If you have a kid who was born prematurely, there’s a good chance that they have some texture issues in their mouth. Add in autism or sensory processing disorders (SPD) and you have a kid who refuses to eat what you put in front of them. As frustrating as this is, here’s how I’ve coped.
[+] Supplement with Pediasure or Boost. It is almost impossible to get enough calories into Daniel so that he can gain weight. A nutritionist put him on Pediasure when he was 2 years old and they were finally able to plot him on the growth chart. It’s not ideal for kids to get most of their calories that way but it sure does help.
[+] Gummy vitamins. If your kid likes fruit snacks, this is a way to get extra vitamins in. Again, it’s not ideal but it works.
[+] Pick your battles. Your kid only eats food shaped like a dinosaur? Congratulations! They’re typical. Order a dinosaur-shaped cookie cutter for sandwiches, stock up on those chicken nuggets, and explain that the broccoli on their plate are palm trees. No kid is perfect and it’s likely that they won’t eat what you put in front of them every time. If it is making mealtimes into battles, rethink your strategy.
[+] Find whatever you can get your kid to ingest and stick with it. Daniel has his own peanut butter jar because we use it to give him his meds and because the kid eats it out out the jar with a spoon! We allow it because it’s extra fat and calories for him, two things that my painfully thin kid needs! He loves whole milk so that’s why we buy. (I find that my crabby gut tolerates whole milk while nonfat milk makes it stabby. Lactose-free milk is twice as expensive which is why it isn’t in the budget.) We go through tons of bananas and shortbread cookies because that’s what he likes. Ditto with goldfish, cheese sticks (calcium and protein!), fruit snacks, apple juice.
[+] Model good habits. If your kids see you eating your broccoli, they are more likely to try it.