Kids and Food

January 31, 2008 at 11:55 pm 30 comments

I have often been asked…”how do you get Bella to eat that?!” Bella has a great appetite and loves to eat…she also loves to eat healthy foods! We talk about eating healthy every day. Every time I feed her something, I talk about why it’s good for her body, what vitamins it has, where it came from, etc. Education is the first step!

Children will eat whatever they have been taught to eat…and also what they see the adults around them eating. I try to only eat foods that I want her to be eating as well. It doesn’t make sense to be chowing down on a candy bar and then turn around and tell your child, “no, you can have it because it’s very bad for you!”.

Now before you all freak out and tell me all about your “picky” child and how they will only eat hot dogs and cookies, please hear me out. Who is giving them the hot dogs and cookies? If the hot dogs and cookies were taken away, they might cry and scream and pout…but eventually they will get hungry…at which time you can start to offer healthier alternatives. Take away the junk and they will have the need to develop a taste for better food. I’ve read that it takes between 3-10 days for our taste buds to “re-program” themselves. Pretty soon, your child will actually be asking for healthy food! I have seen this first hand in our family. If I have the junk around, Bella will ask for it non-stop, but as soon as it is gone…she forgets about it. (Side note: I would warn about labeling your child. The more they hear you say they are a “picky eater”…they more they will internalize that and pretty soon, they truly ARE picky.)

Let’s start at the beginning. We skipped the rice cereal phase completely. Why? Many reasons. There is no “medical” reason to feed a baby cereal at the “magic” age of 6 months. Studies are actually showing that grains are not the best first food for a baby to digest. Plus, it’s setting them up for a lifetime love of high carb foods. We decided that it was much wiser to just start feeding Bella the foods that we were eating anyway. Her first food was avocado. Then banana. Then sweet potatoes. And so on. If we were having something chunkier, we just threw it in the blender or food processor and made it into a puree. I never made any “special” baby food to freeze and feed her later. She has always eaten what we are eating for any given meal. And she still eats what we eat. We go through “phases” … but for the most part we try to limit our dairy intake and we do not eat any meat. We are cutting back on traditional breads and now if we do decide to eat it, we will eat a sprouted bread such as Ezekiel sprouted breads. They also make a great sprouted english muffin.

If you aren’t used to feeding your children healthy foods, it might be hard to know where to start. I wanted to give you some ideas by sharing our typical day of meals/snacks.

Today, Bella ate:

2 farm fresh local eggs cooked in olive oil
Apple slices
Green Lemonade

Morning snack:
Black mission figs
Mango (yes, she ate the whole thing! She loves them.)

Sweet potato
Blueberry skewers (blueberries on toothpicks)
Cucumber sticks (peeled cucumber cut into long sticks)
Garlic hummus

Afternoon snack:
Smoothie made of frozen strawberries, fresh pears, banana, almond milk, and hemp seeds.
Fudge ball (raw almond butter/dates/cocoa)

Sweet Potato / Squash / Apple Soup
Toasted Ezekiel sprouted bread with agave nectar (This should be used sparingly…it’s still a “sugar” even though it’s plant based)

Bedtime snack:
Orange slices

Other food ideas:
Flax crackers (pre-made or homemade) and hummus
Organic corn chips and salsa/hummus
Any organic dried fruit
Avocado chunks drizzled with lemon juice
Ants on a Log (celery with raw almond butter/raisins)
Fruit…cut up and served in fun ways (on a toothpick, in the shape of a butterfly, etc)
Frozen bananas
“Freeze dried” Fruits and Veggies
Air popped popcorn
Raw almond butter and banana on sprouted bread
Sprouted english muffin cut into pieces drizzled with agave nectar
Apple “Cereal”: Small apple pieces drizzled with almond milk and cinnamon in a bowl
Oatmeal (either raw or cooked) with raisins, cinnamon, flax seeds, and agave nectar
Banana “Cake”: mashed banana in the shape of a circle topped with fresh blueberries
Try a new fruit during each trip to the store. Let your child pick it out so they are excited about it!

