Money Bribes for Liver

wpid-IMAG0656-1.jpgI am often asked how I get my kids to eat certain things.  Overall, they’re pretty good eaters, and I simply do what it takes.  I firmly believe in a multi-faceted approach to most things in life, including my kids’ nutrition.  So one technique doesn’t cut it.  Today I used money.

Do you pay your kids money for grades?  Do you pay your kids money for chores?  Do you pay your kids money for back rubs?  I do none of those.  Heck no!

But today I paid one child $2.50 to eat a bite of liver.  I tried to go lower, but it wasn’t happening.  The next child accepted $1.00.  The last child liked “the chicken,” needed no money, and asked for seconds.  (What?  Each child got a different amount?  You betcha’!)

Some favorite tools to get my kids to eat what I feel they need to eat:

1.  Small, small portions of undesired foods.  I’m talking one to two small bites here.  Over the years, they’ll get more accustomed to the sight and taste.  They’ll adapt.  They’ll eat it.  I cringe when I see parents shoveling heaps of veggies they know the kids won’t eat onto the plate. A painful experience for their child and dinner companions (me).  I hate that–watching the drama at the end of the plate when the kids wants to be excused to play.

2.  Feed them myself.  It started as a joke, but now it’s for real.  My oldest (now 10) was quite finicky and would not eat what I started serving two years ago when we underwent nutritional overhaul.   (“When are we going to get off of this STUPID diet?”)  I asked her if she wanted me to feed her, and she poutingly said “yes.”   So I sat right next to her and did the “airplanes are coming in” that you’d do with a two-year old.  We giggled and got most of the food down.  Two years later, when a meal is tough for the kids, I plop down next to them, sigh, and fly in the bombers.

3.  Minimizing snacks.  A great pediatrician I trained with always told sleepless mothers of 6 month old babies, “Physically, there is no reason this child can’t sleep through the night without nursing [or bottle].”  I figure if the liver has enough glycogen stores to get an infant through ten to twelve hours of sleep at night, it has enough to get a child through the three to four hours between meals.  Do we snack at my house?  Of course–but not too close to an upcoming meal and not as a substitute for a meal someone chose not to eat!  Also, I try to keep the snack well-placed and nutritionally beneficial (nuts, veggies, fruits).

4.  Sweet bribery.  If the kids want dessert, they eat their meal.  Period.  You know what?  Yes!  There have been times when a child watched their siblings eat their ice cream because dinner didn’t suit them.  Not often though, and if dinner sucked that bad for them, I usually will offer something that I think is nutritionally equivalent that doesn’t require me to cook.  Something like carrots or leftover meatloaf, and if they can get that down, I allow them to have their dessert.  But in our house, dessert often is all it takes to get the whole meal down.

5.  Money.  Today was a new one.  I have never offered money before, but I have been learning lots about fat soluble vitamins.  How we are deficient in them.  And great sources of them.  Liver just seems to be the tops.  I know many of you don’t like liver.  I don’t either much.  But I do like feeling and functioning well, not taking supplements, and not being wasteful.  A friend from a large family told me that her mother always made every kid eat liver once a week.  I thought if this mother of six could make all of her kids eat liver, so could I!!!!  Today I did.  I’m hoping the price comes down as the taste becomes more familiar.

6.  A little maple syrup.  Yesterday it was a drizzle of maple syrup over sautéed Brussels that got the youngest one to eat them.  Eventually, she’ll drop the need for maple syrup.  I used to have to have cheese over my broccoli as a kid or else there was no way on Earth I would eat it!  Once we were out of cheese, and I pitched a fit.  Poor Dad.  But the point is, I liked broccoli, and as a teenager and adult, I adjusted just fine to broccoli without cheese!

“This is not a diet.  It’s the way we eat now.”

Do what it takes to add in the nutritious food.  Keep working on minimizing food that has been enriched and “Botoxed”–like cereals, crackers, breads, bagels, muffins, juices, juice boxes, and boxed foods in general.  My oldest still whines and fusses.  Today I heard her say in the grocery store when she was looking at cereals and I shook my head no, “It’s MY body.”  But I will not give in.  As my husband says, “This is not a diet.  It is the way we eat now.”

I will not feel bad that when I don’t have time to make breakfast, my kids are eating fresh fruit.


