, and I can’t stand the aftertaste of diet sodas. When I get done with one of those, my mouth tends to feel and taste like I’ve been licking the can without anything in it. Hansen’s and Izze are less sweet to me than Coke or Sprite, and I prefer flavors like clementine, Mandarine Lime, and ginger to standard soda flavors.

    Oh! and my favorite soda in the world, Schweppe’s Bitter Lemon, has just come back into my life. My mother hooked me on the stuff when I was about fourteen. I loved the lemon flavor and the bitter bite to it. It’s virtually the only soda I’ve ever had that felt like it quenched my thirst at all. But it disappeared from the American market when I was in my twenties, alas! Recently, though, my friendly neighborhood grocery store put in a British import section, and started carrying Bitter Lemon. I must have had three bottles the first week! Now that I know I can get it anytime, though, I’m down to about one bottle a month. Maybe.

    I love it, but I just can’t drink that much soda in the longrun. I’m far more likely to drink iced tea or iced coffee when I’m hot, or hot coffee when I’m cold. And I drink water with nearly everything.

    • katja

      Wow, I just had a major flashback! I was 9 or so visiting my cousins in England and we walked to the corner store where I had my first bitter lemon. Its delish for sure! I also often like tonic water. My folks had it around for entertaining, and it was as close to soda as I got. Even when I came back from college my parents would hide the tonic water!

  3. Heather

    My son, who just turned 5, has also branched out recently in terms of foods he likes: he has started eating eggs again, after 2 years of refusing them, he tried and liked blueberry pancakes instead of just plain pancakes, he has tried potatoes a few times and marinara sauce, and a couple of other foods. I’m very excited to see this openness to different foods, but I’m trying to keep it low-key on the outside.

    We don’t have sodas at home, and when we eat out (less than once per week)he usually gets milk or water, but occasionally he’ll get a soda at a restaurant. He never asks for them so it hasn’t been an issue.

    • katja

      i love this! I have to tell parents all the time that it takes patience and time and support with feeding. Now, he might enjoy eggs for the rest of his life vs always hating them if you had pushed and pushed! It is hard not to jump up and down in front of them!

  4. jessidehl

    Sometimes we have Orangina or Sprite. The kids get a small glass served as part of a meal or at snack time. We treat it like any other dessert. Sometimes they drink it and sometimes they don’t. My son is milk intolerant and juice gives him diarrhea so sometimes he’ll get Sprite when we are out or visiting friends but my daughter prefers chocolate milk or juice. My husband and I will drink pop in front of them at times but they don’t seem to care.

  5. Anne

    We just tried to make it a non-issue. On the very rare occasion we have soda in the house, my son can have a glass with his meal if he so chooses and more often than not he doesn’t choose. The only “rule” we have actually came from our dentist who told him if he wanted to drink soda it was better not to drink what they termed “brown soda” (aka cola) because it was harder on tooth enamel. I was ok with that because it was based on good reasoning and made it fairly neutral instead of “Soda is bad, don’t drink soda!” When we go to my in-laws, they serve soda out of 12 packs, and sometimes I will put my foot down because of the tendency for the excitement of popping open a new can to override the actual want of soda (thus leaving half finished cans everywhere). And I say all this as someone who really likes a soda every now and then, I have no moral issue with it.

    • katja

      I love my readers! No moral issues with soda. how refreshing! No outrage or extremes, just managing and incorporating and trusting. I’m so glad I asked you all!

    • Samantha C

      hahaa, that’s kind of absolutely adorable to imagine a little kid so excited about the pop-top above and beyond the actual soda.

  6. Ines Anchondo

    Another great post and question, Katja. And, what a delicious meal the chicken with the coleslaw (yummy!). At home we have sodas, in fact a variety with caffeine and not. It is not a big deal. I used to drink more soda but suddenly I am not drinking (tolerating) caffeinated drinks. We all like the fizz of the soda so we have Perrier to drink. At meals we drink orange juice with calcium, milk or water. I have not found the need to have to decide what to do about it, I guess because my children prefer OJ, milk or water. I think it is a taste thing.

    • katja

      I love that they chose what they like. If we don’t make a big deal out of it, they can ignore all the power struggle and scarcity and actually decide they might like something else better! M loves her water, so I just don’t think this will be a big deal. She doesn’t care for OJ though! (We also occasionally have mango nectar that we water down a little or apple juice.) BTW, she is loving her milk and has found a yogurt she enjoys too! Patience, eh?

