We all understand the importance of fruits and vegetables for a healthy and well-balanced diet. But when we talk about children, regular and complimentary servings of veggies are not just a matter of healthy nutrition.
However, food-related issues and challenges are quite common around children. And parents of children with special needs sometimes face real challenges. We can talk for hours and write books about the importance of healthy nutrition.
But all those efforts are in vain. Children have pretty solid reasons to be suspicious about a new food or picky with their diet.
Believe it or not, but this behavior is a protective mechanism that evolution has granted us to preserve humanity as a species. And those instincts tend to be pretty exacerbated among children with special needs. Because Nature itself is trying to protect and nourish them.
So, how do we find this balance between a child`s instincts, psychological and physical needs, and common sense? And without the risk of traumatizing a kid, of course! Well, this is what parenting is all about, isn`t it?
Fortunately, we don’t lack information today. After simple research, you may collect lots of lifehacks, guides, tips, and tricks. You can learn how to introduce fruits and vegetables to a child’s diet.
There are also qualified nutrition experts that can help you with any food-related issue. Especially, if you have a child with special needs. Moreover, the food industry is moving forward, introducing innovative solutions.
Veggies can come in various engaging forms and shapes now. Mashed, canned, frozen – the choice is up to you. They become not just healthy and nutritious but also fun to eat.
Ruvi drink blends are a perfect example of this food evolution. Due to original recipes and innovative dry-freeze technology, they preserve all the vitamins and elements of fresh fruits. And they are so easy and convenient to store and eat!
So as you see, there are lots of solutions. Introducing fruits and vegetables to your child`s diet has never been easier. So it may seem. But picking the method that will work with your special needs kid can be quite tricky. What works in your friend`s family may appear inappropriate for you.
Therefore, before providing you another guide or cheat-least, let us try to understand the core of the problem.
Why don’t children like fruits and vegetables?
We all know how picky children can be with their diet. On the one hand, trying different foods and determining preferences is an important step in a child`s development. It is not only the way that we determine whether to be a sweet-tooth or spice-lover in the future.
Selecting food, children make the first step towards the ability to decide and make a statement.
But children with special needs tend to be quite over selective in their ration. And sometimes, it may lead to quite a meager non-diverse diet that results in health complications. Fruits and vegetables appear to be the biggest issue!
So why does it happen? Almost every science has its explanation of children`s selectivity in foods and prejudices towards fruits and vegetables.
As we said above, selecting specific food is a way for a child to make a statement. Special needs children at some point feel that they are hardly in charge of any aspect of their lives.
Feeling the overprotective behavior of grown-ups around them, they feel the urge to act out sometimes. It is a way to make a statement. Children also want to make decisions about some aspects of their lives.
When a special needs child faces some physical restrictions, this urge to take charge, feel important and independent is even stronger. From the psychological point of view, children with special needs may rebel against fruits and vegetables in their diet simply because grown-ups seem to impose them.
Humans are predators. Even vegans are. No matter what your beliefs may be, biologically, a human child is a predator cub. And before we learn to read smart books and follow nutrition experts on social media, we act according to instincts planted in our brain by millions of years of evolution.
Fruits and vegetables are healthy and very important. But they don’t provide that much energy to our bodies as animal-derived products or sugar. And the need for energy in a growing body is incomparable to a grown ups.
In other words, fruits and vegetables don`t make too much sense in a child’s diet from Evolution point.
It does not mean that children naturally don’t need veggies at all. All predators still eat greenery from time to time. Every dog owner notices from time to time how his pet is eating grass in a park. But this needs changes and balances according to the condition of the body.
As long as animals follow their instincts unconsciously, they don`t risk falling victims to nutrition habits. But children need to learn and get used to eating fruits and vegetables at a young age. This way, their bodies would be able to digest them properly later on.
Special Needs Kids’ Safety Mechanism
In the case of children with special needs, we often witness “evolution on steroids”. In other words, particular unconscious instincts get exaggerated in their system. Nature is trying to activate all the resources that would help them to become stronger and develop better. And sometimes, this system may fail a need correction.
Ruvi drinks may be a perfect solution in this case. While the shape, color, and size of fruits and vegetables may seem suspicious for a child with special needs, drinking remains a natural and even a crucial process. In other words, our bodies know that they have to drink to survive. Therefore, it is much easier to introduce fruits and vegetables in a special needs child’s diet through Ruvi drinks.
