Friday, May 11, 2012

Food, Glorious Food


Or, should I say HEALTHY food.

This is something we constantly struggle with, the challenge of getting nutrition into a sensory-overloaded child.  Think of the pickiest toddler...then times it by ten. Many children start to outgrow their food aversions by the time they're ready to enter public school; not Little Guy.  I am not exaggerating - this kid won't even eat breakfast cereal with milk.

Here is a list of foods I know Little Guy will eat:  gogurt, string cheese, chicken nuggets, jello, fries, hot dogs, pancakes, bacon, garlic bread, and apple juice.

Added to this very short list are the foods he will eat on occasion (if it's a "good" day and he happens to be in the right mood):  peanut butter on bread, ham cubes, skinless apple slices, scrambled eggs, pears, mac and cheese, baby carrot sticks (only one, mind you), and plain spaghetti noodles.

The characteristics which make food appealing to most of us - textures, aromas, flavors - are just too overwhelming for my son.  Unfortunately, his limited diet makes it very tricky to ensure he's getting what he needs to grow and be healthy. 

I'm often forced to be sneaky resourceful when it comes to slipping nutrition into my son's meals.

One of my favorite methods is using Pediasure Sidekicks.  They tend to be strongly flavored, so I mix it with regular milk and call it a "milkshake".  It's a great way to get Little Guy to drink milk, and the "sidekicks" have extra protein and fiber.  I will sometimes make a real milkshake and add bananas or peaches to try and sneak in some extra fruit.  I've also introduced him to "orange fries" - aka sweet potato fries.  It's been a great way to add Vitamin A to his menu.  I've noticed that Little Guy is beginning to experiment with dunking, so I'll buy "apple dunker" packs (gala slices and caramel) at the grocery store.  I can sometimes get Little Guy to try something new by adding ketchup on his plate - even if it's only the tiniest little bite, I count it a success!

As Little Guy grows older, I'm confident his eating preferences will improve.  At least I won't have to worry about school lunch just yet, as Little Guy will attend school only half day as a kindergartner.  After that, I'm suspect we'll be packing lunches of gogurt and string cheese until my son can learn to tolerate - and enjoy - good food :)

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