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Dietary interventions working, but kid is refusing to eat...

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So we implemented some diet changes. We basically went AIP (which includes eliminating dairy and grains) and also mostly (but not completely) cut out foods high in salicylates. Behavior improvement was undeniable within a week: way more emotional regulation for the kids, way better focus and flexibility from my ADHD/ASD kid, school work getting completely done by 10am instead of fighting over it all day long and still only getting through half of it, and DH said it was the first time in ten years that he hasn’t struggled with anxiety and depression. He started cheating and giving the kids other stuff again and everything went downhill within 18 hrs. So the food intervention is an obvious Win, right?

Except now my 7 yo in particular is really just refusing to eat most of her food. She’ll eat meat and carrots and fruit, but almost nothing else, and this has been going on for a full week. She moped around crying that she’s hungry, but still won’t eat.

Does anyone have sage advice regarding staying the course with a stubborn, anxious kid who doesn’t take to diet changes, when they’re so clearly beneficial?

ETA: it’s mostly every other vegetable in the world she won’t eat, even fried plantains, which the rest of my kids love! We’ve tried sweet potato, butternut and acorn and spaghetti squash, zucchini, radishes, celeriac, bok choy, kale, cabbage, beets, salad, turnips, parsnips, onion, Brussel sprouts, avocado with lime and salt, asparagus, jicama, and pretty much every other kind of vegetable w can.

Edited by 4KookieKids
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Congrats on doing the AIP! That's hard and the results sound amazing!!

This is total armchair advice, but I've heard great things about the Ellyn Satter method. She's got books on Amazon. Basically, it's your responsibility to provide healthy food, and the child's responsibility to eat. You really can't do much about it except offer food at mealtimes, and a snack at intervals, too. You make a schedule and stick to it. Eventually the child will eat - unless, of course, there's some underlying issue with food, but that doesn't seem to be happening with your DD. 

Just thinking about the AIP... isn't meat, carrots, and fruit pretty much the base of the diet anyway? I think she could be pretty healthy with just those things ? . 

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10 minutes ago, Mainer said:

Just thinking about the AIP... isn't meat, carrots, and fruit pretty much the base of the diet anyway? I think she could be pretty healthy with just those things ? . 

 Not just carrots- you’re supposed to eat a wide variety of vegetables.

 Thanks for the encouragement! We’ve always aired towards the philosophy that they either eat it or don’t. It's just been hard watching her the last week as she spends longer and longer crying about being hungry... lol.

Edited by 4KookieKids

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I started with a nutritionist (a really out there one) years ago, and one of the things that BLEW MY MIND when I started was the VARIETY of food. Not just veges, cuz I get it. I've even this way for 17 years and I don't go oh thank you for that bowl of veges! LOL But there's so so much variety that people aren't used to eating. Hold it, you eliminated grains? Like wheat or ALL grains? Sigh. So you eliminated a known, common problem (dairy) and cut out a whole food group and a ton of other things based on an ingredient. So you've got so many variables there you can't tell which you could add back in without a problem, kwim? What did your dh add back in? Dairy? Gluten grains? Non/low gluten grains? The things with salicylates include some veges, yes?

If he wants to add back in things, which is totally understandable, then sit down and make a list under each of those so you can start isolating. Like me, hanged if I'd reintroduce the dairy. That's your super common problem. But a low/no gluten grain? That might be a place to start. That way you'd only have one variable and see if you could start expanding back their diets. Like quinoa, do you eat it? It's saying it's low/no gluten. We really like quinoa here, because it just morphs and goes into anything and cooks in 2 minutes in the Instant Pot. 

Wild rice is a grass, not technically a grain, and it's maybe $5 a bag at Trader Joes. Not that stuff with the rice in it but real, straight wild rice. It cooks up nicely in the Instant Pot (or on the stove if you don't mind the mess), and it will morph for casseroles, stir fry, with spaghetti sauce, anything, very universal.

Are they eating dates? Whole medjool dates are so, so yummy. Also coconut covered date rolls are pretty easy to find. They may just flat be hungry as little growing kids, and you need super energy bombs like that. Our nutritionist had us eating dried fruit and bananas every morning for a mid-morning snack. School work uses up so much brain power, and you need to refuel. Hungry kids are cranky kids, and if they have sensory issues they're likely to let it go till they're HANGRY. I'd be looking for dense options like that.

Do they drink coconut milk? Coconut milk has some kind of MCT that is supposed to be really good for tone. My ds who drinks it and I have much better tone than dd, and it's just plain filling. I swear by it. The ped had said almond, but really coconut is so good. I buy So Delicious in asceptic cartons but my dd likes the Silk brand in the frig section. It also comes in a chocolate btw, which you can then make pudding with. 

 

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8 minutes ago, 4KookieKids said:

you’re supposed to eat a wide variety of vegetables.

Did you think maybe explore them as a group, adding one a week? I try to teach my ds to be adventurous. He's even eaten stuff I WON'T, like sushi, hehe. You could just have a vege of the week. Also, you may need to flex a lot at first. Kids like and crave whatever they had while they were in utero. What did you eat? Now some of the craving is biology, but I definitely put stock in the what did you eat. Like we can be honest and say this is what I ate so this is what the kid likes. I actually ate a ton of veges, big variety, while prego, but I also ate (oops) chocolate, lots of chocolate. My ds is nutso for chocolate!! Like he'll sit there and want the gourmet, really nice stuff and you're like hello you're too young to want that, lol.

So anyways, it might give you ideas about how to add flavors that are familiar/preferred to somethng you're wanting to expand her to. When I started feeding my dh better food, he would only eat it with added ketchup or spaghetti sauce. Now that hits your salicylates list, yes? I haven't looked in ages, and personally I think that's like one more complicating variable when I would have focused on cow milk and white flour, just me. But whatever you could add, like maybe turkey bacon? No nitrites, nothing, might work on your current restriction list. Almost anything tastes better with bacon, lol. We eat mostly turkey bacon, yum.

