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Category: Feeding Children

The world of feeding challenges is vast. Picky eating. Refusal to eat at all. Oral sensory issues. Food anxiety. The list goes on. But I’ve got you covered. I’m here to help you navigate all of it and keep your child well nourished. Feeding children doesn’t have to be so stressful!

I have over ten years of experience feeding children well. I’ve dealt with just about every struggle possible. And I’ve come out the other side with healthy kids.

Our days of constant tummy aches, food allergies, failure to gain weight, picky eating and gagging on food are over.

I want the same for you! Feeding children should not be stressful. It should be a joy. And it can be. I’ll show you how.

My book Why Won’t My Child Eat?! will walk you through the process of figuring out specific problem foods and how to gradually get your child to eat more.

The blog is full of advice and tips on feeding children as well. Don’t struggle alone. I’m here to help!

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

I Let My Toddler Use Knives

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it’s worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That’s why I let my toddler use knives!

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

Getting my kids in the kitchen is nothing new to me.

All three of my kids have been in the kitchen with me since birth…makes sense seeing as I spend half my day there!

I let my kids get involved as soon as they are able. My oldest was baking cookies with me at nine months.

Teaching Kids Life Skills

But I never really taught my kids a set of skills. I never really let them take control.

Until I started doing the Kids Cook Real Food ecourse from Kitchen Stewardship!

I started with my older kids (ages 7 and 4 at the time). They love it! And I love watching them gain confidence and asking to help in the kitchen.

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

Toddlers Can Use Knives!

Little sister has been sitting on the sidelines observing until recently. She turned two in August. And she was more than ready to join in the fun!

We started with knife skills. That may sound strange, but it really is an important skill and one that even a toddler can do. She loves to slice bananas any chance she gets. Every time we walk by them sitting on the counter she puts in her request.

I can teach her proper techniques while keeping her safe (cutting bananas with a butter knife is fairly harmless). And all of those banana slices she makes either go in her mouth or in the freezer for a delicious dessert or to add to smoothies later.

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

Kitchen Skills for Kids

We are now moving on to other skills like measuring and pouring. She LOVES pouring beans or water back and forth in containers. Big brother does it right along with her to sharpen his skills. Then they make homemade fruit snacks on their own! Sometimes we use molds. Sometimes we make them in a pan so they can practice knife skills again by cutting them into cubes.

What five-year old do you know that can make his own healthy fruit snacks instead of eating the artificially colored and flavored waxy things out of a bag?

It really is possible.

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

Kids in the Kitchen

My older kids (now 8 and 5) are always willing to lend a helping hand with dinner preparation. Which is such a blessing to me! And I get the pleasure of giving them praise and boosting their confidence.

My eight-year old has a goal this year of being able to make a whole meal on her own. Right now our goal is confidence and safety cooking at the stove. And now that we are homeschooling we are adding it right into our curriculum. It’s so much fun.

She is even starting to create her own recipes and keeps begging to start her own blog. Did I mention she’s only eight?!

You really will be amazed at just how much kids can do in the kitchen when you give them a chance.

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

Kids Can Cook

Yes, even a two-year old can be helpful in the kitchen and start learning life skills. By the time my kids are teenagers I’m afraid I may be out of a job!

Are you ready to have some help in the kitchen?Kids Cook Real Food

 

Try the knife skills lessons for FREE!

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

More Cooks in the Kitchen

It’s hard to believe I wrote this post over five years ago! I have now added another budding chef to the mix. My current toddler also loves getting messy in the kitchen with me. He is a big fan of washing dishes. That is another important skill!

My other chefs are 13, 10, and almost 7. They love to help plan meals every week and participate in dinner prep often.

I love that they are empowered to make healthy food choices and gain essential life skills. I have no worries about them taking ownership of their health as they get older.

But even after all these years we still go back to the Kids Cook Real Food ecourse for a refresher periodically. It’s great practice and motivation!

Adventurous Eater

Do you let your kids help (or take over) in the kitchen often? Has your toddler learned to properly use a knife yet?

Dairy-free and missing cheese? Try this simple, healthy zucchini cheese loaded with healthy protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates to keep your kids happy and nourished.

Dairy-Free Zucchini Cheese

Dairy-free and missing cheese? Try this simple, healthy zucchini cheese loaded with healthy protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates to keep your kids happy and nourished.

Dairy-free and missing cheese? Try this simple, healthy zucchini cheese loaded with healthy protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates to keep your kids happy and nourished.

Within one week of my youngest being born I was 100% dairy-free.

I had been through this with my previous two babies. So I knew the signs of a dairy reaction right away. There was no easing into it. I went from eating ice cream pretty much every evening while pregnant to strict no speck of dairy almost overnight.

It’s not fun to have to cut out dairy. But I knew how to do it. I have another son that is still dairy-free, so I just added two more family members to the mix.

Unfortunately our food reactions did not end there.

I cut out so many foods, trying to help my son’s silent reflux. We had his tongue and lip tie clipped.

What finally made a significant difference in his ability to nurse and eat was learning about histamine intolerance. I switched to a low-histamine diet and it was like magic.

What wasn’t magical was the amount of effort it took to keep the two of us nourished, and our lack of food options.

During the summer we basically lived on zucchini and ground beef as I tried to calm our bodies. Our garden was overflowing with zucchini, so I sliced and roasted some pretty much every day.

The ground beef was nourishment that I could actually digest. Plus I could cook up some burgers for us and freeze extras for another meal (an essential part of a low-histamine diet – not letting meat sit in the fridge).

I’m thankful I am an Analytical Eater that truly does not mind eating the same foods over and over. In fact, that is what I love. But I was really lacking in texture with all that soggy zucchini. My mouth needed more!

My solution? Zucchini cheese!

What are the Health Benefits of Zucchini?

Although often overlooked, zucchini really does pack a punch in terms of nutrition. This fruit, used as a vegetable, contains:

  • potassium
  • phosphorus
  • magnesium
  • calcium
  • fiber
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Zinc

Zucchini also has a really high water content in addition to its minerals so it is great for hydration!Dairy-free and missing cheese? Try this simple, healthy zucchini cheese loaded with healthy protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates to keep your kids happy and nourished.

What Can I Do With Too Much Zucchini?

I often joke with my husband that there is no such thing as too much zucchini.

Every summer we grow an absurd amount of zucchini. And every summer I use it all up! Sure, we give away a few here and there. But I truly do my best to not let any go to waste (though the chickens get the baseball bat zucchinis that we inevitably miss).

It’s easy to use up quite a bit of zucchini by roasting it for a family dinner. My kids will devour roasted zucchini covered in herbs and garlic.

Some other fun ways to use zucchini include:

Of course we can’t eat all of our zucchini fresh. Somtimes we pick 20 in one day! So I love to freeze all of my extra zucchini.

Simply slice into rounds and place on a baking sheet. Freeze and bag. Peeling is optional. You can also freeze grated zucchini to use in bread and muffins.

Last year I froze at least five gallons of zucchini. I lost count. It’s been such a blessing to be able to enjoy it all year.

What Can Be Made With Frozen Zucchini?

Frozen zucchini works well in soups, stews, and stir fry. Frozen grated zucchini is great for zucchini bread, muffins, or scones.

But mostly I use my frozen zucchini to make zucchini cheese. I have some in the fridge at all times.

I love that I don’t have to do any peeling or slicing when I use frozen zucchini. Just put a big pile in a saucepan to cook for a few minutes and it’s ready to go!

Though you can make zucchini cheese with fresh zucchini too. That is how I do it all summer.Dairy-free and missing cheese? Try this simple, healthy zucchini cheese loaded with healthy protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates to keep your kids happy and nourished.

Dairy-Free Zucchini Cheese

Back to our low-histamine diet. I was really getting bored with roasted or sauteed zucchini. I had heard you could make “cheese” with zucchini. So I found some recipes and started experimenting.

The first one I tried used lemon juice. That was a big disaster. I think it all went in the trash. Even the kids couldn’t stomach the flavor.

Over time I figured out my own version of zucchini cheese that has been a staple in my diet ever since.

Zucchini cheese gets it’s texture from a combination of healthy fat (like butter or coonut oil) and grassfed gelatin. Now that my son tolerates butter I tend to use it for zucchini cheese. But coconut oil works just as well!

I use a small loaf pan to create a taller block of cheese that I can slice.

We use zucchini cheese on salads and sandwiches. It’s delicoius on crackers. Or I often just eat it plain.

 

Dairy-Free Zucchini Cheese

Servings 10
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups zucchini sliced, peeled or unpeeled, fresh or frozen
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil or butter
  • 4-5 Tbsp. gelatin
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder optional
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder optional
  • 1/4 tsp. tumeric optional
  • 2 Tbsp. non-fortified nutritional yeast optional

Instructions

  1. Place sliced zucchini and a small amount of water (enough to cover the bottom) in a small saucepan. Turn heat to high until water comes to a boil.

  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer until zucchini is cooked, about 5-10 minutes.

  3. Drain the zucchini and place it in a blender with the coconut oil and salt.

  4. Blend on high until smooth.

  5. Add the gelatin and blend on high until smooth.

  6. Taste and add seasoning/yeast as desired. Blend.

  7. Pour into a glass or ceramic small bread pan. Chill in the refrigerator until firm.

  8. Slice or cut into sticks to serve. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Recipe Notes

  • The flavor will become milder as the cheese firms, so add a little more salt/seasoning than you think you need.

Dairy-free and missing cheese? Try this simple, healthy zucchini cheese loaded with healthy protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates to keep your kids happy and nourished.

