Navigating Picky Eaters and Food Sensitivities

Whether you have a picky eater or a child with food sensitivities, sometimes as a parent you may find yourself having to get creative with snacks and meal planning!

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It can be so easy to fall into the trap of feeding your child a separate meal from everyone else most days; or relying on a not-so-healthy option just to get some food in your child's belly.

One of the reasons that I teach about food introduction is to help avoid pickiness and also to try and alleviate food sensitivities. The most common food sensitivities are nuts, gluten and dairy. If you feel that your child has behavioral difficulties, doesn't sleep well, gets skin rashes or has dark circles under their eyes, I encourage you to get them tested for food sensitivities. Seeing a Naturopath is the way to go as the tests they use is far more extensive.

If you have found yourself in this boat here are some things you can do to get on a different path with your little one.

Start with simple and mild foods and then graduate up to more adventurous options. Choose one veggie at a time and have your child try it every day for a week; even if it is just a bite. If by the end of the week then it is safe to say that one may be a no-go! 

Sweet potatoes and carrots are a nice beginner. My favorite way to serve these is cutting them up into sticks (like fries), coat in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast them in the oven until they are soft and a little crispy on the outside. They can be dipped in anything! You could even try a little raw honey. There are so many ways to sneak veggies into meals. A great cook book for this is Deceptively Delicious. You will find ways to hide vegetables in just about anything! There are wonderful dinner options. Plan your meals out. If you can, make it visible for everyone to see so they can know what to expect each evening. One night a week try and make something new with diverse flavors such as a curry dish. The other nights of the week can be easy and basic, a protein, a veggie and a grain. Some ideas are tacos, pasta, grill packets, omelets. 

There is always the tried and true smoothie idea. Bananas cover up just about anything! Stuff your blender with fruits and spinach; for a dairy free option use coconut or almond milk as your liquid. For good fats, I just found a wonderful coconut milk yogurt called CoYo. It is amazing how many great products are out there to help with food sensitivities. Here are my favorite go-to snacks:

Larabars: While these do have nuts, they are a great snack to keep in your bag with you. There are so many flavors! My favorite is Cinnamon Roll!

Bitsy's: These tasty snacks are organic, allergen friendly and they sneak in veggies! They have crackers and cookies available.

Seaweed Snacks: This may not be for everyone but you would be surprised how many kids love them! They come in their own little package and are very healthy! I have found that Trader Joe's sells them for only $.99 a package!

Popcorn: There good brands out there but this is an easy snack to make at home. I suggest cooking your own on the stove; it is easy and takes about 5 minutes. Sprinkle some salt and a little butter. To make it sweet add some maple syrup.

Natural Fruit Strips: Target's Simply Balanced brand is organic and cost effective. If you like to cook, here is a fun recipe to try!

Fruit & Veggie Pouches: You can't go wrong with these! They are full of fruits and vegetables. They are quick and easy. Again, if you want to make your own, you can buy reusable squeeze pouches!

Remember, you are doing a great job! Feeding little ones can be tricky and sometimes us moms put so much pressure on ourselves. Many of these options are easy and quick.