Help Your Family Beat the Beige Foods Blues and Eat Healthier!
Does your child eat a Beige Diet? My son I.J. has always been a pretty healthy eater. But sometimes he does have a tendency, like many children, to gravitate towards Beige Foods - crackers, pretzels, pasta, pancakes, bagels, the dreaded chicken nuggets and other low-nutrition carbohydrates. He does eat fruit and veggies but sometimes goes through stages where he is eating a narrower variety of foods and snubbing healthier options.
Steering kids away from a Beige Diet can be difficult for moms, and can cause health issues for your child -- especially when they have special needs. Eating mostly Beige Foods can really affect children's moods, and activity levels. Some kids will experience a surge of hyperactivity, anxiety or even sensitivity when their diet narrows. This only exacerbates issues for kids with ADHD, Autism, or SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). I can tell you firsthand, that I can see evidence of this when my son hasn't been eating so well. He will become very moody, aggressive, and more of a hyper sensory-seeker. That in turn makes me a bit more anxious. This is no fun for any of us!
In reading an article called "Chasing Away Your Child's Beige Diet Blues" from Sensory Focus Magazine, I learned that both kids and adults can become hooked on Beige Foods and not realize it or realize how unhealthy eating this way can be for us. It really made me think and realize we've gotten off track and need to work on bringing more color and variety into our diets every day.
You can check out "Chasing Away Your Child's Beige Diet Blues" by clicking HERE.
The author, Diane Bahr, MS, CCC-SLP, says not to feel guilty -- it is 50/50 - you may serve the foods, but your child has responsibility about what they eat as well. She suggests we as moms need to become "Food Detectives" and start tracking what you and your family are eating. You can do this as a fun activity with your kids. Try to find pictures of the foods your family is eating and talk about the foods, how they smell, taste, the texture, and discuss other options. She suggests involving kids in making grocery lists, picking out recipes, and the meal preparation process. Make it a fun family activity or Mommy & Me time, so that kids are interested and begin growing their food and nutrition IQ as well as their vocabulary skills.
Diane recommends to go slowly as you expand and improve your family's diet. It may take up to 10-15 times of sampling and tasting new foods before they begin to enjoy new textures, flavors, aromas.
I thought the ideas in this article sounded like fun and interesting. At activity time with your child, you can find pictures in magazines, online, or in grocery store ads of the foods your family likes to eat. Cut and work together to paste them into an inexpensive composition notebook. Then find pictures of other foods that are more colorful, like vegetables, fruits, and salads and paste these in to make a Rainbow of Food section in your notebook. Discuss which colorful foods your family likes or would like to try. Encourage your child to try some of these colorful foods. Perhaps you can find recipes online or in cookbooks that include some of the colorful foods they've put in the notebook.
Other fun activities would be to let the kids help make the grocery list, using the notebook you created, and let them help you locate items in the grocery store. This also gives kids a feeling of contribution and encourages them to make healthy choices. Maybe they would even enjoy making a rainbow chart - and putting a checkmark or sticker on the colors of the rainbow when they've tried a new colorful food. With summer coming, perhaps a fun learning activity would be to grow a vegetable garden with your kids. It doesn't have to be huge or costly - you could pick just a few things to plant such as tomatoes, zucchini, or squash.
There are many small changes you can make slowly over time, that will expand your family's diets to be more colorful and more healthy. There are many resources online or in books that you can find to deal with food aversions, eating challenges, or healthy cooking with kids. The article mentioned above lists several resources and books.
For special needs kids with food issues - you can find resources at Future Horizons, the leader in Autism and SPD resources, on their page at http://fhautism.com/books-and-resources/ . You can also learn more at Diane Bahr's website http://www.agesandstages.net
You can subscribe to Sensory Focus Magazine for a variety of informative, helpful articles relating to parenting and raising special needs kids with Autism, SPD, etc. You can get either digital subscription or a paper magazine subscription - check it out HERE
Disclosure: My son has ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder. Through my blog, I have connected with Future Horizons and Sensory World, Sensory Focus Magazine to share topics of interest with moms and families of special needs kids. I am not compensated for reviews or articles. I will be receiving a complimentary digital subscription to Sensory Focus magazine for sharing the above information, resources and links with you. Thank you.