Healthy Veggie Cheese

While zucchini works very well for making a faux cheese because of its neutral flavor, you can defnitely change up the flavor with other vegetables!

This is really important for the Adventurous Eaters that need variety. Plus you get a different array of nutrients.

One of our favorites is squash cheese. It has such a beautiful orange color! Not to mention it has a bit of sweetness to it. So kids really love it. It has a taste reminiscent of American cheese, so it’s often a great transition for kids that are used to a Standard American Diet (SAD).

Cauliflower is another great option if you want a white cheese with a kid-friendly flavor.

You can go a little more bold with peas and create green cheese!

What to Feed a Child Who Doesn’t Like Meat

One of my favorite things about zucchini cheese is the nutrition factor. It has a combination of protein (gelatin), healthy fat, and carbohydrates with fiber (zucchini). Lots of Real Salt adds essential trace minerals.

Sometimes I really boost the nutrient content by adding non-fortified nutritional yeast and turmeric.

So many selective eater kids struggle with eating meat. Whether it’s the texture, the chewing, or the inability to digest it, getting adequate protein is a struggle for many.

Gelatin is a great solution! And zucchini cheese is an easy way to get a big dose of easy-to-digest gelatin down.


Perfect Supplements is the only brand of gelatin I trust. It is grassfed and certified 100% glyphosate free!

Stock up now. Take 10% off with the code TAKE10 HERE!


Zucchini cheese is also great for the kids that only want to eat cheese and starch all day. You can get a great dose of both macro and micronutrients in while they still enjoy their favorite food.Dairy-free and missing cheese? Try this simple, healthy zucchini cheese loaded with healthy protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates to keep your kids happy and nourished.

Easy Toddler Snack

When I first started making zucchini cheese it was really for myeslf. Did I let my kids try it? Of course! But I was the one needing something creamy and salty.

But soon it turned into one of my favorite toddler snacks. My almost-three-year-old has been enjoying zucchini cheese with me since he could eat solid food!

I cut it into thick slices and then into sticks. Easy to hold. Easy to chew. Easy nourishment. That equals an easy toddler snack! And a great way to get little kids interested in veggies.

Is your toddler like mine and only wants to snack all day? Zucchini cheese is the way to go. Snack away!

What is the Best Diet for Picky Eaters?

Each child has unique, bio-individual needs. Which is why I am so passionate about Nutrional Therapy for Kids! That being said, all kids need a balanced diet. This is especially important for those “picky” or “selective” eaters.

A balanced diet includes whole food sources of protein, fat, and carbohydrates with fiber. An easy way to think of this is meat, oil, fruits, and veggies.

Zucchini cheese meets all of the criteria! So it is a great addition to a picky eater’s diet. And getting that balance will help alleviate those picky eating symptoms.

It is also great for those “hangry” kids that crash when they haven’t eaten in a while. Zucchini cheese is a ready-to-go snack when they need something quickly!


Need more dairy-free substitutes? Grab your copy of 10 Simple Dairy Substitutes with recipes for everything from milk to yogurt to ice cream!


Allergen-Free Food on a Budget

One of the hardest aspects of having a child with dietary restrictions is the cost of the food. Have you ever compared the price of regular cheese to dairy-free cheese? Or the cost of wheat bread to gluten-free bread?

If you have, you know that allergen-free food can add up very quickly!

Which is why I love making zucchini cheese. Zucchini is a very affordable vegetable that you can buy in bulk in the summer and store enough for the whole winter. Visit any farmer’s market in the summer and you’ll see piles of zucchini. Or just ask a neighbor with a garden. They probably have extra.

Stock up on gelatin with a bulk discount or when it’s on sale HERE.

You can also watch for good deals on coconut oil.

Now you have all of the ingredients for healthy, dairy-free cheese on a budget!Dairy-free and missing cheese? Try this simple, healthy zucchini cheese loaded with healthy protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates to keep your kids happy and nourished.

Is Dairy-Free Cheese Healthy?

I’ll be the first to admit that we do buy some dairy-free cheese. It’s nice to have something that melts like real cheese when making a pizza or grilled cheese.

But I can’t say I’m thrilled about the ingredients. While not horrible, it is still a processed food with some gums and fillers.

That is why I love making zucchini cheese. I control the ingredients. And they are all whole foods that I serve my family regularly.

Is dairy-free cheese healthy? It is if it’s homemade zucchini cheese!

Is your family dairy-free? Do you miss chees? Give zucchini cheese a try!

What is HTMA for Kids?

What is HTMA for Kids?

HTMA for kids is a non-invasive test that uses a small hair sample for Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. The goal of HTMA for kids is to rebuild and balance minerals while removing toxic metals in a safe and gentle way so your child can feel his or her best!What is HTMA for Kids?

I recently talked about the health struggles we faced with our oldest. But through it all I was never concerned about her not getting enough to eat or her overall physical health.

Unfortunately we entered the world of stress, anxiety, and severe feeding challenges when my youngest daughter was born.

Being my third child, I felt pretty confident. I knew how to handle breastfeeding, sick babies, diaper blow-outs, etc.

But I was not prepared for the journey to come.

From day one my daughter could not breastfeed well. Three minutes was a “good” feed for her. She was often uncomfortable. And she slept a lot more than my other kids did as infants.

Although she was my biggest baby at birth (nine pounds!), her chubby baby status didn’t last long.

During her first year of life we learned about the profound impact of tongue and lip ties. We had them clipped twice.

I also had to restrict my diet to such a severe degree that I feared we would run out of safe food. But it was the only way she could breastfeed without screaming. And no formula was safe, so that was not an option.

She developed an allergy to coconut and all things from palm trees. Even if I took a vitamin that contained Vitamin A Palmitate she would not nurse. She would scream in pain. I could not get one speck of coconut, dairy, and many other foods in my mouth or she would react. I even stopped eating gluten-free because most gluten-free grains were off the list and we both needed to eat.

Sadly, I learned the hard way the dangers of Big Pharma’s favorite way to introduce toxic substances and heavy metals into children (I won’t use the word here). Had I not made the connection when she turned one, our outcome would have beeen much different. As it was she was convulsing in my arms, her tongue was swelling, and she could not eat.

At 18 months old my daughter was nursing every 45 minutes just to try to keep her alive. And those feedings were each just a few minutes. She rarely had a wet diaper. She hadn’t gained weight in months. I fed her a lot by syringe. But the pediatrician would not help us. He simply looked at her and said, “She looks fine to me.”

That was when I learned I had to be my duaghter’s doctor. Nobody wanted to help us.What is HTMA for Kids?

Feeding Challenges in Infants

My daughter’s story is sad, but what is even worse is that I’m not alone in my experience. I know so many other moms have been through extreme health and feeding challenges in their infants but have not gotten the support and help they need.

What do feeding challenges in infants look like?

  • colic
  • reflux/GERD
  • silent reflux
  • tongue and lip ties
  • resist solid food
  • inability or difficulty breastfeeding
  • failure to thrive
  • dehydration
  • delayed development

Most pediatricians do not know how to properly diagnose or treat these symptoms.

Some may prescribe antacids, which do more harm than good in the long run. Some may suggest ways to supplement. But that is about it.

For the most part, Mom is left to struggle through on her own.What is HTMA for kids?

Feeding Challenges in Childhood

As your child gets a little older, things may get easier. But the feeding troubles may persist or even get worse.

What do feeding challenges in childhood look like?

  • refusal to eat
  • refusal to try new foods
  • can’t handle certain textures
  • will only eat a handful of foods
  • food allergies or sensitivities
  • oral sensory processing disorder

If you have a child that is labled as a “picky eater,” “problem feeder,” or “selective eater” you know what it’s like. You know the day-to-day struggles and stress.What is HTMA for Kids?

Common Childhood Disorders

What many doctors and parents don’t realize is that the picky eating is actually just the tip of the iceberg. It is a symptom of something much deeper.

It’s very rare that I have a client that struggles with feeding that does not also have one or more of the following common childhood disorders and symptoms:

  • speech difficulties or delays
  • developmental delays
  • low weight
  • rings under eyes
  • sick often
  • ADHD
  • food allergies
  • anxiety
  • neurological disorder
  • weak bones and/or teeth
  • learning difficulties
  • slow/stunted growth
  • overweight

Though these may seem like separate issues on the surface, they are all connected.

Nutritional Balancing for Kids

Sadly, we have a generation of very sick kids. Although children grow up in different homes, different environments, and different cultures, the root cause of their health problems are the same.

Two of the biggest culprits of childhood disorders, including feeding challenges, is mineral imbalance and heavy metal toxicity.

This also includes overall mineral deficiency.

While I am not a fan of oversupplementing our lives, most kids these days are getting very few nutrients in their diets.

Typical kid food is void of nutrition. Then we add stress and sugar on top to deplete any minerals that were available. Even most vegetables are lacking in vitamins and minerals because our soil is so depleted of its mineral content. It’s a downward spiral into poor health that is happening at younger and younger ages.What is HTMA for Kids?

What is HTMA for Kids?

HTMA stands for Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. And it can be a life-saver for kids.

When digging for answers, most doctors run blood tests. And that can be helpful.

But when it comes to certain minerals and heavy metals, a blood test is not accurate enough. It only gives you a snapshot of that one moment in time when the blood was drawn. And some levels fluctuate throughout the day. So you could get signficantly different results depending on when the blood was drawn.

HTMA, however, shows mineral and heavy metal patterns for a three-month window. It’s like getting an in-depth look at your child’s health.

In addition, the body will do whatever it can to keep blood levels in a very narrow range. This is a survival mechanism. If blood levels are low, the situation is serious.

But looking at tissue levels (hair), you can see if the body is actually putting the minerals where they belong or if the body is storing heavy metals.

