Monday, January 04, 2010

Dr. Ornish offers personal advice for my picky eater

Last month Parent Bloggers Network invited its members to submit a question about healthy eating to Dr. Dean Ornish. He selected a few to answer on video and mine was among those chosen! Here is my question:

My 5 year old has been a picky eater since toddlerhood, but her food aversions are getting worse, not better, as she ages. She refuses to eat any fresh fruit save bananas and any vegetables except for peas and cooked tomatoes (in sauce). Dried and dehydrated fruits are acceptable. She used to eat beef, chicken, salmon and shrimp, but now she'll only nibble on chicken--and only sometimes. I feel like she survives on lactose-free milk, Grape-Nuts, cheese sandwiches, mac and cheese and pizza. She's a skinny kid, but she grew a few inches over the summer. She's physically very active and extremely bright, doing second grade reading and math at her Montessori preschool.

What should I do to encourage a broader palate without starting a food fight? We've stopped preparing separate dinners and she'd rather eat a piece of bread or a bowl of peas than try most of our meals. She's a stubborn kid.

While I wait for her to embrace a wider range of healthy foods, is there anything else I can do aside from giving her a daily kids multivitamin to ensure she gets enough nutrients?

And here is his answer:

Many of Dr. Ornish's ideas make sense--so much so that we're already doing them-- things like cooking with Z, taking the girls to farmers markets and not pressuring them to eat at meals. I was, however, intrigued by his suggestion to supplement her diet with omega-3s like fish oil. Josh and I both take flaxseed oil, but I hadn't considered offering to the kids since I wasn't sure what a kid's dose would look like. I add ground flaxseed to homemade pancakes and bread, but perhaps I'll look for liquid fish oil and figure out a way to mix it into her food. Does anyone have any experience with that?

Disclosure: Since my question was selected, I'm supposed to receive a copy of Dr. Ornish's latest book, some products from Mars and a $50 Spafinder gift card.