Many of you know that as a family, and for Big Brother, we make every effort to maintain a restricted food plan. On professional advice we are following the Feingold diet. This is a decisions we made back in April, and we are seeing a big difference in Big Brother; the difference is not complete but the food plan seems to really take things down a notch so that Big Brother is much better able to learn skills he needs and to participate in effort to help him with the challenges he faces.
You may also know that we do “cheat” in order to balance the food plan with products available to us and also to Big Brother self-limiting eating style. We are very very strict about the “Big Three”: artificial colors, sugars and preservatives. We are equally observant regarding apples as we have seen a real reaction to them. We cheat more on things like berries; he consumes very little of them, so they are mainly flavors in a lemonade or something.
Getting new and different foods into Big Brother is an on going challenge to. He has a true panic reaction to any new food; and even more of one to any food that doesn’t fit his “criteria”. (he also panics about being at a table full of people to eat, but that is another issue) I worry less about AMOUNT as I feel I should trust his body to say “full” just like I would trust him nursing. I don’t need a lot of food; it is realistic that he doesn’t either. As long as he is not “playing full” to avoid eating at all, I am willing to respect his body’s signals; I have no intent to go from “eats too little” to “over eats”; I am not trading one eating issue for another. Nevertheless he DOES need the basic nutrition and a variety of food and more importantly he needs to be able to eat at a table and eat a semblance of a common food collection so he can function as a teen and an adult and not be limited in life by his food issues.
We recently tried YoBaby Meals by Stonybrook at the suggestion of a brilliant and understanding momma friend. They are a hit. We have tried all 3 versions now and I have got him to eat them all. Granted I have to spoon feed him, and even bribe him or play games (how many spoons do you think it will take it get to the half way point?”). Part of the problem is they are not thick at all; they are soupy and do not stay on the spoon. They surely would be a great frustration to Big Brother to self feed (if he had the interest, he does not). The three choices are: apple & sweet potato, pear & green beans, and peach & squash. I have tied, before now, mixing veggie baby food in yogurt on myself, since SMOOTH yogurt is something Big eats decently — but never got it creamy or smooth enough. This is really a good thing. These are not perfectly smooth and that is an on going issue, bite after bite, but if I am able to keep up the speed, we get it all eaten.
They are 4 oz containers, the first one we tried was Peaches and Squash — I do not think he has consumed squash since 18 months 🙂 ; so I was so happy when he ate all 4 ozs without a fight or panic. It was not a slam dunk and took a lot of effort, but he got all 4 oz and no tears. (Peaches or on his no-no list, but I gotta work with what I got — only one of the 3 is a fruit he really should have). The other baby version (YoBaby) is yogurt and cereal, not that big a deal to me, and the toddler yogurt is just fruit and yogurt, not a biggie, I can get that other places — but all the 3-in-1 meals have a VEGGIE and that is a brilliant idea. The baby version with cereal and IRON is one I am thinking about also, but I am excited about the VEGGIE option.
I did leave a comment for the company on their official site saying they need more than 3 veggies — i suggested carrot and pea. I suggest EVEYONE go leave a comment, and suggest other veggies that would work well. In reality I’d love to be able to mix puree of veggie and plain (or vanilla) yogurt myself to get more options; and also so I could slowly increase the amount of veggies — but again the times i have tried have been FAILS!! I have tried 4 or 5 times that I can think of; once it was ok the first day – peas and plain yogurt and put in the freezer for a time, and he ate about 3 oz of that, but it was a one time thing – never again. I can not get smooth and creamy enough.
The peach and squash meal seems to continue to be the favorite, and pears and green beans come in last. (You can’t tell him the pear one is pears, he has decided he doesn’t like them and will panic at the suggestion he eat them). Long ago when Big Brother was a “young toddler” (say 13 to 18 months) he loved squash (all of them) and also avocado; not that I can get him to even think about eating them now. Actually, I kind of am torn about feeding apples to Big Brother at all. We are strictly non-apple here and he does seem to reach to apples, more so to apple juice but to the apples too. But there are only three options and three veggies to choose from, so I got a four pack to try. Yesterday I really went out on a limb and tried mixing some protein power with the ‘meal’. I choose the apple and sweet potato one to experiment with.
The protein power I used was Peaceful Planet Inca Meal. It is a non-soy vegan product and while we are far far far from vegan, I like to use ‘their’ products as I know it is a collection of proteins Big Brother (or the rest of us) do not generally encounter or get enough of. No whey protein, since we all drink milk, that is a protein we get enough of and I do not like to use as a protein supplement. It is an easy way (choosing non-soy vegan) to get a different protein into Big Brother to help with the diversity of foods / proteins which is one of my biggest concerns about him. This is just an easy “cheating” way for momma not to have to struggle to read labels. 🙂 Vegan = non-whey and I look for vegan non-soy and I am sure to get pea and bean protein (among others). Makes it easy on me.
So I started with a 4 oz contained of apples and sweet potato yogurt (3 grams of protein) and added 1/3 of a scoop on protein power (15 grams of protein for a scoop = 5 grams for the 1/3 I put in). I stirred and stirred: remember SMOOTH is very important, lumps cause panic. Then we played “feed the puppy his food” and I spoon feed the meal to Big Brother. He was a little less happy than other times, and momma has to think a lot to keep him opening his mouth and not get into a fight / power struggle and not to push him too far, but we did it. He ate all 4 oz so 8 grams of protein.
Again it was still way too soupy and thin for him to be able to self-feed at this point. He eats thick creamy yogurt fairly well all on his own; but the YoBaby Meals are just no where near thick / creamy enough.
So I plan to try the protein power in the Meal again. I’d like to add more, but that fills the container and Big Brother has a real thing about eating it right out of the original container doesn’t eat it as well if I pour it in a bowl (maybe he doesn’t trust me not to monkey with it :)). I am also thinking of adding some Knox Gelatin to make it thinker and creamier, I know he’d like that better. Finally I have been inspired to try to make my own yogurt and veggie mix again SMILE and see how that goes. I think I will try in the blender and then freezer for a couple of hours. Always looking for more food options.