For example, a child may have a normal blood calcium level. However, an HTMA for kids may show a very high tissue calcium level. This means that although the child’s body is maintaining a sufficient level of calcium in the blood, his or her body is also dumping calcium instead of putting it into the bones.

HTMA for kids uses a small hair sample to assess mineral and heavy metal status. It is a non-invasive procedure that is ideal for kids.What is HTMA for Kids?

What is HTMA Used For?

Many kids these days are deficient in key minerals, have minerals that are out of balance with each other, or have heavy metals stored in their tissues at toxic levels.

Unfortunately, when minerals are not present, heavy metals take their place, making it harder for the body to remove the metals.

The goal of HTMA for kids is to restore the balance of key minerals and support the body in removing heavy metals.

This is not a detox program.

This is simply giving the body what it needs in order for it to function properly and remove what it does not need. In other words, the goal is to balance and restore.

Heavy metals and mineral imbalance can both contribute to a host of symptoms, such as those mentioned above. They can also be the cause of food reactions. Rebalancing a child’s minerals allows him or her to think better, feel more energetic, and act like a kid.

Child Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

When my daughter was one, I was searching and searching for answers and help. I came across HTMA.

At the time I was really struggling with my own health as well. I could hardly eat anything due to my daughter’s restrictions, and I was so stressed that I had daily heart palpitations. I knew I was so out of balance.

I started by doing HTMA for myself in order to get both my daughter and I back in balance. We made slow progress because there were very few safe supplements and such a limited diet.

But I did learn some key information about how Vitamin D suppelements were harming us. I was able to add desiccated liver (use the code TAKE10 for 10% off) to our diets, and it was truly a life-saver for my daughter.

By doing HTMA I was able to make some simple changes that had a profound impact. My daughter got some key nutrients while allowing her body to remove some heavy metals.

As we turned the corner we were able to gradually add more foods to our diet and continued to make progress.

A couple years later I did HTMA for my daughter herself. Once again we were able to keep balancing her minerals and watch her health steadily improve.What is HTMA for Kids?

She is now six years old and a very active and energetic little girl. She has almost completely eliminated her food restrictions.

What could have turned into a tragic story instead became one of hope and healing.

Mineral Balncing for Kids

Even though we have come so far from that little infant struggling to survive, we still have work to do. My daughter is my only child that battles severe leg pains at times and has some cavities (likely due to Vitamin D supplements). We will continue to use HTMA to get her minerals in balance and remove toxins. But I know that she has a bright future thanks to HTMA for kids!

Does HTMA sound like a good fit for you and your kids? Are you ready to end the constant worry and struggle when it comes to nourishing your kids? I’d love to help!

Learn more about my HTMA programs HERE!

You can also email me or schecule a 15-minute Clarity Call to learn more.

Book a clarity call!Contact me

So far we have talked about the foundations of good health, Nutritional Therapy for kids, and HTMA for kids – the physical aspects of health. But there is still more! Next up I’ll be discussing more of the mental aspect of eating. Even as an infant, a child can develop psychological blocks to eating well. Stay tuned!

Nutritional Therapy for Kids

What is Nutritional Therapy for Kids?

Nutritional Therapy for Kids

When my first child was born, I pretty much knew nothing about parenting, including how to feed kids. I had never heard the term “Real Food.” I thought low-fat meant healthy.

I followed the typical advice for introducing solids, starting with infant cereal and a few purees. Graduating to American cheese and sweetened yogurt.

But it didn’t go as well as I had expected.

My daughter was not very receptive to food. She gagged. She spit it out. She almost seemed over-stimulated by it, her whole body moving at meal times.

But we pressed on. In the toddler years she would hold one piece of food in her mouth for over 30 minutes. Eggs would go in and come right back out. And forget about raw fruits and veggies! She was still eating purees well past two.

As she got a little older it wasn’t just the feeding challenges that stood out. I started to notice other symptoms that just didn’t seem quite right.

She didn’t play with other kids, just observed. She was (and is!) insanely smart and could read for hours. Yet something as simple as getting dressed or brushing her teeth could end in tears.

As the symptoms started to pile up, so did my concerns. And I know this is not unique to me. So many parents live the same struggles day after day.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

Why are Kids Unhealthy?

Our culture does not prioritize a child’s health. From day one they are bombarded with fillers, gums, sugar, heavy metals, synthetic vitamins, pesticides, herbicides, and an assortment of chemicals to sanitize their environment.

In turn we have kids struggling with:

  • ADHD,
  • diabetes,
  • sensory processing disorder,
  • autism,
  • feeding challenges,
  • food allergies,
  • asthma,
  • obesity,
  • and even cancer…

at younger and younger ages.

This is not how a child should have to live.

I recently shared my Foundations of Good Health. These apply to everyone, kids included. And at the top of the list is Nutrition!Nutritional Therapy for Kids

What is Good Nutrition for a Child?

Sadly most doctors will tell you all of this is normal. It’s just how your child was born, and there is nothing you can do about it.

No, it is not normal!

But it is common in our modern, diseased world.

My goal is to turn this around. It is my mission to allow kids to feel like kids again.

What we really need to do is get at the root of the issue…which is poor nutrition.

Typical “kid food” is keeping our children sick and diseased. This includes:

  • cereal
  • candy
  • processed meats
  • fast food
  • Lunchables®
  • frozen pizza
  • chicken nuggets
  • toaster pastries
  • food dyes
  • refined sugar
  • genetically modified foods

The list could go on and on. These “foods” are a stark contrast to nutrition. They are actually void of nutrients.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

What is Nutritional Therapy for Kids?

So what is the solution? What can parents do to turn this around?

This is where Nutritional Therapy for kids comes in!

Food is medicine. What a child eats directly impacts how he or she thinks, feels, and behaves.

This includes:

  • how your child interacts with family and friends
  • how your child performs in school
  • what food choices your child makes
  • your child’s mood
  • how your child handles stress
  • your child’s weight and activity level

If you give a child proper nourishment, he or she can thrive!

Nutritional Therapy centers on the idea that real health can be achieved through a holistic and bio-individual approach to nutrition and lifestyle.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

What are the Goals of Nutritional Therapy for Kids?

As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I take the whole child into account. I do not focus on one symptom, but instead look deeper and support the whole body.

I take a holistic approach to wellness that focuses on the importance of a properly-prepared, nutrient-dense diet paired with a well-balanced lifestyle.

I understand the importance of honoring the body’s own feedback system and its incredible capacity to restore, regenerate, and correct itself when given the tools and nutrients to do so.

In other words, I focus on removing barriers and building up the body. The goal of Nutritional Therapy for Kids is to give them the proper nutrition and support to get back in balance.

Nutritional Therapy is ideal for parents and kids that want to avoid prescription medications and illness, but instead use diet and lifestyle to support the body and allow it to function optimally.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

How Can Kids Improve Nutrition?

One unique aspect of Nutritional Therapy for kids at Just Take A Bite LLC is my use of Eating Styles. This is like understanding your child’s “food language.”

This takes bio-individuality to a whole new level.

I do not just look at the physical dietary needs. I also take into account the emotional and mental aspect of how your child views the world and his or her food.

Two children may be lacking in quality protein. But an Intuitive Eater will need easy-to-chew, comforting options while an Active Eater will prefer tougher cuts.

Using the Eating Styles, I can help you go that extra step to knowing which foods and recipes will be ideal for your child.

Understanding your child’s Eating Style will even help you create an ideal eating environment. An Analytical Eater will prefer quiet and maybe even eating alone sometimes. While an Adventurous Eater will enjoy trying new foods and changing the seating arrangement every night!

Adding in this extra level of bio-individuality means less frustration for Mom and more success in improving your child’s diet and health!

Food Language Quiz

What is a Healthy Diet for Kids?

My daughter is now almost a teenager (gasp!). I’m so proud to say she is an amazingly talented young lady with a big heart.

Over the years we worked with a speech therapist, occupational therapist, functional neurologist, psychologist, chiropractor, and orthodontist. Each of these contributed to our success.

But it was Nutritional Therapy that had the biggest impact on my daughter’s health and overall life!

At five years old we removed gluten and food dyes.

Almost overnight it was like somebody turned on a light switch in her brain. The sparkle appeared in her eyes and she could feel the difference.

Since that day we have made adjustments here and there to meet her needs. She is an Adventurous Eater that has very different tastes in food than I do. And I honor that and let her help plan meals and make food decisions. Almost every afternoon I find her in the kitchen creating a unique snack!

We periodically assess her body and how each system is functioning to tailor diet and lifestyle accordingly.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

As we enter the teen years this will be of the utmost importance with shifting hormones and different sleep and nutritional needs.

Just the other day she mentioned how she has been thinking better after we put a focus on some key B vitamins.

Gluten-free and dye-free in addition to whole foods is what works for my daughter. But every child has a unique set of challenges and a unique environment. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to health. That is why Nutritional Therapy is so amazing!Nutritional Therapy for Kids

Is Nutritional Therapy Necessary?

I truly believe that all children can benefit from Nutritional Therapy. It is a great way to support the whole child in a non-invasive manner.

Even seemingly healthy kids can benefit by targeting specific body systems and supporting them with key nutrients.

I’d love to support you and your children on your journey to better health with Nutritional Therapy! If you want to learn more, let’s talk!

Book a clarity call!

Beyond Nutritional Therapy for Kids

There are times when even Nutritional Therapy is not enough. Or times when a feeding problem has gone beyond a simple dietary adjustment.

If you’ve been hesitant to take action and take charge of your child’s health, it could get worse.