My philosophy about food and children…is that children should never be “made” to eat something. Food should never be used as a bribe, reward, or as a manipulative tool (i.e. “if you don’t eat that, you are going straight to bed!” or “if you stop crying, I’ll give you some candy!”). That is just setting them up for a lifetime of food related emotional issues. If a child is hungry, they should be offered a healthy snack or meal, regardless of what time it is. If Bella comes to me 1/2 hour before supper and asks to eat, I don’t tell her no…I give her a healthy snack. If she happens to be less hungry for her supper, then we just eat less at supper. I do feel that it’s important for children to be involved in the family meal time even if they aren’t hungry right then. It helps them learn that meal time is a time for more than just eating, but family connection/conversation as well. Conflicts over food seem to dominate many child/parent relationships, but food doesn’t have to be a battle. It can and should be a joyful thing…bringing families together, not tearing them apart with arguments. There should be boundaries set, but there also needs to be respect.

I’m always trying to come up with new ways to help make eating healthy a fun activity. I will sometimes change the names of food…instead of green lemonade, I will call it “Super Power Ballerina Drink”. Instead of telling her that there are hemp seeds in her smoothie, I just explain that we are putting in some extra protein and omega-3 oils to make her healthy and strong. Certain words will immediately turn a child off to a food…and I’m sure we all know what our child’s triggers are! πŸ™‚ So make it fun. And don’t forget the treats.

While we do eat healthy foods the majority of the time, I also love to give her treats. For the last few days our treats have been the fudge balls (even though I don’t like to call them that because they truly are not “bad” for her). Sometimes we have a mini-bag of Sunspire Drops around…and she will get 2-3 as a treat. That tiny bag will last a couple of weeks! A raw food bar is considered a “treat”. And if we’re going all out, we might get some soy or rice milk ice cream. If we are out of the house, we might get ice cream or pizza as a treat, but Bella knows that it’s a TREAT, and not an every day thing.

What about the little things that you’ve let “slip” and now they’ve become a habit? We have several of these bad habits that over time she has come to expect. Mints at restaurants. She LOVES them. However, they are red and white. Red = Red #40. Can’t have that. πŸ™‚ Instead, be prepared ahead of time. Stock up on little organic candies or suckers and when she sees the mint…whip out the healthier alternative. Yummy Earth is our favorite brand. (Hint: Buying them in bulk is WAY cheaper). This works well at the bank and grocery store too…when they practically force feed your child bad food (it’s one of my pet peeves when they ask if my child can have a sucker WHILE they are handing it to her).

I am a huge believer in organic foods for children. Their bodies are developing SO FAST and cells are multiplying and growing at an alarming rate. If you are giving them genetically foods coated in pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides that mess with the cell production…it’s not good. Their little bodies can’t handle the level of toxins like an adult can. So even if you don’t feel that you can afford organic for yourself, please consider feeding your children organic food.

There is a fabulous blog that I just discovered called Raw Baby Alex. It details a family’s journey into raw foods with their child. They share what he eats nearly every day and it’s a great inspiration. You don’t have to be a raw foodist to enjoy this blog…it will encourage you to find healthy choices for your child. Vive Le Vegan is a great cookbook for families as well.

As with anything, do the best you can with the resources you have. When you know better, you can do better πŸ™‚ Take small steps towards improving your family’s diet and you will notice the changes in their behavior and their health. I promise. Start today…and don’t be discouraged! YOU are the one who can make this change for your child. YOU are the one who can set him/her up for a lifetime of health.


Entry filed under: Kids and Food.

Figgy Food by Design

30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. LisaC  |  February 1, 2008 at 1:30 am

    I just wanted to say that I totally agree with you. People used to get on my case because I only fed my son healthy whole foods for the first few years of his life. He is five now and I will tell you, he will choose healthy foods over junk any day. Yesterday at a playgroup a mother offered him several choices for lunch (all garbage) I had fed him a lunch on the way over so I didn’t mind (I also don’t get nuts about stuff away from home since most people don’t have healthy foods in their home it seems). My son told the mother.. “I just really want some vegetables” The lady said she didn’t have any *gasp* She gave my son a hot dog, pretzels and fruit in a cup drenched in syrup BLECH!! He didn’t eat it.

