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How should you feed a child?

What is A Child’s Eating Style?

A nourishing diet and healthy lifestyle play a huge role in your child’s health. But understanding his or her emotional health is just as important! Let’s learn about Eating Styles and how they factor into good health.How should you feed a child?

One of the most common questions I get from parents is how their parenting and food philosophies will impact their child’s mental well-being.

  • If I make my son eat all of his broccoli before he gets dessert will that teach him that food is either good or bad and that some should be treated as a reward?
  • If I teach my kids about healthy food will that make them obsessive about it?
  • If my daughter can’t eat the same foods as her friends will she feel isolated?
  • How do I avoid forcing my kids to eat?

You get the idea.

Here’s the thing. All of those scenarios could prove true. But then again they might not. And you’ll find experts in both camps. And, yes, I have use the force feed method myself…for a very particular case.

But what it really boils down to is your child and how he or she views the world.

Tom may become obsessive about healthy food if you tell him how bad sugar is. While Lucy might not put much thought into it.

Anna might focus on friendships and spending time together, regardless of what everyone is eating. Whereas Steve might be hypervigilant about feeling different.How to feed a picky eater

How Children Respond Differently to Feeding Stress

I’ve seen it firsthand in my own kids.

When my youngest daughter was little she had some severe feeding issues. Her response was to become a thumb sucker, struggle with breastfeeding, and shy away from food.

On the other hand, my youngest son, who also had feeding issues, turned to me for comfort and started nursing more. He also started viewing food as good and helpful from a young age, often declaring, “I’m a good eater! This will help me grow big.”

So what was different?

It certainly wasn’t me!!

My response to both of them during the struggle was the same. I was anxious and stressed. Not ideal. But that is how I reacted (wish I knew then what I know now – hindsight).

What was different was how my kids view the world. They each have very different Eating Styles!How to feed a picky eater

What is an Eating Style?

My daughter is an Intuitive Eater. When it comes to food and eating she needs comfort. I did not help create a comfortable environment for her, instead focusing on the stress and her limitations.  In turn she shied away from eating. Food had a negative connotation.

My son, however, is an Adventurous Eater. When it comes to food and eating he likes anything new and exciting. Simply looking at books or talking to him while he ate was enough to create a fun environment for him. And he gravitated towards the food. Food had a positive connotation!

A child’s Eating Style helps you understand:

  • the essence of your child’s true nature
  • how they relate to the world, to people, and to their environment
  • what makes them feel loved, supported, and confident
  • how they uniquely view food.

I like to call it a child’s food language!

Once you understand how to speak it, feeding becomes so much simpler!! Knowing your child’s Eating Style will help answer many of your feeding questions.

  • Does my child need comforting food or quick food?
  • Does my child like meals to be a surprise or to know exactly what’s on the menu?
  • Does my child like soft, easy-to-chew food or really crunchy and chewy food?

The Eating Styles will help you identify the answers to all of these and so much more!Eating Styles Membership

What are the Eating Styles?

There are four Eating Styles:

  • Intuitive Eater: slow, emotional, connected
  • Analytical Eater: still, structured, bold
  • Adventurous Eater: happy, animated, curious
  • Active Eater: fast, loud, intense

Every child has a primary Eating Style and then overlaps a bit with a second style. It’s fascinating to figure out what describes your child(ren) best. Eating Styles is a powerful tool to help your child eat better without feeling like he or she has to change his or her personality. It also helps aleviate any feeding challenges without power struggles with you!

For example, the term “picky eater” is used a lot when it comes to feeding kids. I really don’t like that label.

I think all kids are great eaters! We just have to understand how they eat to be able to bring the world of food alive to them.

All four types of eaters have their own challenges and strengths. Which means they each require different feeding strategies…and it might not align with the way you like to eat, Mom and Dad!

Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of an Intuitive Eater and strategies to help feed this child.Intuitive Eater

How an Intuitive Eater Eats

An Intuitive Eater is the true “picky eater.” This is the child that will have a very strong opinion about what they will and won’t eat…and there is no convincing them otherwise (for good reason!).

Most parents looking for help with extreme pickiness are dealing with Intuitive Eaters.