This is where Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) for kids comes in. Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll share my youngest daughter’s journey when she went from eating nothing to a healthy, active child. HTMA was a life-saver!

How have you seen diet impact your child’s life?

Foundations of good health giveaway!

The Essential Foundations of Good Health

There are so many opinions these days when it comes to what is and isn’t healthy. In this post I’m breaking down my essential foundations of good health, layer by layer.Foundations of good health

I struggled with digestive dysfunction, an overactive bladder, and anxiety from the time I was very young. I can still remember at five years old being scared to get in the car because I knew I’d have to use the bathroom as soon as we got on the road. Even if it was just a short drive to church or the store. And my dad hated to stop.

That anxiety around basic bodily functions that were out of my control gradually grew over time. In junior high there were days I was in pain and could barely sit up in class. I would just watch the clock until it was time to go home so I could lay down and get relief.

High school ushered in disordered eating to try to feel some sense of control in my life and to manage my symptoms.

But as I journeyed into my twenties my anxiety reached a head, turning into panic attacks and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. My digestive issues came right along with it!

But I had no clue how to get out of the vicious cycle. I feared I would have to suffer this way for the rest of my life.

Being a natural problem-solver, I couldn’t accept that answer. So even though no doctors could tell me what was wrong, I kept on searching for answers.

Is There a Way Out of Poor Health?

Over the course of the next fifteen years I gradually found most of the avenues I needed for healing. But it took a lot of trial and error. It took a lot longer than it needed to.

Do you ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels on a healing journey?

Maybe it’s your own health that is suffering. You have…

  • no energy
  • joint pain
  • insomnia
  • headaches
  • brain dysfunction
  • poor digestion
  • life just seems sort of blah.

Or maybe it’s for your kids. They…

  • only want to eat sweets
  • can’t focus in school
  • have extreme mood swings
  • struggle with skin reactions
  • have daily stomach aches
  • can’t sleep well.

Nobody wants to live this way. It’s hard to really call it living. It’s more like surviving.

Is there really a way out? And where do you even begin?

What is your first step in order to get your life and health back on track?Foundations of good health

How to Begin the Healing Process

Let’s start with the symptoms of poor health. They truly are that – just symptoms. Just like picky eating is a symptom of much deeper issues, most bothersome symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg. It is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong at a deeper level.

But the solution is not found in treating symptoms. Sadly, that is exactly what allopathic medicine does. And it keeps you chasing symptoms while remaining sick.

Before you can start the healing work, you must get to the root of the problem first.

How to Improve Health and Wellness

When it comes to helping the body function better, I have discovered four essential foundations. These are the layers that you must work through to support the whole body. Not just physically, but spiritually and mentally as well.

Healing is sort of like peeling an onion. You go through it layer-by-layer.Foundations of good health

There are four layers in my essential foundations to good health.

  1. Spiritual life
  2. Diet and lifestyle
  3. Emotional and mental health
  4. Supportive and maintenance modalities

Each layer impacts the others. And you will go back and forth between them on your journey to better health. Let’s dig a little deeper into each foundation.

How Does Faith Impact Your Daily Life?

I believe the most important foundation in your life is spiritual health. This is central to everything else. Without a sense of purpose and hope, it is hard to want to make change.

For me spiritual health means faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Everything else I do in life stems from my faith.

Having a central focus – a solid foundation – is essential.

What you believe in is a very personal decision. But it is the first step towards a healthy life. And I encourage you to start with this foundation, no matter what physical and emotional symptoms you’re dealing with.Foundations of good health

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

The next step on your journey towards wellness is getting your lifestyle in check. This includes:

  • Diet
  • Sleep
  • Stress-management
  • Movement
  • Sun exposure

All five of these components are important.

Nutrient-Dense Diet

A healthy diet includes nutrient-dense, whole foods that your body tolerates. It does not have to include overly-restrictive eating or cutting out whole food groups. Simply eat Real Food that meets your bioindividual needs.

If you’re not sure how to tailor a diet to your body, Nutritional Therapy can help!

Sleep

Sleep is just as important as what you eat. You can’t out-eat lack of sleep! Trust me, I’ve tried.

How much sleep is essential is different for every person. An Intuitive Eater tends to need extra sleep, while an Active Eater may be able to thrive with less.

Sleep is very restorative to the body. While you sleep your body works through emotional stress. This is also when your body does a lot of its healing work since it does not need to put energy into all of the functions that are needed during the day.

Stress Management

Stress affects the body both mentally and physically. While you can’t always eliminate the stress in your life, you can learn to be stress resiliant. Foundations of good health

Movement

It is essential to move your body every day. This does not mean you have to become a marathon runner. In fact, it’s healthier to be active and incorporate movement into your daily life than it is to sit all day and then do an hour of intense exercise.

Find ways to walk more, move your body in unique ways, and stand instead of sit. Having meaningful work at home helps as well. This can include landscaping, gardening, house repairs, raising animals, painting, cleaning, lawn mowing, and organizing. Keeping your body moving throughout the day is the key.

Sun Exposure

Finally, sun exposure and getting outside are foundational to your health. There is a lot of talk about Vitamin D supplements these days. While I’m not a fan of Hormone D supplementation in most cases, I do think everyone should get outside daily. Even if it’s just for a short time. Fresh air and sunshine are so healing to the body.

If you need help with any of these healthy lifestyle habits I’d love to connect! Nutritional Therapy addresses diet (tailored specifically to you!), sleep, stress management, movement, and sun exposure. Hop on a clarity call today to see if it’s the right fit for you and your kids!

Book a clarity call!

Emotional Vs Mental Health

The next foundational layer of good health includes your mental and emotional well-being. These are two distinct things. But I am going to put them together since they influence each other so much.

  • Mental health influences your thoughts and actions. It includes your psychological, social, and emotional well-being.
  • Emotional health includes your awareness of and expression of your feelings.

This is where many people get stuck in their healing journey, myself included.Foundations of good health

After you anchor your life on a spiritual foundation and adjust your diet and lifestyle, sometimes there is deeper work that needs to be done. This is because your brain and your body hold on to trauma and express it in a physical manner. You can’t talk or logic your way out of it. You can’t eat your way out of it either. Again, trust me, I’ve tried.

This is where some alternative therapies come into play. And you have to research and figure out which one or which combination will work best for you. My favorites include:

  • Craniosacral Therapy
  • Reiki
  • Tapping (EFT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Accupuncture

In all of these it’s about going really deep, past the logical brain and getting at the stuck thought patterns of the reptillian brain.

So if you feel like you’ve put in the work with diet and lifestyle but there are some symptoms that just never budge, it’s time to go deeper.

Here are some great resources to get you started!

How Does Diet Affect Mental Health

I mentioned earlier that these layers will overlap a bit, and you’ll go back and forth between them. The connection between diet and mental health is a great example.

Many mental health symptoms are caused by a nutrient imbalance or deficiency.

For example, lacking some of the B Vitamins can lead to depression and mood swings.

Low magnesium levels can be at the root of anxiety.

An imbalance between zinc and copper can cause mood swings, headaches, and hormonal imbalance…which definitely impacts your mental health!Foundations of good health

I prefer to adjust diet before trying to tackle the deeper emotional work because it can releave some of the symptoms. But each person is unique. Sometimes you may not have the ability to handle even small lifestyle changes if the mental health problems are severe enough.

This is where Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) comes into play. This non-invasive test gives great insight into your mineral levels, mineral ratios, and toxic load. I will be offering HTMA to my clients soon!
Foundations of good health

Natural Supportive Care

Finally, we get to the outer layer – the supportive care. These are modalities of wellness that many people think of as “natural treatments” or “natural remedies.” Some of my favorite forms of natural supportive care include:

  • essential oils
  • chiropractic care
  • homeopathy
  • supplements
  • flower essences
  • cell salts
  • herbs

These can be very helpful in many cases. But remember that they are supportive therapies. You can not rely on them alone.

For example, you may find relief from joint pain by using an essential oil topically. But it is not treating the source of your pain. You still have to get to the root of the inflammation and address that.

Natural supportive care often helps allieviate symptoms, but does not often address the root problem. Using these supportive modalities in conjunction with the other foundations of good health can make the healing process easier and faster.Foundations of good health

My Journey to Wellness

Over the past 15 years I’ve tried so many ways to get healthier. I waffled back and forth between the physical and mental aspects of my health.

I spent ten years doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with a psychologist. It helped. But it wasn’t until I changed my diet and lifestyle that I really made progress. I removed the nutritional barriers to healing, which allowed me to be able to process the mental aspects.

Now, fifteen years in, I’m moving into some much deeper emotional healing. It all started as a child with digestive and kidney dysfunction, that turned into something traumatic. I’ve carried this trauma with me my entire life, and I’m ready to let it go and eliminate the symptoms that nothing else can change. I can’t wait to share more of my journey as I’m able.

I am also utilizing HTMA to get my minerals back in balance and toxins out after years of processed food, fertility treatments, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and restricted diets. Even though some of those ended many years ago (like the toxic food and pharmaceuticals) the damage is still there. It took a long time to get sick. It takes a long time to recover.

But I fully believe healing is possible as I continue to get to the deeply rooted emotional source of my physical symptoms.

I have already put in the diet and lifestyle foundational work. It’s time to move to the next layer.

How to Begin Your Health Journey

I fully believe better health is possible for you and your family as well! And I want to help you get started.

As we enter this New Year with uncertainty and a heightened awareness of health, I want to give you a feeling of hope. There is always something you can do to feel better and make positive changes.Foundations of good health giveaway!

So I am giving away some of my services to help you! There are four prizes you could win.

