This post is from contributing writer Mary Voogt of Just Take A Bite.
Every parent wants their kids to be good eaters, right?
No complaining. No throwing food. No refusing to eat vegetables. It’s a reasonable desire.
Of course most kids do go through phases of eating more or less, phases of liking and refusing certain foods, phases of wanting to make their own food choices and willingly eating whatever you serve. Love it or hate it, that’s life. Thankfully it seems to get easier to handle with each child.
But what if your child just won’t eat?
Emotions turn from annoyance to anxiety. I’ve been there. And I know I’m not alone.
It’s not getting any better.
As allergies are on the rise so are eating struggles. Especially for young children.
Think about it for a minute. If you eat something that upsets your stomach do you feel like eating? Are you a little hesitant to eat that food again?
Now imagine if you are so young you can’t even verbalize how you feel. And your mom tries to feed you the same food over and over (because we’re told to keep trying, eventually they’ll like it) that you know will give you a stomach ache or reflux or even swelling.
What is your solution? Refusal to eat. Period.
Feeding a young child that is developing allergies is an important and sometimes stressful task. As a parent your only feedback is watching for reactions, assuming you even know to look for them! Along the way your child may just stop eating out of fear or because she simply does not feel good.
I have lived this struggle over the past year and a half as my daughter slowly developed more and more allergies.
When we first introduced solids she seemed to enjoy most things she tried. But gradually she started eating less and less until she stopped eating.
The low point.
We managed to get by for a while because she was nursing full time. But as we approached her first birthday I knew something had to change. A one year old should be eating more than three bites of solid food a day.
This is my third child. I know all the tricks. I tried different flavors and textures. I tried distracting her. I fed her in a chair or while we were playing. Really. I had tried it all.
But she still wouldn’t eat.
She wasn’t gaining weight. She wasn’t getting enough nourishment.
At thirteen months old I knew I had to change our situation or take her to the doctor.
In a last ditch effort I made her some squash “milk.” She had so many foods she reacted to I couldn’t make a regular smoothie of any kind. No dairy, nuts, alternative milks, eggs, bananas, avocados. There were only a couple of fruits she could eat. So I had dismissed smoothies a long time ago.
But I gave it a shot. It consisted of water, squash, grated liver, olive oil, sea salt,and maple syrup. A good balance of starch, fat and protein with extra vitamins and minerals mixed in.
I skipped the sippy cup and used a regular cup with a straw, which she thought was great.
To my joy and amazement she drank it all. The ENTIRE thing!
The turning point.
This was the most solid food and nourishment she had consumed in months. I may have even cried. And promptly made another. I got my one-year-old to eat again!!
With that one drink she realized that not everything would hurt her tummy. It was safe to eat. And boy was she hungry!!Print
A simple, allergen-friendly smoothie perfect for adding nutrients to a young child’s diet.
- 1/4 c. cooked squash or pumpkin
- 1 tsp. – 2 Tbsp. grass-fed collagen
- 1/2 c. water
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. unrefined sea salt
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp. activated charcoal
- 1 dose powdered probiotic
- 2 tsp. tapioca flour, arrowroot, cassava flour, cornstarch or potato starch (for thickness and extra carbohydrates)
- 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!), melted coconut oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!), lard or tallow
- 1/2 tsp. grated raw liver
- 1 raw egg yolk (if not allergic)
- Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until well pureed and foamy. Adjust the squash/ /maple syrup/salt ratios to taste.
- Serve in a sippy cup or a regular cup with a straw.
- Squash milk can be served and stored at room temperature all day. Refrigerate if saving over night.
** The squash or pumpkin can be replaced with sweet potato, avocado, carrot or banana.
** If your child has never had collagen start with a smaller amount and increase it each time you serve this beverage.
Trouble Getting Healthy Food on the Table Every Day?
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Real Plans is an online meal planning software & app that is probably smarter than I am.
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We reached our turning point. My daughter’s health and life were saved with a smoothie made out of squash.
Of course it was a gradual process to get her to eat more solid food. We still had many bad days and setbacks. But we never went back to day after day after day of refusing to eat. And every time we got derailed we went right back to a simple pureed drink to get her tummy settled and get the digestive juices flowing.
My daughter is now 18 months old. She eats three meals a day plus snacks (in addition to still nursing full time). She is still making up for lost time and just starting to gain weight at a normal pace. But her eating has improved immensely.
Through our journey I have learned so much about feeding a young child with developing allergies. I have even used my strategies to get my four-year-old to eat when he has a tummy bug or an allergy flare. It works with all ages.
I’m happy to share.
I’m so excited to share what I’ve learned in my book Why Won’t My Child Eat?! I lay out step by step how to go from square one (refusing to eat anything) to having a great eater. This book is for parents with any feeding challenges, whether it be allergies, food sensitivities, picky eating or even oral sensory processing disorder.
Maybe you don’t even realize your kids have food issues. You might be surprised. I lay out all of the signs to look for (including things like tantrums and bad breath) and how to observe your child.
I’ll give you a sneak peak into the book today by sharing my recipe for squash “milk.” It is gentle on the tummy and perfect for kids with a wide variety of allergies. I still give it to my daughter a couple times a week to make sure she’s getting enough nourishment.
I even make it for myself sometimes! My diet is the same as hers while she’s nursing. I need nourishment too!
Squash “milk” is easy to make. Any variety of squash or pumpkin will work. You can stick to the base recipe or add in all sorts of nutrition boosters and tummy tamers. Toss it all in the blender and you’re done.
Say goodbye to tummy aches. Say farewell to the refusal to eat.
It is possible! I can’t wait to show you how. Check out my book Why Won’t My Child Eat?! to learn more.