    My son is rarely ever sick. I have never taken him to the doctor unless it was for a well visit. Even when he gets a cold it is very mild. I really attribute all the raw veggies and fruits he eats to this.

  • 2. Denise  |  February 1, 2008 at 2:14 am

    I will say that Annora is “picky.” But she does not get “kid” food because she doesn’t like veggies. Tonight for dinner we had brown rice and veggies. She just ate brown rice. (In the end she did eat 4 green beans) She was still hungry later tonight so she had a banana and some dried cranberries. No junk. Junk should never be an option… and she is coming around to things that she used to leave on her plate.

    Great post!

  • 3. Cassandra  |  February 1, 2008 at 2:26 am

    Okay, now I’m pumped. Thanks for the timely post. I am dealing with these very issues right now, and it’s actually my very own family members that are the hardest to sway. Thanks for the great encouragement.

  • 4. Melissa  |  February 1, 2008 at 2:46 am

    I just made your vinegarette salad dressing and Caleb (7) was eating it out of the bowl!! So I don’t know if its drinkable, but it sure is spoonable lol. I had to put it up for tomorrows salad.

  • 5. Melissa  |  February 1, 2008 at 2:48 am

    Oops I meant to add…I have a picky boy and I have found if I slice up his fruit and put it in a bowl with a little honey drizzled over it and just leave it out he will nibble on it. I figure better to nibble around on fruit as opposed to giving him a whole serving at a meal and him not eat it. This btw is the salad dressing eater, go figure.

  • 6. livelightly  |  February 1, 2008 at 5:32 am

    Melissa…I know! I could drink that dressing too! πŸ™‚ I would agree with the cutting fruit up comment too. Whenever I change the “presentation” of something…Bella is excited and wants to eat it. I love that she is at the age where she can describe HOW she wants me to prepare something for her instead of in her pre-verbal stages where she would just push it away. Great point!

  • 7. Aimee  |  February 1, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    We had a funny thing happen the other night…we went to a restaurant “specializing” in burgers but they give this crazy amount of french fries. After about 15 fries, my 9 year old (who thinks I deprive him b/c he sees what most other kids eat and wants to be like them πŸ™‚ said “ooooh mom, my tummy hurts! You’re right mom, eating healthy does make me feel better and right. Junk food is just terrible.” WOW! Coming from my strong-willed son, that’s a big step!! Thanks for the food ideas…I am going to start incorporating them with my toddler!

  • 8. krisin  |  February 1, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    i am so excited about this post! i have been reading a lot about food and kids and when to start this and that… i love your approach! being that our girl will be at least six months old when we bring her home, i’m really glad i read all this now… thanks!

  • 9. Alicia  |  February 1, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Sara, I completely agree with you, the struggle for us is this…there are 6 of us. And it becomes very difficult to feed everyone healthy on one income. I read so many things on people who have one or no kids and they can feed them beautiful amazing all organic food, it’s just frustrating kwim? I buy oats and beans etc in bulk, it’s just the fruit and veggie thing that becomes difficult. We buy at the farmers market in the summer and that helps alot. It’s just really tough this time of year.

  • 10. amanda  |  February 1, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    I think it’s great that parents are being proactive with what they feed their kids. There is so much product on the market that contains all sorts of chemicals, preservatives, and artificial everything. I try so hard to keep my 3 year old, Noah away from the harmful foods, we grow our own vegetables and watch out for unnecessary ingredients in everything our family eats. My toughest challenge was to say no to candy until I found a great candy company that uses brown rice syrup and all organic ingredients. It’s amazing how much fun it is to watch Noah enjoy his treats while I fee totally comfortable that he’s not getting sugar spikes because the brown rice syrup helps maintain a stable digestion and doesn’t cause any change in his behaviour other than having a big smile while he enjoys his treat. I’ve tried all the flavors that Pure Fun offers–Noah loves goji berry the best while my favorites are the citrus slices. There are a few organic candy companies in the market now, but after all my investigation, Pure Fun seems to really know how to make delicious better for you candy! There is a lot of really important research and information on their website

