Its true that my son is more than just a “picky eater.” Compared to most kids, the types of foods he eats are not typical for kids his age. He mostly eats pureed foods, like I have been told many other children with Down Syndrome do. Since some readers and parents may be in the same position of having a hard time finding any “table food” they will agree to eat, I thought I would share the sources of some delicious recipes even Ethan will eat: (I am putting links to online recipes; I am not affiliated with the websites and am just sharing a bit about what I like about the recipes. I’m a recipe follower, not maker.)
1)Six Sisters’ Cheesey Chicken Spaghetti: I found this on Pinterest as I do many recipes these days. For me, the taste and the level of time required to make it was just right: not so simple that it was full of things that horrible for me, but also not something I have to stand over the stove forever to make, either. This has been the most reliable food to make Ethan happy (my 2 year old who, like I said. only will eat a few things anyways.) It is great as leftovers too, and we always have plenty left over. We always make use of our leftovers, especially these days being on one salary.
2)Chicken Stroganoff. This is such a simple meal and always excites my household when its on the menu. Recently, I heard Ethan saying “mmmmm…,mmm” which can either mean “more” or “this is so good” when coming from Ethan. Either way, it describes how I feel about the meal, too! Here is the link to that recipe:
3) Cheesey Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
While we haven’t eaten this recipe as often, we recently had it and Ethan ate more than one bite of it which means that he REALLY likes it. For him to swallow anything that is a sold food (other than crunchy food, which is easier and therefore more welcome to enter Ethan’s stomach, along with his purees) means it has great potential! This one is a little more work that the others, but it is good, healthy, and different! I like to change things up and try new recipes. It still has a good dose of cheese like all of Ethan’s favorites! (well, the chicken stoganoff has sour cream so dairy, even though not cheese.) I love the website name: “Picky Palate”
4)Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook’s Bacon Tomato Penne. This may or may not be online. Just to give an idea. (Ethan did love it!) I’m not going to give the recipe and get in trouble with that company lol so go buy the cookbook ifyou want that as well as a yummy chicken pot pie recipe!
5)Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. yes, it was processed Velveeta cheese but hey it was one of the first things Ethan ate that wasn’t purees; we had tried other things before. Last couple times we tried it, he didn’t want grilled cheese so we haven’t tried this in awhile.
5) Not a meal, but just FYI on what Ethan eats…he will eat cheddar cheese and bits of turkey deli meat. He won’t let me put it in sandwich form and include bread, after the one or two times I tried giving it. I try again periodically.
PLAIN OLE PICKY EATING VS. SPECIAL EATING CONSIDERATIONS
It has taken a lot of patience and letting go of comparisons to help Ethan in his journey to eating more table foods. When I say these recipes above are his favorites, I also mean they are the ONLY things he will eat that are not purees or crunchy snacks like pretzels and Cheerios. For those judge-y types, it is not for a lack of trying on our parts or his speech therapist’s part. Eating is such a complex thing that requires so many muscles and so much coordination…much more than I know about with a non-speech background. Every meal (with the exception of breakfast normally) we offer Ethan some sort of table food-we try to make it what we are eating, cut into manageable portions. We do not set out any purees that he can see (nor crunchy snacks) until we have offered the table foods and Ethan has either A) eaten it or B) rejected it. If I compare to kids I know, even kids with Down Syndrome, it feels like Ethan is extremely behind in his eating habits; however, every kid’s journey is different and Ethan has also had a lot more ventilator and hospital time than many kids I know. That may or may not be one of the reasons for his narrow food menu. Once I asked other’s experience on an international facebook support group, several parents said their kids were age 5 or younger and only ate purees. I’ve heard of other kids who don’t even eat all the purees, so they are limited to eating only one food group. I am just proud of any strides Ethan makes and no longer get so concerned that he stands out. If people want to judge me as a parent-whatever, they don’t know us and don’t know what goes on. I may or may not explain to them if they make comments because its not as though we owe them an explanation. Sometimes I might just to educate people on what I’m sure any parent or teacher, etc. who works with kids repeats like a broken record:
Each kid is different.
That being said, if anyone has some recipe suggestions, I would love to hear what your picky eaters will eat-whether special needs or just a classic case of picky eating.