It’s hard to argue with the statement that healthy kids make happy moms.
I may be a Dietitian, but prior to 2011, my 15 years of hospital clinical nutrition experience would not prepare me for what lay ahead.
You see, my youngest son is on the Autism spectrum and also has a diagnosis of ADHD. He was initially diagnosed in 2011 when he was 6…he’s 15 now and just entered high school. It has been a long journey with a lot of hurdles and bumps in the road (sometimes those “bumps” felt more like mountains). While I know his journey will always include ups and downs, I’m more excited than ever about the bright future he has ahead of him.
From Stressed to Relaxed
And as embarrassing as it is to admit when my son was first diagnosed, I had zero ideas what nutrition and lifestyle approach to even consider trying. It turned out I had a lot of learning to do myself before I could ever begin to help him. So we forged ahead because there was no other option than to try.
It has not been a smooth ride. I didn’t just open up my Dietitian toolbox and suddenly have all the answers. I’m guessing I’m just like you…I’ve spent hours and hours (in the hundreds or thousands even) researching and learning hoping to figure it out and find answers to questions I didn’t know I had. And it turns out there aren’t really any solid answers. You have to go with what works for your child. Once I let go of the idea that there was some perfect diet or concrete list of foods out there that would take away his symptoms, I was able to relax. And when I relaxed, so did he. And he started enjoying food. Now he’s 15 and eating as much as his dad.
This recipe book aims to spare you some of those pointless hours. It’s here just to give you ideas to try. Because if you have a child, regardless of whether they’re ADHD and on the spectrum or not, chances are they’re selective about what they eat.
Diets Don’t Make Healthy Kids or Happy Moms
The recipes are all geared to nourish your child. Period. Because I know that most of what you find (or will find if you’re just starting to look) will tell you things to take OUT of your child’s diet. But that always leaves the question of “well then, what can I feed him?”
That’s why I opted for an additive approach with these breakfast recipes that fit in with your child’s intuition about what they like. Diets focus on what to omit. They leave you wondering what’s left to feed your child. That restrictive approach doesn’t work. For anyone. So what I’ve done is curated this list of recipes to encompass a wide range of recommended approaches into options for you to include for your child (instead of all the things you need to take away).
I Know It’s Not Easy
I know it’s not easy trying to get a child who doesn’t do well with the change of giving up favorite foods (ADHD/Autism or not). You have to. It’s not easy introducing new tastes and textures to someone who has sensory challenges. Familiarity is the desired route for these kids. But we forge ahead and keep trying. So I hope these recipes are simple and varied enough that you can find a recipe or two to begin with. If you walk away with even one new recipe to add to your toolbox then it will all be worth it for me.
You know that starting the day off on the right foot can mean the difference between a day ﬁlled with wins and #ringthebell moments versus one ﬁlled with #meltdowns and #facepalm moments. I know this ﬁrst hand. And while a solid healthy breakfast is certainly not the only factor needed for a great day for your child, it helps to build a better foundation for them to work from all day long.
I’m here to encourage you to relax about what you feed your kids. Somebody needs to tell you you’re doing a great job. Even if your breakfasts aren’t Pinterest ready. Give yourself a few pats on the back because you care so everlovin’ much for your little one. You don’t have to know it all or do it all.
Recipes in Healthy Kids Happy Moms are not:
Flavorless and named things your child has never heard of.
Recipes in Healthy Kids Happy Moms are:
- dairy free
- processed sugar free
- gluten free
- soy free
- free of high-salicylate foods
- no artiﬁcial sweeteners, colors/dyes, ﬂavors, preservatives
- free of food additives
All Foods and Ingredients Fit
But don’t let this list scare you away from regular sugar, soy, dairy, etc. These recipes are created this way to ensure kids with allergies can still enjoy them. If you don’t have any allergies in your house, go ahead and use different ingredients. All food fits in my book!
You know your child, go with what works in your house. And if you’re looking for a good place to get started, this is it. I hope you enjoy it!