Protein for the Picky Eater in Your Home

How We Get a Child to Eat Protein

Hi, friends. I want to share a real letter I received regarding the state of our children today and the difficulty of getting our kids to eat a balanced meal. Some children refuse vegetables, and some refuse protein. All children seem to want sugar and bread. But there is always hope to help our children grow healthy.

Protein for the Picky Eater

It makes me really sad that there is so much information on the web and yet our children are still super sick. 1  Since we work with children, and I happen to have an enormous love for these little humans, sharing this conversation may prove helpful to many.

I am not a doctor, yet I am blessed to work with a few doctors whom I respect. Peace and collaboration work for me as an advocate for foster children.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Considering that I am a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, food is an excellent modality to heal. It’s simple. Please let me stress that each child is unique and therefore the way to health is different. However, some nonnegotiables generally work as you discover the uniqueness of a child through blood tests, saliva tests, muscle testing (finding a variance in strong or weak muscles), or dermatomes (pressure points revealing tenderness). Yes, this is simplified, but in my time working with children it is clear that there are many paths and modalities to healing. But food stands out as; the most affordable, the least side effects, and the most achievable for everyone.

As a general rule, drop dairy and gluten to recover a sick body faster. Add back the less modified and properly prepared versions of foods where possible. In, Real Food Recovery, I share recipes in each category of food in order to open the mind on how food heals. But I don’t have time to include all of this in a letter to help my friend, so this is a useful list that I hope will encourage you to heal with real whole food you have the power to buy in your home.

Letter to Collaborate

How do you get enough protein into a child who doesn’t eat much meat but can’t have dairy?

This child has lots of digestion problems since birth, has been on rounds of antibiotics, and lived on acid blocker medications until 2 years old. The mom has successfully removed all grains from the diet for the past several weeks and noted the child is doing better than ever and sleeping through the night for the first time in her life. Dairy is the next thing to remove, but the mom worries about her getting enough protein because she doesn’t eat very much meat at all and has about 4 cups of milk a day.

How do we solve this problem?

My Response

Here are thoughts for this family:
  • If tolerant to nuts, make almond milk (store-bought milk can strip the gut, and when recovering the gut, homemade is best and simple to make).
  • Buy or make coconut milk (Replacement is critical for success and this child drinks 4 cups of milk/day).
  • In my book, I share a simple and effective way to make coconut yogurt, this will help the gut flora.
  • Hopefully, the child is able to move back to milk later. Re-introduce dairy in the following order: raw yogurt, raw aged cheese, then raw milk. Goat milk has more enzymes, and I try this first.
  • Talk to the child; children are super smart. Explain how important protein is to grow the body strong.
  • Tell the child there will be a lot of sampling to find the favorite sources of protein and that variety is critical to capture all the goodness – start by picking 3 preferred proteins.
    • If tolerant to nuts; soak, crispy, eat, make nut butter.
    • Wild caught fish (try white; salmon, red snapper as milder options).
    • Make casseroles the meat is mixed into the dish.
    • Eggs! Duck, chicken, quail.
    • Serve soups in a fun container, pumpkin soup with protein stock presented in the pumpkin carcass.

Be Adventurous

  • Make fun with food; a bird in a nest (crockpot chicken with arugula or spinach all around), waffle burger, etc..
  • If mom doesn’t cook much, then try different proteins prepared from wholesome sources and find several proteins the child likes.
  • Have a sampling party with balloons and music, try different foods to taste -the atmosphere is essential.
  • Seasoning is HUGE! Curry Chicken tastes utterly different from rosemary lime chicken.
  • Encourage the mom to be strong – it’s like the dentist. If a child needs a dental cleaning or tooth repair, we do it even if the child doesn’t want to. The same should apply to the food we consume. It is important to eat the right foods and do what’s right for our children’s health.
  • Remember to prepare foods in different ways to discover tastes, e.g., eggs boiled, scrambled, frittata, or fried. Chicken is great grilled, roasted in crockpot, boiled in soup, etc… Food tastes very different when prepared differently, so experiment and have fun discovering together.
These are the ways we entertain in our kitchen and our palates. Kids are anxious to eat healthy and build strong bodies in a fun environment. Hope this encourages your family.
~Mandy
Source 1. Am J Public Health. 2008 July; 98(7): 1163–1166.doi:  10.2105/AJPH.2008.135731 PMCID: PMC2424092
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Mandy

Mandy is the force behind the advocacy portal Real Food Recovery. Since losing a 4 yr old to cancer while fostering to adopt, Mandy founded a nonprofit organization recovering children at-risk using real food, real discussion, and encouragement. As a Wife, Mom of birth, foster, and adopted children, author, Nutritional Therapist, & NRT, Mandy shares simple food tips while volunteering in a local Orphanage to create a model for change. Connect with Mandy through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
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