  1. Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters (my nourishing drink book)
  2. Why Won’t My Child Eat?! (my guide to getting any child to eat)
  3. Eating Styles Membership (remove the daily feeding battles by understanding how your child eats)
  4. Nutritional Therapy session

Be sure to enter below!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where are You?

So where are you on the journey towards better health? Are you tired and overwhelmed on a daily basis? Are your kids struggling to simply feel like kids?Foundations of good health

If you are new to a natural lifestyle, start today by making one simple change.

  • Add vegetables to your lunch.
  • Put away the screens.
  • Get outside for a walk.
  • Get your hands in the dirt.
  • Take a nap.
  • Read a book.
  • Drink an extra glass of water.

If you’re ready to go deeper and start getting to the root of your symptoms, it’s time to look into Nutritional Therapy.

Stay tuned as I’ll be going into more detail about what Nutritional Therapy is in my next post.

But if you’re ready to get started now, join me on a clarity call to see how Nutritional Therapy can help!

Book a clarity call!

Better Health for Kids

I love working with fellow moms to get their health back on track. If you are not caring for yourself, it’s hard to care for your children effectively.

Foundations of good health

But my expertise is nourishing kids.

These foundations of good health apply to children as well as moms. And it’s never too late to get off the Standard American Diet train and give your kids the gift of clearer thinking, better focus, more energy, and overall wellness.

As you can see from my own story, intervention when I was young could have prevented years of struggles. Had my parents helped me get to the root of my physical symptoms right away, my life would be very different.

Don’t waste another day hoping your kids will “grow out of” their picky eating, lack of focus, or stomach aches.

Give  your kids the gift of better health NOW!

Be sure to enter the giveaway above. Then take one step today towards nourishing your kids. Scheduling a clarity call to figure out if Nutritional Therapy is right for you and your family is a great first step!

Book a clarity call!

it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

The Best Natural Bath Products for Kids

Considering your skin is your largest organ and that it absorbs whatever you put on it, it’s important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I’m talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

When my oldest daughter was five, she would come home from school every day with red, dry, cracked hands. The back of her hands were so itchy and painful.

We had just entered the world of food allergies. So at first I wondered if it was related to something she was eating. Then I learned that they had to use hand sanitizer at school…a chemical storm right on the skin.

I immediately asked her teacher if my daughter could simply wash her hands instead of using the sanitizer. That helped some. But she still needed relief from the damage that had been done.

As a newbie to natural health, I reached for coconut oil. Can’t that cure everything?

Turns out no, it can’t.

If your kids are struggling with skin issues, skip the coconut oil! It actually dries the skin out and makes the irritation worse. Lesson learned.

Thankfully I have some knowledgeable friends that steered me in the right direction. And seven years later we still use the same natural skin care products on our kids. Today I want to tell you about my friend Emilie of Toups & Co. Organics and how her products have changed our lives.it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

Why Natural Skin Care is Important for Kids

Your skin is your largest organ! It must be pretty important. Turns out it is.

Skin is the first line of defense for your innate immune system. It is the barrier between your surroundings and your internal environment. Your skin protects you from all sorts of invaders.

But the skin is also very porous. It absorbs whatever you put on it, and gets it right to the bloodstream. Unlike ingesting something, which goes through the digestive system and is filtered before entering the bloodstream, the skin is a fast-track to the blood.

This means that whatever you put on your skin is immediately absorbed (which is why using magnesium lotion is such an effective way to increase magnesium levels!).

Kids are bombarded with toxins these days. Especially harsh chemicals in soaps, cleaners, and hand santizers. So, now more than ever, it’s important to use natural skin care products on your kids.

My motto is, “if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin.”

What is the Best Lotion for Kids?

While coconut oil has its place in natural health, when it comes to skincare, tallow reigns supreme. Tallow is beef fat.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Gross! I don’t want to rub stinky tallow all over my kids.

No worries – there are ways to make tallow lotion that doesn’t stink.

Our favorite is Toups & Co. tallow balm or baby balm. Kid-safe essential oils make it smell amazing. The tallow is soft and soothing. My kids reach for it any time they have itchy or dry legs.it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

What is the Best Natural Baby Wash?

Once I started researching lotions, I began to question everything I was putting on my kids’ skin. We had a lotion figured out. But what about bath products?

By this time I had a new little one with a host of food reactions. Which also meant skin problems. I needed something gentle, safe, and effective. Did that exist?

Thankfully it did…and does!

Once we found Toups & Co. Baby Body Wash, we never looked for another.

It suds nicely and washes effectively. I love that I don’t have to worry about my little ones getting some of the water in their mouths or even about the soapy water running down their faces.

I use this whenever I give my kids a bath. Truth be told, I’ve used it for myeslf too! It’s that good.

What is the Best Shampoo for Kids?

I didn’t use any shampoo for my boys for a long time. A wet Norwex body cloth was good enough on a little bit of hair. But my girls have long hair. My youngest daughter was born with a full head of curly locks. I avoided the shampoo for a little  while. But at some point I had to do it.it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

Thankfully the Toups & Co. Body Wash doubles as shampoo!

When I give my little ones a bath I literally pour a bit of the body wash on their heads, rub it in, and just work my way down the body. Then one big rinse and we’re done! I can have my toddler’s bath done in about three minutes if need be (like when dinner is cooking but I have to squeeze in bathtime).

What is the Best Chemical-Free Soap for Teens?

Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers don’t take much work to clean. They don’t get sweaty and stinky. Sadly, we can not say the same thing about our teens.

Around age eight or nine it’s time to start using some stronger soap. If you have kids in the eight to eighteen age range, you know what I mean.

This is also a time when hormones are kicking in, oil glands are on overdrive, and the skin can be very sensitive.

If this is the phase your child is in, you’ll want to try both the Toups & Co. Everything Bar and Charcoal Bar.

I’ll be honest, I was skeptical. Can a bar soap really replace our shampoo? Can charcoal really clean my daughter’s skin well? But it only took a few uses for my daughter and I to both be believers.

The Everything Bar literally replaces everything. We use it from head to toe as shampoo, soap, and shaving cream.

The Charcoal Bar is great for cleaning the face. It washes away all dirt, grime, and makeup. It leaves your skin feeling so clean and soft. And if you run out of the Everything Bar, you can use the Charcoal Bar for shampoo too (ask me how I know).

Giving teens safe, natural health and beauty products is so important at this critical phase in their development. Hormones are already going a bit whacky. Adding hormone-disrupting chemicals in traditional products to their skin just compounds the problems.

And while you’re at it, you might as well grab some safe and effective deodorant for your teens! This is what my 12 year-old daughter uses. It won’t be long before I’m buying it for my son! Thank goodness for some more “masculine” scents and even an extra strength version. We may need it.

Safe Chapstick for Kids

We’ve covered kid-safe products for hair and skin. But don’t forget about the lips! Many kids like to use chapstick both for dry, chapped lips and simply for feeling a bit grown up.

It is essential to use safe ingredients here as they will get in the mouth when a child eats or licks her lips. I’m thankful Toups & Co. offers several flavors of chapstick that are made from tallow. No dangerous ingredients.it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

Natural Bath Products for Kids and Babies

If you are in the market for natural bath products for babies, kids, or teens (or even yourself!), I recommend Toups & Co. Organics. They are staples in our home. I hope they will be staples in your home too! My favorite and most-used products are the Baby Body Wash & Shampoo and Toups & Co. tallow balm.

Natural Skin Care for Mom

I love to talk about kids’ health. But I couldn’t write about Emilie’s products without mentioning her makeup line. I searched for YEARS for a natural makeup that actually works and doesn’t completely break the bank. I tried all sorts of powder mineral makeups. They were OK, but not great.

I finally tried the Toups & Co. liquid foundation and immediately fell in love. This is the makeup I’ve been searching for. It goes on so smoothly and blends right in. I can hardly tell I have makeup on. It lasts all day too. At the end of the day I’m almost sad to wash my face because it still looks so nice.

When it comes to makeup, I’m about as minimal as you can get. Partly because that’s just me. I like to keep things simple. But partly because of past experience. I used to try to wear eye makeup…and would wake up the next day with painful, swollen eyelids. I swore off eye makeup about seven years ago after a really bad reaction where I could barely open my eye. It was so painful.

So I was hesitant to give it another go. But I finally tried the Toups & Co. mascara. To my amazement I had NO reaction. I wore it all day without any problems. Then I tried it again the next day…and the next. No problem!

I’m so happy that for the first time in years I can wear eye makeup. Since I was having so much fun with makeup I also decided to try some lipstick in bright red. And I love it! I’ve avoided any makeup but the bare minimum for so long. I’m thankful I can enjoy putting my face on a bit again. It’s fun to feel really good about how I look when I want to get dressed up.

If you’ve been on the hunt for natural makeup, give Toups & Co. a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Toups & Co. Organic Tallow Balm for Kids

After the hand sanitizer and cocnout oil, my daughter needed relief. Thankfully we tried Emilie’s tallow balm. It was like magic. My daughter’s hands returned to normal, and we have a quick solution if the dry skin ever flares.

Now with four kids I have a bit more experience under my belt. If one of them has dry skin or eczema I immediately reach for the tallow balm. In fact, we only keep two kinds of lotion on hand – tallow balm for dry or irritated skin and magnesium lotion for restless legs, trouble sleeping, growing pains, bed-wetting, and anxiety. There is no need for anything else!

Are you ready to do the “ditch and switch” with your health and beauty products? Check out Toups & Co. Organics as a one-stop shop for all of your family’s needs HERE!

No more fights. No more allergies. Learn how to get your kids on a rotation diet.