Some characteristics of an Intuitive Eater include:

  • Slow eater, can’t be rushed through a meal
  • Needs someone close by (especially 2-5 year olds)
  • Doesn’t like food mixed
  • Eating impacted by emotions (can lead to under or over eating)
  • Struggles with breakfast – slow to start the day
  • Eat by a process (i.e. finish all of one food before moving to the next)
  • Struggles with eating meat
  • Unwilling to try new foods

Some feeding strategies for an Intuitive Eater include:

  • Let them start a meal early to have enough time to finish
  • Sit with them for the whole meal/until they are done – they need to feel connected
  • Seat them next to mom or dad
  • Let them help plan and prepare the meal
  • Give them options/let them decide what to eat (teach them to listen to their bodies)
  • Don’t tie emotions to food. How much/what you eat does not equate to good/bad – remove parent emotions from meals even if undereating
  • Let them take breaks/come back to a meal
  • Serve foods separately and let them combine if desired (tacos, casseroles, stir fry, etc.)

As you can see, my stress reaction to my Intuitive Eater’s struggles was the complete opposite of what she needed. Now that she is older we focus on being positive about food and connecting at the table. In turn she is a great eater that loves a wide variety of nutrient-dense food.

We are now digging even deeper to remove her limiting belief that she is small and weak, instead helping her believe that she is healthy, nourished, and strong! Because she is.

She is still my child with the strongest opinions about her food. But that’s OK! I am honoring her Intuitive nature when it comes to eating.How to feed a picky eater

How to Figure Out Your Child’s Eating Style

That was a small taste of one of the four Eating Styles. Maybe it resonated with you, and you think your child is an Intuitive Eater. Or maybe it doesn’t sound like your child at all! You could have an Analytical, Adventurous, or Active Eater.

To quickly figure out which type of eater(s) you have, use this short quiz! It’s fun and fascinating to understand how the whole family eats!

 

If you are ready to dig deeper and use the Eating Styles as a tool to eliminate picky eating, it’s time to become an Eating Styles member.

Eating Styles Premium Membership
Eating Styles Premium Membership
Learn exactly HOW to feed your child before you even consider what to feed them. You'll learn to work with your child's strengths and natural tendencies to make meal times pleasant for everyone.
Price: $39.97

Become an Eating Styles Member Today!

With a membership you get access to a quick-start guide to help you pinpoint your child’s primary eating style (that goes much more in-depth than the quiz). Then you can learn all about that style to understand the ins and outs of feeding.

You might even find the information helpful in other areas of life. I now understand why my Active Eater stuffs his mouth at every meal AND why he’s so intense about everything he does. Which allows me to be more patient with him.How to feed a picky eater

Picky Eating is NOT About the Food!

Feeding your kids well is more about the HOW than the WHAT.

It all boils down to mindful observation and understanding your child’s nature. Using the strategies in the Eating Styles you’ll become the expert on how to feed YOUR child. Then the food will easily follow.

Eating Styles is part of the Mindset component of my Mouth-Mind-Movement-Minerals Method to get your kids to say, “MMMM” to nourishing food without a battle. It’s a simple step you can take at home with huge rewards!

Are you ready to end the mealtime drama and keep your kids nourished? 

Become an Eating Styles Member Today!

Eating Styles Premium Membership
Eating Styles Premium Membership
Learn exactly HOW to feed your child before you even consider what to feed them. You'll learn to work with your child's strengths and natural tendencies to make meal times pleasant for everyone.
Price: $39.97

So far we have talked about the foundations of good healthNutritional Therapy for kids, and HTMA for kids – the physical aspects of health. Today we introduced how mindset impacts feeding your kids and how the Eating Styles can help. But there is still more! Next up I’ll be discussing more tactics for handling the emotional aspect of feeding. Stay tuned!

How I Gave My Daughter A New Start: Natural Remedies to Help Mouth Breathing

Does your child seem to sleep poorly or wake up grumpy? There are many causes, one of them being how your child breathes. There is natural help for mouth breathing to get a well-rested child.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

Every parent does it. Every night.

Before you get in bed, you check on your sleeping child.

You stand there for a minute watching them lay there so peacefully.

Unless your child is a mouth breather.

Then you see covers strewn about and a child tossing and turning. You hear snoring and snuffling.

Sleeping While Mouth Breathing Looks Anything but Peaceful

Not only does it look bad, it is bad. Mouth breathing has a big impact on health and behavior. Here are some of the effects of mouth breathing.

