Picky Eaters

Autumn Crunch Muffins

As a parent, I feel like you’re always looking for ways to sneak whole, nutritious foods into your little one’s diet. And why wouldn’t you be? The toddler and early school years are such important years in so many areas, and most notably in physical and cognitive development. The vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your child consumes during these years build the foundation for the rest of their life!

But getting said nutrients into said child, is often times more of a task than we would like- especially if your child isn’t used to it. If your kiddo LOVES veggies, then way to go! If your kid doesn’t- it might not be your fault. We all have natural taste tendencies that we are born into this world with (sugar and fat being two big ones!), and sometimes vegetables just don’t make the cut. Especially when you’re a child and you don’t understand what all of those vegetables can do for you.

So we improvise.

We food sneak. What I mean by this is, we find ways to incorporate more fruits and veggies into the food we serve our kid, without letting them know it’s in there. Some days your kid just isn’t going to eat a carrot- and that might make for a frustrating meal. But if there is one thing I’ve learned about kids, it’s that they dislike something one day and they love it the next (make up your minds, right?!) But in the meantime, what if you found a way to get them to eat a carrot with them being none the wiser?

That’s exactly what you can do with INDULGE in Nutrition’s Autumn Crunch Muffins.

First of all, who doesn’t love a good muffin? Seriously. People [...]

Incredible Hulk Juice (or a Clean Green Smoothie for Mom)

If you are subscribed to our INDULGE in Nutrition monthly newsletter you got to read all about National Nutrition Month(NNM) which has been going on throughout the month of March. The theme for NNM this year is “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle,” and that is exactly what we have been trying to give you the resources to do! There have been a lot of green things in this kitchen this month- we hope you are loving it. And more importantly, we hope you are teaching your kids to love it!

Before we move on to Easter fun on this blog, we wanted to share one more green recipe! Green smoothies are quick and very easy to personalize. They are also packed full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients (all in one drink)! Here are some of the benefits of the ingredients in this particular smoothie:

Dark, leafy greens: Baby spinach, romaine lettuce, and kale- These all promote good blood clotting, healthy vision, immune function, and skin and bone health. The fiber content improves digestive function (hello roughage)! They have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improve muscle strength, lower the risk of certain types of cancer, detoxify the body, and act as anti-inflammatory agents. They are also good for women hoping to get pregnant (thanks to the folate content).
Green apples: Can lower your risk of chronic diseases, promote weight loss, and regulate blood sugar. It also is very good for your heart!
Celery stalks: Thanks to it antioxidant content, celery can help us have healthy cells, blood vessels, and organs. It reduces inflammation, can be soothing to our nervous system, regulates pH in the body (no one wants to be acidic), and lowers blood pressure and LDL(“bad” cholesterol. And [...]

Healthy Pan-Grilled Chicken and Squash Nuggets

After a fun weekend filled with friends, Halloween parties, Aggie football, and too much candy (oops!), my alarm went off way too soon on Monday morning. I’m sure this is every weekend for you moms! You know the days I’m talking about- the ones where you hit snooze one too many times, leaving you running late.

On days like that, having a grab and go meal or snack for the kids (and yourself) is a life saver! Sunday is my favorite day to prep all of my food for the week, and that normally lasts me until Thursday (my busiest day when I’m not home to cook.) Being able to have a healthy snack ready to grab on Thursday morning as I’m headed out the door keeps me from having to buy fast food, and is great on my tummy, body, and my dad’s bank account. 😉

One of my favorite grab-and-go’s to make are Pan-Grilled Chicken and Squash Nuggets. They are easy, have two main ingredients, and can be personalized based on your taste. These nuggets are another way you can sneak in vegetables to your child’s diet, too! You can use ground chicken or turkey, although the chicken is more visually appealing. You can also use zucchini instead of squash, or any other moist vegetable. Season according to personal preference.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb ground chicken
1 c shredded squash (1 whole squash makes about 1 cup of shredded squash)
olive  oil for pan
spices and herbs of choice (I used garlic salt, italian seasoning, cumin, and chili powder)

Recipe:

1. Shred squash into a medium sized bowl. Heat a pan over medium heat and add olive oil.

2. Add ground chicken to squash and mix well.

3. Add seasoning.
4. Using hands [...]

Monkey See, [Monkey Hear]- Monkey Do

We’ve already talked about the importance of showing your kids how to eat healthy rather just telling them. And while your kid is more likely to practice healthy eating habits if they see you doing so, it’s also important to make sure they have a small understanding of why you make those decisions.

