GAPS Children

Children and GAPS

We have always been a household where the children weren’t allowed to be fussy! If they don’t like what I am making and don’t eat it, I won’t make them something else. My technique is that I ask them to at least try what is on their plate. Also; dessert is a privilege and not a must, So I try and introduce a new food at times when we are having a dessert. If you can’t eat your dinner you can’t eat dessert.

In saying the above GAPS children are often picky eaters so are some suggestions to help with picky eaters.

  •  Get the children involved in the cooking process.
  • Talk with the children about why we eat these foods.
  •  Have lots of food for children eat or snack on.
  •  Grow what you can.
  •  Try not to make a big deal out of eating.
  •  Have fun experimenting with a different way to cooking.

Getting Children Involved

Starting a journey like GAPS for some means a heap more time in the kitchen, cooking things that they aren’t used to, or things you’ve likely not had to cook in the past. It can be very overwhelming at times. My advice- if you have children that can help, use them! Clearly, some of you won’t be able to do this, your child/ren are too ill, or too young. etc.

As my older children (6,7,8) love breakfast meatballs in the morning I have taught then if they want them for breakfast, they need to get the meat out of the freezer the night before. They are also capable of ‘smooshing’ the meat, herbs, salt, pepper, and egg together and rolling them into balls ready for me to cook. Of course, I supervise, while doing another kitchen job. Two of my younger children (3 and 5) can get the carrots and veggies ready for our morning juice/milkshake. I also teach my older children to care of the milk kefir. They love Kefir icy poles, so for them it means that they also get to make some icy poles. Talk with the children about why they are eating these foods.

When we first started this diet, I think that hardest concept for my children to get their heads around was why not these foods. (insert favourite food of choice here). After all, we had spent the last several years teaching them that fruit was healthy and good for you, and now all of a sudden we weren’t eating it. It took I think the first month to explain to them that fruit was still healthy, it’s just that our bodies were not, so our bodies couldn’t get the goodness out of food. We had to let our bodies heal so that we could eat those things again.

Also my children really love it when I can explain to them what part of their bodies each food is helping. I.e. walnuts are good for the brain; carrots are good for the eyes, and so on. I often find them telling me “Look Mummy I’m feeding my heart” while eating a tomato. :0) I would advise during this time, to have lots of food for children to eat or snack on. GAPS food is easy to digest so the body doesn’t have to do a lot of work to absorb it; so, many people- children included, feel hunger a lot when they start GAPS, especially if you start with intro, so having extra cooked veggies, boiled meats, chopped carrot sticks, boiled eggs (when you get that far), in the fridge can be really handy. You really don’t want to be a position with children saying they are hungry, when everything you can feed them takes an hour plus to make.

Grow what you can

This point has a double purpose. One is that it can help with the ever growing food bill, and two, much research has been done into getting children to eat veggies, and it has been found that growing the food themselves, along with cooking it, sees many parents and schools succeed in this area. Even if you only start with one product, like tomatoes! There is no tomato like a home grown one, Once you eat your own you won’t want to turn back! As you go along, give your children a veggie that is theirs to grow, put them in charge of it. You will be teaching them a valuable life skill, and giving them something to be proud of. When we eat food that our children have grown we say a special thank you to them at the dining table. I love seeing their faces light up when we say how much we like that particular veggie.

Try not to make a big deal out of food

While we have the rule that if you don’t like what you’re given then ‘oh well’. We try not to make a big deal out of it. The children know the rules; they don’t need us repeating it over and over. If they are hungry they can always eat their leftover meal, which I have moved to the refrigerator until it’s time for the next meal. However, in saying that, we do strongly encourage them to try what is on their plate before they leave the table, and there have been times when I know they haven’t even tried the food and are just being stubborn, in which case I have sat at the table reading until they have eaten. Which in most cases has them sitting there for a good amount of time, refusing to eat it. Then they finally give up, they eat it in a few short minutes, because they actually like it. When these situations arise, and we make a stand, we don’t back down. However I don’t sit there talking to them about it, putting pressure on them, I simply carry on with what I am doing, until they are ready. I don’t think it is necessary to do this at every meal, with every child. You know your child and you know all the other factors around that moment. Be wise, pick your battles.

Have fun experimenting with different ways of cooking

For many moving onto the GAPS Diet, going through the stages will having you cooking things you may have never tried before, or cooking in ways that you have never done before. Or in most cases cooking without things you are used to using. Have fun with this process, if you have fun, your children will have fun, and the whole experience will be much more enjoyable for everyone! There are some amazing foods that you enjoy on GAPS; you just need to be open to them, and open to the creative process.

Your children are an important factor when deciding how you will do GAPS. If you have a particularly picky eater, it may be wiser for you to do reverse GAPS (GAPS starting from Full GAPS and going backwards), or slowly transitioning. Start by adding GAPS food in the diet. You may need to be ‘sneaking’ by adding broth to things they already eat. As you get more and more of these good foods into them you are starting to slowly take out other foods that are preventing healing. If you go slowly you will start to see their taste buds change. I personally have seen this in my own children. Before GAPS they never liked pumpkin and I would feel embarrassed any time hosts would make roasted pumpkin for us, because I know I was going to have to con my children into eating it or see heaps of it left over. Now my children love it and get excited when they see I’m making pumpkin soup or roasted pumpkin.

Also remember that children can be addicted to food just like us, and more often then not they are addicted to the very food that is harming them. There are series of chemical reactions that take place when they consume a food that they are reacting to that increases their desire to eat the food and creating an addiction.