41 thoughts on “Money Bribes for Liver

  1. Pingback: My Journey from Sugar Burner to Fat Burner - jenn26point2's Primal Journal - Page 536 | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 536

  2. IrishMum

    I wonder are you stubborn like your oldest?
    I’m with you, whatever works. My grandmother used to say, “Hunger is good sauce”, so if my boys are hungry enough, they will eat anything. We eat three times a day, and never snack. It really helps to come to the dinner table famished. As for liver, we eat is as pâté, I HATE it any other way… you would need to pay me a lot more that $2.50 😉

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I remember you saying you never snack. It truly, truly, truly does increase the variety and volume they eat for meals! “Hunger IS good sauce.” I don’t have a problem “making my kids starve,” but here in the States this is a huge taboo. Kids always have a snack. It’s no wonder at all they don’t eat real food. For that matter, snacks are encouraged for adults, too.

      I like pate, too! But it still tastes like liver to me! Plus, it’s one extra step. (There’s that lazy.)

      I am stubborn. I am hard-headed. I have a one-track mind. Yes. This streak of my daughter’s runs down from me. But she’s worse. (Right?)

      1. IrishMum

        Emm, NO! I think she is the exact same as you!!

        When my boys were in school, they had to bring a morning snack. And they need it. We were eating porridge for breakfast then, and very little fat or protein. They were hungry by 10.30. Now they have a huge amount of fat, protein, and carbs for breakfast. They are not hungry till lunch. Snacking is encouraged here too, unfortunately. The great thing about homeschool is I have complete control over what and when my boys eat.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Kids did need a snack with those kinds of foods! So did I!

        I love that about homeschooling. I get to teach them about how and why to eat this way. I feel like I’m helping them connect to what they eat again. And they can pass it on to their kids!

  3. rebecca2000

    When my kids were little I’d get them to try a bite. Then I’d have them stand up really tall and would say, “I think you just grew a little!” They’d squeal in delight and take another bite and then check them again.

    That said, we avoid liver here because since it filters toxins and then you eat it you’re taking in toxins. It doesn’t hurt that i can’t stand the taste either. I tried to like it when my iron issues. But I just cooked in cast iron.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      That is a fun tip to try! Fun mom. Fun kids. Much better than money.

      My husband and I used to say we wouldn’t eat liver due to toxins, either. (Ignorant, not using their physiology doctors–but my parents won’t let me forget that we said it. Ha! Ha!) However, the liver is rich in the things needed to detoxify the toxins–the toxins aren’t stored there. They’re detoxified and processed there to move on–to be excreted out of the body. If it can’t be excreted, the toxins are commonly stored in the fats (and thus why grass-fed, organic type meats should be eaten). Liver contains difficult vitamins to get: vitamin A, D, E, and K. And iron (liver tastes like iron to me).

      My mom used cast iron. Big old heavy thing!

      1. rebecca2000

        Oh that’s interesting. I had heard differently but to be fair my sources were not the best. One of which was Dr Oz that’s why I don’t spreading it as gospel truth. I don’t like the stuff.

      2. IrishMum

        I love cast iron. I use it when I can, but my husband has haemochromatosis, so I don’t cook his food in it. Haha, I love that your parents won’t let you forget about never eating liver. And I love that you have retrained your thinking!

      3. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Hemochromatosis! (Haemochromatosis for non-Americans. 🙂 ) Ouch! Glad that was caught! Becca obviously has the opposite issue! I don’t even know how much iron comes off that pan! Sounds like a good question for a rainy day.

  4. Nishka

    I love this!! So far I have been lucky with my little one, he is 3 and much more adventurous at trying new things than me. I’ve been wanting to try liver since I’ve read Nourishing Traditions. How do you prepare it? Or maybe I could have my husband fly in the bombers 🙂 I’ve also been meaning to tell you I tried the Dulse based on your recommendation and love it! I put it in my salad every day, so grateful for your wisdom and encouragement!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I am SO glad you like the Dulse! Kind of a unique taste, eh?

