I graduated from college with a degree in nutrition and a sure knowledge of how our bodies need a variety of foods. But contrary to everything I've learned, my 3-year-old daughter, Luca, seems able to subsist on noodles, bread, bagels, and cereal -- foods that are essentially flour and water -- interspersed with an unpredictable morsel or two of meat and certain fruits. Vegetables Luca regards as "yugly" (yucky and ugly); they're not even allowed on her plate, let alone in her mouth. Her white, starchy little meals are so bereft of most proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that she seems surely on the road to dietary disaster.
But then I look at Luca -- sprightly, energetic, and keeping up with the growth charts. How can she be breaking all those nutrition rules and getting away with it? Should I be watching for signs of scurvy?
Looking for relief from my concern, I decided to keep a record of every bite Luca ate over the course of a week and conduct a reality check on her diet and my perceptions.
Elaine Khosrova is the food editor for Healthy Living.