This is my mom!

Growing up, I never heard my mom say she was eating healthy to be thin. I don’t even really remember hearing her talk about her weight or her body image. She was my mom and I wanted to be just like her! (I still do.) It wasn’t necessary for me to know how food would affect my weight, but she was always sure to tell me the facts on the food she was feeding me.

“This carrot juice is good for your eyes and skin.” — so I drank it, even though I really didn’t like it!

“These Brussels sprouts are SO good for you.” — so I ate them. (Ok, I only would ever eat just ONE of them. But now I love them!) She probably tried cooking those suckers 10 different ways to try to get my brother and I to eat them. Congrats Mom, it worked. I love them and voluntarily make them. A lot.

“Tomatoes have a ton of vitamin C, help fight cancer and kidney stones, and are a great source of vitamin K.”– Not gonna lie, I still hate them. But sometimes I eat them anyways. (Hey, some tastes are just inherent.)

“Take this fish oil. It’ll make you smarter and make your skin pretty!” — She knew just what to say to appeal to my inner-nerd. I took it every day before my ACT my junior [...]

Not your average lunch box

Adequate nutrition is important for growing children. Getting your child to eat three healthy meals can sometimes be difficult, especially lunch if your child is at school. Packing a healthy lunch for your student can be the perfect way to bridge the nutrient gap. Not only is finding time to pack a lunch every night difficult, but how many of us remember throwing half of our lunch away, or trading our fruit for someone’s candy bar? That can be really discouraging to a mom. However, there are simple ways to avoid this, for the most part – kids will be kids. There’s nothing you can do to assure 100% that your child is eating what you pack for them that day, but there are few things you can do to push them in that direction.

Pack the food in fun containers like this frog container from the Dollar Tree!

Use bright colors from fruits and vegetables and cut them into different shapes. Make a fruit salad (no sugary coating, please—it’s just as good in pineapple juice!), or fruit/vegetable kabobs. Sometimes just changing the way a food is presented can entice your little one to give it a go.

Avoid foods that are all one color or texture: this is a solid rule for any meal you’re preparing, but especially for kids.

Avoid foods that will get smushy, soggy, or stale: There’s normally about a 4-hour turn around period from packing the lunch to it being eaten. Use airtight bags and containers to make sure fruit doesn’t dry out, and don’t do foods that attract a lot of moisture (like grilled cheeses.) Texture is huge, and we don’t want your kiddo skipping lunch because his sandwich is stinky and [...]

Love you Berry Much Smoothie

Valentine’s Day. A chocolate and candy lovers dream. Have you walked through the stores? Red and pink deliciousness everywhere. It makes it difficult to think outside of that little red chocolate heart box to think of anything healthy for Valentine’s day. So we are doing the thinking for you! You and your loved ones are going to love this yummy, healthy Valentine’s Day smoothie.

The pretty red color comes from the secret ingredient, beets. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone. They won’t know they are drinking such an antioxidant rich drink!

Last year, I posted about pink pancakes that also has beets as a secret ingredient. Check out the post to find out how to roast beets and make a healthy Valentine’s breakfast. Go ahead and roast 2-3 beets so you can make smoothies and pancakes! What a funtritious Valentine’s breakfast!

Once the beets are roasted this smoothie recipe is super easy. Just blend a beet, yogurt, orange juice, and frozen berries.

And don’t worry. This recipe has been kid tested and approved!

Recipe for 2 servings
Ingredients

1 cup greek yogurt with honey
1 medium roasted beet cut into chunks
1 cup orange juice
2 cups frozen mixed berries

Directions
Blend together in your favorite mixer and enjoy your healthy Valentine’s drink!

Three Easy Ways to Reduce Sugar without Kids Noticing

Sugar is everywhere. Children get so much sugar in their diets even when parents are trying to provide healthy foods for their little ones. It is impossible to avoid sugar, but it can definitely be moderated.

Here are three simple tips to help reduce some sugar in your family’s diet.

1. Juice:  Pour only half a cup of juice. Fill the rest with water. This cuts out half the amount of sugar.

2. Yogurt: Dilute flavored yogurt with a few spoonfuls of plain, unsweetened yogurt. This reduces sugar, and your kids won’t notice.

