5 Simple Steps to Ease the Food Sensitivity Transition

Sometimes after functional lab testing is done, your kiddo comes back with food sensitivities. Usually, we recommend those particular foods be eliminated for a short period of time. Reintroduction of those foods happens a little later in the program after your child’s symptoms have begun to stabilize. Removing foods that have been a normal part of your child’s diet can be daunting, and depending on your child’s age and personality, you could face some pushback.

Here is how we can help! Below are 5 SIMPLE STEPS that ease the food sensitivity transition. Eliminate friction with your family when making necessary diet changes by following our advice.

1. Explain the situation, but don’t harp on it! It is important that kids have buy-in when it comes to their own health. Present this new plan in a positive light and model open-mindedness for your kids. Having a family meeting or a one on one chat with your child about upcoming changes helps everyone feel more prepared for what is happening. Noone is blindsided and everyone can give suggestions and input. Some great ways to start the conversation are, “We are committed to helping you get some relief with your tics, moods, depression. We have to follow the steps of the program in order to see great results. Do you want to start feeling better as soon as possible?” Let your child say “yes!” Then follow up with something like, “Ok, great! The first thing we have to do is add some foods into our diet that make our bodies strong and heal us from the inside out. Can you tell me your three favorite fruits and veggies?”  In this step of communication, we DON’T tell our kids what they CAN’T have anymore. We approach this as ADDED foods.  

Another important question to ask is, “So, what are some of your favorite foods that might not be super nutritious?” Your kids are SMART! They are going to know that donuts, pizza, fast food, and sweets are not the best choices for a balanced diet! Congratulate them on knowing so much and tell them they are smart! Next, we say something like, “Ok, so now that we have a plan about what is going to help our bodies get stronger and feel better, we are going to work together!” If you want to finish up the “not so nutritious” options in your pantry and then replace them one at a time with better choices, we totally understand. If you are the type to eliminate everything right away, consider giving your extra foods that your family is no longer eating to a friend, a family in need, or a local church or food bank.

 2. Get everyone on board! We know this is a loaded suggestion. Some family members are just NOT going to give up their vices, and we get it. However, there are ways to make the playing field a little more even. Consider having the entire family on board at dinner time. For example, mom, dad, and older siblings can eat what they want during the day and AWAY from the kiddo with restrictions. (No need to make it harder on him/her.) BUT– at dinnertime- everyone participates and has a healthy and compliant dish! We have a full-time Health Coach on staff that is ready to help you revamp those recipes and find healthy dishes that taste amazing for your family. Showing solidarity is important to continue the buy-in for your kiddo, and so they don’t feel singled out or left out. If necessary, you can make the same dish two ways (which is a little more work but helps with family members who are resistant to following your child’s new plan). Think of this: everyone can benefit from ONE healthy meal a day, right? Give it a try!

3. Do a pantry makeover! Sometimes, in houses full of kiddos, it’s unrealistic to truly expect everyone to follow a new diet for a period of time. Also, we know firsthand that some of the gluten-free options and other “ingredient-free” options (depending on your child’s restriction) can be pricey! From an economical perspective, it might not be possible to switch the entire house to the new plan. So- we recommend a pantry makeover. Assign a shelf to your kiddo with new dietary restrictions. Make it all about them! No one else is allowed on their shelf! This is a SPECIAL thing for them because their food is extra nutritious and their body needs it a little more than everyone else’s at home. Make sure other family members have their own shelves/ areas. We also recommend assigning a refrigerator shelf or drawer for special foods. Kids love having “property” and “special spaces” to themselves. If you still have some of your child’s favorite old foods, consider hiding them behind boring ingredients for kids. For example, you can put a fruit loops box on it’s side and behind the plain cheerios. Be creative!

4. Ask your kiddo what they miss the most! This is the BEST way to avoid frustration for your child. In the beginning of our journey, my child missed meatball subs. So- off I went to the store and I found gluten-free sub rolls, grass-fed ground beef, gut-friendly tomato sauce, and dairy-free shredded cheese! That night I toasted the roll, made the meatballs, and my kid was elated! Find out what your child really misses- and then hop on our BETTER app (current clients) to schedule a Health Coaching session so we can get you a recipe that works! If you are Pinterest savvy, you can find recipes there as well. In our food sensitivities blog post, we provide links to other blogs that we have found helpful in our own journeys with food restrictions. 

4. Track the wins! As the days and weeks go by, your child WILL start feeling better. Their belly might be less upset, bowel movements more regular, and/or sleep schedule more routine. Talk to your child about the good things they are feeling. Link those feelings back to healthy food choices. If gluten is the offender, talk to them about how they feel now that they have a diet without it. We say it all the time- YOUR CHILD IS SMART! They are going to notice the differences in how they feel. It’s your job to help them realize why. 

Eliminating food offenders is one of the FIRST ways we help you get WINS for your child. It’s hard for the body to heal if it is getting pumped full of ingredients that upset it on a cellular level. Planning new meals, school lunches, and snacks can feel overwhelming for the parents. We are here to help! In our blog post about why parents need support, we provide some resources to help ease the transition. 

If you have already completed your results and recommendations session, you can sign up for a Health Coaching session. Reach out to Dr. Gibson through BETTER (current clients) to see if this service is included in your original offer. If you are new to us and thinking, “WOW– This all sounds great! Sign me up!” then CLICK HERE to schedule an initial consult. Let’s make a plan and see how we can help your child get some relief from the symptoms they are feeling.

Just a note: We write our blogs in a child-centered way, but we do help adults ALL THE TIME! Don’t be shy if you are an adult experiencing similar issues- we can help! Reach out today! Book an Initial Consult Call!

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