Mom Nutrition

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.

 

 

 

A Road Map for Moms: Beating Stress and Overcoming Fatigue

Dr. Amy Johnson-Grass

Don’t skip breakfast!

Starting your day with breakfast is a quick and easy way to jump-start your metabolism. Eat something within 30 minutes of getting up.  Make sure to get in 12-15 grams of protein with your breakfast. This could be:

  • A protein shake with fruit and greens
  • Eggs, veggies and whole grain toast
  • Greek yogurt and fruit

-> Check out our blog for great recipe ideas!

Be Mindful of Meals and Snacks!

Moving forward from breakfast, make sure you have protein with each meal and snack. It is important to stick to 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day. Here are some great, healthy protein options:

Source

Amount

Grams of Protein

Fish, cold, deep water

1 ounce

7g

Turkey – organic

1 ounce

7g

Tofu

½ cup

10g

Whole Beans

½ cup

7g

Quinoa

½ cup

11g

Brown Rice

½ cup

3g

Yogurt

1 cup

8-14g

Egg, whole

1

7g

Nuts

¼ cup

8g

Stay hydrated!

Drink 80 ounces of water daily. Adding lemon or lime to your water is a great way to make it a little more interesting! Hold yourself accountable and purchase a reusable water bottle and keep track of how many you have to drink each day to reach your goal.

Basic Supplements to keep on hand!

Multivitamin: Try and find a food-based multi. These are easy to digest and absorb.

B complex: B vitamins have an important role. They help convert our food into fuel for our body, providing more energy throughout the day.

Adrenal Support: Continued stress causes fatigue of our adrenal system. There are many ways to help keep the adrenal system strong and well supported. Some examples include: Vitamin C, Magnesium and B vitamins. There are also a few herbs that are helpful but my favorite is Rhodiola Rosea, which can be taken as a capsule or tincture.

Fish Oil: Fish oil supports healthy cholesterol levels and also is a great mood booster!

Vitamin D3: When choosing a Vitamin D3 supplement, it should have at least 5,000 IU. Not only does healthy levels of Vitamin D3 help maintain a health immune system, it is also another great vitamin to help with mood.

Get Your Labs Checked!

These basic labs are so important to keep on top of as a woman. They are frequently missed so be sure to ask your doctor the following:

  • Iron (hemoglobin, ferritin)
  • Vitamin D3
  • B12
  • Thyroid

Schedule Some “ME” Time!

This is easier said than done but it will make a huge difference! It doesn’t even have to be more than 30 minutes. Some days take longer breaks if you can, other days you may only get 5 minutes of deep breathing. Here are some examples of things you can do to relieve stress:

  • Exercise. Yoga is a wonderful way to calm your body down and rejuvenate.
  • Reading. Grab a book or magazine find a quiet place and let the world round you melt away for a little while.
  • Laugh. Get a few girls together and have an hour or two of fun and laughter. It does wonders.
  • Take a bath. Buy some Epsom salt and your favorite essential oil and take a 15-minute bath before bed.

Sleep!

Try and get to bed by 10pm every night. Having a full 8 hours of rest is ideal

 

Don't miss Dr. Amy Johnson-Grass next Sunday, September 11 at 11:00am on the Mom Show with my Talk 107.1. The topic is A Road Map for Moms: Beating Stress and Overcoming Fatigue.