3. Cereal: Pour half a bowl of that sugar filled cereal that your child loves like fruit loops. Then fill half with plain cheerios.

Not only will reducing sugar save your children’s teeth, but it will also help them (and you) enjoy a healthy lifestyle. When you reduce sugar intake, then there is a higher chance your child will fill those calories with nutrient rich foods. (Think more vitamins and minerals.) It also makes a happier heart so less chance of heart disease and stroke.

What about you? Do you have any “sneaky” ways you reduce sugar at your house?

 

 

He won’t starve. I promise!

As I heard a million times before I even had kids, “all kids are different,” I knew with all my heart this statement was true. What I didn’t realize before I had my own child, was how different each week or even day could be with my own child. I am quickly learning what works one day, won’t necessarily work as well the next day. I have found this true with both discipline and eating.

Toddlers I know, are notorious for being picky eaters. I have counseled many parents giving them a list of tips to help with picky eaters. I always provided several options because like I said, “all kids are different.” Now that I am getting the chance to put my own tips into practice I am quickly realizing it is not NEAR as easy as it seems! When I feel like I have one solution that is working really well for us, he throws a new challenge at me!

One piece of advice that DOES work for almost all healthy children, is that your child will not starve themselves. Eventually they WILL eat. This reminder is my saving grace after dinner time when my child’s plate is still full. My mommy instincts immediately worry when he doesn’t eat dinner (even if he has eaten well all day long.) I simply remind myself that it is my responsibility to provide the food, his to eat it. (See my post about the division of responsibility for feeding kids.) This advice keeps me from forcing my child to eat. (Who am I kidding? Can anyone really force their child to eat?) It does allow us to avoid food battles and bribes. But most importantly, it does not [...]

By |February 18th, 2013|Picky Eaters|0 Comments|

Heart Lunch

I hope that all of you had a wonderfully fun Valentine’s Day. I didn’t get any questions this week for “Ask the Dietitian,” so I thought I would share more from our Valentine’s Day. (Don’t worry I’m not sharing any details about after the kid was sleeping.)

We started out the day with our pink pancakes and continued with hearts for lunch. My son totally doesn’t understand why mom is so into hearts right now, but he loves to point at the shape with a big proud smile while he says, “heart!” So cute!!!

He thoroughly enjoyed his grilled cheese on whole wheat bread, peas, and blueberries for lunch. He even shared blueberries, his favorite, with me! Sweet Boy!!!

Yay for healthy, fun Valentine’s day!! (Have I mentioned that he gets his funny faces from his daddy?!?)

I think I might have to continue the fun activities, but with a new shape next week. So if you start seeing pictures of our food in shapes the coming weeks, you will know why!

 

Have a great weekend everyone! Remember, if you think of any nutrition questions, please click on the, “Ask the Dietitian” tab so I have something to write about next week! 🙂

Tips for Making your Kids Veggie Lovers

Have you had a difficult time getting your child to eat any vegetables?  Share some of this veggie love with your kids and see if they become a little more receptive to vegetables.

Fun Shapes.  This is part of the reason why Bento lunches are so popular.  Make the food look appealing and your child will love it! (or for the pickiest eaters at least be willing to taste it.) You can do something as simple as sliced zucchini or carrot chips or arrange fresh veggies into rainbows, faces, boats, and other fun pictures.

Veggies for Appetizers.  Kids are often very hungry while you are preparing dinner.  Put out a sampler plate of raw vegetables and kids will graze on whatever is in front of them.

Kids in the Kitchen.  Let kids help prepare raw ingredients.  Let them tear lettuce with their hands or press the button on the blender or food processor.  If they are old enough, let them use a grater or vegetable peeler.

Garden.  Nothing gets kids more excited about vegetables, then watching them grow.  You can make a garden more fun by planting a theme like a pizza garden (tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, basil, oregano).

Picnic.  Eating in a different environment is exciting for kids.  If the weather cooperates go to a park or even your backyard.  Even if you just put a blanket on the floor inside, that changes your child’s normal routine to make it fun and exciting!  Feed off of your child’s excitement to get them excited about veggies.

While I know that all kids are different, I hope that you will give these tips a try and that at least one of them will help turn your child into a veggie lover. [...]