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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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