Amie - posted on 01/25/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )
Does anyone have tips for "hiding" nutritious ingredients in a small variety of foods? I have three picky eaters, each of whom likes something different. I'm really tired of making four different meals (to some extent--basically I make a meal and each of them will choose one thing from it and eat only that). I have food issues myself, I know. I understand how difficult it is to get past that.
I'm constantly being told that my pre-teens are "too skinny", and I was told that I was too skinny growing up, too (my father was also extremely thin, although my mom and sister were not). My own diet at that age consisted of pretty much anything in a Chef Boyardee can or pizza--and it was mostly because my mom can't cook. I'm not a fantastic cook either, but I do make a variety of things (she made rock-hard baked burgers, hamburger helper in different flavors, spaghetti, baked frozen Banquet chicken, pork chops, and meatloaf)
My oldest is verbal. He claims to not like meat or veggies, and generally refuses fruit except occasional apple slices, as well. (this is new, by the way--he used to be a great eater, then was just "good")
My middle son is 11.5 yrs old, and was also a very good eater for the longest time. He's non-verbal. Recently he has decided that he doesn't like veggies either, unless they are smothered in a sauce (like marinara or cheese). He has always refused fruit since toddlerhood, with the exception of applesauce or pear sauce. He has multiple disabilities, and has to have his food in very tiny pieces that don't require much chewing. He was recently diagnosed with Eosinphallic Esophagitis, but his GI spec isn't requiring the 6-8 Food Elimination diet. His allergy tests came up negative for foods.
My youngest is not yet two years old, so he doesn't say much besides "no" when it comes to food--and generally refuses anything that is not crunchy or pureed.
Then there's me. I have a really hard time with meat on the bone (thinking about it turns my stomach), meats that are not white chicken, ground or pulled beef, or pork (have tried turkey, duck, lamb and deer, can't stomach them), raw tomatoes (cooked are fine), raw cucumbers (pickles are great), eggplant (small quantities are OK), beets, sweet potatoes (in any form), cooked cauliflower (raw is great), and most seafood except chunked tuna and crab. Having so many aversions myself, I understand where they're coming from. I hear people say all the time "just eat it, it's good for you/won't kill you". Yeah, that's not possible. I want to eat well, but there are things that literally make me nauseous--I am sure it's the same for my children with their aversions.
Is there some sort of protein/vitamin powder that I can put into sauces to help add nutrients? Any tips on making other things that they will eat? I look online frequently for new recipes, but always come to a halt with ingredients that they refuse, and that can't be swapped out for other things.
My general shopping list consists of chicken breasts, pork roast or ham butt, ground beef, and basic veggies like potatoes, carrots, peas, green beans, corn; and tomatoes for sauce-making. (I do buy spinach and mushrooms for salads for myself, the older boys used to eat both too, now refuse). I also buy eggs, but the oldest will only eat them hard boiled or over easy; I will only eat them hard boiled or scrambled, and the other two will not eat them at all.
I have a recipe for "puree crackers" to add pureed fruits or veggies+meat to a home made baked cracker recipe to give my toddler a little boost, but they still seem to be snack foods to me, and not really helping him explore other textures and flavors, either.
We tried baking sweet potato fries (yes I tried them, yuck!), but he refuses them, as did both older boys. I have a recipe for making carrot chips too (baking thin carrot slices so they're crunchy). I'm a little worried that the nutrients will be baked out of them, but I guess at least there's no preservatives.
My oldest's favorite things to eat are green bean casserole, horseshoes (Welsh rarebit and baked fries on an open-faced turkey sandwich made with toasted bread, for those of you not familiar with the term), and refried beans. He refuses anything but peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches for lunch.