Into the Mouths of Babes

Train the taste buds right from the start.

My baby is 6 today. Six! My baby! I remember the day we brought her home from the hospital SO VIVIDLY. And yet…

The other day when her 2-year-old brother was begging for a granola-type bar right before dinner, Bella said, “Mommy. I have to tell you something. It’s a secret, so lean down close to me.” I leaned down. She said, “I think when these bars are gone, we shouldn’t buy bars anymore.” I said, “Really? Won’t you miss eating them?” She nodded. But that was okay with her. Because she wants her brother to have better eating habits. At 6, she already says things like, “I think I need to take a break from sugar tomorrow.” And when tomorrow comes and she asks for dessert and I remind her what she said, she ACTUALLY SAYS “OH YEAH” AND DOESN’T EAT DESSERT.

I eat well. I do. But I do not eat as well as my daughter. I now believe it is possible to train your children—and your children’s taste buds—to follow a very healthy diet from the beginning. This, of course, is assuming Davin will outgrow his current diet of milk and carbs one day soon and come out on the other side where we sit waiting for him.

Bella craves fruit. She munches on raw broccoli at a party. She asks, “Is this good for me?” when she eats new things. I am constantly amazed—but I shouldn’t be. The concept behind “cleanses” is retraining the taste buds; we have the power to train our cravings. When offered a cookie my kid will say yes, please, just like the next kid. However, her body awareness tells her that now that she’s had that cookie, she better say no thank you to juice. I am proud that we’ve taught her well, but I really think our influences were just the start—now her body knows how to take it from here.

I think we all have the power to clean our slates whenever we desire. Whether via a formal “cleanse” or a weekend fast or just a 2-week commitment to sugar-free, if you need to change your diet to cut out what ails you, there’s no time like the present. Keep a food diary and eat like my 6-year-old for 2 weeks. Start new habits, retrain your taste buds to love food without the carb-y sugary bad stuff, and come out clean on the other side.