Picky Eater Protocol

Picky Eater Protocol

As a Family Health Coach, the number one question that I get is… what do I do about my picky eater? This is such a tough area.  All kids are different and there’s simply no magic formula. 

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Why is My Kid So Picky?

This is the million-dollar question.  We can speculate as to why they’ve become so particular, but truth is it could be for many different reasons. One reason suggested, is that kids like to be in control of something and many of them know they can control what they eat, especially if they’ve been doing this from the get-go.  I’m guilty of this.  My little man had tummy troubles from the beginning of time, so it began as early as breastfeeding, and me worrying that what I was eating was affecting him.

There are also some kids with real sensory issues. They can’t handle the texture, the color, or the smell of some foods, typically this is a more serious “picky eater” problem and should be discussed with your pediatrician who can then refer you to a specialist.

My biggest tip to you is relax and do your best to meet their nutritional needs. Ask yourself are they staying mostly healthy? Are they growing well? Do they seem to have enough energy to get through the day and be active? If you answered “yes” to these questions, chances are they’re getting what they need.

The Non-Meat Eaters

What do you do when your child won’t eat meat? Kids need a lot of protein for their growing bodies, in fact, they need about 1 gram per pound of body weight according to Dr. Sears. So, when they won’t eat meat, naturally, most of us become concerned.

Protein

My son’s is biggest issue is with meat, and for good reason, he simply feels bad for eating the animals.  What’s a mom to do about that? In this situation, I’ve let him stand his ground, and haven’t forced him to eat meat, but have tried to make sure that he chooses a healthy protein to replace it.  He LOVES peanut butter.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the one staple in his diet that he’s eaten since he was little. We always choose a whole grain bread, natural peanut butter, and jelly with limited amounts of sugar and NO HFCS! He will also eat a variety of beans, but his favorite are Mexican refried beans and baked beans, on the rare occasion black beans. 

Protein is essential for everyone.  Protein provides our bodies with the 9 essential amino acids that our body cannot make. Animal based products naturally contain these 9 amino acids, but without eating animal products it’s important to make sure we are getting complete proteins from other sources in our diet. Not long ago, it was thought that we had to eat a certain combination of plant based protein at the same meal to provide our bodies the complete protein it needs. However, research has since debunked this notion. (YAY! This now gives us moms one less thing to stress about!)

The following is a list of “kid friendly” protein sources  

  1. Peas
  2. Quinoa (whole grains)
  3. Wild Rice
  4. Oatmeal
  5. Nuts
  6. Beans
  7. Chia Seeds (bake into muffins or blend into a smoothie)
  8. Potatoes
  9. Broccoli
  10. Asparagus
  11. Dairy (yogurt, cheese, milk)
  12. Spinach (blend into a fruity smoothie)

The Carb Lovers

My son also could eat bread, crackers, and cereal all day, every day! We literally can go through a box of cereal in 2 days. It’s amazing.  Carbs are also an essential part of everyone’s diet, but it’s important that they eat the right carbs (complex) for a balanced diet and energy regulation.  Sugar is a simple carb, and is in everything, read labels, and do your best to limit the sugar in foods you buy.

Kid’s bodies are being trained at a young age how to burn calories.  If they’re constantly using carbs as energy, their bodies will be more likely to use them for energy verses fat, which in adulthood could make staying trim more difficult.  They likely could care less about this information, but as a parent we have the responsibility to give them a healthy start for a healthy life. Provide them food containing protein, carbs, and fats.

Fat is Necessary

Most picky eaters that I’ve encountered, won’t touch fish.  It tends to have a strong taste and different texture that most picky kids have trouble trusting. However, cold water fish contains healthy fats, essential for brain development, hormone production, cells, and immune system, Omega 3 EPA and DHA. These are vital for the growing child.

We can also get Omega 3s from seeds like flax and chia, and oils, however, these are ALA which the body must convert into EPA and DHA. This only happens in very small amounts, but with a picky child, I know, we have to take what we can get.  I choose a multivitamin for my kids that contains DHA and EPA Omega 3s so that I know they’re more likely to get what they need.

Monounsaturated fats are also important. They have been shown to reduce the risk of various diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease.  Research has shown that they help decrease inflammation, and may even help you maintain a healthy weight. These fats can be found in foods such as olives, nuts, seeds, avocados, and eggs.

Protocol Suggestions for Your Picky Eater

I am a Health Coach here to educate and share ideas, however, picky eating is a very delicate subject that so many of us moms struggle with every day. We’ve had our struggles and challenges, but I’ve found a few tricks that work for my son, and first and foremost is… Patience is key!

No two kids are the same. I can vow to this as well. I have an 11-year-old daughter who is an adventurous eater, she’s never afraid to try anything. Same parents, same up bringing (both of my kids were breastfed for 13+ months), no explanation to why they are complete opposites.  I’ve just learned to go with the flow and focus on the positive and not the negative.  He’s healthy, he’s growing well, and has the right amount of energy!

