This post is sponsored by Tyson Chicken Nuggets but it is the true story of how I made my son a picky eater. Ok, not entirely but some days it certainly feels that way. Tyson Chicken - A great start to a healthy plate.
My oldest son is a very picky eater. But he wasn’t always. We found out about his multiple food allergies when he was just one year old. I immediately became very aware of what was going in to his body. And because dealing with all of these allergies was all new to me, I kept his diet very simple so that I didn’t give him something that would hurt him. His diet was pretty much vegan, but with lean meats. He ate tons of fruits and veggies. He liked beets and had lentils several times a week. I packed all his meals, even when we ate out in restaurants, and he always had all the food groups represented, well at least the ones his little body could tolerate.
But then something changed. I got tired. And maybe a little lazy. And I certainly felt like he wasn’t getting to eat like a normal kid. I remained committed to his whole food diet for as long as I could. He didn’t have his first Oreo cookie until he was 4. But that may have been the start of my downward nutrition spiral. I saw how happy he was with that chemical filled cookie. It is amazing what he can eat, without consuming dairy, that seems like it should have dairy in it. That “buttery” taste, does not in fact, come from butter. But as I felt more comfortable with him eating these convenient, joy-inducing foods, he began to shun the whole foods he had always done so well with.
This is what an ideal meal would look like for him. I am happy to say that this is NOT what he eats at a meal, but snack time certainly contains a sugary carb. Yes, I could put my foot down and only give him those whole foods we started out with. I am the parent, I get that. But when I see other kids getting to eat donuts on Sunday morning, or an ice cream cone on a Saturday afternoon, my heart hurts for him that he doesn’t get that opportunity. So I overcompensate. My main focus now is getting him to eat a decent amount of protein. He doesn’t enjoy chicken (except nugget form – but even then he is very choosey about which nugget he will eat) but is limited in the dipper department. While I make sure to make the few meals that he does actually enjoy each week, I always try new recipes in hopes of finding another meal he might like. I cook about 5-6 nights a week. There are certainly times when I need something convenient to feed him but want to make sure is healthy. Tyson Chicken Nuggets are perfect for that. I can throw them in the oven with brocoli and french fries and put a decent meal on the table in about half an hour. I might need to get him this fun plate. I mean, what kid doesn’t like to play with their food? Not all nuggets are the same though. I like Tyson because they are made with no fillers (huge!) and 100% all natural ingredients. Texture is a huge deal for my son and these work for him. They are crunchy on the outset but juicy in the middle and with zero trans fat so I’m ok with him eating these once a week…says the mom who lets her son have Pop Tarts for breakfast just about every morning (I get that my rationalizing is flawed). Tyson has tons of varieties of nuggets but our family has one particular kind that is our favorite. I buy them from Costco and they are breaded in Panko breadcrumbs. Hands down the best nugget ever made. They are more like a tender in their size and shape but they are ridiculously versatile. In fact we had them last night with some spagetti and sauce for a quick version of chicken parmesan. My mom turned me on to them and I make sure they are in my freezer at all times.
We are working to find a happy balance in our nutrition. This is about as much “milk” as I can get him to drink a day (it is rice milk – have you ever tried it? He used to drink this with no issues either, but as he’s grown, his tastes have changed).
I am hopeful though. With age comes what seems to be an outgrowing of some of the allergies. Here he is eating cow’s milk yogurt (FROM A TUBE PEOPLE! I almost cried when we realized he didn’t get a reaction from these. For years he has seen the commercials on Disney Channel for Crush Cups and Gogurts but has never been able to try them. They don’t make soy yogurt in fun containers.) The fact that he can tolerate this opens up a new world. This Friday I will be making him a ranch dip (using the non-flavored version of this Greek yogurt above) for his Tyson Nuggets. Who knows. The ranch might even help him to enjoy his vegetables again too.
*In an effort to not get to wordy in this post I may have exaggerated how bad his diet is. While he does he a lot of junk food, his lunches and dinners almost always contain small amounts of fruit and veggies. He’s not malnourished in any way. But he does prefer his snacks over protein and healthy items.
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