You can buy a sheep's milk feta, and some people who don't do well on cow's milk are ok with sheep. Some people do ok with goat yogurt. 

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I would try to have her accept the food in stages with just a little pressure. You start with wherever she is and push for the next small step until that step is no big deal and then try to push for the next step until the food is accepted or until there's enough food accepted that you don't care about the refusals. 

The steps (from my DDs feeding therapy):

food on the plate

kiss food goodbye (touch it to lips then throw it away)

spit food into trash, no chewing

chew and spit

one swallow

It's been a long time since we had to do this so I can't recall all the details, but I'm pretty sure each stage would only include one or two bites/ pieces. We did this with kids who were basically eating nothing when we started and were really abnormal, but I found it so effective that I think it could work with normal kids as well. One week is not much time to get acclimated to a new diet for anyone. She may come along easily enough with time. 

 

ETA: There's no time limit on how long a kid can stay at each step. They can take as long as they need at each step to feel comfortable. It could take us months before we went from food on the plate to food in the mouth. The goal is to only be a tiny bit uncomfortable. You can't have no discomfort or you'd never get the food on the plate, but nobody wants crying. 

Edited by Paige
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17 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

I started with a nutritionist (a really out there one) years ago, and one of the things that BLEW MY MIND when I started was the VARIETY of food. Not just veges, cuz I get it. I've even this way for 17 years and I don't go oh thank you for that bowl of veges! LOL But there's so so much variety that people aren't used to eating. Hold it, you eliminated grains? Like wheat or ALL grains? Sigh. So you eliminated a known, common problem (dairy) and cut out a whole food group and a ton of other things based on an ingredient. So you've got so many variables there you can't tell which you could add back in without a problem, kwim? What did your dh add back in? Dairy? Gluten grains? Non/low gluten grains? The things with salicylates include some veges, yes?

If he wants to add back in things, which is totally understandable, then sit down and make a list under each of those so you can start isolating. Like me, hanged if I'd reintroduce the dairy. That's your super common problem. But a low/no gluten grain? That might be a place to start. That way you'd only have one variable and see if you could start expanding back their diets. Like quinoa, do you eat it? It's saying it's low/no gluten. We really like quinoa here, because it just morphs and goes into anything and cooks in 2 minutes in the Instant Pot. 

Wild rice is a grass, not technically a grain, and it's maybe $5 a bag at Trader Joes. Not that stuff with the rice in it but real, straight wild rice. It cooks up nicely in the Instant Pot (or on the stove if you don't mind the mess), and it will morph for casseroles, stir fry, with spaghetti sauce, anything, very universal.

Are they eating dates? Whole medjool dates are so, so yummy. Also coconut covered date rolls are pretty easy to find. They may just flat be hungry as little growing kids, and you need super energy bombs like that. Our nutritionist had us eating dried fruit and bananas every morning for a mid-morning snack. School work uses up so much brain power, and you need to refuel. Hungry kids are cranky kids, and if they have sensory issues they're likely to let it go till they're HANGRY. I'd be looking for dense options like that.

Do they drink coconut milk? Coconut milk has some kind of MCT that is supposed to be really good for tone. My ds who drinks it and I have much better tone than dd, and it's just plain filling. I swear by it. The ped had said almond, but really coconut is so good. I buy So Delicious in asceptic cartons but my dd likes the Silk brand in the frig section. It also comes in a chocolate btw, which you can then make pudding with. 

 

 

Yes i know we eliminated a lot! But DH needed black and white so produce and meat was black and white. And I needed results fast. We’ve done eliminations in the past.  And I knew that I did not have it in me to eliminate one food group at a time and not see improvement for months. 

 We have a plan for adding back in the things that we most love and miss. I think it’s just that DH just underestimated the effect that a little cheating would have. In all honesty, he was completely floored at the changes he experienced in his own body when we eliminated stuff and Ian still processing that.

three of my kids will drink smoothies with coconut milk- child in question will not (even if it’s just coconut milk and fruit with no veggies involved). 

Im not sure what to do about snacks right now. We keep lots of snacks on hand, but dd7 tries to game the system by skipping meals and subsisting only in fruit and meat snacks. Lol. 

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I think hold strong a little longer.  One week isn't very long.  See what happens after two weeks.  

Honestly -- a lot of times, the first week is the hardest, it is the very hardest at the end of the first week, but then in the second week it's getting better.  

Generically -- for any change in routine like this.  I don't mean specifically for food.  

But some kids do not like change, yet -- change has to happen sometimes.  

Edit:  I think if there is absolutely no improvement after two weeks, I would look to make a change in a way I thought would go better.  If there is some improvement after two weeks (aka -- it's not every day, it's mainly at one time in the day) then I would re-assess.  

But just in general -- for any change, give it two weeks, and expect the end of the first week to be the worst.  Or else, the first 3 days.  Or else, the whole first week.  But it's not the case that you can expect 3 days to do it, and think it will last forever if it has lasted a week.  That is a common misconception.  Give it two weeks.  

 

Edited by Lecka
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1 minute ago, 4KookieKids said:

dd7 tries to game the system by skipping meals

Is the dc actually sitting at the table and having conversation? She's so young, she's hard-pressed to self-advocate and explain what could be better, meaning sometimes you're left guessing and looking for patterns. Like to me, food is food, because with sensory I'm generally so under-responsive. I was having sensory issues with my food, but I didn't realize it. My dd, on the other hand, is so OVER-sensitive that things HURT, like literally, physically hurt. She hit 15 or whatever age and she's like mom, why do you always make SMOOTH food??? She's like I need stuff with TEXTURE!!! I didn't realize I had been doing that, lol. Turns out I like everything chopped teeny tiny, uber fine, and she's like give me a ROAST. That physically hurts me to chew. 

