There are six people in our house with a variety of food allergies and aversions. Three of the kids have food allergies, none of which overlap. The fourth kid is incredibly picky with a very strong sense of smell. So how can we all eat together at dinner???
When the kids were small, we figured out quickly that we needed to all eat the same food. Making multiple meals is too time consuming and prevents young taste buds from discovering new foods. We have the mentality, “this is not a restaurant.” At the same time, we do not force anyone to finish food they honestly do not like. It is unrealistic to expect a child to love every food. Adults have likes and dislikes, and so do kids. We do continually offer healthy foods in a variety of ways, which has led to greater acceptance.
Since we have multiple allergies, there are some foods we completely avoid. There are no peanuts or shellfish in our home. However, our youngest is allergic to chicken, turkey, pork and eggs. These are more difficult to make the whole family avoid. We do have chicken twice a week and pork twice a month. Turkey is rare and eggs are avoided at dinnertime pretty easily. So on the chicken nights, our little guy will either eat the same meal as us, minus the chicken or I substitute leftover beef or fish from the night before. This is not ideal to me because he is being singled out, so we have been more adventurous in trying new meals everyone can enjoy.
This is working out well and is positive for all of us. The kids LOVE quinoa, and most vegetables. They get excited for stuffed peppers and salmon. I am looking forward to adding more and more foods to our repertoire. I think that by making meals for everyone to enjoy together we all benefit. The kids have learned to try and like so many more foods than they probably would have if we were allergy free. I have learned new cooking techniques and broadened my own palate!
I hear parents complaining all the time that their kids will only eat chicken nuggets and pizza. They talk about having picky, unhealthy eaters. This is so common. I have so many ideas and resources to help you help your kids. It starts with not being a short order cook! If this is you, follow my blog for new posts to get your family eating together and trying new things. If you are really ready to make a change, check out my services page and schedule a free 15 minute discovery phone call to see if nutrition counseling is right for you.
How do you feed your family? What works in your house?
I would love to hear from you!