Chocolate Toddler formula: We have officially lost our collective minds.

I am just beside myself about this.  It’s about as sound as a Wacky Pack.  Chocolate Toddler formula with loads of sugar and cocoa?  Here’s what Mead Johnson, the manufacturer has to say about it in an L.A. Times article:

“The toddlers years can be particularly challenging since food preferences may be erratic and unpredictable,” said Mead Johnson spokesman Chris Perille. “Products such as Enfagrow Premium can play a role in helping children achieve a more balanced, healthy daily diet.”

Sounds good, right?

Not so fast.

Children grow erratically in the toddler years, after a year or so of growing at an insanely rapid rate.  Parents tend to panic when their child turns 2 and, after a year of constant eating and small introductions of food, they seem to live on air from time to time.  But no child regularly offered food will starve themselves, and unless they are dangerously underweight (in the fifth percentile or less for weight), they will be fine.

That’s because children are self-regulating at this age — unless you stuff food down their gullet, or introduce them to loads of sugar, which compromises their natural inclinations because of our not-terribly-evolved tendency to pounce on carbohydrates when we find them.  Furthermore, by age two there should be NO FORMULA in a child’s diet.  Children should be consuming foods by this time, and may safely consume milk.

The company rightly suggests that their product is no sweeter than chocolate milk or orange juice.  I would argue that toddlers should NOT be consuming chocolate milk, nor should they be given large amounts of juice (no more than 4 oz. or so) either.  So there.  Children should be given slices of 3-dimensional, whole fruits.

The only real solution for a picky eater is to model good eating behaviors, and offer only healthy choices (giving a child the choice between two items satisfies their craving for autonomy).  What YOU do matters.  Save the pie-eating (Mcdonald’s-eating/Chocolate-eating/you get the picture) contest for naptime.  But at some point, realize that the jig will be up and the next time you should be eating chips, beer and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups for dinner is (never, but) when your children leave for college.  And then you’ll be too old for that sort of thing, so get with it now: MyPyramid.gov for you, and for advice about your children’s eating patterns.

And people, please consider packing healthy snacks for your kid at school and not dropping them off at preschool with a large pancake/hashbrown breakfast in a bag from McDonald’s.

Enfagrow, as my child used to say so eloquently as a toddler: Go away of you!

<Swinging my leg over>  Ah, there.  I have officially climbed off my high horse.

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