How To Begin A Rotation Diet for Kids

When it comes to allergies, diet is key This includes rotating foods.. Wondering how to get your kids on a rotation diet…and avoid the resistance? Let them have control!

No more fights. No more allergies. Learn how to get your kids on a rotation diet.

One of the hardest things about an allergy diagnosis is taking food away from your child.

Who wants to say, “Sorry, no more apple slices”? Or “Your sister is having cheese, but you can’t have it now”?

Then you break the news. You also have to rotate your food. The raisins you like to snack on every day? Now you can only eat them every four days. I hope you enjoyed that banana. You can’t have another until later this week.

How to Follow A Rotation Diet

This may sound like a joke, but it’s not. Using a rotation diet for allergies is one of the most important things you can do. It certainly does not make dealing with allergies easier. But it will help in the healing and prevention process. By rotating the food you eat on a four-day cycle, you allow the body time to heal. It also prevents the development of new allergies, which is so common. Eating the same foods day after day when you have allergies is a recipe for disaster.

No more fights. No more allergies. Learn how to get your kids on a rotation diet.

If you have never heard of or tried a rotation diet be sure to read about how a rotation diet works and why it is critical for those with allergies!

So just how do you get your kids on board with this new way of eating?
 

How to Get Kids on a Rotation Diet

Today I’m at Kitchen Stewardship sharing fun tips for getting kids of any age on a rotation diet. Read the full article HERE.

I’ve also got a super cool FREE printout to help you get started. Get your copy now.

How A Rotation Diet Helps With Food Allergies | Just Take A Bite

How A Rotation Diet Helps With Food Allergies

When it comes to food allergies, one of the biggest mistakes parents make is feeding their kids the same foods over and over. While it may make life easier, it could cause more problems in the long run. Implementing a rotation diet is a great strategy for feeding kids with food allergies.

Active Eater

“You should try a rotation diet.”

I first heard those words when I went through a whole assortment of tests a few years ago and the results showed a lot of latent food allergies.

My first thought: “You want me to not eat the same foods two days in a row?”

How Leftovers Impact Gut Health

I am a creature of habit and the queen of repetition. I am an Analytical Eater after all! I could eat the same food for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for a week and not mind one bit. And if I really like something, I often do eat it every day. Plus I LOVE leftovers. I’m odd but I like cold leftovers better than freshly made food. So the idea of not eating things two days in a row was crazy to me.

My second thought: “How is that going to help?”

Turns out it helps a lot. Though I didn’t fully realize it at the time.

Why Won't My Child Eat?! Simple strategies to feed any child with food allergies, sensitivities, oral spd, refusal to eat, and more!

I went home, did more research and got started. I only had one child eating solids at the time. So it wasn’t that tough to modify meals for the family and work around my new diet. I stuck with it for a while and had fun experimenting with new recipes.

Then life got busy. I gradually fell back into old habits. I had a one year old that was always on the move. And a very smart four year old that needed lots of stimulation and always wanted to learn something new. Plus I was tired and struggling with adrenal fatigue. Back to eating the same foods all the time and feeding my kids the same foods.How to use a rotation diet to minimize food allergies and introduce new foods with ease. #foodallergies #feedingkids #healthykids

Rotating Foods for Allergies

Fast forward a year and my son was diagnosed with along list of food allergies. All the allergist told us to do was avoid the worst offenders. That was it for advice.

Ok. We can do that. No dairy, eggs, rice, beans, peas, grapes, pears and a few other foods. Not fun. But we’ll manage.

Six months later we went for a retest. The allergies were worse, and new ones had popped up.

It was then that I learned how a rotation diet can help with allergies and just how important it is.

Can you guess what foods my son now reacted strongly to?

All the foods he ate frequently and foods we used to replace his allergens. Oops. Mom fail. Lesson learned. Sort of.

Why Won't My Child Eat?!

We’ve gone through this up and down cycle of sticking to food rotation and then getting busy and slipping back into old habits many times. And almost every time we pay for it by adding new allergies.

Knowing just how important rotation is, I was very strict about enforcing it with my youngest daughter from the start.

How A Rotation Diet Works

That’s a little background. I hope I didn’t lose you at the mention of a rotation diet.

It’s kind of a strange concept. Basically you eat foods on a four-day rotation. So if you eat an apple on Monday you can’t eat an apple again until Friday.

How does that help? And why four days?

Allergies can start or worsen with repeated exposure to an allergen, especially in allergy-prone people and those with leaky guts (which includes many of us). So if you are consuming the same food day after day, any reaction to that food will gradually intensify. It’s kind of like picking at a cut. The more you pick at it, the worse it will get.

When you eat a problem food, your body produces “masking” antibodies. After four days those antibodies are gone (if you aren’t eating the food). So you can better assess if a particular food was bothering you. If you eat the same food every day those antibodies do not clear out and you’re left guessing and having reaction upon reaction. Been there, done that.

Food Rotation on a Restricted Diet

Ideally you should rotate food families. But this is not always possible. My youngest daughter did not even have enough safe foods to span four days with rotating families. So we stuck with rotating individual foods and tried not to have food families span more than two days. You have to do what works for you.

An added bonus of rotation is that it forces you to have variety in your diet, which leads to a broader spectrum of vitamins and minerals. This is beneficial for the whole family, not just those with allergies. So get everyone on board!

Sound like a good theory but impossible to implement? It’s not. I promise. It just takes some planning.

How to Start a Rotation Diet

  1. Make a list of all of the foods you can eat. You can do this for the whole family or just for the individuals with allergies.
  2. Group the safe foods into food families.
  3. Now start filling in four days, including foods from each food group (fruits, vegetables, grains/starches, fats, proteins) in each day.

I also like to group foods that we commonly eat together. For example, beef and tomatoes are good on the same day for making spaghetti with meat sauce or tacos with salsa. I include peppers and onions on those days too. Rice tends to go well with chicken or pork. I put lettuce and a few favorite salad toppings on the same day.

How A Rotation Diet Helps With Allergies | Just Take A Bite

Rotation Diet Meal Plan

Play around with it until you find a rotation that works for your family. Then start planning! Oddly enough a rotation diet can actually make meal planning easier. A lot of the decisions are made for you. The other day I was planning a meal for a day with pumpkin, rice, lettuce and cucumbers. So we had pumpkin pasta (rice noodles) and salads. Perfect!

I even manage to use leftovers by making my “day” go from dinner one day to lunch the next. So dinner leftovers can still be eaten for easy lunches. Then we start our next day with dinner again.

One down side to a rotation diet is that it can be hard to eat seasonally. It just depends on how restricted your diet is. We’ve been eating asparagus all year because my daughter likes it and tolerates it. Normally we only eat it in the spring when it’s growing in our garden. But having food options wins over eating seasonally. Not to mention on a rotation diet you can’t eat cherries every day for two weeks straight while they are fresh. The rotation is more important.

An Easy Way to Identify Food Reactions

Since starting a rotation diet with my kids, it is a lot easier to keep new allergies to a minimum and to spot an offending food right away. Sometimes people think I’m crazy when I say I can pinpoint food reactions in a couple days. But I can. It is because we use a rotation diet. This is also very helpful when re-introducing foods. It’s easy to tell right away if my child is still reacting or not. So we can try one new food a week when I think they are ready.

Before dealing with allergies, my diet was about the farthest thing from rotated. I ate the same foods day after day after day. And I paid the price with a long list of latent allergies. And I have seen firsthand how not rotating foods has negatively impacted my children.

Using a rotation diet is one of the most important things you can do for someone with allergies. And it is just one of the many topics I cover in my book Why Won’t My Child Eat?!. I’ve got tips on how to observe your child for food reactions and how to deal with picky eating. I’ve even got a tried and true method for feeding a child that refuses to eat anything (I’ve been there…for months). Plus lots more.

Get your copy of Why Won’t My Child Eat?! so you can take the guess work out of behavior issues and picky eating and start enjoying meal times again.

Do you have kids with allergies? Do you use a rotation diet or are you stuck in a rut with a handful of safe foods?

Get out of the rut and get on the road to better health with a rotation diet. Then take the next steps to having great eaters with the tips I share in Why Won’t My Child Eat?!.

Natural Remedies to Help Breastfeeding

When it comes to feeding baby, breast is best. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy! Breastfeeding a baby can be a big struggle. Here are some simple natural remedies to help breastfeeding go more smoothly.When it comes to feeding baby, breast is best. But that doesn't mean it's always easy! Breastfeeding a baby can be a big struggle. Here are some simple natural remedies to help breastfeeding.

When my first child was born I knew I wanted to breastfeed. But I didn’t know much about how. I learned as I went. She nursed fine, but would nurse for 1 – 1 1/2 hours at a time. I had no idea that wasn’t normal (though now I know it’s related to her oral sensory issues). She also spit up a lot. Both things we just dealt with. It was a full time job feeding and cleaning up after her!

Then came my oldest son. He was a champ when it comes to nursing. Twenty minutes and done. Eat every two hours. Easy. I did change my diet a bit for his reflux, but overall he did great. And his growth proved it! In fact he didn’t even want solid food until he was about ten months old. No pacifier, no thumb, no blanket. He just liked to nurse.

I had two decent breastfeeders. I felt confident I knew what I was doing. So when my third child was born I could tell something was off from the start. The longest she would nurse was about three minutes. I had to feed her very often. Eventually we found out she had a tongue tie. She also reacted to many foods I was eating. She even got to the point that she was barely eating at all (read how we resolved it here).

After three different breastfeeding experiences I thought I had it figured out. Wrong. When my fourth was born it was back to square one. He would resist nursing most of the time. I tried all the tricks I knew, but nothing worked. I didn’t want to relive what I went through with my daughter.

