The Day I Worried about Kids & Zinc

Although I’m a dietitian, I’m not one to get overly hung up on individual nutrients.  By not “overly hung up” I mean I barely think about it at all.  I prefer to think about the big picture of overall balance: Grains & starches, proteins, fats, produce.  And sometimes dairy.   If I hit most of those at most meals I’m good.

But two things happened lately.

One, my mom recently visited and cooked amazing from-scratch meals and in response my kids showed off their pickiest sides eating mostly apples and bread.  Of course, right?

Two, a discussion about zinc and taste/smell started in my online parents’ feeding group.

And out of nowhere I had a little moment of panic.  What if my kids haven’t gotten any zinc this week?  OMG.  I.  Must.  Stockuponhighzincfoodsnow!

zinc element

So I made a shopping list and bought some things.  And felt better.

Because, really, after all I can only control what I put on the table.  I can’t control what my kids like or eat.  I mean, I could, with a lot of tears (for all of us) and ruined mealtimes, but no thanks.  I also have no real medical reason to be concerned about zinc.  I was just randomly overthinking things.

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Today’s snack time was a Make-Your-Own-Parfait yum along with little samples of several nuts and seeds (most of them are good sources of zinc).

parfait

Since I knew better than to think they’d put the nuts/seeds into their parfaits, I quickly thought of doing a taste test.  My kids know they are not obligated to participate in these taste tests and I let them opt out.  But they’ve always been interested so I’m happy.

My taste tests so far have involved me scratching out a list of the options on their drawing paper and instruction to record their evaluations with faces: smiley face, frowny face, meh face.   Today, because I noticed they made smiley faces by each item, I suggested they pick their favorite or rate them in order of preference.

taste-test-nuts_seeds

The one who claimed they were “all” her favorite didn’t eat more than she sampled for the taste test.  But that’s typical.  Lots of praise = little eating.

Later at dinner, when I knew we were going to be eating the same (delicious) stuffed bell pepper leftovers they’d already ignored twice (it’s what happens when Daddy misses a meal–we are stuck with leftovers forever), I threw in a couple different beans for more zinc.

stuffed pepper dinner

Beans tend to be a huge hit with my pickiest one.  Sure enough nearly a whole can of kidneys were consumed by one child.  I was tempted to warn her about the “musical fruit” properties of beans, but kept quiet.  I also served the nuts/seeds again since they happened to still be on the table.  And amazingly they ate even more nuts/seeds.

Whether or not my kids really needed a purposeful dose of high zinc foods I have no idea.  But it made me feel better to serve some nutrient rich foods they generally like after a week of weird-to-them food.

I also bought my first box of black bean pasta. I don’t have high hopes based on their lack of enthusiasm for those grayish soba noodles, but *I* am excited to try something new.

black bean pasta

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Posted by Adina
February 23, 2017

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