  • 11. Denise  |  February 1, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Alicia, as a vegan in the midwest I have to comment (not speaking for Sara, of course). In the winter there are just a lot of foods we don’t eat. I also buy a lot of frozen fruits and veggies, canned tomatos, whole grain pastas, brown rice and lots and lots of dry beans πŸ™‚

    I feel like for 6 months out of the year we live on soup. It is just so darn cheap and healthy! I must have 50 soup recipes.

    …and as much as I love red peppers and blueberries, there is no way you’ll find them in my cart until it warms up. (unless the berries are frozen!)

    Good luck in your path to health!

  • 12. Alicia  |  February 1, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Yep that does sound like us Denise, lots of soup and beans:) I so miss summer veggies…Thanks for your reply!

  • 13. rachel  |  February 1, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    This is a very timely post for me. My 2 year old has become a grape/banana/cracker-only eater. He has chosen not to eat meat, which is fine with me, but I am getting so frustrated these days with his “picky” eating. I guess I need to just stop offering him crackers when he won’t eat good stuff. I still have that baby mentality of worrying if he is getting enough, you know? Ah…. I guess I need to talk to my husband tonight and come up with a unified plan. Thanks for this, I really needed it today!

  • 14. Stephanie  |  February 1, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    speaking of green lemonade… it is surprisingly VERY GOOD! I only had the romaine, lemon and two apples sitting around, so I did’nt add in the rest of the goodies, but wow! This is the first green juice I have ever liked!

  • 15. livelightly  |  February 1, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Alicia…I completely understand what you’re saying. It’s really hard to make one income stretch with a big family. Check out the link I left above for the “Dirty Dozen”. If you can buy those things organic, you’ll be way ahead. Just making small changes and only cooking with whole foods (no prepackaged stuff) will make a big difference too. I do the same thing as Denise does and try really hard to purchase what is in season or closer to being in season. Through the winter, we cook lots and lots of squash and potatoes. Beans and rice are an awesome food. We make burritos with them, top them with sweet thai chili sauce or salsa, add different herbs to them, make soup with them….there are so many variations. I would have to say that we spend a lot more on our food budget that the typical American family. We don’t have health insurance right now…so we choose to put that money into our food to keep our bodies as healthy as possible. The percentage that most families spend per month is usually between 5-10% of their income. We probably spend about 25-30% right now. This % is closer to what people used to spend on their food, and in my opinion, we should all get back to that. Instead of thinking of food as just another item on the budget, it should be looked at as an investment in your future health.

  • 16. livelightly  |  February 1, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Rachel…that was my problem as well. It got to the point where she just wanted crackers ALL the time. I finally said enough and I just don’t even buy them anymore. It was hard at first because they are such an easy snack and easy for the road. To replace it, I buy lots of dried fruit, trail mixes, and raw food bars. Fresh fruit is also super easy and travels well. Good luck!

