22 answers

I Need Kid-friendly Whole Foods

Hell Ladies! I just talked with my Dr. and he has suggested that my daughter and I need a whole foods, mostly vegetarian diet. We don't have food allergies, but seem to have sensitivities. We know milk is a problem and he suspects gluten also. Here's my problem, I have 8 and 4 year old daughters and they are both really fussy. They would live on mac and cheese, chicken nuggets and spaghetti if they could. I have been very up front with them about needing to make the change so their belly aches will go away, but haw do I get them to try new foods. They would rather go hungry it seems. also are there any good websites or cook books with kid friendly whole food meals? Has anyone successfully conquered the fussy eater and made a transition to vegetarian? I have tried to introduce healthier foods before, but always seem to lose the battle! This time I must win!!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow, Thanks for all the great ideas!! First, I'm cleaning out my pantry yet again. I've done this before, but always gave up!! I'm also going to involve my older daughter in the recipe choices and shopping to make it fun for her- She LOVES to cook! I really appreciate all the cookbook and web site suggestions- I'm off to Barnes and Nobel today. Please keep it coming! I appreciate the support!

Featured Answers

1st off where do you live? I am in an area where there ar elocal co-ops with farms and you can pay somuch a month and pick up fresh foods weekly, and I know there is evenon on the Nashua/Hudson line.

Also, there are whole food sections of Shaws and a Whole Foods store is coming to Nashua in the nexy year or so. Sm,aller health food stores will be a BIG help to you as in info.

Go online and search also..Trader Joe's in Tyngsboro is amazing..local berry picking, canning will help all kinds of things..

1 mom found this helpful

The cookbook you need is called:

Whole Foods for the Whole Family by Roberta Johnson.

Also, if you go to the whole foods market, they make dairy free, gluten free nuggets, spaghetti, and cookies, for nights when you don't feel like cooking. (Most of their food is very low in preservatives, and all are artifical flavor/chemical free).

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

hi A.!
this might seem a little counter-intuitive, but i found that i couldn't get my picky eaters (3 daughters about the same ages as yours)to want healthy food until i took them off of vitamins. i have no idea if you give your girls chewable vitamins or not but there's something about receiving them artificially that shuts down the body's natural "cravings" for healthy food. within 2 weeks after we stopped they were eating all kinds of great stuff i thought they'd hate- like carrots and hummus and avacado and beans, nuts, lettuce etc... i've mentioned this to other parents and they've had similar success stories after doing away with the vitamins.

well, anyway, if they're not taking vitamins, another great thing is eliminating all those foods from the house. the dairy and gluten foods. they will seem to rather starve themselves but if you can stick it out for one full week, they actually will start eating the alternatives. we did this with our girls and made things easy by filling containers with nuts, rice cakes, pretzels, marinated tofu chunks, spicy beans, colored hard-boiled eggs etc... and keeping them in reachable places in the fridge and pantry. when the "i'm huuuungry"s started in, we'd say "go help yourself to whatever you like". and since there weren't any bad options available -they really could. it also took the emotion out of the whole thing because before we did this there was the crying and guilt-tripping and engagement of me in the whole ordeal which i found very painful and hard to bear. they still said things like "but there isn't anything i liiiiiiiiike!" or "i just want yoooooooou to make something fooooor me" for the first week or two but i summoned my will power and just lovingly kept restating that it was important to figure it out for themselves and left the kitchen area(which is very important if they're good at wearing you down with whining :)) i had to keep reminding myself that i wasn't being mean. doing a lot of other mom/daughter things with them during this time helped them understand that i wasn't just going to be "un-nurturing" from now on. we played board games a lot and made crafts together and stuff. which incidentally is more fun than playing short-order cook :)

honest to goodness, if you came to my house now, you'd think my kids had been eating healthy their whole lives. the added bonus is that they've become way more self-sufficient and also confident about making their own choices (even in areas that don't involve food) and the big plus is that food has lost it's battling/emotional component which- considering all the eating disorders among girls in our society-can only be a healthy step in the right direction right?

