Geesh.

Being a Nutritionist comes with some guilt.

I know I should be feeding my family super nutrient-dense foods like bone broth, organ meats, fermented veggies, etc.  However, I seem to stumble back to my safe place with our favourite foods.

Don’t get me wrong, we eat really well (lots of veg, quality proteins, and very few packaged foods) but if I were being judged by fellow Holistic Nutritionists I might get a B+.

If I know what I should be offering, why am I not doing it?  For lots of bad reasons…

Mainly I’m unwilling to venture to the unknown.  I’m aware of the risk that organ meats and fermented veggies may not get eaten. My girls are adventurous however, these nutrient dense foods come with powerful flavours.

But hold on!  My girls love olives, pickles, kombucha, and spicy sushi, which aren’t exactly mild tasting foods.  I told you my reasons were poor.  Naomi proved me wrong - here she is eating another piece of liver meatloaf (see below) with salad.  Mackenzie looks intrigued.

Then the universe spoke to me…

Not only was beef liver on sale at our local butcher Rowe Farms.  But I also stumbled on an article about organ meats.  Both in the same day.

Whoa universe…I get the message!

It was time to walk the “picky eating expert” talk.  Just as I ask other parents, I had to ask myself: how can kids learn to like {insert new food} if they don’t see or try them?

It was time to add a few more things to our list of nutrient-dense foods - starting with good ol’ beef liver.

Flashback…

When my former picky eater, Sienna, had such a teeny tiny appetite liver was on the menu once every few weeks.  She didn’t eat a lot of it, but she was getting way more nutrition out of one bite of liver versus a few crackers or pieces of fruit.

Once I implemented a new mealtime approach and her picky eating habits fell away, liver gradually fell off the menu too. Shame on me!

Flash forward…

Mackenzie is almost 6 months old and ready to start solids soon (someone pinch me).  So I’m thinking about what those first foods will be and liver is going to be on that list.

But isn’t liver full of toxins?!

Before I did my research, I thought liver was a mecca for heavy metals, drugs, chemicals, and other byproducts.  After all, it is known for its role in the detoxification process.

Here’s the truth about liver:

  • The liver DOES process toxins we are exposed to.
  • The liver DOES store nutrients for the detoxification process.
  • The liver DOES NOT store toxins though (they are removed through feces or urine).

So we are consuming all the nutrients our own liver needs to effectively clean house, but not the toxins themselves.

Liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.  

There’s a reason it is dubbed as “nature’s multivitamin”.

A mere 2oz of liver contains:
* 356% of your RDA of Vitamin A
* 658% of Vitamin B12
* 112% of Vitamin B2
* 50% of Vitamin B3
* 40% of Vitamin B5
* 36% of folate (Vitamin B9)
* 20% of Iron
* 20% of Zinc

Not only does it have all of the above nutrients in substantial doses, these nutrients are more bioavailable (coming from food vs. a manufactured pill with synthetic versions of vitamins and minerals).

Those B vitamins are exactly what tired parents need to keep their energy levels up. They are in food form and combined with other B vitamins, which improves absorption.

Liver is also a fabulous food for picky eaters.  For instance, iron and zinc are linked to poor appetite. But kids aren’t going to try it until you create the foundation for better mealtimes and a willingness to explore new foods.  We will do that in this free webinar starting soon.

Picky Eating solutions

Now that you’re hopefully nodding your head in agreement, saying “YES! I need to give my family (and picky eater) liver“, let’s talk about how.

How to make liver for picky eaters (and your family)

Here are a few great ways to serve liver to your little and big ones.  Firstly, I suggest starting with a mild tasting liver like chicken, duck and calf liver before going full throttle with beef liver.

Make meatloaf

This recipe is great.  I recommend starting off with a 1:4 ratio of liver to beef (or pork).  I used the 1:3 ration and Keith immediately suspected something was ‘off’.

Make meatballs

I have yet to try this recipe but if the meatloaf was a success I suspect meatballs will be too. They use an 4:1 ratio for beef to liver as well.  I would likely replace the breadcrumbs with nut meal or a gluten-free alternative, but I like to mess with recipes.

Make burgers

I have more frozen liver waiting to be used, so this burger will be on the meal plan next week.  The added benefit: veggies included.

Make (or buy) liver pate

While I haven’t made liver at home in a while, I have purchased pate from a local butcher.  The liver flavour was full on and the creamy texture didn’t jive with Sienna, which didn’t surprise me.  So a homemade pate is a better way to go, spreading it on crackers or toast or as a dip for veggies. Here are a few options:

Add other fixings

Research shows that pairing new foods with a favourite sauce or spice helps the taste buds adapt and enjoy the new food. We served our meatloaf with a side of mustard and homemade BBQ sauce which was enough to ‘mask’ the flavour for Keith.  Naomi ate a whole slice with no fixings at all (see! what was I worried about).

Have you tried liver with your family?  How’d it go?!

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