Tackling Textures And Smells – Healthier Eating For The Sensitive Child

Tackling Textures And Smells – Healthier Eating For The Sensitive Child

Tackling textures and smells – Healthier Eating For The Sensitive Child

by Neil Welsh Nutrition.

 

Feeding kids is difficult at the best of times and can have implications for the physical and mental health of everyone involved. It is stressful for kids who have sensitivities to food and can limit the range of food that are readily available to them from which they can meet their nutritional needs.  As for parents and carers, it impacts us too. The greatest impact on adults tends to be psychological in the form stress and anxiety in feeding a sensitive child. But the impact can also be physical. Kids who have difficulties when it comes to feeding can have a huge impact on the adults in their lives. The narrowing down of a child’s food choices will often narrow down an adult’s food options too with many foods not being served as they are on the “do not like” list, and many of those foods being the healthier options which may be less palatable to a child. In addition to food options being narrowed time is a huge issue. Sensitive kids will often require more time to eat, or try to eat. Many parents find themselves cooking twice, one meal for their sensitive child and then another for the rest of the family. This additional time in the kitchen adds up to hundreds of hours that could be put to use in other ways.So what can parents do to help a child who is sensitive to textures and smells and improve everyone’s lives?

  • Don’t ignore it. The head in the sand approach is not your best option here but many parents do this hoping that it will be a phase which a child will grow out of. It may well be a phase but kids have lots of phases; tantrums, hitting, getting out of bed in the middle of the night and we would not just let them carry on these phases without some intervention. Food aversion is no different. Even if it were just a phase, it may unnecessarily carry on for years. There are ways to approach the problem which can be stress free for all involved and drastically improve the situation.

 

  • Talk about it. Many parents are concerned that talking about it with their kids may make it worse and reinforce it. It wont. As long as you are compassionate and empathetic then it should be fine. Let your child know that you understand and that you want to try and help. Tell them that you are on the same team and that you understand that things have been hard but you are going to try some new approaches. Now, let’s not be naïve here. There is a good chance that a child may be less than enthusiastic about this and that is fine. But warning them about a change and letting them feel part of the decision can be empowering and help improve the situation. This conversation is important.

 

  • This sounds easy but in reality it is quite difficult. Feeding professionals state that it can take up to 20 exposures for new tastes and textures to be accepted. If you were to serve a child the same problem food once a week that would mean that you would need more than 4 months of serving a food that your child does not like to see a progression from resistance to just licking. It’s a long time but the speed of acceptance does increase over time. Start with tricky foods just on the plate. Encourage a child to taste, they don’t have to eat it. There is a huge difference between eating and tasting to a child. Start with a sniff, go on to a lick, then a chew (followed by a spit) and hope for a swallow.

 

  • Get the environment right. Little details can add up to have big impacts. Getting a child ready to eat in plenty of time makes a big difference. Coming straight from playing to sitting down to eat can quickly result in “I don’t like it”, when what they really mean is “I want to go back and play”. Get kids in the kitchen. Get them helping to cook and lay the table… and clearing up afterwards. If they are old enough to operate an ipad then they are old enough to put plates in a dishwasher! Serve food in portions that are age appropriate, cut up tricky foods into bite size pieces, serve food family style so kids can help themselves and don’t always leave it until dinner to try to expose kids to difficult food (kids will be tired at the end of the day and it can make the job more difficult).

 

  • Keep calm and carry on. Know that this is a slow process and accept this. Do not stress if you don’t see results this week, or next week but keep going. Keep exposing and keep talking.

 

Over time the situation should begin to improve. If there is no improvement then professional assessment may be required but at least you will know that you have taken steps to address the issue before moving on to this step.

For more information about getting kids to eat the healthy food that you want to eat go to www.neilwelshnutrition.com

Healthy Chocolate Milk Recipe Kids Love – Sugar & Dairy Free

Healthy Chocolate Milk Recipe Kids Love – Sugar & Dairy Free

Healthy Chocolate Milk Recipe For Kids

Healthy chocolate milk, is their really a healthy alternative? When we automatically think of a cool chocolately drink we think of chocolate, sugar and of course milk.

But for many children who are highly sensitive to sugar, dairy, preservatives and artificial flavours or colours, chocolate milk is not the wisest choice Your every day chocolate milk that can be bought in the shops is not just unhealthy, but can be too stimulating and play havoc with the gut. Often a challenged part of the body system of children with autism, aspergers, sensory issues and various health challenges.

So what sort of healthy chocolate milk recipe options are there?

Well two of the main things you can replace that can make a huge difference is the chocolate for raw healthy cacao not cocoa and almond milk instead of dairy. With a few extra healthy additional options you can make this taste really yummy. It all depends on how sweet your child likes their milk and what they definitely don’t like. My own nieces and nephews love the recipe below, even one who doesn’t really like bananas was absolutely shocked there was a banana in this recipe and than it wasn’t technically real chocolate. But some people miss out the bananas and just use dates. It is totally up to you and your child.

healthy chocolate milk recipe dairy-free sugar-free

Healthy Chocolate Milk Recipe

Well Healthy Cacoa & Almond Milk Recipe

1 – 1 1/2 cup of almond milk – To Make Your Own Almond Milk Click Here

1 x Large Banana

 1 – 2 tablespoons of Cacoa Powder

A few drops of vanilla essence

Optional ( 1- 2 teaspoons of peanut butter)

Optional ( 1/2 teaspoon honey, agave or date syrup*popular with the big kids)

A few ice cubes

 

Simply blend all above except ice into a smoothie maker or blender and serve with a straw

 

 

 

Healthy Hot Chocolate

Well Healthy  Hot Cacoa Drink

Blend all of above ingredients (except ice) to a warm pan (except ice), for kids just slightly warm obviously adults can have a lot warmer.

Note:Best to add the chosen sweetener at end, just as its warming and ready to come off the boil or heat.

 

dairy free chocolate ice cream

Other Options- Healthy Choco Ice Cream

Healthy Cacoa Ice Cream

A dairy free chocolate ice cream alternative.

All of above recipe, simply frozen, you can also add some cacao nibs, nuts or extra crunchy peanut butter pieces

Let me know how you get on, I would advise you to try these recipes yourself and experiment to your own tastes before getting it right for the kids.  These recipes are packed with nutrients and antioxidants,  the main recipe is a great smoothie for on the go, for breakfast or for those afternoon sugar dips

 

Watch out I will be sharing more healthy recipes over the next few months perfect for highly sensitive kids and of course highly sensitive adults. Mean while check out my latest FREE Parents Guide – Supporting Your Sensitive Child