Most children lose their craving for starchy foods and start to eat vegetables,fruit and meat when they get the benefit of SCD. Even when there are exceptions,it is possible to transition a child to SCD foods.
Sometimes kids are picky because they are self-limited to foods that harm them. Sometimes kids are picky because they want sameness and routine. Sometimes kids are picky for sensory reasons. Sometimes kids are picky for who knows what reason. The good news is that plenty of picky eaters have survived and thrived on SCD. And, even better news, some parents of picky eaters report that their children become much more adventurous after some time on SCD. As the gut heals, cravings for harmful foods should fade and sensory issues often--though not always--fade.
Here are some tips for parents of picky eaters:
In general, we cannot control what our children put in their mouths, chew and swallow. And we don't want to be forcing anything in. But we can, for the most part, control what they don't put in their mouths. On close inspection, you might find that, eating SCD, your confirmed picky eater is taking in a more balanced diet than you thought.
- For children who refuse all SCD-legal foods, see the pecanbread section entitled "Transitioning a Child to SCD" under the heading "Food Prep."
- Veggies can be hidden. The easiest to disguise are zucchini, yellow squash, and cauliflower (especially mashed and pureed.) These can be used in muffins and SCD-legal lasagne and breads, to name a few. Some have even used baked pureed squash in muffins as a binder replacement for eggs. Greens are trickier but workable, especially in meat dishes like meat balls. Spinach chopped really, really small can look like spice--for the picky child who is not offended by spice. Creativity is the name of this game.
- Go through all the SCD recipes you can find. Some overtly veggie-based recipes, like squash fries, are kid favorites.
- Some parents have used ABA techniques to encourage eating new foods. For example, every new food eaten gets a reward. And maybe that reward could be a desired SCD-legal food.
- Some parents have used the method of allowing one bite of a preferred food in exchange for one bite of a less preferred food.
- Parents of kids with sensory issues have successfully gotten their kids to eat veggies inn the following ways:
- Pureeing a veggie into babyfood consistency.
- Steaming miscellaneous veggies then pureeing them with salt and water to create a homemade "V8".
- Using a turkey baster to drop a little bit of a pureed veggie into their child's mouth. The parent who used this method reported that it took a long time before it got easy. Sometimes her daughter would take only a bite then quit. Patience, patience, patience.....
- In general, with sensory-picky-eaters, parents need to experiment with different textures (though pureed seems to be a favorite), colors and smells. One mother reported that she herself is nauseated the color orange. Play detective: try to find consistencies in what your child gravitates to and what they recoil from.
- Sometimes a Sensory Integration Occupational Therapist can help with feeding challenges.
- Cook a food you want your child to have in as many different ways as possible. Ground beef, for example, can be burgers, meatloaf, a pizza topping etc.
- In homes where the entire family is follwing the SCD, some picky eaters eventually come around when they repeatedly see a particular food enjoyed by everybody else. Reverse psychology often works well in this situation: don't care one bit whether or not your child joins in. The food is for everybody else, not your picky eater.
For a behavioral approach to getting your picky eater to try new foods, please read this article from TACA (Talk About Curing Autism): Picky Kids, Eating, And Autism
Creative ways for healthy nutrition by Lisa Ackerman.
Another method to deal with picky eaters.