After four weeks of stress I waved the white flag and met with a lactation consultant (something I now think all new moms should do!). I learned so much from her and from my son. I’m so happy to be able share all of my natural remedies to help breastfeeding with you!When it comes to feeding baby, breast is best. But that doesn't mean it's always easy! Breastfeeding a baby can be a big struggle. Here are some simple natural remedies to help breastfeeding when the journey is hard. #breastfeeding #naturalhealth #breastisbest #feedingbaby

Common Breastfeeding Problems

For something so “natural,” there is  a lot that can go wrong with breastfeeding! Here are some of the common breastfeeding challenges.

  • baby won’t latch at all
  • baby frequently unlatches
  • baby fusses with nursing/refuses to nurse
  • baby nurses for a long time (over one hour)
  • baby only nurses for short periods (2 – 6 minutes)
  • baby is overly gassy
  • baby spits up a lot (reflux)
  • baby is in pain before or after a feeding or when laid down, baby gets hiccups often (silent reflux)
  • low milk supply
  • fast letdown/oversupply
  • baby refuses to nurse while teething

Breastfeeding Tips and Natural Remedies

My first piece of advice is to not give up! I know it can be hard. Feeding your little one can consume your life at times. But it’s worth the effort!

Aside from sticking with it, here are some tried and true natural remedies to help breastfeeding.

Body Work

Both in utero and in the birthing process baby’s spine and muscles can get out of place and tighten. This can lead to tension in the body where it shouldn’t be, restricted head and tongue movement, torticollis and plagiocephaly (flat head). As you can imagine any of this could make breastfeeding both uncomfortable and challenging for baby.

One of the best things to do for baby (really for all babies, even if they are nursing fine) is body work. Craniosacral therapy, chiropractic care and occupational therapy can all help get things back in place and relieve tension. Be sure to find a therapist that is trained to work with babies.

Tongue and Lip Tie Revision

Tongue and lip ties are quite common these days. And they can make breastfeeding very difficult as baby has limited tongue movement and can’t latch properly. It also often causes mom a lot of pain. Anyone would feel like giving up if baby isn’t latching and mom is in pain!

Find a preferred provider that does laser revision for a proper evaluation and revision if necessary. The first few days or weeks after a revision can be challenging. Baby might be in pain and will have to relearn how to latch. But the long-term benefits are so worth it. Not only for breastfeeding but for proper tooth development, overall mouth structure and speech.

Elimination and/or Rotation Diet

I know not everyone will agree with me here. I’ve read so many sites that claim it is rare that mom’s diet can have any impact on baby. But it’s just not true! What you eat can absolutely cause problems for your little one (learn more about why HERE). I have had to alter my diet for all four of my kids. Whether it’s just one food that causes more reflux or a whole host of foods that cause rashes, hives and blood in the stool. Changing diet can make a world of difference.

This does not mean your little one necessarily has allergies or that they will have allergies when they get older. It’s more a sign of poor digestion and possible vitamin and mineral imbalance. The good news is that it is usually very temporary.

Start by cutting out all common allergens and any other foods you suspect could be a problem (acidic foods, gassy foods, etc.) until you have a more content baby. Then rotate foods on a four day rotation (learn more about rotating foods here). Gradually add food back one at a time and watch for reactions. Once you have pinpointed problem foods, keep them out for a few months before experimenting again. This will give baby’s gut time to mature and heal.

Improve Gut Health

Babies are born with an immature digestive system. Many breastfeeding struggles like reflux, excessive gas and food reactions are a reflection of that. Not to mention many babies are exposed to antibiotics and other drugs from the moment they are born. Also, if mom has food allergies or intolerances and eats one of her problem foods, baby can react to it as well. But on a larger scale. So it is very important to focus on gut health for both mom and baby.

A good quality probiotic daily is a must (I like this one and this one for babies. I use this or this for myself). For baby I simply mix the probiotic with a small amount of expressed breastmilk and administer it with a syringe. You can even put a small amount directly on the nipple at the start of a feed. If you bottle feed, mix it right into the bottle.

There are a few other natural remedies that can be combined with probiotics. Digestive enzymes (I like this brand) will help both mom and baby break down food properly. Mom can take the pills with each meal. A little powder can be mixed with breastmilk for baby.

Cell salts can be helpful for getting minerals into the cells. Mag Phos is great for gas and colic. Nat Phos helps many babies with reflux.

Essential oils that help digestion can be beneficial. Make sure you use one safe for babies, administered properly with a carrier oil.

Nursing Positions

Sometimes something as simple as changing positions can have a huge impact on breastfeeding success. Many moms find that laid back nursing works well. This is especially helpful for babies with reflux and for moms with a fast letdown. In a laid back position gravity helps instead of hinders.

Some moms enjoy lying on their side for nursing. This makes night time feedings easier. A football hold might work too.

My little guy with reflux does best when I’m bouncing on a balance ball or standing and bouncing. It’s a bonus that I get a little exercise!

You can also breastfeed while wearing your baby (a skill I have yet to master!). This keeps baby upright (great for reflux) and keeps you from getting sore arms. This is really helpful in the early days when baby is the most fussy.


If you’re wondering what else besides a great carrier is a must for those first couple months check out Think Baby. They’ve got all sorts of great info on pregnancy, feeding, infants and toddlers. Even some tips for surviving sleepless nights and the benefits of baby wearing.


Try all different positions to find what is most comfortable for you and baby. There is no right or wrong way.When it comes to feeding baby, breast is best. But that doesn't mean it's always easy! Breastfeeding a baby can be a big struggle. Here are some simple natural remedies to help breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Diet and Milk Supply

Even with all of these natural remedies to help breastfeeding, sometimes it’s still a struggle! I totally understand. There comes a point where you have to take a step back and look at the big picture. The most important thing is keeping baby healthy.

You may have to pump and bottle feed either part time or full time. It takes some extra work, but baby is still reaping the benefits of mom’s milk. Which is the most important part.

Some women have success using a nipple shield. Often it is only necessary in the early months and baby can transition off of it.

If baby does very short feeds and is not getting the hind milk try block feeding. Continue to offer the same side at each feeding until it is drained. You can also massage your breast while nursing to mix the fat in. You are basically homogenizing your milk. This actually makes it easier for baby to digest!

Having a fast letdown or oversupply can be just as challenging as low supply. Your body produces new milk ducts with each pregnancy. So the milk flow gets faster with each child. This can be hard for baby to manage. Try taking baby off the breast when the letdown starts and use a towel or burp cloth to catch the milk. Put baby back on the breast after the flow has slowed. This will help baby not to swallow so much air and become extra gassy. You can also pump for a few minutes before a feed to soften the breast and make it easier for baby to latch. This will also help you work around the letdown.

If your supply is low try eating lactogenic foods and teas and drinking plenty of water. It is also critical to take care of yourself. Eat plenty of nourishing food, including sufficient carbohydrates. Sleep when baby sleeps. And do not do any strenuous exercise. Undereating, eating low carb, and overexercising are all stressful to your body and can prevent it from producing milk.

If you simply can’t produce enough try to find donor milk or make your own formula.

Natural Teething Remedies

Sometimes what appears to be a latch issue or refusal to nurse is actually just teething! Many moms are shocked to hear that teething can begin at birth! How do I know this? That was my fourth child. By six weeks old he was a slobbery mess, chewing on his hands non-stop. By eight weeks old I could see his first two teeth!

While some babies aren’t bothered by teething, some really struggle. The pain while suckling can be very intense. Three out of four of my kids had a very hard time with teething and would go on a nursing strike due to pain. I’m thankful for my oldest son that was the opposite. He wanted to nurse more while teething!

Unfortunately, I didn’t learn about natural teething remedies until I was three kids in. My oldest daytime weaned at 11 months due to teething pain. I tried and tried and cried and cried, but it just wasn’t happening. I pumped to keep her exclusively breastfed until one year old. But it was very hard for me emotionally.

On the flip side, in spite of our struggles, my youngest daughter nursed until she was two and a half years old! My youngest son is two and still going strong with breastfeeding.

My favorite teething remedies include:

  • Copaiba essential oil rubbed along the jaw line
  • Boiron Camilia homeopathic drops
  • Gentle Baby essential oil
  • Amber teething necklace
  • Bach Rescue Remedy flower essences

All combined they ease the pain and help baby feel calm.

Understanding Your Child’s Eating Style from Birth

A fun way to improve your breastfeeding experience is by understanding your nursling’s Eating Style. Even at such a young age you can use this knowledge to meet their needs.

If you have an Intuitive Eater, she probably needs a lot of sleep, a lot of comfort, and may be a thumb sucker. However, if you have an Adventurous Eater, he may sleep sporadically and get easily distracted by noises and his surroundings.

You can learn more about your baby’s Eating Style HERE.

Breastfeeding Benefits

Many women quit breastfeeding because of challenges. I know just how hard it can be. I’ve struggled through it too. But I encourage you not to give up! Many struggles improve significantly after the first few months when baby’s digestion and body control are more mature. And when your supply regulates.

Some obstacles like teething and reflux are temporary.

Keep in mind that this is not just about breastfeeding. Resolving many of these issues now – like tongue ties and poor digestion – will help create good eaters down the road.

Nursing your little one into toddlerhood is an amazing experience that has both physical and psychological health benefits. I hope you use some of these natural remedies to help breastfeeding and find success on your journey.

What have been your biggest breastfeeding struggles? What has helped you the most?

If you’ve tried many of these and you’re still struggling, I’d love to help! Let’s hop on a chat and see if we can work together to find a soltion HERE.

