Picky eating on the GAPS Diet

Photo by Derek Owens on Unsplash

Guest post by Jenn Scribner, author of From Mac & Cheese to Veggies Please. How to get your kid to eat new foods, end picky eating forever, and stay sane in the process.

How to be creative with picky eating on the GAPS Diet

Every kid is different, and the foods they don’t like or won’t accept vary. Picky eating on the GAPS Diet is very common. If you’re struggling to get in one of the main healing foods or supplements that’s required for the GAPS Protocol, I have some tips for you. 

Work through the ideas listed below and let them inspire your creativity. Don’t give up – you will figure this out!

My child won’t eat/drink meat stock or broth:

This food aversion is the most common issue.

  • If your child is small or open to taking broth “like medicine,” give it to them in a syringe, so they don’t have to taste it so much.
  • Make sure your stock tastes good! Do you like it? Your kids don’t like funky tasting stock either. Change up the herbs and seasonings to try different flavors. Try extra garlic, ginger, herbs, or curry paste, as allowed on your Stage.
  • Offer them stock from meat, poultry, fish, exotic meats, and other seafood. They might like one type and hate all the rest. 
  • Add a tiny amount to herbal tea, lemonade, or fresh-pressed juice. Then increase the ratio of stock over time. 
  • Cook all your meats and veggies in it, so they are getting the drippings. 
  • Add a few drops to the sauerkraut juice or beet kvass to mask the flavor. 
  • Whisk some into a sauce like mustard, ketchup, or guacamole (or just pureed avocado). 
  • Add it to a smoothie. 
  • Let them drink it through a fun straw or sippy cup. 
  • Use it in thick, blended veggie soup. Some kids don’t like thinner soups or drinking broth straight. 
  • Add it to the beaten eggs before you scramble them or turn them into a frittata.
  • Reduce it down and make gravy (with nut flour). 
  • Add a little to pancake batter
  • Add some to mashed cauliflower
  • Add some to salad dressings. 
  • Use a little broth instead of water when you reheat leftovers on the stove. 
  • Use it as a liquid for stir-fry. 
  • Cook your lentils and beans in it. 
  • Sauté’ your meatballs or burgers in it. 
  • Turn it into a popsicle with some juice. 
  • Add it to juice or pureed fruit and make it into gelatin or a gummy snack. 
  • Try any of these suggestions with the fat skimmed off. You can work that in over time. 
  • Try any of these suggestions with a bland chicken feet stock. 

Some stock is better than none. Find something that works, even if you’re starting small. 

My child won’t drink water:

If your child is fasting from food, you must keep them hydrated. If they refuse plain water, here are some other options:

  • Herbal teas like peppermint, chamomile, or ginger. 
  • Lemonade made with fresh lemon juice and a bit of honey. 
  • Fresh pressed juices, like carrot juice. 

My child won’t drink juice:

  • Play with the ratio of ingredients. Do they like it with more lemon juice, ginger, carrot, or a little green apple?
  • Play with the colors. Some kids don’t want green or brown juice but like it pink or red, so you can always add a little beet. 
  • Put it in a fun cup or let them sip it with a special straw. 
  • Try it like a popsicle. 
  • Make it into Jell-o or gummy snacks.

Yes, you lose a little bit of nutrition in the last two options, but it’s a place to start, and some are better than none. 

My child won’t eat soups:

  • Try pureed or “cream” soups.
  • Try soup with chunky veggies. 
  • Try soup with pureed veggies and chunks of meat.
  • Try offering them plain broth with boiled meat or meatballs and veggies on the side. 
  • Still no? Try working things into a smoothie instead.

My child won’t eat vegetables:

  • Cauliflower and peeled cucumber or zucchini have the least noticeable tastes and are the easiest to sneak in. 
  • Mince or puree veggies and add them to ground meats, like in meatballs, meatloaf, or hamburgers. 
  • Try different combinations in blended soups with different herbs or seasonings to mask the flavors. 
  • Drench them with butter or cheese.
  • Mince or puree them and add them to scrambled eggs. 
  • Make butternut squash or other veggies “fries.”
  • Puree some and add them to a more flavorful sauce like ketchup, mustard, gravy, or spaghetti sauce. 
  • Spiralize them into noodles and cover them with sauces. 
  • Juice them in tasty combinations (with lemon juice). 
  • Take a look at your child’s texture preferences and work within them. 
  • Have your child grow a couple of veggies in a garden, pick out foods to try at the farmer’s market, or run them through a juicer. Getting them involved in the process of food prep and cooking makes them more likely to try something new. 

My child won’t eat chunky or hard textures:

  • Try pureed meat and veggies in the soups. 
  • Get creative with smoothies, adding broth, veggie juice, avocado, or plain chicken. 
  • Try the purees in your squeezable pouch if they don’t like eating with utensils. 

Work within your child’s texture preferences for now, and make sure you’re working on their texture preferences with other therapies as well. 

My child won’t eat purees or smoothie textures:

  • Try chunky soups with veggies that are not too soft.
  • Disassemble a soup and have them eat the meat and veggies on a plate. 
  • Make butternut squash or other veggies “fries” in the oven. 
  • Try the meats as meatballs or meatloaf. 
  • If they don’t do runny egg yolks, scramble the egg yolks, even if they aren’t trying the whites yet. 
  • Try juice as a popsicle or gummy snack. 

Work within your child’s texture preferences for now, and make sure you’re working on their texture preferences with other therapies as well.

My child won’t eat fish or seafood:

Don’t let them miss all the trace minerals and essential fats from fish and seafood. Try these ideas:

  • Add a small amount of fish stock to their chicken, beef, or other stocks. Start small and increase the ratio over time. 
  • Cook chunks of white fish in chicken stock with lots of herbs and seasonings. 
  • Make fish sticks with almond or coconut flour breading. 
  • Find a grain-free shrimp or fish cake recipe, plus a dipping sauce for it. 
  • Mix ground seafood or fish into other ground meat and make burgers or meatballs. 
  • Expose them to different types of fish and seafood in different recipes, including those you don’t like. 
  • Take them fishing, clamming, or crabbing. Being involved in procuring their food can increase their interest in trying it. 

My child won’t eat avocado:

  • Blend it into a smoothie.
  • Make guacamole or other sauces that add different flavors. 
  • Puree into a creamy soup. 

My child won’t eat eggs:

  • Mix them into soups. The yolks will disappear, and the whites become like egg drop soup if they’re added in at the end. 
  • Blend them into smoothies. 
  • Bake them into pancakes and muffins. 
  • Use them to bind meatloaf and meatballs. 
  • Mix the yolks into sauces like mustard, gravy, or into dressings with olive oil and herbs. 
  • Try Russian custards, room temperature, or frozen like a popsicle.
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