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Having a picky eater in the house can be stressful. You make a fantastic dinner and they refuse to try it. So, what can you do? Especially when they’re on the low end of the growth charts?
In my home, it used to happen a lot. My picky eater, B, only seemed to be hungry occasionally. I’d call him to the table and he’d groan and say, “But I’m not hungry!” And we’d plead, bribe and cajole him to eat.
But last spring, he was 5 1/2 years old, we stopped pushing him to eat as much — probably because he started growing and eating more. We still would have mealtime battles, but I started feeding him at 5pm — at my husband’s request, instead of 6 or 6:30 when my husband came home from work. While the family dinner hour (with my husband) is what we wanted to do, it just wasn’t working as a family to eat that late. Add in a 3 year old who was hearing her brother give us a hard time about eating and a baby who needed attention too, we needed less stress. So, I relaxed a little, continued to make certain food choices for dinner and made sure I had plenty of protein drinks and smoothies in the house, in case dinner was a bust. And there were plenty of nights we broke them out.
B finally started understanding why my husband and I wanted him to eat — to feed his muscles so he could be strong. While it didn’t make him stop being picky and we still had plenty of meltdowns, he understood that if he didn’t eat dinner, he needed to have a protein shake. While it may not work for you, it worked for us. And while he’s a lot older now, it’s his little brother that is the picky one. There are many nights that I make him a protein shake.
Healthy Choices for Protein Shakes/Drinks/Pouches
Organic PediaSmart – we turn to this complete nutrition beverage often. Made by Nature’s Own, it’s also approved for kids with ADHD.
Protein- packed Smoothies from Bolthouse Farms – we love the Chocolate Protein Plus, as well as from Naked, Odwalla, Archer Farms… — I look for the ones packed with Protein.
OLLY Kids Protein Powder, Plant-Based Protein, Chipper Chocolate – this is a great plant based option. It uses gluten-free plant-based protein, fiber & vitamins sourced from 12 organic fruits & veggies all sneakily hidden in a yummy chocolate drink. Each serving contains 9 grams of protein.
Orgain Organic Kids Protein Nutritional Shake, Vanilla – Perfect for picky eaters, convenient on the go meals, a quick breakfast, lunch box treats, snacks, before sports, and dessert. 8 grams of clean organic protein (from organic grass milk protein and organic whey protein concentrate), 3 dietary fiber, 21 vitamins & minerals, 10 organic fruits and vegetables, organic complex carbohydrates from brown rice, 200 calories per serving.
Amazing Grass Kidz Superfood: Organic Vegan Superfood Nutrition Shake for Kids, Greens, Fruits, Veggies with Pre and Pro Biotics, Outrageous Chocolate, 30 Servings – I’ve been using this for a long time. Note: Get the chocolate flavor. This nutritional smoothie combines farm fresh greens with a rainbow of over 30 wholesome fruits and veggies providing kids with the whole food nutrition their growing bodies need and the amazing taste they will love. My kids love this.
7 leafy greens, 14 wholesome fruits & 11 nutrient-rich veggies
Helps kids achieve their daily recommended fruits and veggies
Certified Organic by CCOF, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Non GMO
And did you know that pouches from baby food companies can be an option. Packed with protein, fiber, and veggies, this can be a quick snack or supplement a meal when they haven’t eaten enough.
Happy Baby’s Super Morning – While this is aimed at toddlers, it’s a great choice for healthy eating. Each pouch offers 3g of fiber, omega 3s (courtesy of Chia seeds), organic fruits, whole milk yogurt & whole grain oats—perfect for starting their day.