You're probably already clued in on that, lol. I wasn't. So if everything you're serving is chunky, you could try some smooth, tiny piece foods and see what happens. You do notice how fine quinoia is, lol. I super love split pea soup. Lentil soup, especially red lentils, cooks down to smooth. Excellent with bacon, yum. And veges, I tend to cut my salads and things very fine, like a chopped salad. 

Does the 7 yo have a list of things she DOES like or will eat? We have a list of the 3 alternates for any meal at the table, and they're big categories (cereal, pb&j, eggs) and if you don't want what I'm serving then those are your choices. Maybe she has something acceptable to make that list?

That Paige gave is what I've read other places. We didn't have to do that, because ds is mostly ok with those stages, able to let it be on his plate, etc. I ask him to eat 2 bites and then that's fine. We got a win with cucumbers a few years ago, starting with miniscule bites and working up, and now he knows it's true that you get used to things.

I think it's astonishing your dh is willing to go along. Good for him!!

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7 minutes ago, 4KookieKids said:

Also, I had no idea about wild rice. I’ll check it out!

Yup! And it cooks and puffs up so big, that that tiny bag will be enough wild rice to feed your family for like a week, even eating it every day, lol. Here's how to cook it in the instant pot. That's an absurd amount of salt if you're using store broth. You can cook the whole bag and then freeze portions if you want too. Then you can just pull them out to have meals faster. I've done that for years, and lately I've been chopping up and freeze fajita veges as well. I always need something to make life go faster when I'm behind, lol.

https://allthenourishingthings.com/how-to-cook-wild-rice-in-the-instantpot/ You can see how it puffs up. :)

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Also, I'm very comfortable with a limited diet.  It doesn't bother me.  My son has had phases of eating oatmeal, carrots with ranch, and meatballs.  Nobody has had a problem with it as far as nutrition, because he is eating!  He is eating food!  Kids who do not eat are much more concerning.  Kids who are only eating plain spaghetti are also a little more concerning, but still not as concerning as kids who do not eat.

But good for you ------ nutrition is important.  It is just not something I take on if the minimum is there.  

But I think what Paige mentions is really, really good.

I have done similar with toothbrushing and sunscreen.  Also with wearing a coat.  Also with wearing boots.  Also with going into the bathroom in our house.  I got a suggestion for potty training to start changing his diaper in the bathroom so he would start associating it with the bathroom, but he would scream at the door of the bathroom, because he thought I would brush his teeth.  Yet he wouldn't mind baths?  I think he heard the water running.  

Anyway -- for something to google, you can look up desensitization or exposure therapy.  

You want the exposure to be low enough that there is not an extreme negative reaction.  It can start with being in the same room, if putting it on the plate is too much.  That can be worked up to.  It can start with being on the table but not on the plate.  

You can also look up food chaining.  

I have heard this book is good:

https://www.amazon.com/Food-Chaining-Feeding-Problems-Childs/dp/1600940161

You can also look and see if maybe she does have sensitivities, if there are any patterns.  Does she ever gag or vomit.  If yes -- that is definitely time to take it more seriously.  If no -- there still might be ways to make little changes.

Just for example ------ for a long time my son would eat meatballs, but not a hamburger patty, and certainly not cooked ground beef.

I thought cooked ground beef should be fine if meatballs were fine.

Well -- it turns out that is a really hard texture for a lot of kids, I had not realized at all.  

Anyway -- even the same food might go better with a different cooking technique.  And then also -- it is also a way to make little changes that might expand her palate.  

Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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If it's possible where you live, try to go to any support group for autism.  

Where I used to live, I went to one, and an OT came once and talked about food chaining.  It was very informative, and then you can hear from parent questions/comments what is going on with other kids.  

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Are you using any alternative nut butters? Tahini, sunflower butter, almond butter... You can get local raw honey and stir it into the almond butter and it will thicken up, yum. You can add cinnamon to that, double yum. You can put that on wild rice cakes (yes, they exist!!!). Hold it, I just rocked your world. Walmart, Whole Foods, everybody has these. They're wild rice cakes, and they're what I eat. Right in with the brown rice, but they're wild rice. So the nutritionist had us spread a nut butter on them like almond butter, and then I drizzle on raw honey because I'm a sweet tooth. (It's also good for allergies, my excuse, hehe.) Then sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Super potent, super filling, a great snack or meal replacement, and probably doesn't violate your current rules.

http://www.lundberg.com/product/organic-wild-rice-cake/  You'll love'em. You can spread hummus on them too. Buy lotsa bags, because you're about to become an investor!! I've been eating this way for 17 years, and there's no reason to starve. You just have to get connected. :)

So my ds will eat the rice cakes with hummus, yes. Hummus is beans and tahini (sesame seed paste). We used to make a dressing with tahini. Apparently it has something valuable in it or is easy to digest, because the nutritionist was nutso for it. Hummus is fab for dipping carrots and bell pepper strips. You can solve a lot with a big pot of hummus. Maybe look for a good recipe and experiment. I like red pepper hummus, but my ds likes roasted garlic, which I never would have imagined, lol. Trader Joes has lots of kinds you can try. Like do a field trip, try four kids with the kids, and then have a cooking lesson to make your own! :)

There's this thing you can make, I haven't made it in years, but oh my. It's these balls with honey and tahini and ground sunflower seeds and maybe wheat germ? You're not doing grains. But roll with the idea. Halvah, that's what it is. You make a batch in the food processor and roll into balls that can go in a bowl in the frig. Instant food, very filling. It's the kind of thing you could hand a kid as a meal replacement. 

Also almond butter or pbutter or any butter on celery works. The trick there is to spread and then cut the celery into small bites so it doesn't hurt to chew. I'm not a super fan of that, but my ds is. I just find it really hard to chew, so I have to cut thin. But it's filling and food and something I can put on his plate. My ds tends to be really flighty and used to fatigue with chewing, so I'm always looking for things that are DENSE in calories so he gets nutrition in before he stops eating.