  • 17. Leah  |  February 1, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    I came upon this blog on my search for “allies” in the pro-real food campaign. This “Kids and Food” post came up on a google alert for “bulk snacks,” and I am happy to tap into this community of caring nourishers. It makes me miss my mom’s homecooked meals, which i am far away from, being at university now.
    The ‘campaign’ that I am launching is centered around a bulk snack bar called Chunks of Energy that is sold by my family’s business called Dancing Star. The blog that i JUST started (i’m a newbie to the blogosphere) is a place to talk about chunks of energy the food, and also chunks of energy the ‘food for thought.’ This blog is wonderful transfer of advice– chunks of energy, as I see it.
    I am 21 now (no kids, yet), but i have loved the food chunks of energy ever since my dad developed it about 16 years ago. Based on my experience, your kids might enjoy it too. They are basically bite-sized chunks of seeds and nut butters and dried fruit with honey. They’re all dairy free, and my dad’s developing more organic and raw ones. They are super kid friendly, with flavors like vegan carob banana and chocolate almond chip. My favorite was carob. You buy them in bulk so it’s about 1/3 of the cost of packaged energy bars–and no trash. It’s also cheaper compared to trail mix, and has a similar role–protein, flavor, easy to bring along places… They’re probably sold in most health food stores and food coops, and they really fill you up. Try them, i think you and your kids might like them.
    As a student, I don’t have a lot of extra money to spend on food, so one thing I do is–well, eat chunks of energy. They replace an unhealthy and expensive on-campus meal–or a meal that i don’t have time to cook at home. When I do have time to cook–and i’m making it a priority because i think that bodily and spiritual nourishment are the same thing–i buy beets. Beets are amazing, and fairly cheap, and you can use the root and the greens so it’s a good, cheap, even-in-the-winter buy.
    I thought of one more fun and delicious and practical kid food: Sprouts! They are SO cheap, and a good way to get some fresh produce even in the heart of the winter. I live in montreal and it’s wonderful to have some homegrown green foods.
    Let me know what you think. I have been growing a bunch of sprouts so i’m happy to share with you some advice about that…
    One last thing: crackers are easy as pie (easier, actually) to make at home, and you avoid packaging and additives. It’s flour (experiment with different kinds, but the pastry grind is the best consistency), water, oil, and oats are good too. You can top them with seeds or ground nuts, or seaweed or anything…I made graham crackers the other day and they were amazing.

  • 18. Ann  |  February 1, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Sara this is wonderful! I can’t thank you enough for going through all the work to make the links to your suggestions. Most of these things I’ve never heard of and would say, “I’ll google it later” but you have the links so it’s an immdediate connection. I’m very excited to find treats that don’t have the dyes you mentioned.

  • 19. Karen  |  February 3, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks, that was very encouraging. I wish I had done so many thing differently when my kids were babies. I think we’re finally on a good path, but it takes time and dedication.

  • 20. Kristina  |  February 3, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    I admire your dedication and nutrition, and I love your breakdown of a daily diet for your daughter. I was a nanny to two kids for four years, and did all I could to ensure they were getting all the vitamins and nutrients they needed as naturally as possible; a mighty struggle mounted against two parents who clung religiously to the gut-twisting trinity of easy, cheap, and processed (although their father, a doctor, really should know better). With me they were perfectly happy with raisins and bananas, but the minute their mother came home, out of the freezer came the blue freezies and chicken nuggets.

    I wonder though, about her calcium intake. I know that there’s some question as to whether the current FDA calcium allowance is excessive since poor dietary choices can inhibit absorption, but the only significant sources of calcium I can see are the kale in the green lemonade and the almond butter and milk… not very much.

    Do you supplement or do you find those levels of calcium sufficient for your growing girl?

  • 21. livelightly  |  February 4, 2008 at 3:53 am

    Hi Kristina…
    Thanks for your comment…we do use a high quality supplement, but are working on getting more calcium from natural sources. Here is a great list of calcium sources and by the looks of it, Bella is doing great. She had about 6 figs tonight, 2 oranges, and broccoli. She regularly eats all the foods on this list. And yes, I do believe that the FDA allowances are completely messed up πŸ™‚ So I don’t worry about it too much.

    * cooked dried white beans: 161mg per serving (1 oz)
    * dried figs: 169mg per serving (10 figs)
    * spinach: 120mg per serving (1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked)
    * oranges: 50mg per serving (1 medium orange)
    * sweet potatoes: 44mg per serving (1/2 cup mashed)
    * broccoli: 35mg per serving (1 1/2 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked)

  • 22. Sam  |  February 5, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Get out of my head! We try to have a balance of healthy snacks and “treats”. We only keep healthy snacks in the house and save “treat bags” from birthday parties FOREVER, because we forget about them! When my children are with grandparents, I allow them to spoil the kids a tad, with cookies and cake. I hate hard candy, and what’s with blue raspberry???? Gross. Anyway, at a very young age I would tell my children that sweet potatoes, apples, kiwi, etc….were nature’s candy.

