Friday 28 October 2011

Pudding V Fruit

My four year old started full time nursery school this year and has therefore started eating lunch there too. The other day, I overheard another mum discussing her child's lunch with the teacher. She was asking lots of questions: What did she eat? How much? Did she look like she liked it? Did she asked for seconds? Listening to their conversation (I know, I shouldn't be eavesdropping, I know) I realised that I no idea how it was going for Oscar. I suppose I haven't thought of worrying about it because his answer to my daily "How was lunch today?" question is invariably an enthusiastic "Good!" and if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me! But I decided to go ahead and quiz the teacher at the next drop off, just to make sure...

She reassured me that Oscar was "an excellent eater", that he always ate everything, with obvious enjoyment and that he was particularly fond of chicken, so no surprises there. And then she said:

"And we are all very impressed with Oscar because he often chooses to have the fruit salad instead of the pudding. He's the only one, all the other children ALWAYS have the pudding!"

I'm not surprised that Oscar favours the fruit over the puddings, he's been a fruit lover since the day he started eating solids. More importantly, he's been surrounded by puddings, cakes and baked goodies since he was born. I was baking a carrot cake when my waters broke and I've been baking, pretty much daily, ever since. I baked with Oscar in a sling, then I baked with Oscar crawling at my feet and now I bake with Oscar by my side, he's my trusty assistant and number one bowl licker. To him, cakes and biscuits and puddings are like any other food. It's there, it's available and if he fancies it, he can help himself to it. There is always something in the biscuit tin or the cake box and if there isn't, and we want it, we make it. Oscar has developed very specific tastes for baked goods. He doesn't really like chocolate anything. He loves anything with fruit, especially lemon. He loves shortbread and muffins and chewy, very sweet things like flapjacks. If he doesn't like a cake or a pudding, he just won't have it. Simple.

As I walked home I pondered on the conversation I'd had with the teacher. I thought about the hundreds of women I have worked with over the years at Beyond Chocolate who see puddings as a friend and the enemy, who can't resist them, who wouldn't ever, in a million years, choose a piece of fruit over a slice of cake. When we introduce the idea of stocking up and legalising our forbidden foods on workshops there are often gasps of horror. The idea of going out and buying large amounts of these foods to take home is frightening. The objections are always the same: I'll never stop eating them, I'll eat myself into the grave, I'll live on cakes/sweets/biscuits/crisps/mash/fill in the blank for the rest of my life etc...

And yet Oscar is the living proof that abundance and choice is the key to stopping overeating. When we let ourselves have anything, when we legalise all foods, when pudding is just another option we can choose not to have it. Not because we want to be 'good' but because we genuinely fancy some fruit instead.

So, pudding lovers, are you ready to stock up?


  1. Brilliant! I'm so happy for Oscar too! It reminds me of when someone asked Susie Orbach's son (when he was young) if he'd like an ice cream as a treat and he said "Why? I can have it whenever I want it!".
    So great to hear it works!

  2. I think, as adults, that we can learn alot from children about our nature/needs and desires. This includes eating. Children, if they get the chance, tend to eat when they are hungry, stop when they are full and eat what they want. It is only our adultness that, over time, takes this away from them in order to grow them up (!)which I find very sad.

  3. That's such a healthy attitude and so wonderfully instinctive when we don't rush in there and mess it up!! What a wee cutie he is as well!!

  4. Love it! This morning, I really wanted yoghurt, especially lemon yoghurt. Found some, took it to work to be greeted with "ohh aren't you healthy?". Errr .... I just wanted lemon yogghurt. I had chinese last night, I always eat what I want and life has been a lot less stressful since I did.

  5. Good for Oscar! I hope he's enjoying Playschool as much as his fruit!

  6. Yey!! Good for Oscar! My son is the same, he's 6yrs and I bake lots too. I took him into a lovely traditional sweet shop last week & we were looking at all the hundreds of colourful delicious looking jars of sweets, he thought they looked great & when I asked him if he wanted something he said "No, not really"!!! :-)


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