so, anyway, hope something in this rambling mess is helpful for you! LOL

good luck with the switching over! all of us moms are behind you!
may you be well in all ways,
annie

2 moms found this helpful

My daughter became allergic to wheat when she was only 1, and has since grown out of it (now 2 1/2). My favorite website was www.ener-g.com. Their breads are the best and closest to regular bread. I think she liked the corn the best - you can get a sampler to try everything. They are best toasted or grilled (grilled cheese). We eat a lot of rice. Lily loved white jasmine. You have to be creative with a gluten free diet. A lot of the gluten free foods at grocery stores (including Whole Foods and Trader Joe's) aren't very good tasting. It's really trial and error, and expensive. I found some regular cereals that are gluten free, like the Dora stars one and corn Chex. If you like to bake, there are tons of pretty good recipes out there - again, all trial and error. I found one through Martha Stewart of a bakery in NYC called BabyCakes (www.babycakesnyc.com). Their gluten free brownie recipe is full of good stuff like flava bean flour and is delicious. Good luck! Hopefully it won't take you as long as it took me to find good food!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

I can't recommend any specific brands or products, but I'm pretty sure that if you go to a specialty food store like Debra's Natural Gourmet in Concord or Whole Foods in Bedford, you can find gluten free products like cake/bread mixes, pasta, chicken nuggets, maybe even mac & cheese. We don't have any food sensitivities at our house but we try to eat whole foods as much as possible. I'm pretty sure Van's makes a gluten free toaster waffle because I think I bought it by accident for my husband (and you know what, he ate it without complaining...!).

Good luck!

Jenn

1 mom found this helpful

1st off where do you live? I am in an area where there ar elocal co-ops with farms and you can pay somuch a month and pick up fresh foods weekly, and I know there is evenon on the Nashua/Hudson line.

Also, there are whole food sections of Shaws and a Whole Foods store is coming to Nashua in the nexy year or so. Sm,aller health food stores will be a BIG help to you as in info.

Go online and search also..Trader Joe's in Tyngsboro is amazing..local berry picking, canning will help all kinds of things..

1 mom found this helpful

Things like bananas and avacado are calorie and nutrient packed fun kid foods. Kids are always more willing to eat fruits and veggies if you cut them up in bitty pieces. My two year old and three year old ADORE avacado.

Try sauteeing up your veggies in a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper. That added flavor makes a LOT of difference.

Also, what I do is involve the kids in meal preparation. They are more likely to eat a wholesome veggie and hummus wrap if you let them help you cut the cucumbers and spread the hummus.

I don't know much about a gluten free diet unfortunately :(

1 mom found this helpful

As a gluten intolerant person myself I can tell you there
are gluten free products that your children probably will not be able to tell the difference. There are rice pasta perfect for making mac and cheese, and spaghetti. You can buy gluten free bread crumbs and bread chicken. There are also a variety of cookies,cake, and snack mixes that are gluten free. Check out Ocean State Job Lot for a variety of Uncle Bob's Red Mill mixes, and let your daughters help you make cookies,a cake or brownies. Best of luck in your battle. In the end
they will thank you for no bellyaches.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm allergic to milk and gluten, so are my two boys (3 & 18 mos). I know the challenge you face. I hate half the food options out there myself. Suggestion 1: find close replacements. For regular sandwich bread I buy Spelt w/ honey. It has the most familiar texture to regular bread. It is not gluten-free, but a lot of people who can't tolerate wheat can eat spelt. I prefer vanilla rice milk, honey and peanut butter on my wheat-free/gluten-free cereal. I spent a lot of time reading labels at the Portsmouth Healthfood store. (Shaw's brand 'Esensia' natural peanut butter is really good. It doesn't seperate or clump up like most natural peanut butters and is easy to spread.)
Suggestion 2: try a different culture. Asian or mexican food can be made with all sorts of foods you've never heard of and your body hasn't developed a sensitivity to. Be daring! Allergy safe food can taste really boring, learn what seasonings your girls like and will eat.
Suggestion 3: include the girls. I've heard that if the child can participate in the food decisions and or preparation they are more likely to enjoy eating it. Maybe try an adventure out to a local farmer's market to see if there is anything they would like to try.
Good Luck! It's hard work, but so worth it.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A., I have been on a whole foods/ wheat and gluten free diet for almost 3 years now...Annie's makes yummy W/GF mac and Cheese....introduce yummy avacodos...try W/GF tortillas with blac k beans and cheese....there is so much out there now...I love Almnd mik as I too do not tolerate whole milk...our 1 year old and even 17 year old eat W/gF pasta...the brown rice is the best...then I make a flour mixture that is excellent to bake with...Hope this helps....Fruits too....yummy! Have a healthy day, N.