      Some people soak the liver in milk. Obviously as I’m working through a dairy intolerance, I don’t do that. Our liver is sliced and frozen. I thaw it then I heat some tallow (or your oil of choice–coconut, whatever) over medium heat. I add some sliced onions and sometimes green pepper and lightly brown. I add the liver to the pan (sometimes in whole slices and sometimes in pre-chopped pieces) and I cook thoroughly. I do NOT like it pink–although my Romanian friend who helped me eat liver at all swears this is the way to eat it. (She’s my traditional food hero. She actually found a Nourishing Traditions book for me at Goodwill since I was borrowing hers for so long!) Sometimes, if I have to, I’ll slice the liver right in the pan into smaller slices so it all cooks thoroughly.

      Then, at the end, I add salt/pepper/and ground cumin–lots of it. That’s how I make it most. Some kids need the bombers and some don’t! Today some needed money.

      I’ve found that grass-fed tastes much more mild to my taste buds than the conventional that I bought a couple of times in the grocery!

      Chicken livers, however, don’t taste too bad at all. They’re pretty easy to eat. But not quite as nutrient dense as beef liver, if I remember right.

      There are a million posts out there on liver, but one day I’d like to put one together myself. Ahem. Don’t know when…

      Good luck! Hope you’re doing well lately!

      1. Nishka

        Thank you for the recipe and beef grass-fed liver definitely sounds like the way to go! I may have to have my husband prepare it the first time around, he grew up eating liver and every other animal part one can imagine as he grew up on a farm. I guess that’s why he has a gut of steel and can eat anything and NEVER gets sick! I grew up eating mostly meat, veggies and potatoes…but not much variety in the meat and veggies. We are doing well, thank you! Hope you are all well, too 🙂

  5. Valerie

    So many great ideas!
    You know, I wonder if the reason kids (and adults) tend to snack and ruin their meals so often is because we don’t spend enough time outside. When playing outside with the neighbor kids, or swimming in the summer, they never talk about hunger. It’s not until we come indoors that the “starving” comments start, and then they eat FABULOUS dinner!! 😉

  6. nontoxicnurse

    I couldn’t eat liver by itself for any price. When I complained of this to my farmer, he asked me if I tasted it in the ground beef I bought from him. I had not, and so a new idea was born. We started out with smaller amounts of liver and worked up, but our current recipe is 3-4 oz of liver to 2 lbs of hamburger meat (depending on the size of the frozen pack of liver we get from our farmer). We mix our liver slurry into ground beef while cooking it as loose meat. The recipe for the liver slurry is 3-4 oz of liver and approximately 1/4 cup of onion blended in the blender until it is liquid. We eat the resulting loose meat in the morning in a bowl with bone broth and hijiki, kelp, or wakame. We season with garlic powder, pepper, and Himalayan salt. We actually love it now and eat it daily. I had read that a little bit of liver per day was likely better than a large liver meal each week. Hope it is true, because the large liver meal will never happen for me;-) I bet you could use the liver slurry in a meatloaf or your hamburger crust pizza too, but we haven’t tried it.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      What a morning soup! Wow! Does your little one eat it, too? That is some power food! I need to branch out my seaweeds like you do.

      Strangely, my kids will eat liver mixed in meatloaf, meat sauce, or meatballs! They don’t notice it! I, on the other hand, do! And I don’t like it messing with the taste of my other food. I’d rather suffer through just eating it. Carefully making sure to get a bit of the onion with the liver! For their sake, though, I need to be better about getting them it however they’ll eat it.

      I presume getting a little liver every day would be better in some ways. I presume for the fat soluble content it should not matter as much as for the other more water soluble elements–although I don’t know that!

      Greetings your way!

      1. nontoxicnurse

        Yes, my little one LOVES the breakfast, and only slightly seasoned at that. She cried one day when we ran out. She also LOVES any type of seaweed. She will eat Nori sheets dry. She calls them “seaweed paper.” I can taste the liver in the breakfast, but I have found that enough pepper to kill a mule is the answer any time liver is involved. My husband actually makes the slurry and cooks the meat. If I had to look at it there is no way I could eat it (I used to be a vegetarian solely because raw meat grosses me out). I have gotten past the raw meat, but cannot get past the raw liver. He likes to come show me when a large vessel gets stuck in the blender blades . . . just to make me squirm and wretch.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I just had to laugh at “enough pepper to kill a mule is the answer…”. I love pepper, and I use it to kill all kinds of mules!

