whole foods and beyond....nourishing the body, spirit and soul

Friday, April 13, 2012

feeding a family

i've been trying to write this post for about a month now. but for some small little reason i've had a hard time getting around to it......

thankfully my friend recently messaged me a question about feeding her one year old daughter, and this gave me the starting point to "feeding a family."  i want to share this with you because having a "picky eater" is so common in our culture. so i hope you can gain inspiration from our conversation. please jump in and leave a comment about what has helped you to nourish your children (and other loved ones). after all, i think our best resource is each other and the trial and errors we've gone through on the journey. tune in next week for part two of this series, as i bring the "logistical" part of feeding everyone nourishing foods:)

here is her message to me:

Hi Eleni, 
I am writing you because I am having a bit of a problem with "julie" being picky with food. I was wondering if you could suggest something. Before, she loved everything- spinach and all. Now she is really giving me more of a hard time eating. She still gets homemade goats milk formula. Did Dimitri go through any picky stages? It is an awkward eating time because she doesn't really want pureed foods anymore. She wants solid foods. But obviously they have to be in bitty pieces. She likes any fruit, ezekiel toast, eggs, oatmeal, mushrooms(random huh?), and she likes crunchy things a lot. But not too many veggies these days. I thought maybe I could give her green smoothies to get some of the greens she is lacking in. Luckily, she does get some spirulina powder in her milk. Do you have any suggestions?

here is my message back to her:

well it really sounds like your doing a great job of getting variety in. have you tried the green smoothies with her? does she like them? with dimitri i always felt assured that he was getting everything he needed each day by having a "fully loaded" green juice or smoothie every morning. that way later in the day if he chose to only eat other foods that weren't nutrient dense (like toast, pasta, or any baked goods i might have around) i knew he had already surpassed his nutritional needs. at this stage, while she hasn't been exposed to overly sweet foods, she should be pretty receptive to some hardcore green juices. i think her shift in not eating everything you put in front of her is just her realizing what she likes and doesn't like, so don't worry if she doesn't eat what you've chosen for her every time. when dimitri was still transitioning to solids, he would nibble on raw collard greens no problem. but later, as he ate more and more new foods, eating a raw collard just wasn't as appealing to him as other more exciting foods.

I've read a lot that babies and toddlers will go through phases where they'll be really into a certain food one day and then have no interest at all in it the next. they're total "swingers." hehe:) anyway, continue to offer the foods she resists and when she's ready she'll try it again and at some point enjoy the flavors again.

another thing thats always worked really well for us is, whatever I'm eating, dimitri will eat.
no matter what:) maybe you could let her pick the food right off your plate if she's ready for that.

a recent discovery for us was giving him a few options at a time to choose from at snack time. he would ask me for a snack and i'd get him what i had ready for a snack or whatever i could get quickly, like a banana. and half the time he wouldn't eat it, and would get all upset. i finally read an article that talked about
toddlers liking to have choices. so whenever he asks for a snack now ill put three healthy things on a plate and let him have at it. some times hell eat just one, other times hell eat all three. either way i can feel good about his decision making. i know "julie's" not at that toddler stage yet, but since girls mature faster, she might be ready for something like that.

oh and another way to sneak veggies in would be to 
"hide them in plain sight." literally just sneak them in everything she already likes. lets say she wants something sweet so you make her chocolate avocado pudding...pulse in some zucchini with it and spinach too. dimitris a big fan of rice. whenever i make it i sautee veggies in the pot first and then cook them up in the rice. that works really well with all the grains, legumes and beans we eat. does she do scrambie eggs yet? that's another great place to sneak them in.

dimitri eating a sunday afternoon lunch of brown rice, lentils and sautéed vegetables.

jeeze, i just thought of another one. if i leave food out on the counter, dimitri will be so curious he won't stop until he's tasted it.... and then of course stood there and finished off the whole thing. this usually happens after i've roasted chopped veggies and just left them on top of the stove to cool. yesterday i had to pull him away from the kitchen to stop picking at the roasted broccoli...what a great problem to have! or if i have a bowl of nuts and dried fruit sitting around, hell get excited when he "finds" it and eat the whole thing. so i guess for this one, have little things within her eyesight that she can grab if she wants it.

i hope you can use some of these suggestions with your princess. i think the most important thing is that you
only offer foods that are nourishing. as long as you do that, no matter what she's eating, you know its doing good in her body.


  1. So true! I have also heard that it can take up to 10 times to know if you like a food. We always tried to introduce a new food a little bit at at time, especially as the guys got older, so they would constantly be trying foods. It worked pretty well. If you get them used to foods that are good for them and they enjoy them, then they seem to be more likely to eat well when once they are teens and can make their own choices. Great info, and so needed for every generation! Blessings!

  2. When I need to anesthetize a child with gas, I let them pick their favorite flavor to smell through the mask. Most of the time the ability to control at least part of their environment makes the process easier (especially if they pick lavender essential oil).

  3. niko thats the creepiest, yet most awesome comment I've ever gotten on a post! i like imagining you giving the kids a choice to comfort them, and the fact that lavender oil is one of their options! dimitri definitely does better with things when he has choices:)

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