1 mom found this helpful

A.-

These days when more and more allergies are being recognized (gluten, dairy, etc) there are so many options. They have gluten free chicken nuggets, gluten free flour (rice flour), gluten free pasta (rice noodles). If you have a Whole Foods store near you go and check it out, you would be surprised how many gluten, dairy, whey free products are out there today. My younger brother can't have dairy, gluten or whey. And he lives on these gluten free products.

Good luck, it is not easy to take on this diet but is healthier!!

1 mom found this helpful

Try getting Jessica Seinfeld's (yes, it's Jerry's wife--mother of three) book "Deceptively Delicious." It's a Godsend for mothers who have fussy eaters, pre-established eating habits & tastes, and need to transition to healthier foods. She has wonderful ideas on how to sneak veggies into foods so they will never know they are eating them. I am the food allergy/sensitivity queen and even I would eat this food. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

The cookbook you need is called:

Whole Foods for the Whole Family by Roberta Johnson.

Also, if you go to the whole foods market, they make dairy free, gluten free nuggets, spaghetti, and cookies, for nights when you don't feel like cooking. (Most of their food is very low in preservatives, and all are artifical flavor/chemical free).

1 mom found this helpful

I can sympathize. My parents run a small health food store, and LOTS of people are coming with gluten/milk allergies. There are lots of great alternatives. I suggest going to a health food store and going to their gluten free section. Because there is a growing issue with this, there are more and more foods for people like this.

I suggest trying a few food that is most similar to what they are used to first, like the brand IAMS has some good chicken nuggets that are gluten free. then gently transitioning, or doing it "cold turkey." If they see that you are doing it too, it might help.

1 mom found this helpful

Nutrititional yeast looks like cheese and has the same texture, try mixing that in with thier macaroni, or with veggies and that way it doesn't seem like they are misses out!

1 mom found this helpful

A.,
I am a naturopathic doctor in Nashua New Hampshire and deal with these issues all the time in my medical practice, and at home with my own child. I would be more than happy to talk to you at some point if you like.

I don't know your children's medical history, but there are so many whole foods options for children. One thing I can tell you that has really worked in changing the diet for my daughter is to get on board with her, and eat what she eats. So if you remove gluten or dairy for them, I think it is helpful to do it for yourself. It creates solidarity with the family, cuts down on the time you need to cook, and in many cases if a child is experiencing issues, it is often the case that the parents have a problem with the same foods.

I am not sure why your doctor encouraged the vegetarian piece. I think vegetables should be at the heart of their nutrition, but good quality, meat, fish and eggs are wonderful foods for children, and in my medical practice I see that children who eat animal protein seems to be healthier.

If you have a health food store in your area, I would suggest giving a call to them and ask them if they would be willing to give you a tour of their gluten free and dairy free groceries. I know that Whole Foods would be helpful with something like this. There are so many great rice crackers, gluten free snack including cookies, gluten free baking flours, and gluten free and dairy free chicken nuggets. Even a more conventional store like Hannafords has a decent Gluten Free section.

However, what has worked for me with my own child, is to prepare a healthy meal, and start eating. Also, get your children involved in some way with the cooking. If your children tell you they don't like it, let them know that this is what you have prepared for dinner, and I can assure they will eat. Most of the time, children will eat when they are hungry. I have found that limiting choices actually works.

As for a book, I hope to be the person who writes it, stay tuned.