  7. Samantha C

    Heh….In my house, we solved this by only ever having diet soda. Forever. Gallons of it. I can’t drink full-sugar sodas because they are way too sweet for me now that I’m used to diet, and they make me much thirstier. Sometimes I’ll have one of those nice glass bottles of cane-sugar coke, but it’s really more of a dessert than a drink.

    I don’t want to debate the health defects of diet soda, cause I haven’t done any research and I like the way it tastes (Incidentally, I find that it’s MUCH more comfortable to sit down to a large meal with a soda than with a water or tea or other non-carbonated beverage, because I’ll eat till I’m full and then burp, and suddenly there’s room for the next course XD). I will say that I remember being encouraged at some point in my childhood to go for diet pepsi instead of apple juice, since apple juice has sugar and calories. It was definitely encouraged as a default drink, and we didn’t really drink water because it wasn’t tasty in comparison. So….don’t handle it that way.

    • katja

      My H prefers Diet too. Blech for me :) Many folks treat soda like a dessert when planning variety. It’s sad that you were encouraged to drink diet soda. I think with all the calorie and weight paranoia, part of why teens drink so little milk is that diet soda has fewer calories, so it’s “better” right? ugh. Enjoy your diet soda!

  8. Samantha

    When I was a small kid my parents always gave me soda in a little jelly jar glass with a cartoon character on it. It felt really special because it was a real glass. I now realize the jar was probably not even 6 ounces, then once you add ice it might have been four ounces of soda…. but I never felt deprived. I drank soda, in this small glass when my parents did, which wasn’t every day. When I got older, the rule was one serving of soda a day, and that is what it remained until I had a job and money of my own… I might drink one or two sodas a week as an adult. In college my consumption was higher than that.

  9. AcceptanceWoman

    My daughter loves cole slaw, it’s one of those things she helps with (stirring it together). I love it when she really likes a food, I notice she wiggles! My girl doesn’t like soda. But last night, while she was eating a small chocolate ice cream cone, my husband ate some and then put away cookies I brought home (dark chocolate Quadratini) because he said she’s had enough “dessert-y things” — he was with her when she wasn’t at school — and he didn’t want to offer them to her even though we were eating them. So, we do try to limit some things that are just so tasty it’s hard to eat them in moderation.

    • katja

      isn’t it fun to see them express their joy with food :) Keep an eye on the sweets issue and moderation. I don’t have time to address this one now, but sometimes the things we control and fear the most are the ones we have to let them have access too. She’ll let you know if it’s becoming an issue. (i.e the whole sugary cereal thing with us was becoming a forbidden food, so we’ve incorporated it and it’s losing it’s power…)

  10. Dawn

    How I’m handling it is by occasionally have Izze’s in the house because they’re a healthier soda for nights when we have something like burgers or if friends are over for pizza (and also because Brett likes it) and then trying not to flinch when the kids order it when we go out. Sometimes I say they can’t because sometimes it makes the meal too expensive. I also encourage them to get water WITH the soda by pointing out how tired I am of them begging me for water when they only order soda. I tell them that water is to quench your thirst and soda is more like another food since it fills you up and doesn’t quench thirst as well. Madison has started to note that if she gets soda and drinks it all that she usually comes home and finds out she’s still hungry so last time we went out to eat she ate food before she started drinking her soda. Sometimes when they have their own money at the rec center they buy soda pop from the vending machine and I again think if the irony of all of this hollering about obesity when the vending machines at the rec center where kids get some of their exercise are all stocked with candy and pop. For awhile Noah was OBSESSED with buying skittles there but now he’s more thoughtful about spending money because he’s usually saving for something. Madison on the other hand has just begun that same obsessing.

    • katja

      I love these observations. Even with M, if I make lemonade or a juice, she almost always needs to get water to deal with the thirst thing. I like that Madison is making those discoveries for herself.Way to tun in, Madison! See, when it’s not a flashpoint, their energy can actually be focused to the internal how it makes you feel etc, vs focused on the external battle of wills of the forbidden foods. Hmm, I think I’ll deal with this issue of vending machines on a post…