  • Restless sleep/change positions constantly.
  • Lack of clean oxygen to the body (that comes through the nose).
  • Bad breath and body odor.
  • Sensitive teeth/chewing problems/dental problems.
  • Adrenal fatigue/lack of sleep.
  • Sleeping problems/hard to settle down/inability to nap.
  • Lack of focus/symptoms of ADD/ADHD.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Mood swings/tantrums/meltdowns.
  • Oral sensory processing disorder.
  • Narrow mouth/palette.

This list of symptoms should not describe any child. But it does. My daughter included. She had displayed every single symptom on this list at only seven years old.How do I stop mouth breathing in my kids? We are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion. #mouthbreathing #oralspd #kidshealth

Why do Kids Mouth Breathe?

Mouth breathing happens during the day and night and can have a variety of causes. For my daughter the root issue is environmental allergies.

Her first symptoms started at a very young age with chewing problems and sensitive teeth. She needed pureed foods until age two. But things really started to get worse around age three when she stopped napping and could no longer settle down during the day.

We played around with diet and removed gluten and anything artificial. We saw some improvement, but not enough.

How Allergies Impact Mouth Breathing

At five years old we had her tested for allergies and discovered severe dust mite and mold allergies. The allergist put her on a steroid nasal spray. Although hesitant we tried it for a while with no improvement. So we turned to more natural remedies.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

Natural Treatment Options for Mouth Breathing

My daughter is now 13 and breathing through her nose most of the time. It is quite amazing to see the difference in her health, mood, and behavior. She has been given a new start after years of mouth breathing.

Every child is different and responds differently to treatments. But if your child is a mouth breather it is important to figure out what works for him or her and find a way for him or her to get quality oxygen and sleep. Here are the treatments we have used.

  1. Speech therapy – We saw a speech therapist for three years. It is great for calming the body, integrating reflexes, and training the mouth. Being able to do exercises at home that open the nasal passage is also wonderful.
  2. Remove food allergies – Allergies to food can cause inflammation anywhere in the body, including the nose/airway. You can figure out allergies through formal testing, an elimination diet, muscle testing, or trial and error. Cut the offending foods out completely while you work on healing.
  3. Craniosacral therapy – Sometimes breathing problems are due to a restriction in the body. CST releases tension and alows the airways to open naturally (learn more about CST here).
  4. Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis – When a child is lacking in minerals, is out of balance, or struggles to detox heavy metals, he or she can have numerous symptoms, including inflammation, allergies, and breathing difficulties. HTMA helps get to the root of the problem and get the body back in balance (learn more about HTMA here).
  5. Clean the whole house and clear out the bedroom – Dust and mold allergies are some of the biggest offenders. Dust mites live in mattresses, pillow cases, couches and stuffed animals. Dust collects quickly on dressers, toy boxes and bookshelves. There are some simple solutions.
  • Use dust mite covers on the mattress and pillow case.
  • Change bedding weekly and wash it in hot water.
  • Remove stuffed animals from the bed.
  • Clean the floor regularly. Wood floors are ideal. If possible remove carpet.
  • Remove as much clutter from the bedroom as possible.
  • Dust regularly in the bedroom and the whole house.
  • Keep windows free of mold.
  • Diffuse essential oils – Essential oils can provide a tremendous improvement in breathing. A blend of lemon, lavender and peppermint diffused through the night is effective for clearing airways. Purification is great too.
  • Palette expansion.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

Palate Expansion for Mouth Breathing

Palate expansion has had the biggest impact on my daughter’s health. Her mouth breathing has caused her palate to gradually become narrower and narrower. We found a naturally-minded dentist that focuses on expansion plus reshaping the jaw. It is not just the typical expander for a few months and then move on to braces.

There are a few different methods of expansion. We are using Biobloc Orthotropics. It is a three-year process with several phases. First the mouth is widened to allow room for all of the teeth and to open the nasal passage. Then the jaw is reshaped.

My daughter is breathing through her nose more in the night and getting better quality sleep. She is using mouth exercises to practice keeping her mouth closed during the day to retrain her jaw. No more sitting with her mouth wide open!