All the best,
M.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter was not interested in eating vegetables, so I looked into the Deceptively Delicious cookbook by Jerry Seinfeld's wife Jessica Seinfeld. I have tried quite a few of the recipes, including the tofu nuggets (I mention this as you mentioned vegetarianism), and they are delicious! Basically, you get to hide lots of veggies inside other foods..... That way, both you and your girls can "win".... You might want to take the cookbook out from your local library to try it first.

1 mom found this helpful

Definately check out a nutritionist .They are awesome for kids with food allergies/sensitivities. I use one for my food allergic teen, now and she is great She is allergic AND fussy, and now that she is making more of her own food choices I feel it is super important to help her make the RIGHT choices. The nutritionist can make new foods fun for little kids. ask your pedi about one.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't know where you live, but Whole Foods stores are all over and they are really good. But I went online yesterday and did a google search for whole foods and they have a website. One of the wonderful things about it is they have recipes and educational guides. We are also switching our diet and I didn't know where to begin and this was very helpful. I live in RI and there are 2 stores one in Providence and the other in Cranston. Hopefully there is one near you. Also, I found out that if you buy something and don't like it you can return it, and they always have samples out to try as well.
I hope this helps
Goodluck
D.
www.livetotalwellness.com/dee

1 mom found this helpful

Go to Whole Foods. They have vegetarian versions of everything, and also much healthier meat products. Ex., in the freezer you can get much healthier chicken nuggets, or you can get vegetarian "chicken" nuggets. If you go for the veggie version - we really like the Quorn brand. Walk the aisles, they have healthier mac 'n' cheese, cereal bars, breakfast cereals, everything. Introduce things slowly, as they do taste different from the "real" thing, otherwise you will have a revolt on your hands.

1 mom found this helpful

I just started reading up on casein-free and gluten-free diets as my son has behavior issues... I think casein is the milk protein? Anyway - I cookbook I came across - although I haven't bought it - is called "the kid-friendly ADHD & Autism cookbook - The Ultimate Guide to the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet." Even though your children don't have the behavioral issues, I would think this would be a really great book. As a rule Autistic children seem to be very picky so there has got to be some great ideas in there! I plan on getting it sometime soon. And maybe my own tummy aches will go away. :) Good luck and hey if you do try it can you let me know how it works out!

1 mom found this helpful

I have been looking for a long time for GOOD tasting vegetarian recipes and recently came upon Dr. Gillian Mckeith's books( You Are What You Eat book & cook book). She has some great recipes that actually tase great! My kids (8 & 6) both like the foods quite alot. I admit some of the meals can be somewhat labor intensive but, by reading the book & preparing the recipes I have learned the tricks and ingredients that are tasty and have been able to come up w/ my own new recipes.

If you have the BBC channel Gillian Mckeith has a tv show on in the late afternoon, you can learn about the foods she recommends there as well.

1 mom found this helpful

"The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook" by Cybele Pascal has saved our lives! We deal with food allergies/sensitivities in our family, and like us, Cybele Pascal's children also had allergies. She has some great kid-friendly foods like pancakes, muffins, cakes, cookies, creamy vegetable soups, spreads/dips, pasta, vegetarian dishes like falafel, (my kids love black-bean spinach burritos), fruit desserts and a whole chapter on "after school snacks". The recipes don't include eggs, milk, wheat, soy, peanuts, nuts, or shellfish (but they can be make with these ingredients if you can have them). I love vegan/vegetarian cookbooks, but I also have concerns with the amount of soy they use (also an allergenic food). I write a blog about our successes/failures with food allergies here: http://www.angkantz.blogspot.com

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
my name is J. and I have two daughters as well with a third child on the way. I hear what you are saying and i have a suggestion that may help the transition. My girls are fussy eaters as well. On nights i want to make sure they get their vegies in, i place the bowl of vegies on the table first... when they are really hungry (steamed broccoli with a little kosher salt, carrots and hummus etc.) surprisingly they gobble up the whole bowl like it was popcorn, then we're ready to eat supper. oh, i almost forgot (all manners aside) sometimes we race to see who can finish the peice of broccolini first etc. eating with our hands of course. the bowl thing i just wrote about is also with no plates or utensils they just eat it like finger foods and really seem to love it.
i hope this helps.
J.

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