I recently wrote a blog post on Vitalia’s website about the possible underlying causes of fussy eating and what can be done about it. It is thought that fussy eating can be the result of nutritional deficiencies. One mom I know (actually, she’s my sister!) has fully embraced this theory and has been adding nutrients (while reducing common allergens and irritants) to her five-year-old son’s diet over the past six months. She has experimented with many different recipes and has now found several that her children absolutely love!
Here are the recipes that my sis swears by for fussy kids that are also gluten-free, soy-free, casein-free and refined sugar-free – or have the option to be! Hopefully this will save you some trial and error in the kitchen…
(And yes, in case you’re wondering, my nephew is not much of a fussy eater anymore! In fact, he lights up when presented with a delicious but healthful smoothie from Buddha-Full. So amazing!)
1. Pumpkin Muffins by Brandy Russell found here. I tried these and they are incredible. Quite possibly the best muffins I’ve ever had. My sister has varied the recipe too, using banana and blueberries in place of the pumpkin, and also coconut oil in place of the almond butter. All versions have been a hit!
2. Soft pumpkin cookies (with gluten free option) found here. These are by Eat 2 Run’s Sarah Cuff who was one of my teachers! Thank you, Sarah!
3. Chicken Pancakes by Empowered Sustenance found here. Ok fine, these may not sound appealing but kids are crazy! Try them out… your kids might like them, too. My sis suggests serving them with organic, sugar and chemical-free ketchup, or even honey.
4. Mom’s breaded and baked crunchy prawns
This recipe is from my sis.
12 cooked sustainably-caught tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
Gluten-free whole wheat flour, enough for covering the prawns lightly
Gluten-free breadcrumbs, enough to cover the prawns
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk the egg with salt, garlic powder and pepper, and throw it into a big Ziploc bag or a pot than can be covered. Cover the prawns lightly with whole wheat flour. Add the prawns and shake well until the prawns are coated. Cover each prawn in gluten-free breadcrumbs. Bake the prawns until the layers all come together (remember the prawns are already cooked so you don’t need to bake them to cook them!)
5. Grandma’s healthful and hearty popsicles
Did I mention that grandma knows best, too? My mother has been making her grandson these delicious popsicles for months – feeding him so much goodness. He always looks forward to this after school treat from his grandma. Here’s her recipe:
1.5 cups organic milk or goat yoghurt (or use coconut milk for a dairy-free alternative)
12 pitted dates
1 small beetroot
3/4 cup blueberries
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds or hemp seeds (optional)
Blend the yoghurt (or coconut milk), beetroot and dates first in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend well and pour into Popsicle holders and freeze overnight. [Be sure to use BPA-free popsicle holders.]
For extra protein, try this quinoa version (and no, you don’t taste the quinoa! It just makes the popsicles thicker and creamier):
2 cups goat yoghurt (or coconut milk for a dairy-free version)
1 cup of cooked quinoa (no salt, cooled)
1 cup blueberries
Honey to taste
6. Grandma’s beef and potato patties
1 Lb organic, pasture-raised ground beef
2 large potatoes
I small onion
2 tbsp oil
Fine gluten-free bread crumbs
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
A touch of black pepper
Salt to taste
Boil, skin and mash the potatoes and keep aside. Heat oil and sauté finely chopped onions on low to medium heat until golden brown. Add the beef and stir until brown. Add turmeric powder, garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Cover and let the meat cook on low heat for another few minutes. In a bowl, mix the mashed potatoes and meat, sprinkle a little more garlic powder and salt to taste. Using your hand, mix the mixture thoroughly and make into round flat patties. Beat two eggs and keep ready in a small bowl. Dip the patties one by one in egg and then coat evenly with bread crumbs. Heat some oil in a pan to medium hot and fry the patties on low heat until golden brown on both sides.
Optional (for more flavour and spice): After browning the ground beef, add chopped green onions, chopped fresh cilantro and one chopped hot pepper to the meat and stir and cook for a couple of minutes and then add to the mashed potatoes.
7. Grandma’s healthful and hearty fries
Mom enjoys watching her grandkids gobble up this healthful alternative to commercial fries! Here’s her recipe:
2 organic potatoes
2 organic yams
½ cup Coconut oil (approximately)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut the potatoes and yams into strips like fries. Wash and dry them. Melt 1/2 cup coconut oil and cool. Place the fries in a Ziploc bag, add the oil and shake to evenly cover. Spread the potatoes on an oven tray lined with parchment paper and add some more coconut oil if needed. Sprinkle with a little Himalayan salt and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, turning the fries when needed. Serve with organic, sugar and chemical-free ketchup.
Of course every child is different! If your kid doesn’t take to any of these, don’t give up – there are many ways of adding nutrition to a child’s diet and slowly transitioning them over to more healthful and nutritious eating.
My personal approach is to start by adding nutrients to their diet – be it by blending an avocado into their ice cream, sprinkling nutritional yeast on their potato chips, or boiling their pasta in bone broth – and then slowly removing the less healthful ingredients.
Trust me, there are ways, we just have to find them. Just take one step forward.
And then, take another.
p.s. For those of you in the Vancouver area, check out this blog where I was interviewed about my favourite alternative eateries around the city that are child-friendly, too.
Click here to read my post about why your child might be a fussy eater and what to do about it.
Click here to read my interview on alternative eateries in Vancouver.