We also use tape over her mouth at night. I know it sounds strange, but our orthodontist suggested it…and it really works! You can buy special tape already cut in strips or use a hypoallergenic medical tape. Just avoid it if your child has a cold or is really stuffy. You can read more about mouth taping here!

No more bad breath! She is also much more efficient at eating. Instead of a meal taking an hour she can finish in about ten minutes.

Mouth breathing is just one challenge that originates in the mouth. There are many conditions that start with the mouth! So how do you know what it is? Use this quick and easy Mouth Assessment Guide!

How do I stop mouth breathing in my kids? We are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.Can you Eliminate Mouth Breathing?

We have many days now of greatly improved focus and attention and with less hyperactivity. She is able to quickly get herself ready for school in the morning and stay on task at school.

Her adrenal health is gradually improving as she gets more sleep and we continue with a nutrient dense, allergen-free diet. Her hair and nails are stronger. She has not had severe skin problems this winter for the first time in years.

The mouth breathing is not 100% gone, but it is drastically decreased. We are still using tape at night and doing mouth exercises during the day.

Is Your Child a Mouth Breather?

Don’t let it go untreated. It will change the shape of the face and impact overall health. Find the root problem (i.e. allergies). Then seek appropriate treatment to eliminate it.

Finally, consider palate expansion to undo the structural damage, keep the nasal passage open, and create a beautiful smile with enough room for all of your child’s teeth. I’m so thankful we stopped the mouth breathing in its tracks, and my daughter has been given a new start. Her smile says it all.

Help for Mouth Breathing

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

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?

An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

How to Make & Can Pear Sauce | A No Sugar Added Alternative to Applesauce

Fall is a busy time of canning applesauce and freezing pumpkin. But don’t forget about preserving pears! With a short season and a busy schedule use this guide to stock your pantry with pear sauce before the pears are gone.

An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

I’m a big fan of hardy produce. You know, the kind that can sit on the counter or in the fridge for weeks and still be OK? Like carrots, potatoes, apples, rutabaga, parsnips, cauliflower, and cabbage.

I love all kinds of fruits and veggies. But some of them are a bit demanding.

One day an avocado is not quite ripe. The next day it’s mushy.

The same goes for pears. You check and check for ripeness. Then all of a sudden you’ve missed the window and they over ripe.

Personally, I like to be in control instead of my produce. But it just doesn’t work that way for everything.

So I always get anxious when it’s pear season. I want to preserve them. But I just don’t have time any old day. Will I time it just right? Will I be stuck peeling hard pears? Or will I let them go too far because we were busy with soccer and band?

It’s a gamble.

I try to do a fair amount of canning each fall. How much I do depends on my kids’ ages and how I’m feeling.

Regardless, I don’t like to spend hours on end in the kitchen each day to keep up with produce preservation.An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

How to Can Pears

I already take the easy route when it comes to canning peaches. That is a life saver!

Then I get to pears. There is really no way around it.

Canning pears takes a lot of time.

Lots of peeling and slicing (especially if the pears are small). It can take up to sixty pears just to do one round of canning! That is a lot of peeling.

So I stopped doing it years ago. Much to my husband’s disappointment. I just don’t have time.

But I still want to preserve this amazing fruit to enjoy it all winter.

How to make and can pear sauce - an easy alternative to applesauce

How to Can Pears Without Sugar

Enter pear sauce.

It is just like applesauce but with pears. Honestly, I would take pear sauce any day over applesauce. It is that good.

There is no need to add any sweetener as pears are plenty sweet on their own.

The other thing you don’t have to do – peel them!

Preserving pears is quite easy when you can just wash, quarter, cook and puree. Then either can or freeze the pear sauce.An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

Pear Sauce for Baby

One of the reasons I love having pearsauce on hand is that it makes a super easy first food for little ones six months and up. You can serve it plain or turn it into a nutrient dense baby porridge. Warm the pear sauce slightly and mix in coconut oil and an egg yolk. Stir and serve!

My big kids love pear sauce too! Sometimes I even make it extra special by adding strawberries, raspberries or blueberries from our freezer stash. As they melt and let off juice it colors the pearsauce and adds an extra burst of flavor.

Serve it cold. Serve it warm with a pinch of cinnamon. Add it to oatmeal. Mix it in yogurt.

You really can’t go wrong. You also don’t need to spend days on end making pear sauce.

