We know that it can be easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to feeding our families. When you are contending with picky eaters, time constraints, and sleep deprivation, meal planning and food prep can often feel overwhelming. The BVTMB team along with our sponsor, Healthy Living, is here to provide some fresh perspective and inspiration in the kitchen! From meal ideas to how to feed those picky eaters, we are excited to talk about all things food these next few weeks in our “Growing Up Gourmet, Beyond the PB&J” series.
Positively Delicious – Feeding Our Kids
There is no such thing as normal eating when it comes to kids. Let’s face it; feeding kids is hard. As soon as you think you have figured out what they like, and what you are happy to feed them, their tastes change. Couple the typical dizzying feeding patterns of kids with another feeding challenge, such as food allergies or sensory issues, and it can easily get overwhelming. Your child may eat a normal amount of food one day, then the next day eat much less. Perhaps they only tolerate certain textures? But not to fret! Valuable resources are available to help you tackle this challenge and provide your child with a well balanced diet.
First and foremost, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for the time and effort you put towards feeding your child- it is not an easy task! Remember that your role in the feeding relationship is to provide nutritious and safe foods, in a positive eating environment- you cannot control if and how much your child eats. While it is important to be considerate of your child’s likes and dislikes, do not let that be the sole determinant of what is served. Keep in mind it may take up to 15 -20 tries before a child will accept a new food, so don’t give too soon. The more familiar your kiddo becomes with a food, even just seeing it at the table, the more likely they are to try it…eventually.
Here are some other ideas to help encourage good eating with picky eaters:
- Take your child grocery shopping and allowing them to pick out different fruits and vegetables.
- Have you child help with meal prep- they may be more inclined to try something they helped make. Consider a kids cooking class even!
- Offer choices by asking, “would you like carrots or broccoli?”.
- Provide a variety of foods and allow your child to choose what and how much to eat.
- Keep meal times calm.
Chances are the picky eating habits are only temporary. However, if it persists with severity, it may be an indicator of a food allergy or intolerance. Food allergies and intolerances (i.e. lactose intolerance) create additional challenges, and require eliminating some familiar kid friendly foods. However, instead of focusing on all the foods your child can’t eat, focus on the items they can eat. Come food allergies include allergies to nuts and common food intolerance include intolerance to gluten.
Here are some great alternatives to peanuts and tree nut that focus on good quality protein.
- Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, flax, and chia seeds
- Crush and sprinkle on top of yogurt
- Use seed butters as an alternative to tree nut and peanut butters
- Choose granola bars made with seeds
- Hummus (except the pine nut flavored variety) with veggie sticks and/or whole grain crackers
- Peanut Free Planet – all products on this site are made in peanut and nut free facilities.
- EatingWell Magazine – kid friendly peanut-free recipes: Eating Well Magazines Peanut Free Recipes
Experimenting with Gluten free alternatives can be fun and rewarding for the whole family. There are so many naturally gluten free kid friendly foods – sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, fingerling potatoes, and all fruits and vegetables.
Looking for alternatives to use in cooking and baking?
- Experiment with gluten free grains in cooking and baking
- Oats, millet, rice & wild rice, amaranth, buckwheat, teff
- Try brown rice, corn and quinoa based pasta and breads
- Rice noodles are perfect for Asian inspired dishes
- Corn tortillas
- Popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
- Kid friendly gluten free recipes
- Safe Snack Guide – provides a comprehensive list of brand name snacks that are free of peanuts, tree nuts and eggs:
- TONS of creative and delicious recipes: Kids With Food Allergies, Allergy-Friendly Recipe finder
- Ellyn Satter Institute
Healthy Living Market recipe finder is a great source for some of our favorite recipes. Here are a few to get you started:
Looking for additional information regarding feeding your kids? Join Nutritionist, Victoria Bruner, for FREE store tours at Healthy Living Market and Café:
Thursday 8/7 from 6:00-7:30: Peanut and Tree Nut-Free Store Tour
Thursday 8/14 from 6:00-7:30: Gluten-Free Store Tour
Check out more details about these tours and sign up to save your spot now!
Written by Victoria Bruner
My passion for nutrition stems from my love of food and my fascination with the impact food has on health and wellbeing. By incorporating nutritious and delicious foods into our diet, coupled with an active lifestyle, we have the opportunity to maximize our overall wellbeing. My commitment to the profession is through enthusiastically helping others obtain their own optimal health.