Are you making guacamole? Or eating avocado slices straight or chopped into salads? You know avocado is the fruit of the gods, right? Not really, lol, but it is super packed in nutritionist and something that is easy to eat for sensory issues. It used to make me gag because my digestion was so poor. If that happens, more fruit and papaya enzymes, but that's another discussion. For avocado, I tend to make a chipotle style guacamole and then put it on whatever we're eating. Ds will eat it that way.

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For example -- people can have ideas about going from one food to another with what has worked for their kids.  

A lot of chains start with chicken nuggets and then offering different sauces.  Or, offering different brands of chicken nuggets or home-made, to expand from it needing to be an exact chicken nugget. 

Just for an example I have heard about.  

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If you like salmon, you can bake the salmon, flake, mix with mayo, veges, spices, to make like tuna salad (still warm) and then serve in lettuce wraps. There's a spice mixture we've used for this, but anything warm and pleasing (salt, onion powder, whatever) would do. We like things wrapped in lettuce, so a riff on the PF Changs lettuce wraps using ground chicken, salmon wraps, anything. Boston leaf lettuce or hydroponic is nice, soft is nice. Romaine will work in a pinch. I'll even serve turkey burgers in lettuce. I *can* eat a bun, but I choose not to because it doesn't work toward my cause and is against what the nutritionist taught me (for avoiding gut problems etc.). So even if we have buns around for dh, I use lettuce instead. It's actually really good if you spread the mayo and ketchup on. Or I'll bake burgers with a ketchup and spice mixture like stuffed peppers filling and put on a whole ring of onions. Then when it comes out I put on sauted mushrooms, yum yum. It's really nice and filling that way and you don't miss the bun at all. 

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Yes, avocado got eaten once with lots of lime and salt! But it was a one time deal. I haven’t made it into a dipping sauce yet... i should try that!

For the very first phase of AIP, all nuts and seeds and beans are out, sun butter, hummus, etc are not on the table right now. I think we’re going to add back in garbanzo beans anyway, because hummus, roasted chickpeas, and flatbread out oF besan flour have been staples here in the past. ?

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I also want to say that I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts and suggestions! While it won’t all work, it’s given me a lot of new ideas, which is wonderful. My kids are stubborn enough to go at least three days without eating (when I broke and fed them something else... so don’t k ow how long they actually would’ve gone... lol) and I was feeling beaten, but I have so much more hope and enthusiasm now!

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Ok, I'll just say this. Our nutritionist never had us do any of those replacement flours. So I might eat flatbread once a year at a restaurant but just in general I just move on. The wild rice cakes work well, veges work well. I think in our nutritionist's mind, if you replace one flour that turns into silt and logs the gut and causes gut problems with another flour that turns into silt and logs the gut and causes gut problems, you're still at the same place. But she's of the mind that the food reactions start in the gut, that clearing the gut and improving digestion would reverse the food reactions, and that's what it did for me. 

So for me, I'm always looking at what keeps my gut moving and what is taking personal responsibility for that. Just me.

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2 minutes ago, 4KookieKids said:

My kids are stubborn

And they're old enough now to begin to collaborate!! My ds actually makes his own little "recipes" now, lol. You might take one at a time to the store and ask them to help you find ideas that fit the parameters. There's so much out there that we tend not to try or not to eat, so we don't realize these other options. When I went to Russia, the family I stayed with was SO strapped for food budget, so hungry, working so hard to put food on the table, and I'd walk into a market and ask why they didn't eat such and such (cheap, readily available) and they're like oh such and such other ethnic group eats that! I'm like wow, if we're gonna starve and have beri beri, MAYBE time to try more foods! LOL 

I agree hitting on that stubborness wall would be hard. Collaborating, bringing in new things, helping them find options so they always have standbys, all that is good. I like to say the ultimate cure for some of this stuff is growing up so you finally get to say what you want and have it your way. Like if I want my salad chopped FINE, I get my salad chopped FINE. If I want my meals all smooth, every day of the week, they're smooth every day of the week. 

If they're at sort of a nuggest stage, you might be able to make some. I've been reading this Seriously Good Freezer Meals: 150 Easy Recipes to ... - Amazon.comhttps://www.amazon.com/Seriously-Good-Freezer-Meals-Recipes/dp/0778805913 and I hadn't realized you could bread ahead meats and freeze them. Now, like I said, I'm all about ground meat and smooth. Even baked chicken is less preferred for me, even when tender. But if they'll eat chunks, you could bread with ground up baked potato chips and mayo or something, sure. I should get smart and do that for my ds! That's why I was reading that freezer meals book, trying to up my game. I'm trying to go to the gym in the evenings again, and I need to spend less time cooking! It's so nice just to pull something out, and acceptable nuggets might be a filling, warm option for a picky one. Sometimes what gets dropped in these diets is the FATS, and that's why the little ones are hungry. So being able to bring back in some good fats is really good.

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3 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

And they're old enough now to begin to collaborate!! My ds actually makes his own little "recipes" now, lol. You might take one at a time to the store and ask them to help you find ideas that fit the parameters. There's so much out there that we tend not to try or not to eat, so we don't realize these other options. When I went to Russia, the family I stayed with was SO strapped for food budget, so hungry, working so hard to put food on the table, and I'd walk into a market and ask why they didn't eat such and such (cheap, readily available) and they're like oh such and such other ethnic group eats that! I'm like wow, if we're gonna starve and have beri beri, MAYBE time to try more foods! LOL 

I agree hitting on that stubborness wall would be hard. Collaborating, bringing in new things, helping them find options so they always have standbys, all that is good. I like to say the ultimate cure for some of this stuff is growing up so you finally get to say what you want and have it your way. Like if I want my salad chopped FINE, I get my salad chopped FINE. If I want my meals all smooth, every day of the week, they're smooth every day of the week. 