Pear Sauce Canning

Here is my busy mom’s solution to preserving pears. I am able to work through a half bushel in one day (with four young kids, including a nursing little one) and still manage to do our school work, go to activities, and get healthy meals on the table.

It only takes about twenty minutes to wash and slice one batch of pears. Then you can let it cook for a bit while you tend to something else. Being able to make pear sauce in steps is so handy!

A full batch (seven quarts) takes about 30 – 35 medium to large pears. So figure out how many jars you’d like to can and then figure out how many pears you need. I usually get one bushel of pears. It makes three rounds of pear sauce with some pears left over for eating fresh.

Pear sauce makes a great alternative to applesauce. Variety is key to any diet, especially if you are implementing a rotation diet for food allergies. So this is a nice change of pace! My kids actually prefer it over applesauce.

Have you ever tried preserving pears? I encourage you to try pearsauce!

Are you new to canning? Check out my step-by-step tutorial to get you going.An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

What to do With Extra Pears

Depending on the size of the pears and the quantity you buy, sometimes you end up with a pile of extra pears. And like I said before, they can go from almost ripe to mush pretty quickly. So what do you do with those extra pears?

Of course you can eat them fresh! Pears are a sweet treat on their own. But you can only eat so many. Here are a few other options for using up extra ripe pears.

Homemade Pear Sauce Recipe

Homemade Canned Pear Sauce

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 7 quarts
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 30 - 40 medium ripe pears
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

Making Pear Sauce

  1. Wash pears (this can be done in a clean sink full of water).

  2. Add 1 cup water to a large stockpot and turn on high heat.

  3. Quarter and core pears, placing them in the stockpot as you go.

  4. Adjust heat to simmer and cook the pears until soft, stirring periodically, about 15 minutes.

  5. In batches puree the cooked pears and their juice in a high-powered blender until smooth.

Freezing Pear Sauce

  1. Chill the pear sauce.

  2. Put the pear sauce in freezer-safe containers.

  3. Label and freeze for up to a year.

Canning Pear Sauce

  1. Return the pureed pear sauce to the stockpot and keep warm.

  2. Prepare the water bath canner (filled with water and jars and get the jars hot).

  3. Ladle the hot pear sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2" headspace.

  4. Wipe the rims of jars and place the lids and bands on.

  5. Can in hot water bath for 30 minutes (quarts) or 25 minutes (pints).

  6. Remove the canner lid and let the jars sit for 5 minutes.

  7. Remove jars from the canner and place on a towel to cool, untouched for 8 hours.

Recipe Notes

  • One batch of pear sauce makes 6-7 quarts or 12-14 pints.
  • A half-bushel of pears will make 2 rounds of pear sauce, with a few pears left for eating fresh.

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

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!

Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements?

Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Vitamin D. You certainly hear a lot about it these days.

As in everyone is all of a sudden deficient.

Whether you are into natural health or you stick to western medicine, Vitamin D supplementation is constantly growing in popularity. It’s a miracle cure for everything it seems.

But before you nod your head in approval and accept that we all need more, let’s take a deeper look at this essential “vitamin.”

What is Vitamin D?

The first thing you need to understand is that Vitamin D is not a vitamin at all. It is a hormone, or pre-hormone some say. More specifically it is a group of secosteroids. I will still refer to it as Vitamin D throughout the post, but it is really hormone D.

Vitamins are nutrients the body can not create; that you must ingest. Vitamin D, however, is synthesized by the body when sunlight hits your skin. Your body creates it. Just like your body creates estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, etc. We don’t load up on “high testosterone foods.” We might eat foods that help our bodies create testosterone. Or there may be other ways to help our bodies make the process run smoothly. But we don’t have to ingest a hormone.

That alone should tip you off that nation-wide Vitamin D supplementation is not a good idea.Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you? #vitamind #supplements #naturalhealth

Should We Consume Vitamin D?

I find it almost comical how much bad information is available on Vitamin D. An article by Everyday Health states:

Nature provides many great sources of calcium, but only a few that are high in vitamin D — including fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel; fortified foods, like orange juice and milk; and some cheeses, liver, and eggs. 

Thankfully, food companies have fortified many foods with vitamin D2, making it possible for anyone, regardless of whether they eat fish or dairy, to get some amount of vitamin D through their diet.