The Best Strategies for Feeding a Child with Oral Sensory Processing Disorder

Are meal times a battle? Is your child’s diet limited due to flavors and textures? Is chewing a chore? Would a delicious treat like leftover muffin bread pudding be out of the question because it’s “too mushy?” Take heart! I’ve got the best strategies for feeding a child with oral sensory issues.child refusing to eat

I have two kids with oral sensory issues. But I didn’t even know it until I wrote this post! To clarify, we’ve been working on my daughter’s sensory issues since she was a baby. But I didn’t realize some of my son’s behavior was related to sensory issues until I did more research.

Why is that? They are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Some kids with oral sensory issues fear stimulation. It is the most obvious with refusal to chew, eat, etc. That is my oldest. I still remember being so excited to feed her solid food when she was six months old. Such a milestone with your first child! But it did not go as well as I had hoped. Everything came right back out. Little did I know we’d be battling that problem ten years later!

Some kids crave stimulation, like my son. He eats pretty well…but he always stuffs as much food in his mouth as possible and is constantly chewing on things (non-food items like clothes, toys and his hands). He seeks out oral stimulation. Maybe that’s why he loved nursing so much! Though he really had no interest in solid food until about ten months old.Are meal times a battle? Is your child's diet limited due to flavors, textures and trouble chewing? Here are the best strategies for feeding a child with oral sensory issues.

What is Oral Sensory Processing Disorder?

As you can see there is such a difference just between two kids in the same family. So you can imagine that the spectrum of oral sensory issues is quite broad. Here are some of the common symptoms.

The child…

  • won’t use utensils/eats with his hands
  • won’t stay in a chair during a meal
  • puts more food in his mouth than fits
  • chews with her mouth open
  • chews with her front teeth
  • chews on toys and clothes
  • holds food in her mouth for a long period of time
  • will only eat certain textures, sizes, shapes or colors of food
  • gags on food easily
  • refuses to try new foods
  • is afraid of eating
  • pushes food forward with his tongue instead of back

As if getting kids to eat a nourishing diet wasn’t hard enough. When you add Oral Sensory Processing Disorder it just compounds the problem. But take heart. It can be done! It just takes some work figuring out how best to meet your child’s needs.

I have a collection of strategies for feeding kids with all sorts of challenges. Some are simple tricks to try at home. Some require help from therapists and doctors. Start with one and keep working through the list to figure out what works best for you. I’ll share our own successful strategies as well.

Eating Styles Membership

Also keep in mind that every child has a unique Eating Style that dictates how they eat. What seems like a sensory issue could in fact just be how they express themselves through eating. Learn more about your child’s Eating Style HERE!

Are meal times a battle? Is your child's diet limited due to flavors, textures and trouble chewing? Here are the best strategies for feeding a child with oral sensory processing disorder. #oralspd #pickyeaters #feedingkids

At-home Tools for Feeding a Child with Oral Sensory Processing Disorder

  1. Try different textures.
    It goes without saying that food texture is a huge obstacle with sensory issues. Mushy, chewy, crunchy, crispy liquid, solid. I’m sure your child has a multitude of categories. Figure out what textures your child is comfortable with and serve those foods first. Gradually try introducing new textures. Just one bite at a time is sufficient. Go at your child’s pace. You don’t want to make eating stressful or scary. Over time you can try larger quantities. If your child is a fan of smoothies I’ve got tons of healthy ones in my book Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters.
  2. Let kids play with food.
    One of the best ways to get a child with oral sensory issues comfortable with a particular food is to let them play with it. Create a lunch with various dips, spreads and crackers. Make a snack of fruits and veggies and let them make a picture out of it. Don’t put any pressure on the child to eat it. Just let them have fun creating things.kids cooking
  3. Teach kids to cook.
    This is one of my favorite strategies. Not only does teaching your child to cook often get them to try new foods, it also sets them up for success as an adult. They’ll get feeding therapy and life skills all in one! We’ve been using the Kids Cook Real Food ecourse for over two years now. It has been amazing to watch my kids build confidence with their skills and be willing to try so many foods! It’s a win-win.
  4. Make meals fun.
    It never hurts to cater to a child’s playful nature. Try fun straws for drinking smoothies and pureed soups. Cut sandwiches into shapes. Use an assortment of cups with different shapes and textures. Or maybe get a new cup or straw as a prize for trying something new. Relate a meal to a story you just read (i.e. porridge from Goldilocks). Anything to associate eating with fun.
  5. Exercise the mouth.
    For some kids the physical act of eating is truly hard. Exercises can help train their muscles. Kind of like lifting weights for your mouth. Have them practice sucking from a straw, blowing bubbles, making sounds, chewing chewy and crunchy food. Anything that gets their mouth moving in different ways.
  6. Use different utensils.
    It drives my husband and I crazy that our two oldest rarely use utensils unless we tell them (force them!) to. I never really thought about how the utensils feel to them. Or that they could be challenging to manipulate (especially since our three-year old uses them so well!). If this is the case for your kids experiment with spoons and forks of different materials, sizes and shapes. Find something your child is comfortable putting in his mouth.
  7. Experience food away from meals.
    Kids learn that they are expected to eat at meal times. Which creates pressure and sometimes anxiety. Offer your child exposure to food away from a meal time, without expectations. Give her a plate of fruits and veggies to snack on as she pleases. Let her play with them. Make sure she knows she can eat the food if she wants or leave it all there. It’s up to her. This will help her relax and build confidence.
  8. Use body movement before eating.
    Another struggle for my kids is sitting in a chair to eat. Some kids just need to move to satisfy their need for stimulation. Body movement before a meal can help this. Before coming to the table have them try some jumping, rocking, hanging or climbing. Other forms of touch that might help are hugs and being wrapped in a blanket. Ease their senses first. Then start the meal. Or let them stand or sit on a balance ball to eat.
  9. Use chew toys.
    It may sound strange, but some kids just need to chew! They need constant oral stimulation. They can’t eat non-stop (though sometimes it seems they try to!). Candy and gum are not healthy options. A simple solution is a chew toy. There are special ones designed for older kids/kids with oral sensory issues. I’m tempted to get one for my son so he’ll stop putting his hands and toys in his mouth. For a long time I thought maybe he was cutting molars. But after a few years of the behavior I know he just needs oral stimulation.sweet potato burger
  10. Experiment with flavors.
    Generally kids with oral sensory issues need very bland and mild-flavored food. But that isn’t always the case. Some kids like a lot of spice. Talk to your child and experiment with different flavors. Salty, sweet, spicy, bitter, bold, mild. My oldest can’t handle any spice. But she loves tons of salt. My son, on the other hand, enjoys spicy food. Again, that difference between sensory avoidance and sensory stimulation is obvious.
  11. Improve gut health.
    Oral sensory issues are related to the nervous system, which is controlled by the brain. A nervous system dysfunction often points to leaky gut, where foreign invaders (such as food particles and toxins) leak through the intestines and cause an immune response. They also impact proper function of the brain. The solution is to work on gut health. This can include daily probiotics, digestive support like enzymes and sometimes a specific diet (remove allergens, elimination diet, rotation diet, etc.). 
  12. Stick to a schedule.
    Kids with sensory issues like routine. They want to know what to expect. They fear unknowns. Sticking to a regular eating schedule can be calming. They know when food is coming and when they are expected to eat. It is important to keep up the routine even on weekends, vacations, etc.

Orthodontic workTesting and Therapy for Oral Sensory Processing Disorder

  1. Orthodontic work to correct the palate.
    Oral sensory issues often coincide with structural problems with the mouth. Orthodontic work to expand the palate can help make the physical process of chewing and swallowing easier. It will also help with proper breathing. While traditional orthodontics may help, we found that Orthotropics was much more effective. You can read our story here.
  2. Speech and occupational therapy.
    Sometimes oral sensory issues point to a lack of proper reflex integration. All reflexes of the body should integrate during infancy if the child is developing properly. But it doesn’t always happen. My oldest still has her tongue thrust reflex, meaning she pushes food forward with her tongue instead of back to the throat for swallowing. Both speech and occupational therapy can help get all of the reflexes integrated properly and train the mouth to chew well.
  3. Craniosacral therapy, chiropractic care and functional neurology.
    All of these therapies focus on the whole body structure and how things work together. Tension in the neck and spine can cause the tongue to feel restricted, making chewing difficult. Getting the whole body in alignment and loosened will let your child relax and have an easier time eating. We have used all three of these therapies to help with breastfeeding issues and sensory problems in older kids.child chewing
  4. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies and imbalances.
    Nourishing food is a must when dealing with oral sensory issues. The root problem can be a vitamin and mineral deficiency and/or imbalance. It can also be related to heavy metals. Hair tissue mineral analysis is the best way to find out where your child is lacking and develop a plan for supplementation and dietary changes. Some simple supplements to start with are probiotics and digestive enzymes. These are beneficial to all children.
  5. Tongue and lip ties.
    Revising a tongue and/or lip tie can give a child more ability to chew and swallow properly. It will also improve speech and overall oral structure. Find a preferred provider (that treats with laser) to do the evaluation. A tongue tie may not be obvious to you.

Oral Sensory Feeding Problems

If your child is struggling with eating due to oral sensory issues there is a lot you can do to help! Try a few of the at-home strategies. And don’t be afraid to seek help from professionals. It can be life-changing for both you and your child.

Looking to dig even deeper into your child’s feeding struggles? I’ve got more tips and strategies in my book Why Won’t My Child Eat?!. Grab your copy here!

Or figure out your child’s Eating Style to meet their unique needs.

Would you prefer 1:1 support? See if Nutritional Therapy is right for you!

Have you tried any of these strategies for oral sensory feeding issues? Do you use others?

I’d love to hear what works for you!