        And I agree–the slurry liver makes is disgusting. I don’t mind slicing or chopping it, but when I stick it in the blender, it’s not pretty. My husband likes to do anatomy lessons at the table on our dinner. Makes me so mad. 🙂

      3. nontoxicnurse

        Oh, I could not handle anatomy lessons at the table either. The reason we were first able to adopt a real food diet (from me being mostly vegetarian) was because my husband agreed to handle all meats that were “on the bone.” After spending a nursing school rotation at the VA hospital in Charleston following the wound nurse, the meat “on the bone” was more than I could handle if I was expected to eat afterward. I am fine now, but for the liver slurry. Funny thing is that my husband is not a medical person, and the slightest of medical things really gross him out. I will be forever grateful that he was willing to deal with the bony cuts at first, while I systematically desensitized myself, so we could get our daughter better.

  7. FitMomPam

    We do the same thing here…you have to eat the good stuff first if you want the not-so-healthy stuff. Today the not-so-healthy stuff was white rice. I tell them it’s a so-so food; not bad for you yet not super healthy. I then explained that they played a lot today so it was ok for them to eat more carbohydrate. They had to scarf down spinach in order to get more servings of rice. It worked 🙂

      1. All Seasons Cyclist

        I think you studied about me in med school during your childhood development classes. I was in the psych textbook in the chapter titled, “Dealing With Strong Willed Children”. If I had to sit at the table all night I would make sure your wouldn’t enjoy the evening either!

  8. Shannon

    I love these tips, and think that maybe they might help me with getting the grandbabies to eat Brussels and broccoli. Can’t wait to try them.

  9. mommytrainingwheels

    Hehe, I will definitely have to keep that in mind. Right now, the little guy is pretty open-minded. The only thing he doesn’t like is salmon. But if it’s mixed with some potatoes, it goes down no problem. Hum, I’m very doubtful that we’ll ever have liver here. I hate the stuff (despite the fact that my mom made me eat just one bite each time she made some as a child/teen).

      1. mommytrainingwheels

        I was actually pretty docile, I just did what I was told. The only way I was ever able to eat the little bits of liver was by covering them in ketchup and holding my breath while I chewed and swallowed ASAP. My little sister, on the other hand, she has always loved the stuff. I do have to give my mom credit though, there are many things that I did not like as a child that I love now because she insisted I have just one bite.

  10. andthreetogo

    I love all of these, but especially the one about small portions. I know zoë is not the biggest veggie fan, so I give her two small bites of it at lunch and dinner. She can handle it and we are all happy and healthier.
    Also I think you would probably have to bribe me to eat liver too 🙂

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      With all your travels, surely you’ve eaten more bizarre than liver! 🙂

      Through those small portions, we’ve found kids who like beet greens, asparagus, Brussels, etc!

      Hope you’re great!~ Terri

      1. andthreetogo

        Probably the oddest thing I have had is pig intestine or congealed duck blood. I want to try liver, but I think I am just scared of it. I will have to visit you and have you cook it for me. Haha 🙂
        I am doing really well! I hope you are done with the morning sickness now. I have been thinking of you. 🙂

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Congealed duck blood. If you can eat that, you can definitely eat liver. Let’s meet in The Black Hills–much prettier! I’ll cook you liver in The Black Hills of South Dakota! Maybe it’ll be bison liver out there…

  11. My Tropical Home

    We do numbers 1 to 4. We have not had the need to do # 5 and 6. One of our best motivators is showing our children how street kids rummage through trash for their meal. It’s a great object lesson on being grateful for whatever we’ve got, and that includes clean, fresh and nutritious food to eat. Our other motivator is the stories we share, of ancestors who lived through tough times eating whatever God brought to the table. We teach our children not to be picky. It’s very challenging but we started them young so we got the foundations laid out and its easy to explain the whys to them. It’s just that there are many temptations around. We also don’t eat on the run or at any time we like. If they’re hungry, they’ll eat what’s on the table. 🙂

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I love this comment. I may use it in a later post, if you don’t mind? (Of course, linking to you!) All of what you said is so interesting and true!

      I wish I’d had thought about all of this before two years ago and started young with my kids. But I didn’t so I’ll make do!

      Thanks for sharing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.