Did they really just say that nature provides fortified orange juice?

Also, if you really read what they just said, you’ll notice a huge point – nature only has a few foods with Vitamin D. If you are into natural health this should be significant. If we are meant to consume large amounts of Vitamin D, it would be in a lot of food. But it’s not.Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

It is not natural to have access to large amounts of cheese and liver. If a family has a few cows for milk and beef they might make a small amount of cheese and would only have enough liver to eat a few times a year. Just because we now have access to these things on a daily basis does not mean we should consume them that way.

Any nutrient that we are told we can only ingest enough of through supplements is the sign of clever marketing. How did people survive this long if Vitamin D supplements are necessary for health?

In other words, we are meant to get Vitamin D from the sun. Not our food. So get out in the sun. Don’t start popping pills.

Are Vitamin D Supplements Safe?

Vitamin D is fat-soluble. This means excess is stored in fat instead of in water. So extra is not flushed out through urine or sweat. Your body must find a place to store it so as to not create an imbalance in your blood.

So while it seems like a little extra Vitamin D is no big deal…it actually is a really big deal.

Hypervitaminosis D is a very serious condition of toxicity. 

Excessive amounts of vitamin D in the body can cause calcium levels in the blood to rise. This can lead to a condition called hypercalcemia (too much calcium in your blood). Symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • excessive thirst
  • excessive urination
  • dehydration
  • constipation
  • irritability, nervousness
  • ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
  • muscle weakness
  • nausea, vomiting
  • dizziness
  • confusion, disorientation
  • high blood pressure
  • heart arrhythmias

Long-term complications of untreated hypervitaminosis D include:

  • kidney stones
  • kidney damage
  • kidney failure
  • excess bone loss
  • calcification (hardening) or arteries and soft tissues

In addition, increased blood calcium can cause abnormal heart rhythms. [source]

Take note that the above says calcium levels rise IN THE BLOOD, not in your bones. Calcium is actually pulled FROM your bones to balance the high levels of Vitamin D in your blood.

I am thankful that many doctors actually test Vitamin D levels these days (though MANY people still supplement blindly). The problem here is that they use faulty ranges. So someone with a healthy Vitamin D level is still told to supplement.

The ideal range of Vitamin D blood level is about 25 ng/mL – 50 ng/mL. This range is linked to the best health outcomes and longest life span. And yet somewhere along the way someone told everyone this isn’t good enough (maybe supplement companies??).

Some doctors now say 50 ng/mL – 100 ng/mL is ideal. There are still others (even in the natural health world) that advise levels above 100 ng/mL!

There is no way that is normal or natural. And definitely no way it is healthy!

Blindly taking Vitamin D supplements is a dangerous practice. And yet so many people do it. They even give it to their kids (multi-vitamins, fortified foods,…).Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Is Vitamin D Good for Your Bones?

The common belief is that adequate Vitamin D levels are necessary for strong bones and to protect against osteoporosis. 

According to Medical News Today:

Excessive consumption of vitamin D (hypervitaminosis D) can lead to over calcification of bones and hardening of blood vessels, kidney, lungs, and heart. 

The human body is smart. It does everything possible to keep a very delicate balance of calcium and Vitamin D in the blood. If you have an imbalance the body will take the extra calcium and store it places you don’t want it and/or pull stores from your bones. So you can get hardened blood vessels and weak bones from too much Vitamin D.

Sadly most doctors prescribe either a high calcium diet or calcium supplements along with Vitamin D to treat osteoporosis. As you may have guessed this does not work. In fact it has the opposite effect, causing more harm than good.

This is a great article showing just how much damage Vitamin D can do.

Vitamin D supplements are also linked to gallstones. Again, the body has to move excess around to maintain balance. It will do this at all costs to stay alive (short-term survival)…even if it creates disease (slow death).

Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Why We Need Sun Exposure

One big factor in the Vitamin D issue is sun exposure. We NEED sun. That is how we are meant to make Vitamin D – through sun exposure.

But these days people (even kids) spend so much time inside.

On top of that we have all been convinced that we need sunscreen on day and night year round for fear of the big, bad sun.

The sun is such an important part of life and health. My kids and I studied chemistry and physics this past year. One of the first lessons taught to elementary students is that the sun is our source of energy. It feeds the plants. The plants then give that energy to us and to animals (which then give it to us as well). The sun is a vital part of our health.