    Funny story about choices, we make chopska (tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese,and red wine vinegar). At first my 3yo daughter did not like it, but I still serve it to her. After 3 weeks she now LOVES it, ” Can I have more?” is so delightful to hear. THanks

  • 23. anne  |  February 5, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Oh, I wish I wish I wish I wish. I have an 11-year-old daughter who eats NO fruits and vegetables. Refused them as a baby, refused them as a toddler, refuses them to this day. Something about the texture. I made SO MANY mistakes with her, feeding her unhealthy stuff just to get her to eat AT ALL, and now I’ve got this 11-year-old who subsists on cheese and white flour products and occasionally some meat. I’m ready to just quit buying anything with white flour, but I am really worried that she will starve herself. It’s almost like she’s made herself a little identity out of not eating fruits and vegetables.

    I have gotten so into eating healthfully in recent years and these days am high raw, strict vegetarian most of the time. I feel so much better and it feels WRONG to continue to buy the only stuff my daughter will eat, which isn’t even real food. (I’ve been reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.)

    I realize this comment might get buried in this post, but if any one of you has any great advice or insight, please pass it along!

  • 24. livelightly  |  February 5, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Hi Anne!
    Thanks so much for commenting…and for taking the step to ask for help! It must be so difficult when you want to eat so healthy and she has trouble following that path. And I know that as mothers, we just want to make our kids happy…and will do anything to keep the peace, you know?

    I have seen many doctors talking about this lately…how the child builds their identity around it…and the longer it goes on and the longer people comment on it…the worse it gets. In my opinion, she is still young enough to make changes (do it before she hits the teenage years!!) πŸ™‚ You are right in saying that YOU are the one buying the food. If you just stop buying those foods, she will eventually eat healthy foods. Honestly…she won’t starve herself. She might not eat for a few days…but eventually she’ll eat. I wouldn’t suggest just “taking it away” though. I would make her a part of the decision. Bring her shopping…let her try to figure out just a few fruits and veggies that she “might” like. Start adding them slowly to her adding. ADDING. Don’t take stuff away in the beginning. Just add stuff. Then, as time goes on, start getting rid of the bad stuff.

    On a TV show I like to watch (You Are What You Eat on BBC)…the host was telling the mom that the way she is allowing her children to eat was basically the equivalent of child abuse. Only, it was “food abuse”. I know this sounds really harsh, but hear me out. If your daughter continues to eat this way…it’s almost certain that she will have problems in the future…problems that could have been prevented. I hope you don’t take offense to this…it’s just a new way to look at it.

    I’d love to help you with ideas…feel free to email me directly at janssenfamily (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Happy Eating!

  • 25. anne  |  February 5, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Oh, thank you for replying! We’ve tried the adding thing–she tasted romaine lettuce last night but couldn’t bring herself to swallow it. Same with cucumber. It’s always been like this, even with fruits that are yummy and sweet. I’ll keep trying, though. I just truly do not understand her resistance. From the time she was born, she has resisted anything new and so she is now addicted to sourdough bread, oyster crackers, Annie’s mac & cheese, etc. The list of foods she will eat is very short, and if I try and add, she just won’t even put a teeny crumb in her mouth without a huge, sobbing fit. It’s like she’s afraid of new foods. She says she doesn’t like the way things feel in her mouth.

    I really wish I had not “given in” and fed her white foods when she was l little, but she truly did not eat otherwise. The pediatrician said not to make an issue out of it, so I didn’t and I haven’t, and now this is where we are.

