Do you have picky eaters? Do you slave all day, cooking, only to find your children (or husband) making faces or saying your food smells while trying to hold back the gags?
If you do, then I am really really sorry.
When Boo was little, he was a SUPER picky eater. He ate bacon, macaroni and cheese, bananas and chicken nuggets. I was really frustrated with him because my girls weren’t all that picky and Big Daddy certainly isn’t picky. I didn’t know what the problem was, or if it was just me. I found that I started making him totally separate breakfasts, lunches and suppers. The girls would eat broccoli, while he chowed down on bacon.
After much research, prayer and just an “aaahhh hhhaaa” moment (and when I *made* him in chicken/broccoli alfredo and he puked it back out onto his plate), that he had some pretty serious sensory and texture issues. After more research, doctors visits and such, we discovered that he had some pretty strong autistic tendencies and that food issues were part of the game. Now, bear in mind, food wasn’t his only issue….its just the only one I’m going to address.
Once we were told that, my mindset flew into “protective, fix it mode”. I researched, searched out other mamas, cried, read, etc). We got him into physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. His physical therapy didn’t help much because his gross/fine motor skills were phenomenal. Speech was necessary because he couldn’t talk LOL and the OT was the thing that helped us the most. We did all sorts of therapies and different things with him to help him with overcoming some of those touch/texture issues.
I remember, sitting on the porch, with the therapist and Boo….he was crying because he didn’t want to put his hand in the bucket of rice and I was crying because I was just exhausted. Exhaustion was my new best friend. With these tendencies, comes super human ability to problem solve ANY and EVERY situation. He could get out of any locked room, he could get to anything he wanted and he would escape that house at any cost. I’ve never seen anything like it. So, I didn’t sleep well because I was always on high alert for an escape (morning, noon and night).
In my quest to fix him, I found that dietary changes can affect things. We immediately cut out casein (milk products). We began buying him “special milk” (rice milk…we’ve since switched to almond milk). Within a week, he began looking at us and putting words together. He would smile and his horrible behaviours/tantrums subsided tremendously. I felt like he was a new kid. With him being able to verbally communicate (and still sign), he could understand what I was telling him too. I started out small and started making my own chicken nuggets, that I knew he would eat. Then I would add maybe 5 green beans and we always had bread.
Those simply steps helped him to learn to like food and not be afraid of it. He was almost 6 before he ate a hamburger and now he loves them. He is no longer a picky eater. He will joyfully (not all the time) eat what I make and it is a huge huge relief for me.
There are still things he doesn’t like (everyone is like that). In that area, I bought the cookbook “The Sneaky Chef”. I made chocolate brownies with spinach and blueberries. I made chocolate chip cookies using a can of white beans. I’ve made a tofu lasagna, I still put 1 cup of shredded zucchini in all my pasta dishes. There are all sorts of things you can do to get those fruits and veggies in your kids. Be willing to step out of the box.
If you need/want recipes for any healthy “sneaky” recipes, feel free to ask. I’d be happy to share.