Somehow we’ve been convinced that sun exposure is dangerous and sunscreen is the answer. Quite backwards.

When you wear sunscreen you prevent your body from producing Vitamin D (nullifying sun exposure).

Not to mention the ingredients in most sunscreens are toxic, actually contributing to skin cancer. Your skin absorbs whatever you put on it. In fact, what you put on your skin may have more impact than what you eat! It is absorbed instantly instead of being filtered through the digestive system. So if you wouldn’t eat the ingredients in your health and beauty products, don’t put them on your skin.

How many people do you know that slather toxic suncreen on every time they go outside to “prevent skin cancer?” Really they are just preventing their bodies from detoxing and from making Vitamin D. The complete opposite of what you want to do to prevent cancer. Maybe that is why everyone feels Vitamin D deficient?

If you are sensitive to the sun, wear sun-protective clothing if you are going to be out for a long time. You should still get in the sun daily for at least a little exposure for adequate Vitamin D.

The only time our family wears sunscreen is if we are going to be outside near water for several hours. And if that is the case we use quality sunscreen without toxins (here is the best list of how over 100 natural sunscreens measure up!).

Our whole family is naturally very fair-skinned. Yet my kids are quite tan! They play outside for hours every day without sunscreen and haven’t gotten a sunburn once.

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Exist?

Although hypervitaminosis D is more common, it is possible to have a truly low Vitamin D level (below 25 ng/mL). But even in this case I don’t believe Vitamin D supplements should be used.

A low Vitamin D level means there are other things out of balance in the body. You need to test and figure out what they are. Hair Tissue Mineral Aanalysis will tell you what other minerals are out of balance to help your body produced proper Vitamin D levels.

How Vitamin D Supplements Ruined My Health

I don’t write all of this to be judgmental or criticize. I write it because I wish someone had written it for me years ago. I wish I wouldn’t have made the mistakes I made.

In 2013 I was really struggling health-wise. I’d been doing the whole real food/WAPF thing for a while, but was still struggling. I finally decided to bite the bullet and see an osteopathic doctor, even though it meant paying out of pocket. She ran all sorts of blood work and did a hair analysis.

The results were quite overwhelming – food intolerances galore, candida, low thyroid, low Vitamin D,…

I wasn’t as knowledgeable back then as I am now. So I just listened and took her word for everything she advised. Food restrictions, tons of supplements…and of course high dose Vitamin D. I think it was 50,000 IU once a week.

I was still breastfeeding, had just come off GAPS (big mistake to do that diet!), my adrenals were shot, and my metabolism was almost non-functional. What I needed was more sleep and more food. Instead I got a super restricted diet, unnecessary supplements, and a lot of anxiety.

My Vitamin D level was 28 ng/mL, which I now know is PERFECT (and where my body tends to settle when I’m feeling my best). Just where it should be. But she had me supplement…and I got my levels up to 75 ng/mL!! So much damage and imbalance from that one recommendation.Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

In June of that year I had a miscarriage. Following the miscarriage I gained 25 pounds in about three months. I also had to significantly increase my thyroid medication.

I wasn’t sure how it all related. But now I know it was Hypervitaminosis D. It impaired my thyroid and messed up my hormones. It was one of the hardest years of my life, feeling like I was trying to do everything right while quickly seeing my health decline. I could only find ONE picture of myself from that time because I was so embarrassed by my declining health and how I looked. If you’re looking for a quick way to gain weight, add a Vitamin D supplement to your routine!

In 2016 I found a new Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and did HTMA (who also inspired me to become an NTP myself!). Thankfully she was smart enough to advise me to avoid all sources of Vitamin D because supplementing had messed up my calcium so badly. That was 3 years ago that I stopped taking Vitamin D supplements.

Here we are in 2019…and I am STILL dealing with toxicity from Vitamin D. My hormones and thyroid are still not functioning well. I still have all of the symptoms of hypervitaminosis D.

So if you have been convinced you are deficient in Vitamin D, please reconsider before taking a supplement. Get your levels checked. Are they truly low? If so, treat the root issue. Are they actually high? You need a detox.