If they're at sort of a nuggest stage, you might be able to make some. I've been reading this Seriously Good Freezer Meals: 150 Easy Recipes to ... - Amazon.comhttps://www.amazon.com/Seriously-Good-Freezer-Meals-Recipes/dp/0778805913 and I hadn't realized you could bread ahead meats and freeze them. Now, like I said, I'm all about ground meat and smooth. Even baked chicken is less preferred for me, even when tender. But if they'll eat chunks, you could bread with ground up baked potato chips and mayo or something, sure. I should get smart and do that for my ds! That's why I was reading that freezer meals book, trying to up my game. I'm trying to go to the gym in the evenings again, and I need to spend less time cooking! It's so nice just to pull something out, and acceptable nuggets might be a filling, warm option for a picky one. Sometimes what gets dropped in these diets is the FATS, and that's why the little ones are hungry. So being able to bring back in some good fats is really good.

 

Ha ha! They collaborated just the other night to make carrot-spaghetti... we haven’t been eating tomatoes, but they were so eager to make it themselves and so excited about t being healthy that we just went with it: meatballs and sauce over long strips of raw carrot (they used a veggie peeler to make those), with a side salad of kale coated with avocado and lime and salt. All four aye the carrot spaghetti, but dd5 was so disappointed with her kale salad! Lol.

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PS I make our own lard/tallow from grass fed animals we buy, and we use it very everything. So They get lots of fat, so long as they actually eat. ?

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So — this is what I have heard..... not eating for 3 days is not going to hurt a basically healthy kid.  

It’s not a pleasant experience, but they aren’t being harmed by it.  

What I have also heard:  3 foods in of itself is not a problem, except that some kids will lose foods.  Having 3 foods means there are concerns of losing a food, because sometimes kids will lose a food and be down to 1 or 2 foods.  So ideally 6-7 foods is a good place to be.  That’s also a good base for expanding from.  But if you’re at 3, it’s great to get up to 4.  That would be great.  But being at 3 is sustainable.  Now — maybe that was specific to my son’s specific 3 foods, I don’t know.  Maybe.  

But you have got at least a protein and a vegetable, and that is very solid.  To be — very positive, of course it’s not ideal.  But in the scheme of things, you do have a protein and a vegetable, and that is a good place to be.  

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Good luck!!!!!!

I do think you have a lot of positives, really.  

I hope things will get easier!!!!!!!!

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12 minutes ago, 4KookieKids said:

 

Ha ha! They collaborated just the other night to make carrot-spaghetti... we haven’t been eating tomatoes, but they were so eager to make it themselves and so excited about t being healthy that we just went with it: meatballs and sauce over long strips of raw carrot (they used a veggie peeler to make those), with a side salad of kale coated with avocado and lime and salt. All four aye the carrot spaghetti, but dd5 was so disappointed with her kale salad! Lol.

Have you seen a spiralizer? I like zucchini boats. Yeah, raw kale sucks. Steam and put bacon with it. If you make a knockoff of the Olive Garden potato soup, you can put the kale in there.

11 minutes ago, 4KookieKids said:

from grass fed animals we buy,

yeah, we don't eat beef. The nutritionist pulled me off red meat right away because it's hard to digest and logs the gut. We alternate poultry and fish and have more vegetarian nights with legumes.

I'm not trying to say you're doing something wrong so much as maybe push the envelope a bit. :)

Edited by PeterPan
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Also, it’s good you make home-made food, because it will be easier to have little changes in taste, texture, and appearance with the same food.  It’s very good.  

It does also mean she probably does tolerate these little changes (as really — some people end up with kids only eating one kind of chicken nugget because they really just needed their kid to eat a food, and got to that point).  But your daughter is probably tolerating little changes in the scheme of things.  

Good luck, though, it is not easy!

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I wanted to say, do something nice for yourself.  It is not easy to enact a change, and the end of the first week can be really hard.  

I don't think it sounds like your daughter has a concerningly limited diet, or that she will actually eat little enough for long enough to cause herself harm.  It does not sound that way.  So that is good!

But that does not really make it any easier!  

I think, too, it is true, you can't make her eat, but you can provide healthy options.  It does sound like you are doing great with that!  

I think it would be okay to think about adjusting your hopes.  There is a lot of glorification of kids who have wide palates because their parents are such good parents and do all the right things to make sure their kids are open to many foods.  

But the important thing is just eating.  It does not have to be fancy to get the job done!

At the same time, I think it is great to look for ways to expand, it is very good to do.  But it is okay for that to be a work in progress.  

And -- honestly, it is pretty stubborn or rigid not to eat for 3 days.  It is.  I don't think it is harmful or extreme, I do not, but it is still something, and I think it is very hard for a parent!  

Edited by Lecka
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My advice is to focus on what everyone CAN eat not what you are taking out. Focus on getting recipes that taste great and are filling with delicious healthy food everyone can enjoy. Everyone in the family will benefit. I use my ipad and kindle for all my recipes Its a lifesaver. If I find something that everyone eats I take a picture of it on my ipad and store it under meals with some quick notes on how I made it. I hope to get 7-10 good dinners and lunches that everyone will eat that I can rotate but in the short term I am trying to please myself and pull them along. Also find foods you like since you are the one cooking. I am a spicy freak so I just make the dish and put a good hot sauce on it and peppers when I take my serving out.

I am very much appreciating this thread.  I want to take the time to read it more for ideas later but maybe some tricks I am doing might help those of you with kiddos.  I would like to post some more later. I am a cancer survivor and my husband has a debilitating auto immune disease. Just so you can get an idea of where we are coming from. My health required that I change to a whole foods diet and I want to keep my husband out of a wheelchair. I had him watch "forks over knives" on netflix.  It promotes a no processed food-no animal - no added oils -High whole plant foods eating program. Well I switched over to this and used their recipes as well as those from Chef AJ and such.  I have had to steel myself that I am the GENERAL marching up the hill and if I am tenacious and use incremental change over time we will get in a better place.

I am not saying that anyone has to go that far veggie but some of the ideas I am gleaning might be of help with those of  you trying to move your kiddos to an eating plan. 

