Plumping up

I never thought I'd have to encourage my kids to eat.  I certainly have no problem loving food myself...although I do have vague memories of battles over sauerkraut, mustard, rye bread and polish sausage when I was a small child.  Anything that awakened the palate was too spicy for me.  But since becoming a mother myself, I've become more aware of feeding issues.  And I assume my kids are probably easy to feed compared to many...breastfed until 5-6 months and started directly on hand-ground table food, they never had flavor or texture aversions suffered by many children today.

We started getting the evil eye from our pediatrician back when Rosy wouldn't gain weight or grow taller.  She wore 3-6 month clothes until 18 months, and 6-9 month clothes until after age 2.  Finally, once we figured out that she was lactose intolerant...and really more borderline allergic...and became religious about avoiding milk products in her diet, she started to gain inches and pounds.  We had our share of feeding problems with Katy and Amy due to their chicken allergy, too.

But by far the most drastic issue to date is Amelia's aversions and low appetite ever since encephalitis last October.  At a time when fat is critical in her diet, she wants nothing to do with food, especially high fat, high calorie foods that most kids love.  In the hospital, she almost entirely existed on cheese pizza and green beans (greeeaaat diet, right?!!).  Since then, we've slowly come to terms with her need to eat ground food instead of  chewy food, liquids over solids, and have come up with myriad ways to add fat to foods without her knowing.

My wise friend Melanie recently suggested coconut milk smoothies as a way of adding both calories and lots of good-for-the-brain fats.  For more on the benefits of coconut products (and I'm not referring to the powdered sugar coated shaved coconut used for baking!), read here.  This smoothie is easy to make and a big hit with my kids!  With the benefit of no added sugar, this is a stick-to-your-ribs snack that is sure to keep the kids out of the kitchen between nap and dinnertime.

Easy Coconut Milk Smoothie
1 can canned coconut milk
1 can (use your coconut can) of whole milk
1 banana
Handful of berries or other unsweetened fruit

Mix in blender and serve immediately.  The coconut milk should not be low-fat or reduced calorie; should be about 180-200 calories per serving, with no added sugar, for the best health benefits.  I slice bananas when firm and freeze the cubes in a large ziplock bag (my mom's trick), and use unsweetened frozen fruit from the freezer section of Aldi or a grocery store.