Have you ever supplemented with Vitamin D? Have you found it helpful or have you noticed the negative impact over time?Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Protein-Rich Salted Chocolate Milk

Have a kid that won’t eat meat or isn’t getting enough protein? Chocolate milk to the rescue! This refined sugar-free protein-rich salted chocolate milk is perfect!

Need a delicious drink that is also nourishing and loaded with extra protein? This protein-rich salted chocolate milk is perfect for kids and adults!

When it comes to drinks in our house we basically have two options: milk or water.

It may seem boring. But really, we don’t need much else. Once in a while my kids get a little pure grape juice (if they are fighting a cold or if we are making our “smart water.”). And of course we do love our smoothies for added nourishment (check out my book full of recipes here!).

But if my kids are thirsty it’s generally water or milk.

Kid-Friendly Drink Without Refined Sugar

Then there are those days where we just want something a little extra. Or maybe my Intuitve Eater is in one of her “I don’t want to eat much” slumps. And I have to be sneaky.

That’s when I bust out the chocolate milk! Who doesn’t love chocolate milk? I know I sure do!Healthy Chocolate Milk for Kids with a protein boost!

Protein-Rich Drink for Kids

My version of chocolate milk is taken to a new level with extra protein from grassfed collagen (THIS is the brand we use – use TAKE10 to get 10% off). It blends right in with no added taste. Plus it’s loaded with a whole array of essential amino acids.

The kids and I have been studying human anatomy and physiology for science this year. Our unit on nutrition introduced us to amino acids and how they are the building blocks of protein. And they are so important! So when I showed the collagen container to my oldest she was fascinated to look at the amino acid profile. Science lesson built in to making chocolate milk!

The good stuff doesn’t stop there. We are big fans of adding salt to chocolate. When I say salt I mean real, unrefined sea salt (like this). Not only does it contain a broad spectrum of minerals, it is also hydrating/good for balancing electrolytes and delicious! We even use it to make salted dark chocolate ice cream, healing hot cocoa and salted honey chocolates . Salt and chocolate go so well together.

To really boost nutrition we like to add probiotics and raw egg yolks (from our own free-range chickens). So you are getting extra protein, essential minerals, probiotics, and vitamins! All in a glass of chocolate milk. It’s a mom win!

If you like your chocolate milk a bit thicker, like a shake, you can add a little banana and/or avocado.Need a delicious drink that is also nourishing and loaded with extra protein? This protein-rich salted chocolate milk is perfect for kids and adults!

Healthy Chocolate Milk

When I gave this protein-rich salted chocolate milk to my daughter she had two comments:

  1. Does this have salt?! Yum! When can we make salted chocolate ice cream?
  2. You have to make this every single day!

How to get Kids to Eat Enough Protein

My youngest can be really picky when it comes to meat. Veggies? She’ll out eat anyone. Meat? Turns up her nose. We have to bribe her to take bites of meat…then she can have thirds of veggies! For real. So I’m always glad when I can sneak in extra protein for her in something so delicious like chocolate milk. Collagen is a great way to do this. A scoops gives her the protein boost her little body needs. Added to the raw milk and egg yolks it makes a complete protein.

Her ideal meal is a huge pile of vegetables with a glass of salted chocolate milk. And I love to give it to her.

Quick & Easy Nutrition for Kids

It only takes about three minutes to make salted chocolate milk (mostly just the time required to gather ingredients). Older kids can make it themselves. My six and nine-year-olds know how to separate egg yolks thanks to the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. My three year-old loves to help with the blender. It’s a family event! And we all enjoy the reward at the end.

The next time you’re in a beverage rut or your kids need a little protein boost, make a batch of salted chocolate milk. Use your favorite milk and some grassfed collagen to blend a nourishing drink the whole family will love.Need a delicious drink that is also nourishing and loaded with extra protein? This protein-rich salted chocolate milk is perfect for kids and adults!

Protein-Rich Salted Chocolate Milk

A nourishing drink filled with extra protein and minerals.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 2
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw whole milk, full fat coconut milk, almond milk, or rice milk
  • 2 Tbsp. organic cocoa, carob, or cacao powder
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1/4 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. collagen
  • 1 capsule probiotics optional
  • 1/2 medium banana optional
  • 1/4 avocado optional
  • 1-3 egg yolks from free-range chickens

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a high-powered blender.

  2. Blend on high until well combined.

  3. Serve immediately.