Have you noticed how much your tastes have changed since you were a child? Especially towards bitter products like coffee, alcohol, or spicy cuisine.
Moreover, children tend to be pretty uncompromising about their taste preferences. If something does not taste good from the first bite, hardly any kid would give it a second chance.
It is another protective mechanism that Evolution has granted us, and progress tries to take away. But unlike nutritious factors, the taste of different products unconsciously explains a child potential dangers.
Bitterness is a natural indication of poison in the wild. Child’s taste buds are much more sensitive than grown ups. They are not worn-out or blunt by eating and drinking hot food. Therefore children taste the bitterness of calcium content in particular vegetables much sharper. And their brain indicates it as a potential danger.
Additional Considerations with Special Needs Kids
We all know that when Nature takes away or blunts one feature, all the rest get much sharper. Therefore children with special needs usually have much more sophisticated and sensitive taste buds. In this case, a parent has to be pretty inventive to combine tastes and flavors the way, that a special needs kid would enjoy his fruits and especially vegetables.
It is also important not to fall into extremes and introduce your child to excessive sugar or fast carbs. Ruvi products may become pretty handy in this case. Nutrition experts who worked on Ruvi`s recipes manage to come up with various taste combinations without adding sugar or synthetic flavors.
Help your Special Needs Child eat healthier.
Now that we have discussed why it is so hard to encourage your special needs child to eat fruits and vegetables, let`s discuss some steps you may take to create a healthier diet for your kid.
Eliminate non-psychological issues
Sometimes your special needs kid may be selective in food or refuse to eat certain products due to purely physical problems. Some conditions may lead to the fact that it is unpleasant or even painful for your child to chew or digest certain textures.
Ruvi drinks may be a perfect solution in this case as they come in the most digestible form and don`t require any particular physical effort to consume.
Make the mealtime less stressful.
When a child has food-related issues, mealtime can become pretty stressful. Many parents tend to make anxiety worse by forcing a child to eat, screaming, or setting ultimatums. Moreover, special needs children are sometimes more empathic, and they can sense a parent`s anxiety and translate it.
To avoid this complication, try to make mealtime more gamey and fun. Offering a child various tastes, associating it with an adventure and discovery, and setting a playful atmosphere helps to relax and go with the flow.
Show an example.
Parents are the first role-models for children. And kids with special needs often see their parents even as superheroes who take care of and protect them. The power of personal example cannot be overrated when you want to introduce your child to fruits and vegetables.
First of all, it gives a child a sense of inclusivity, which is very important, especially for kids with special needs. Moreover, seeing that a parent is eating fruits and vegetables, naturally makes them more attractive in a child`s eye.
While Ruvi has various tastes and blends, every family member can find a drink for himself. The more family members get involved, the easier it is to encourage a child to eat fruits and vegetables.
As we know, sometimes a child’s reluctance towards fruits and vegetables is a result of subconscious fear. Graduate exposure is the most efficient and non-traumatic way to overcome this fear.
Your child with special needs may be simply afraid of broccoli or an apple. Just like you are scared of Clowns or spiders. This fear is irrational and unmanageable. Now, would you be happy and cooperative if someone threw a spider in your face? Now imagine that your child feels the same while you are forcing fruits and vegetables into the meal.
Graduate exposure may start with simply putting fruit or a Ruvi bottle on the table without paying attention to it. As soon as its presence becomes habitual, you may start to try and encourage a child to touch it. Moving slowly but surely, you guarantee an efficient and non-traumatic experience that will grow into a healthy habit.
Have a set schedule.
Remember how we discussed that a kid`s refusal to eat veggies may be an attempt to take control? It is in your power to give your special needs child a chance to bring order in his life exactly through the mealtime. You only need to set a particular schedule.
When a child faces additional restrictions, doctor`s visits, medical tests that no one warns about or explains, his life seems to be chaos. The schedule is a perfect way to stabilize your child`s life. And mealtimes are the best anchors for any timetable.
As a result, fruits and vegetables themselves may not be an issue at all! When a child gets a sense of control, he may even show some interest in new tastes and textures.
The importance of children`s nutrition cannot be overrated. Healthy products like fruits and vegetables are crucial for proper and harmonic development. Moreover, the ability to open up to new tastes and flavors is an important skill that will help your child thought his whole life.
Innovative products and solutions like Ruvi drinks make our lives easier. But you must manage to understand the core of the problem and find a way to encourage your child to try a new product.
Have you ever faced any food-related issues with your special needs child?