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Healing with Wholefoods Nutritional Therapy

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War at the dinner table?

Health experts around the world all agree that a well balanced, varied diet supports good health and cognitive development in children. But what if your child is a fussy eater and insists on having the same simple foods day in, day out?

Little girl holding her hands over her mouth at dinner table. Test for food allergies as digestive discomforts may be behind a refusal to eat certain foods.

Involve Your Children – Let them Help Cook

Sometimes children’s diets change when they join a creche or school, by simply copying other children’s habits. If they were always a picky eater, he or she might have just sensed your weakness and gotten away with eating sweets or simple carbohydrates instead of the family dinner. It is a good idea to involve your children in cooking and playing with food, learning about how it helps the body to feel well and grow strong.

Young children working together to make fresh salsa.It's a good idea to get your child involved in cooking.

If all else fails, you can choose one of two options:

1. Follow the advice of Supernanny and re-build your authority at home by insisting they eat whatever is put in front of them - just the way our own parents did. In truth, children push their boundaries all the time, finding out your weaknesses. If you are not persistent from as early as two months old - you could face a very tough time. Is it worth having war at each meal time? Some psychiatrists agree that forcing them to eat their dinner might lead to food phobias and eating disorders later in life (well, it never happened to me, I like my food and its variety.)

2. You could try and disguise hated foods such as green vegetables, beans and white fish into soups, lasagne, pasta sauces, meat balls and burgers. Our body is amazing! If healthy foods like vegetables or fish are introduced to the diet bit by bit, our body actually recognises nutrients as positive for its health and it can alter our mind and perception of food, getting us interested in the food in question.

Young girl eating cotton candy.Try making eating healthy food as much fun as eating empty carbohydrates.
Photo by PhotoPicks Photography & Art

Try Healthier Versions of Foods They Like

You should also introduce healthier options of the foods they are already eating: e.g. use spelt pasta and bread instead of wheat. If the family doesn’t want to hear about wholegrain, the white spelt variety is still a much more nutritious option and it tastes pretty much the same - Spelt is the ancient wheat after all, un-altered, un-modified, just the way God intended it for us.

Test for Illnesses

You should also consider that there may be digestive discomforts and food allergies behind a child’s refusal to eat certain foods or unwillingness to try new foods. Lack of breast feeding or early weaning, early introduction of dairy products and gluten grains can easily lead to digestive problems and food allergies. They then associate food with getting ill. By the means of food allergy testing (both the classic IgE and the delayed IgG rections) and the use of probiotic powder and digestive enzymes (from your health food store) you can re-establish good digestion, and with that they may enjoy the introduction of more differing foods into his/her diet.

Little boy taking a bite of mom's sandwich.It helps if you are not dreading meal times. Children pick up on our un-ease.
Photo by Kati Garner

Present a Positive Attitude And last but not least, it also helps if you are not dreading mealtimes. Kids can pick up our un-ease and can see through our intention of sneaking something into their food. Act happy, positive and generally normal. Here are a couple of recipes to help you win the battle.

Try my recipe for Go Green Burgers.
Try my recipe for Falafel Balls.
Try my recipe for Child Proof Fish Cakes.

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