The side effect has been that my kiddos are now eating broccoli sprouts ( I make) spinach, lots of greens and they are transitioning to eating this food because it is what I am making. For them I place a side of diced or shredded meat they can add.  My daughter has had pretty severe depression and anxiety but I noticed the last month the fog has lifted. She has made a lot of gains emotionally and is so much easier to work with and enjoy. My son is taking longer. He doesn't like combination food at all so this is definitely going to take some time. He eats out of a rainbow of containers I put on the table. We just always insist everyone have a "handful" of raw spinach and a fruit for desert. I noticed with more greens my mood really lifts and I feel loads better if I eat those consistently. Fruits , vegetables, beans and gluten free oats feed the Gut Biome. Everything I am doing is to improve my gut and that of my husbands. The side effect is that my kids are getting the benefit.  

Here is what I have done the last while and it has helped move the whole family over. We aren't there but I am a focused and positive person. I try not to freak out if my kiddo goes somewhere and eats something off plan. I just keep moving forward and accept that this is a permanent lifestyle change for our whole family. 

I started with throwing out anything processed or any seasoning with gluten and switched to a gluten free bouillion. 

 I ask my husband to not bring junk(offplan food)  home. I told him "buy it, eat it in the truck if you have to and toss it before you come in " Its better on my marriage to not try to change the world but if I can keep it from entering the front door then all the better. I still haven't gotten cream cheese, yellow cheese and milk out of the house but I am working on it. 

I am not pushing my kiddos to vegan only because of the B12. I make ground turkey sausage to avoid the nitrates for my kiddos and give them a patty at breakfast. I am working on the sandwiches as the cancer center told me NO NITRATES they are terrible for cancer. I make 2 pounds of small  patties and freeze them then I just pull them out each morning and heat up a small patty for each kid. Turkey is high in something that I read was good for my son so I do this every morning. 

Also you can cook a bit of extra meat for any dinner and then just freeze it in a ziplock bag ( flat) then when you need a quick meal pull it out of the freezer. You can fit like 14 baggies in a plastic shoe box in the freezer. I file them in the freezer this way like a deck of cards. I also freeze extra grains or rices this way , 

Serve little bowls of peas, beans vegetables, chopped yams,

Spiralize everything and get your kiddos involved doing it. They spiralizer is on amazon for under 30 bucks and my kiddos eat a tone of things that way. 

I bought an instant pot and started making stews, soups and fajitas( vegetarian and beans). You can make a whole dinner with an 8 minute cook time in that thing!!! Quick Tip: you can hide a lot of vegetables in that and cook with no oils. They have cookbooks galore for that thing and you can adapt them to almost any eat plan. It has a stainless steel insert so you don't have to worry about toxins. I also love my rice cooker and use it to steam and cook a lot of fruits etc. I have read the instant pot cools rice as well. 

If you can find a bean that kid likes then you are in good shape because there is a lot of research in feeding the gut biome. We eat beans now every night. My son is taking his sweet time getting into this but it will happen if the food is delicious. We eat a lot of potatoes because you can use them in anything and they don't need oil just a sauce. My son only likes the "mini" ones but he is eating them. They even have purple mini ones that are a powerhouse of nutrition. 

IF you have a good blender you could give everyone a morning green smoothie with a bit of Kale and green apple and frozen banana. Lots of good recipes online for those. Its an easy way to get the greens in. 

Berries are expensive so I buy a big cosco bag and break them into smaller servings. I have read they are so good for the brain and well almost everything so I try to give my kiddos atleast 1/4 cup-1/2cup  of berries a day.  I save a ton of money now because beans and grains/rice etc are very cheap compared to meat and so I can buy more frozen and fresh fruit. I just have to make sure its not wasted as with everything I buy. 

I want to go organic but can't afford that so I wash all apples in baking soda for 15 minutes and grapes.  

 

I switched to almond milk and my son drinks the chocolate version of that. Its pretty decent. 

frozen Green peas are a powerhouse of goodness so my kiddos love to eat those and I don't even heat them up. 

If you can find a bean that kid likes you are in good shape because there is a lot of research in feeding the gut biome. We eat beans now every night. My son is taking his sweet time getting into this but it will happen if the food is delicious.

I have my daughter hooked on oatmeal in a mug while I drive her to school. My son is a bit more of a slow convert . I just put 1/4-1/2 cup of oats and some sweetner and a bit of ground flaxseed (so good because it is high in lignans. ) place it in the fridge the night before and put some dried fruit, or frozen berries or  steamed apple ( very easy in the instant pot or a rice cooker) in the top. 

We eat a lot of potatoes because you can use them in anything and they don't need oil just a sauce. My son only likes the "mini" ones but he is eating them. They even have purple mini ones that are a powerhouse of nutrition. 

My kids will eat anything in a tortilla ( beans,veg,pilaf you name it), you could find a gluten free recipes or use corn if you can. Wrapping good food in something makes it so easy for them to eat on the go or at home. 

I make my own broccoli sprouts for cancer prevention but my kiddos love them so much that I have to make more. This is not something I pushed on them. you might like this link for the benefits of Broccoli on the brain. Broccoli and Kale are amazing for a ton of different conditions.  This  is how I make Broccoli sprouts it take 10 seconds out of my morning to rinse them and I always have a jar on the counter.

one my nephews love ranch dressing. He will eat anything if you dump ranch dressing on it. My sons friend it is catsup. So maybe one of your kiddos needs a good sauce. Ofcourse you would have to find a sauce that meets your dietary guidelines but they make them at whole foods and if not there are some pretty good recipes out there. 

For Gluten I could  just sub in a gluten free pasta, rice or gluten free bread. I have not gotten adept at baking gluten free yet but its on my radar. 

Also I prep my vegetables and food early so I can use them for a few meals. If I chop an onion I save the rest for tomorrow night etc. I do buy bagged spinach and greens and put it in a no spoil container. 

