Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Eat a Rainbow

It wasn't too long ago that I had a family full of picky eaters who ate very few vegetables.  All three of my children have symptoms of sensory processing disorder which is simply difficulty integrating sensory signals.  It manifests itself in different ways in each child, but the one thing that they all had in common was food aversions related to texture.  As a result, they all had a limited diet.  I knew in my heart that we needed to make radical changes in our diet to heal, but I have to admit that it was a bit scary to think about taking away all of their beloved carbs that filled their tummies each day.  The first few days were tough, and there was lots of whining and tears.  Yes, many of the tears came from me as I struggled to stay the course with their diet changes.  However, something almost miraculous began to happen about the third day.  The kids began to happily eat large quantities of nourishing soup!  When we moved to a new stage of the diet, they were excited to try new foods.  Flash forward to today, and the kids are now eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.  My teenager confided in me that he now "loves to eat" and "enjoys his food".  In the past, I often struggled to get him to eat enough calories.  My daughter even called herself a "broccoli monster" last night because she was going to eat up all the broccoli before anybody else got any.  My little guy always loved fruit, but he never ate much else before the diet change.  In fact, he had difficulty chewing and frequently choked on food.  Now he's starting to eat crunchy, raw vegetables for the first time.

Our new family goal has been to focus on eating more variety of fruits and vegetables each day.  I have been talking to the little kids about eating a rainbow of colors each day, and we frequently discuss what colors we have eaten so far in a day and what if any colors we still need to get.  Yesterday, the kids wanted to create a food rainbow for lunch.  They had so much fun picking out what food to use for each color and creating their rainbows to eat.  In fact, they were so excited about it that they took a picture of themselves with their creations to share for show-and-tell at school to tell their friends all about eating a rainbow of colors.  Here's a great handout from the Whole Foods Foundation with great ideas and recipes to teach this concept to kids. I also found the following books and products for kids to help reinforce their learning.

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