Key Take-A ways and Suggestions

  • Sit down, ask your child what they like to eat, make a list, post it on the fridge as a reminder.
  •  Don’t stress. Keep it simple and positive.
  • Remember, some kids are very sensitive to smells and textures, having sensory issues with food is a real thing.
  • Focus on protein needs for kids: 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, (a 30 pound child needs approximately 30 grams of protein per day.) Protein is the building blocks of their growing muscles and bones, they can get plenty from vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Add whip cream to fruit
  • Dip veggies in home made ranch
  • Peanut butter or other nut butters for protein
  • Make eating fun, family time, set good examples: picky parents will make picky children
  • Don’t force feed anything! This will only end in frustration and tears
  • Smoothies, shakes, or, cookie cutter shapes for sandwiches are fun things to try
  • Cook with mild flavors
  • Most kids will eat pasta and there are good whole grain, protein filled pastas on the market.
  • Include one thing at each meal that they will eat. If it’s rice or potatoes, always make a rice or potato of some sort. If it’s one vegetable they will eat, make it.
  • Ask them to try something new, don’t tell them. It takes approximately 7 times of trying a new food for a child to like it, don’t give up!
  • Have them help make dinner, show them how fun cooking can be, make it like a science experiment.
  • Educate the importance of grow foods for growing up big and strong. Use Traffic light eating. Green – grow and go. Yellow – slow down. Red – stop and think.

A List of a few of My Son’s Favorite Picky Eater Meals:

I typically either add meat or fish after I scoop out his portion or pick around it when I dish his out. He has recently started eating chicken nuggets on occasion, so we do that about once a week with a side of veggies.

  • Mashed Potatoes and Noodles
  • Veggie Stir Fry
  • Soup and Corn Bread (He likes potato soup and pot pie soup)
  • Alfredo pasta with peas
  • Pasta with butter and a side of raw veggies to dip in ranch
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • Baked potato bar with broccoli
  • Rice and Beans
  • Breakfast for dinner (he likes scrambled eggs and loves  to make them himself)

What are Your Picky Eater Struggles?

Please share with me what your little one’s struggles are with picky eating. I’m always interested in knowing what other moms are going through and how they manage it. And who knows maybe we can work together to find a solution. Thanks for reading!


Resources:

https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/makingdecisions.sec.aspxhttps://

www.healthline.com/nutrition/monounsaturated-fats#section7

10 Everyday Swaps to Make for Healthy Living

10 Everyday Swaps to Make TODAY for a Healthier Living Environment

Cleaning up your environment can be surprisingly easy.  Take some time to look around your home, how many different products do you use every day? How many could easily be swapped for something less toxic? How are those products effecting your health and the health of your family? Have you ever wondered if you made a few simple changes in what you put in and on your body, that you might feel better?

Throughout my wellness journey, I’ve slowly eliminated toxic chemicals from my environment. I know it’s made a difference in my health.  My sensitivity to synthetic fragrances is over the top, they give me headaches every time I’m around them. I also have less joint pain, as someone who suffers from mild carpal tunnel, my joints often hurt. Now that I’ve swapped out toxic products for healthier ones, I have less pain. When I encounter a toxic chemical now, I often get aches in areas I’m not use to.

How Do You Get Started?

Start by taking note of how you feel today. What is your energy level? How is your mood? Do you feel anxious or worried? Now make the following simple swaps and take a weekly account of how you’re feeling.

I’ll be suggesting products that can be swapped out, if you make a purchase from one of the links, Metronome Wellness will receive a very small commission. However, what I’m trying to get across here is to just make a healthier, less toxic change, for your health and the health of your family. You can easily make your own products, or purchase them. Thankfully, more and more companies are getting rid of the chemicals in the things we use everyday, and making them more affordable!

Cleaning products

No surprise that cleaning products top the list.  Have you looked at some of the chemicals on the labels of mainstream cleaning products? I mean, toxic, highly flammable, keep away from children, hazardous crap! Scary right? Why would we want these in our homes? Of course, we were once told that we must sanitize everything. We now know that we’ve done more harm than good with this way of thinking.  There are more scary, drug resistant bugs out there than ever before.  STOP sanitizing everything! A little bit of bacteria and dirt is good for your health!

Did you know that with a little white vinegar, essential oils, and baking soda you can pretty much clean anything? Crazy and think of how much money you could save! Check out my essential oil clean recipes. If you don’t have time, or frankly just don’t want to, I recommend using Seventh Generation products.  They can be found almost anywhere, and they stick to their promise of keeping the toxins out of our homes and the environment.