If you are going to stay meat based look into the Whole 30 cookbooks because they are all vegetables and meat with a side of grain. very easy to adapt. They are delicious and get you thinking more with veggies.  I did this for 6 months but I have so many challenges with my own health and that of my family I moved over to the whole foods eating. Now I take all my recipes from that comunity ( mgdougal, furhman, chef AJ, forks over knives, The china study... etc)

OH and a nice benefit for me is I have lost 8 pounds this way without calorie counting 

 

Edited by exercise_guru

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On 10/26/2018 at 7:59 AM, 4KookieKids said:

 Not just carrots- you’re supposed to eat a wide variety of vegetables.

 

Did she eat a wide variety of vegetables before? 

 

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Thanks for bringing this up again and adding so many more good thoughts!

She did eat a bigger variety of veggies before, but Her favorites were stuff that we eliminated temporarily for the inflammatory side of the AIP (red peppers, for example, which is still hard because they’re everyone’s favorite, but I’d really like to get in two full weeks of right eating without cheating (DH struggles with cheating... lol) before we start adding stuff back in.

On the up side: she started eating a lot of other veggies this week. Still refused a lot, but ate baby bok choy, kale with avocado, spinach, cucumber, broccoli AND cauliflower this week, along with her carrots. She even ate 3-4 slices of her dreaded fried plantains one morning, even though I’ve only be requiring one bite. It felt like such a relief to me!

I did buy a jerky cannon and have been making our own beef jerky with just meat and salt. We keep it in the freezer most of the time after it finishes, but it’s easy to pull out for a snack or even toss in a bag for a few hours if we want to go hiking or something. At first I made 3 lbs, and then I made 5 lbs, and yesterday I made 8 lbs at once! Lol.

my ds 9 with ASD and ADHD told his psych this week that he hates eating healthy but his brain feels so much better and life seems so much easier when he eats healthier. This just made me feel good as a mother, and gave me some extra motivation to keep it up.

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There are some foods  that are higher in calories but loaded in vitamins . They are good for little tummies trying to get some better food in there. 

Nuts and seeds: I read almonds and sunflower seeds are specifically high in Vitamin E and pumpkin seeds are high in Magnesium. Both good for the brain and anxiety.

Dried fruit if the processings is good.

Avocado is good

Smoothies. 

These do not make me gain weight but they don't make me lose weight either. I pack them into lunches and breakfasts.  

also just keep introducing these foods over and over again. If the tummy is empty mashed potatoes is very filling and most kids like those. they are easy to make dairy free.  I have a trick called "the alternate food" I serve a meal and if it isn't going to work they can have the alternate food that is on the table.they just have to try a spoon or two of the main dish  first. I do insist on a salad at dinner. That is for everyone. Its usually a handful of spinach and a handful of broccoli sprouts before they can leave the table. 

My challenge is my son is refusing potatoes, rice, and squash . I just keep introducing it. He will get there. Also I really want to make  some version of these Chipotle Bean Burgers and freeze them because they would be a quick meal and are loaded with good ingredients. Also these Oat Clusters are on my list. 

I will say the whole foods recipes are pretty good if you find a good chef or author you like. Its far easier to add a side of meat if the person has worked hard to make the main dish with veggies and beans. That is what we are doing in our house. 

Some menus that make it easy for people to get what they want ( some may be tricky for your food plan but gluten free ingredients even exist for soy sauce)

Noodle night 

Rice Bowl night ( kids take the rice and add what vegetables they want on it and some beans and chicken then I heat it up)

Stir Fry night ( used to be Beef with Broccoli, now I cook twice as much and remove my serving before tossing in the meat)

Tortilla night ( might be tricky if you can't substitute corn tortillas) 

 I want to try this cheese sauce but I am not doing a lot of yeast right now and it has nutritional yeast. "uncheese" sauce

It takes a few weeks for people to adjust their taste buds to different foods. In my case it also took about 6 weeks for me to feel that my gut was happy with beans and with the new food . 

 

Edited by exercise_guru
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On 10/31/2018 at 7:28 PM, 4KookieKids said:

Thanks for bringing this up again and adding so many more good thoughts!

She did eat a bigger variety of veggies before, but Her favorites were stuff that we eliminated temporarily for the inflammatory side of the AIP (red peppers, for example, which is still hard because they’re everyone’s favorite, but I’d really like to get in two full weeks of right eating without cheating (DH struggles with cheating... lol) before we start adding stuff back in.

On the up side: she started eating a lot of other veggies this week. Still refused a lot, but ate baby bok choy, kale with avocado, spinach, cucumber, broccoli AND cauliflower this week, along with her carrots. She even ate 3-4 slices of her dreaded fried plantains one morning, even though I’ve only be requiring one bite. It felt like such a relief to me!

I did buy a jerky cannon and have been making our own beef jerky with just meat and salt. We keep it in the freezer most of the time after it finishes, but it’s easy to pull out for a snack or even toss in a bag for a few hours if we want to go hiking or something. At first I made 3 lbs, and then I made 5 lbs, and yesterday I made 8 lbs at once! Lol.

my ds 9 with ASD and ADHD told his psych this week that he hates eating healthy but his brain feels so much better and life seems so much easier when he eats healthier. This just made me feel good as a mother, and gave me some extra motivation to keep it up.

That's great that your DD is trying a lot more veggies.  I need to work with expanding the types of veggies my DDs eat better.  I also think it's great that your DS 9 was able to recognize how much better he felt.

