It’s not always easy feeding a child who has an allergy, as well as being a picky eater. I have my struggles too, with my youngest. He’s not very fond of vegetables, so we work together to make vegetables more palatable. Here’s a couple things I’ve tried with my picky one.
- Food Shopping with your Kids. Take your child to the market to pick out his/her own healthy foods. This trip will be separate from your weekly shopping, so it’s a special day for you and your child to walk around stress free. Encourage your child to try new fruits, vegetables, etc and buy the ones they love. Farmers markets are also a fun place to go instead of the local grocery market. It’s fun to sample new local products that can easily fit into you regular rotation of meals.
- Cook with your kids, when possible. Have your child rinse and spin dry fruits and vegetables. Cut ingredients for dinner. (disposable plastic knife, if young) My kids always wanted to try things they were prepping. Let them at it. You will be surprised when your child finds one they love and you won’t have enough to make dinner with.
- Smoothies are easy fast meals or great snacks: Combine fresh or frozen fruits, greens, vegetables and sometimes hemp seeds or avocado (for additional protein). Have your child help with the combinations to blend. One of our favorites, Banana, Blackberry, dates, water, ice and spinach (add small amount and increase as palatable). Texture can be as important as taste, playing with the addition of water and ice can really help your child enjoy a healthy smoothie.
- One bite of every dish, try implementing this rule at the table. Explain to your kids that everyone’s palates changes over time. Ask what they liked about it and what they didn’t. You can get info on how to make it more palatable for them. Maybe your kids will have ideas to make it better. It’s a cooking science project. Anyone can really start loving something that was once disliked. I always remind my kids, how I did not like avocados or cilantro. Love them, couldn’t live without them today!
- Serve a snack– or be fancy and call it an appetizer. Serving your dinner salad, vegetable side dish or a veggie platter with dip (which ever foods you’re having trouble with) as an “appetizer,” while you start or finish making dinner can be helpful to get more of the good stuff in. Present it at the coffee table or kitchen counter where you are cooking. It should be really casual; this also focuses in on one food item instead of many that can be distracting.
Below is a list of foods that will provide protein needs for a vegetarian. As you can see from the mayo clinic’s requirements for protein, it’s total of 4-6 ounces or roughly 34 grams per day for tweens. It’s very doable as a vegetarian.
Vegetarian or not, try to eat the rainbow. It ensures to get all the nutrients one needs by varying the foods, which is important for everyone. Vitamin B-12 is one supplement that you may want to consider and speak with your pediatrician about.
It’s definitely challenging for us moms to care of our picky eaters. Try not to stress too much about what they are or are not eating. Give them lots of encouragement and praise for trying. It will take multiple rounds of introducing one new food and possibly in different ways to be accepted. It will take time and patience to create new habits. Take it one food and one meal at a time.
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Food Protein Content in Grams
1 tablespoon Spirulina 4 grams of protein
1 large baked potato 8 grams
1 cup baked sweet potato 5 grams
½ cup cooked green peas 4 grams
1 cup frozen turnip greens 6 grams
1 cup cooked broccoli 6 grams
1 cup frozen spinach 6 grams
1 cup cooked brussel sprouts 4 grams
1 cup chopped kale 2.2 grams
1 cup chopped cauliflower 2.1 grams
1 large artichoke 4.2 grams
1 cup cooked asparagus 4.4 grams
1 cup snow peas 5.6 grams
½ cooked quinoa 13 grams
½ cooked oatmeal 3.5 grams
½ cooked wild rice 3.5 grams
1 sprouted taco size whole grain tortillas 3 grams
½ cup cooked black eyed peas 13.5 grams
½ cup cooked pinto, navy or black beans 8 grams
½ cup cooked chickpeas 7.5 grams
½ cup sprouted beans, peas, lentils 4.6 grams
3 tbsp hulled hemp seed 10 grams
3 tbsp pumpkin seeds 10 grams
3 tbsp hulled white sesame seeds 7 grams
3 tbsp sunflower seeds 6 grams
2 tbsp chia seeds 6 grams
3 tbsp whole golden flaxseeds 6 grams
1 cup pureed avocado 4.5 grams
1 cup frozen cherries 3 grams
1 large kiwi 2 grams
1 medium banana 1.5 grams
Dairy and Eggs: If you do dairy…
1 cup Greek Yogurt 23 grams
½ cup Cottage Cheese 14 grams
1 oz Swiss Cheese 8 grams
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Milk, 2% 8 grams
1 egg 6 grams