When trying to figure out new ways to help your child stay strong and healthy during this busy time of year, think about breaking it down into baby steps. The great philosopher Hippocrates said it best when he said, “let food be thy medicine”. In other words, start with your child’s diet and consider each of the baby steps to be one forkful at a time - ultimately leading you to a healthier child and family.

Many children with special needs (especially those with autism and other sensory disorders) tend to limit their diets due to color, taste and/or texture. But with a little extra effort on your part, you can open up their world to the colors of the rainbow. Years ago when my son was having eating issues, I taught him how important it was to “eat the rainbow”. I started with a snack made out of very small pieces of fruit, including cantaloupe, strawberries, bananas, grapes and blueberries. I would make this snack once or twice a week, and increase the size and the number of bites each week until he would eat any fruit I put in front of him. I also took the time to explain why each of the colors was important and what the individual fruits had to offer his body.

My next step was to incorporate more vegetables into his diet. I started with giving him a choice between cucumbers and carrots. The next day, his choice would be between another two vegetables, such as red peppers and zucchini. Again, I started with very small bite-size pieces and only a few at a time. Once he accepted those without a fight, I would give him three choices and he had to pick two. His go-to favorites immediately became red peppers and cucumbers. Continuing to build on this process, I then started adding in one cooked vegetable and one raw. That took a little longer to incorporate and I’m still met with resistance at times (he is a kid after all), but I persevere because I know how important it is for his health. Next, I added in freshly-pressed veggie and fruit juices as his afternoon snack. And then I made up a “new rule” at dinnertime that everyone must eat a small salad before the main meal. For more ideas on creative ways to add more vegetables in your child’s diet, check out this article: http://mothercub.com/want-your-child-to-eat-more-veggies-try-this/

This is all hard work and not every meal goes as planned, but I’ve found a nice little secret for filling in the gaps in my family’s nutrition intake on those less-than-perfect days. That little secret is called Juice Plus+®. If you’re not already familiar with it, Juice Plus+® is a whole food nutritional product containing a wide variety of naturally-occurring nutrients (including the all important immune-building antioxidants and phytonutrients) from 17 different fruits and vegetables. I love knowing that my family is getting all of the freshly-prepared meals that I’m making for them, but also getting the added bonus of all the other fruits and veggies found in Juice Plus+®. I really feel like all of their nutritional bases are covered this way. And if you’re wondering what doctors think about it, here’s what Dr. Valerie Miles, a pediatrician with Progressive Pediatrics, says:

“I explain to all my patients that there is a direct connection between good health and nutrition. Proper nutrition really is KEY to preventing illness. I tell moms and dads – don’t wait until your child is sick to treat an illness. Instead, do everything you can to prevent it from happening in the first place! Prevention truly starts with proper nutrition and that means getting the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables into your children’s bodies every day. Making every meal at least half vegetables and fruit is tough to do and not so affordable sometimes. Juice Plus+® offers an easy way to supplement your meals to get closer to the optimum nutrition your body needs to function at its best.”

We all need constant motivation and creativity to inspire us to make every effort at keeping our families healthy. Diet is the first and most important step in achieving that goal. Start incorporating more fruits and vegetable options into your child’s diet TODAY! Don’t wait until they come home from school sick; help boost their immune systems now so they can fight off those cold and flu germs in the first place. And if you aren’t already taking a whole food supplement to cover your bases on the less-than-perfect days, consider finding out more about what Juice Plus+® has to offer. For more information or to learn about the amazing Children’s Health Study they are doing (which will allow your child to be on it for FREE for up to four years), click here: www.mothercubjuiceplus.com

Author's Bio: 

Susan Lynn Perry is an Autism Expert on SelfGrowth.com, in addition to being an accomplished freelance writer and best-selling author of fiction, nonfiction, short stories and inspirational articles. Her last novel, Hindsight, is what she likes to describe as “fiction inspired by true events”. As the mother of a young son currently emerging from autism, she’s had the distinct honor of becoming an expert in the field of natural, biomedical and dietary interventions that have had a profound effect on her son’s health. Please visit her website, www.mothercub.com for additional information, and remember…it is possible to help your children get better – you just need to take one step, and then another, and then another……