I have actually done the AIP diet so I know how hard it is to not cheat.  I have started it a couple times and would only make it a week or two before giving in and ruining the work I had started.  I did make it about 6-8 weeks once on the AIP diet before morning sickness set in so bad that I didn't care what I ate as long as I kept it down.  I share that just to say that I understand the difficulty in following this diet without cheating.  I am also preparing to start the AIP or a modification of it again to bring down my inflammation markers on some blood work.  I know you really want to add back more foods after just 2 weeks of not cheating, but I would encourage you to consider waiting to add back foods until you have been on it for at least 4 weeks, possibly more.  The Paleo Mom discusses some of the research behind it if you want more information, but if you are doing this due to inflammatory or digestive issues, it can often take at least 4 weeks of the foods removed from our system for the inflammation to come down enough and the gut to start to heal for you to be able to fully catch reactions to foods as you add them back into your diet.  A couple of my friends who have stuck it out the 4-6 weeks before starting any re-introductions of foods said it made a big difference and reinforced to me that I must not cheat during that time for it to really work.  You may be doing it for different issues than what myself or my friends with autoimmune issues did the diet for, but just sharing in case it is a help or encouragement.

Also, while many other non-AIP foods are usually good and healthy foods, just be encouraged that there are still so many healthy options on the AIP diet and the non-AIP foods are temporarily eliminated for a reason.  Many people who benefit from the AIP diet find that, at least while their gut/body is healing, that many "healthy" foods aren't actually good for their bodies.  There are a lot of healthy foods that actually cause problems for me that I never would have known if it weren't for the AIP diet.  Since you are all seeing so many positive changes on the diet, hopefully it will be easy for each of you to identify what foods have been causing the issues for each of you.

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So I researched the diet more and I believe this is what you are working on

"The AIP diet focuses on an initial elimination phase of food groups including grains, legumes, nightshades, dairy, eggs, coffee, alcohol, nuts and seeds, refined/processed sugars, oils, and food additives.10,11 The rationale is to avoid foods, additives, or medications (e.g., nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that can trigger intestinal inflammation, dysbiosis, and/or symptomatic food intolerance.10,1214

Whole 30 recipes would fit these criteria if you saute in vegetable broth. Definitely avoid dairy FOREVER I am working hard to get my kiddos off that. I have some experience with trying to rebuild the gut in myself from chemotherapy and I found with a very healthy diet it took me around 4 weeks to start feeling a huge difference. My taste buds switched over. 

 

Here are some ideas hopefully they fit the eating plan

you could cook fajitas served in lettuce wraps 

Vegetable pasta ( they sell this at walmart I think it is gluten free) They also have some in the freezer sections. 

All riced cauliflower or spiralized vegetables as snacks. 

Are sweet potatoes allowed? Because they are not nightshades and you can do anything with those. We chopped them up in a breakfast dish this morning. Also look up "sweet potato toast" Good stuff. 

Also go with squash if you can. There are different kinds and they don't have to be cooked to a mush to be good. We like spaghetti squash pasta and  in the past I have made zuchini boats filled with meat and veggies

Work on soups and stews. They are satisfying and filling. Try to find any kind of rice etc that are allowed. 

The key would be to come up with 7 meals breakfast lunch and dinner that you could serve plus snacks. I think the bigger problem is that this eating plan could go low carb in a hurry and I am not sure a young child can handle that for very long. They might feel like they are fasting.  

I have read that bone broth can be high in metals, cadmium and lead so be mindful of that. 

I like the idea of fermented vegetables the site mentioned . I am trying these probiotics with my kiddos right now. 

Garden of Life Probiotic and Mood Supplement - Dr. Formulated Mood+ for Digestive and Gut Health, Shelf Stable, 60 Capsules 

Edited by exercise_guru
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Yes, that is what we're trying (again, after dh fell off the wagon... lol.)

I think they're getting enough carbs through fruit, especially bananas, sweet potatoes (yes, they are allowed!), and a few other higher carb veggies and dried fruit (they LOVE unsweetened dried mango - I have to cut them off most days!). But they do eat an awful lot of fruit and meat, and my picky eater eats pretty much every 60-90 minutes. We are definitely eating lots of soups, though this is a not-preferred way of eating veggies for my picky eater, and a great way of eating veggies for two of my other kids (so-so for the fourth).

I have spiralized zucchini before, but I need to figure out what else I can spiralize that my kids might eat! lol. Nobody is a big fan of squash, except my 3 yo. She eats toasted butternut squash with avocado and lime and salt like it's going out of style, and I so wish my other kids liked it,!! ? I even managed to get dh to eat it, but the other kids are adamant that it's evil. 

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my spiralizer has a chips blade so I make all kinds of veggies as chips. I also make a cold salad and put spiralized stuff in it. 

I have a friend who told me her picky eater cooks with her one night a week and helps choose the recipe and then helps make it. Everyone raves about it and the child eats it like crazy. 

Its a nice way to get your child to try something you would like them to eat. 

I have to get my son to like potatoes so I need to come up with an idea for a meal he can help me make

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4 kookie 

I thought about your thread over thanksgiving and wanted to lend a new insight I discovered. In our family it isn't just what we took out that has helped but also what we have added. 

Chemo strongly affected my short term memory, my attention and caused me to have depression ( something I had never had before) . I started to have green smoothies in the morning and after a few weeks I noticed all of these symptoms were improving. 

I now give my son a smoothie with  berries, bananad( 1/4), and a huge helping of spinach. For myself I do Kale but I don't want to push my luck.

I also grow broccoli sprouts in a jar on our counter ( just check youtube )and put them out with dinner . They are very cheap and super easy. They  contain a huge amount of the cruciferous vegetable good stuff but in a little serving. Both of my children are eating them with no complaint.  After months I started to give him a small serving in a bowl with his breakfast.   I am keeping an eye to see if this helps. 

Broccoli sprouts and the effect on the Brain in Autism but could be for all brain function.

Cruciferous and Brain inflammation

The other things I take but I haven't gotten in my son are foods that improve blood flow to the brain: Beets & Arugula 

I buy small quantities often because I can't waste my food budget. For the Berries I keep a frozen bag and also freeze peeled bananas before they go bad. 

Greens and Beets aerobic and brain health

Berries & Nuts for the Brain

Blue Berries and the Brain

 

 

Edited by exercise_guru
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