When working with our pregnant mamas experiencing nausea and food aversions, Stephanie often uses the concept of “lateral shifts.” If you typically avoid gluten because of symptoms it causes, yet you find yourself craving foods with gluten, you might not want to eat that since it will overall not make you feel better. You could consider a gluten-free bagel instead of a regular bagel. Maybe you wouldn’t eat a gluten free bagel in your non-pregnant food freedom, but for now it might be a better choice!

We can use this same concept of healthier swaps for kids on the spectrum and/or highly sensory kids. If this is your child, we recognize that your child may only be open to 5-10 foods. These tips can also work for kids who may not have an official diagnosis, but are reluctant to stray beyond their favorite foods. Here are a few examples of foods to try that may fall within their typical range of acceptance.

Recipes to Try at Home

Unsweetened Cashew Milk with Collagen by @justjessieb

This can be a great option if you’re considering a casein-free diet and/or prefer to use a dairy-free milk alternative in your smoothies or cooking. This recipe includes collagen peptides, which support gut health in kids who may have a compromised digestive tract. You can try mixing a small amount of this with the milk your child typically accepts, and work your way up.

Brothsicles by @cookbycolor

Homemade or organic, store-bought broth has incredible healing potential. Once you prepare these brothsicles, they’re convenient to use instead of water to cook rice or pasta. It might sound like a stretch, but you you can even mix chicken broth into smoothies or homemade pancakes/waffles for extra minerals and amino acids that support immune, gut, and brain health. We promise it’s indetectable!

Listen to Stephanie’s interview with Sharon Brown, the founder of Bonafide Provisions, to get more creative ideas on using bone broth.

Homemade Ketchup by @thymeandjoy

This is a healthier spin on regular ketchup with no added sugar, artificial colors, or flavors. You may even consider filling old containers of ketchup with this recipe to keep things more routine, reducing sensory input. If you want to use a similar concept but don’t have time to make your own, you can purchase premade Whole30-compliant ketchup.

Chicken Tenders  by @jays_bakingmecrazy

High-quality chicken tenders can be expensive, so why not make them at home using ingredients you probably already have in your pantry? Consider making them the same shape as the chicken tenders your child is used to.

Pre-packaged options

Sometimes we need convenient options that aren’t homemade. Our friend Stephanie Cahill recently shared a few brands that provide easy, on-the-go nutrition for her highly sensory son. You Read more about how Stephanie Cahill nourishes herself while nourishing her son Benjamin.

Amara baby food pouches are organic, and freeze dried, so you can choose how much water to add to play with the texture.

Serenity Kids is the first Whole30 approved baby food. Their beef flavor is Whole30 compliant. While the chicken flavor contains peas, it’s still a great option for your kids.

Simple Mills entire line is paleo-friendly and delicious. Although not Whole30-compliant, their Sea Salt crackers are a great example of a possible healthier swap you could make for your child.

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Inspirational Accounts to Follow

Food struggles happen daily with sensory kids or picky eaters, and we love to follow these positive accounts on Instagram to inspire us and give us ideas!

@feedinglittles – Run by a dietician and an occupational/feeding therapist, this account shares tons of  fun infographics sharing wisdom about baby-led Weaning and kid-friendly meals.

@veggiesandvirtue–Her concept of #loveitlikeitlearningit and her pictures highlighing how division of responsibility looks in her house are so helpful!

@kids.eat.in.color–Another great account with tons of infographics, this account emphasizes how to get your kids to try new foods and offers ideas for appealing presentation of food for kids.