    Her younger sister is a little health foody, so part of this, I wonder sometimes, may be wrapped up in my big girl’s identity. It makes her different from the rest of us. But she clearly came with these feeding challenges–she was choosy about nursing, extremely choosy about anything beyond breast milk, then refused and refused and refused as we brought out solid food. I was not as informed then as I am now, and instead of keeping going with the healthy stuff, I got scared and gave her whatever she would eat. Every time I’ve made an effort to change that, it’s made us all miserable and made her feel somehow defective, and that’s certainly not my goal, either.

    I know that just adding stuff will not work. My goal at this point is to get the white stuff out and replace it with whole grains. I’m not a huge proponent of whole wheat, but given that she eats no rice and no pasta (other than Annie’s Mac), bread and crackers are all I have to work with in terms of substitutions. And I’ll keep trying with the fruits and veggies and smoothies.

  • 26. To Think is to Create  |  February 9, 2008 at 12:02 am

    I love this post, and I am enjoying the comments and all the helpful tips. I do have one thing to add to the conversation though…

    It makes me a little sad to read Anne describing her daughter’s sensory issues and beating herself up about how she thinks it’s all her fault. I totally agree that kids eat how you teach them to eat, however there are kids who are an exception to this. Kids who are special needs, or maybe just have oral sensory problems. I have two autistic sons, and am all too familiar with sensory issues and eating. They aren’t refusing “healthy” food (like Anne said, her daughter even refuses sweet fruit), but are refusing the texture and/or strong flavor. Through my autism research I’ve learned that kids with sensory issues tend to only want carbs and cheese because they are the most bland foods out there. I do think there is some truth to this when I look at my own kids.

    Back when I only had one child, I tried the whole “don’t give it to them” route, but my son being special needs, he literally didn’t eat a thing. For days.

    I can totally relate to Anne (not that her daughter is autistic!) because it’s like we have two families living here. We have my husband and I who eat whole, organic foods and then we have my boys. It’s upsetting, but we never stop offering new things hoping one day their issues will get better.

    Oh by the way, my second son used to eat everything we eat until he had a massive regression last year and now won’t eat anything.

    So, I just hope people understand that this issue is not black and white. In my experience, it’s usually the kids who are in a healthy food family and are also good eaters (no sensory issues) that make up the perfect combination.


  • 27. livelightly  |  February 9, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Arianne…thanks so much for your insight. I know that I have it very easy when it comes to feeding my child! She’s pretty open to anything. So it’s nice to get a different perspective.

  • 28. Megan  |  February 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    While I don’t have kids yet (in a couple years probably) I am always looking for ideas about how we will raise our kids in a natural & holistic healthy environment. I loved this post – it’s great insight for what is to come.

    I also wanted to ask you (and maybe this falls more on Walk Slowly, Love Wildly) how your family has reacted too all of your changes? Is it hard when you have family meals (Thanksgiving, etc.)? Also, how do you deal with toys? Since you have a small space, I imagine you can’t have tons of room for toys, etc. but I am sure everyone wants to buy Bella new things. Such as for Christmas and birthdays – do you try not to have certain toys (plastics, characters, etc.) or not? I am very interested in having my children have natural wooden toys, no plastics, cloth dolls (do plastic dolls or Barbie’s) and avoiding characters (Dora, Blues, etc.) when possible….but my husband doesn’t think it will be possible to raise our kids like this because our parents won’t feed them healthy foods, buy them natural toys, and give them lots of candy in their stockings.

    I suppose this is a rather long request πŸ™‚ I guess all this to say I’d love to hear more about raising Bella and the decisions you’ve made along the way, maybe family’s reactions and how you do it all!

  • 29. lauren  |  July 1, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    here is the link for the blog that you mentioned about raising a raw baby… the new blog is called “raising alex” (formerly “raw baby alex”)

    thanks for all of your suggestions and information!!

  • 30. get answers to carpet cleaning  |  September 24, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Hmm….awesome web-site and contents right here.

    The publications on this site are actually interesting!!!!
    πŸ™‚ Any existing Rss here? I had been looking for persistently up
    to date information on couch cleaning.


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Words to Eat By

"It is easier to change a man's religion than to change his diet." -Margaret Mead

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