Toothpaste

Toothpaste can be full of toxic ingredients like triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, artificial sweeteners, fluoride, propylene glycol, Diethanolamine. Why!?? What’s the point of adding these harmful ingredients to something you put in your mouth? One of the most absorbent places in the human body.  You can easily make you’re your own toothpaste! Wellness Mama has a few different ways: https://wellnessmama.com/1772/natural-toothpaste/ Or if you prefer to purchase a safer toothpaste, I like Himalaya Botanique, I get mine from amazon and have been using it for years.  

Shampoo

Another easy, simple swap to make today is your shampoo. I’m going to “plug” a MLM product, sorry.  I’ve tried making my own, and used a variety of different “natural” shampoos, and found Monat to be my favorite. It’s something that I can honestly say has helped my hair a ton! Over the past couple of years using it, my hair has grown more than ever, gotten stronger, healthier, and I frequently get compliments on it (which hasn’t happened since kids). Their company name is short for “Mother Nature” and they say “no” to toxic ingredients. Check out the science behind their products at:  https://monatglobal.com/the-science-of-monat/.

Face wash

As someone who struggles with acne, I’ve used a million different products. I wanted so badly for essential oils or something very simple to work, but it never did. I’ve used the dermatologist’s products and pills, but because of the chemicals, I never felt good about doing that, even if it did work. I finally found something that really works, and I can get behind. Tula. It’s a super food, probiotic for your skin, without all the nasty stuff! It feels amazing and gives me a natural dewy look.

Make up

I must admit, I keep it pretty simple, I’ve never been into make-up.  Again, I’ve tried making my own, and you can too, with a little arrowroot powder and cinnamon, but I never could get the combo quite right. So now I use and recommend this powder foundation called Everyday Minerals Matte Base. It covers my acne scars really well, and gives me a simple, clean, finished look.

Coffee Creamer

If you’re a coffee drinker like me, and like a little creamer in your coffee (I’ve tried to switch to black many times, I just can’t do it), there are a lot of fairly new, healthier options on the market today. I use to use the original Coffee Mate French Vanilla, but the further I got along my all-natural journey, the less and less I enjoyed the taste of the it.  I switched to the Natural Bliss, which was pretty good, but I’ve tried to limit my dairy consumption, so when I came across So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Creamer, I knew I’d found the “one”. If you’re trying for a more plant based diet, I highly recommend this, it has just 7 ingredients, 4 grams of sugar and is vegan certified.

Laundry Detergent

I’m just going to be honest again, as bad as I want to be “Suzy Homemaker” and make everything from scratch, I’ve tried making my own laundry detergent, but my laundry never came out as clean as I thought it should. I’d find that some of the socks would still have a lingering smell, and my whites were not so bright. 

There’s something about a specially formulated detergent that has been tested to really clean. The one I use and is Home Made Simple – Lavender laundry detergent, it’s a plant based detergent that is better for you and the environment.  I’ve found it at the local grocery store and it’s a reasonable price. This swap uses plant based ingredients and truly makes clothes smell fresh and clean.  They also make it unscented if you prefer not to smell like lavender.

Candles/ Air Fresheners

Please tell me that you don’t you aren’t still using air fresheners. The air quality of our homes is so important. Good air quality is important to support our immune systems against environmental and seasonal threats, along with preventing toxic overload in our bodies.  Candles are not the best option, especially if they’re full of artificial fragrance. Soy candles are a little better, but your best option is using an essential oil diffuser. There are many benefits to aromatherapy, it can help to energize you or calm your nerves, not to mention making your house smell lovely.  It’s so simple to change out the scents too.  You can use individual oils or blend them up to make your own special, preferred scent. I love lavender at night and a grounding blend during the day such as DoTerra’s Balance.

Deodorant

Swap out those aluminum laden deodorants for one with less chemicals. I do make my own from time to time, and often for my daughter, but for a purchasable deodorant that works, Schmidt’s is my pick! It has been proven to work in the southern summer heat over and over again. It’s a little pricey, but it’s nice to have around in a pinch.

Meat

I really don’t like talking about meat, I eat some on occasion, but I’ve never been a big meat eater, in fact, in the past I was a vegetarian. It’s however, an area to look at when making healthy swaps. Have you ever wondered where all the meat at your local grocery store comes from? I do all the time, and when I think about the mass production, I think about what kind of conditions these animals were probably living in. So when you’re shopping for meat, look for at the very least, meat that has been raised without hormones or antibiotics. If you can afford it, organic and free range is even better. You can read my post on Mindful Eating which addresses the need to think about where our food is coming from.

Slow and Steady

So maybe you don’t make all of these changes today, but soon. Take note after you’ve made the health conscious swaps. Do you feel better? Do you have more energy? How about your kids? Do they seem a little less irritable? I hope you’ll feel the differences like me. Make the changes, for your health, the health of your family, and the health of our environment.

Resources:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/09/toxic-toothpaste-ingredients.aspx