5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Picky Eater's Gut Flora
A healthy gut flora has been proven to be incredibly important in the system of a growing child. Everything from tooth and skin health to brain development and emotional stability can be greatly affected by a poorly balanced stomach. Beginning from the moment the child goes through the birth canal, there are tons of different things that can affect a child's gut flora which can be disrupted by circumstances beyond our control.
But the good news is, it's fixable! Through diet and lifestyle, we can easily turn around our children's overall health and set them up for the best life possible with just a few minor changes they are sure to be thrilled about! Even if your little one is a picky eater and squirms at the very thought of yogurt, check out these five simple ways to improve their gut flora:
This is definitely the easiest way to improve any child's gut flora. While there are a ton of options including chewable tablets and gummies, I always reach for the powder since I find it to be the simplest option. Most are flavorless and colorless, completely dissolving in any liquid, so your child won't even know they are consuming it. My favorite brand is Culturelle. I buy the capsules from Amazon, break them open and add the powder to my children's milk. It dissolves right away and they don't even notice.
The one downside to this option is the price. Even the bulk selections can still be expensive for those trying to cut back on expenses. If that is the case, read on for cheaper and just as affective options.
While many have heard of the milk-based kefir, water kefir seems to be lesser known but twice as delicious and a billion times more versatile. Unlike most homemade probiotics, water kefir is extremely easy and quick to make. In just 48 hours, your child can be enjoying this delicious soda and juice alternative.
In order to begin the process of making water kefir, you first must purchase the grains which are fairly inexpensive and can be used over and over again. Once you have the grains, you can begin the simple process (detailed instructions can be found here.
After you have your water kefir, you can flavor it in a ton of different ways. Add fruit to turn it into juice or mix in some green tea for a refreshing afternoon delight. Allow it to sit for an additional 24 hours and it will self-carbonate making a fun soda drink. Add some root beer extract or vanilla to get Root Beer or Cream Soda. You can even add it to their favorite smoothie.
The best part about water kefir is you can try it a hundred different ways so you are sure to find something your child will go nuts for!
Probiotic Apple Sauce
Most children love apple sauce and most moms love to see them enjoying such a healthy treat. So what if we could step it up a notch? Probiotic apple sauce is another fast homemade probiotic that is so simple to make.
What you need:
- 6 – 8 medium size organic apples
- 2 tablespoons whey or water kefir
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
To make, simply peel and core the apples, finely chop them or blend them in a food processor, then add the kefir and cinnamon. Blend it in a food processor or blender until it reaches the consistency your little one prefers, seal it in an airtight jar (leaving room for expansion) and place it on the counter for 3 days. Refrigerate and serve!
It is also fun to serve it over ice cream with some warm caramel, add it to smoothies or mix it in with oatmeal!
Smoothies are a big hit lately because children and adults alike can make concoctions that taste delicious without noticing some less than appealing ingredients. There are a million combinations from fruity to chocolate-ly to everything in between.
Next time you whip up a smoothie for your tot, consider adding some probiotic goodness right along with that hidden spinach. You can add the water kefir from above, milk-based kefir, whey, yogurt or probiotic powders. You can sometimes even sneak in stronger tasting probiotics like fermented cabbage or cod liver oil if you have a super strong tasting smoothie. Use caution and add these ingredients very slowly. Most picky eaters have strong palates.
My favorite combination for sneaking in even the strongest tasting probiotic options is banana, peanut butter and cocoa. Three strong flavors that mix wonderfully to create a dessert-like smoothie and hide a multitude of flavors!
This is my favorite option and one few connect with gut flora. Getting outside allows your children to be subjected to the fresh air in which nature intended us to exist. There are billions of little healthy germs and probiotics floating around outside that often get filtered out through our indoor air systems. By just being in the atmosphere for 30 minutes a day, we swallow a lot of the healthy bits that our stomachs need to thrive.
Want to make the most out of that 30 minutes? Then encourage play that will wrestle up more positive germs like gardening, digging through the dirt, rolling in the grass or even climbing trees. Getting dirty is one of the healthiest things your child can do!
Can't get outside everyday? Don't sweat! Simply open a window or two and bring that outside air in. Even on those nippy winter days, a few minutes here and there of an open window can make all the difference.
Don't Forget About You!
So now you have five fun and easy ways to up your child's gut flora and launch them into a healthier lifestyle. Don't just stop with them! Use each of these techniques for yourself as well and you'll be amazed at how your health is transformed. Love your gut and it will love you!