LIVER: the perfect food for picky eaters (and tired parents)

LIVER: the perfect food for picky eaters (and tired parents)

  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...
Your Guide to Surviving Holiday Treats with Kids

Your Guide to Surviving Holiday Treats with Kids

With the kids jingle belling And everyone telling you be of good cheer It’s the most wonderful stressful time of the year.   Isn’t that such a bummer?  I used to love everything about Christmas.  Yet, since becoming a parent they seem to have become more of a headache. Our to-do lists get longer, our wallets get leaner, our kids get over-tired and poorly-fed.  Naturally, parents are stressed out about all the holiday treats with kids.   You’re probably worried about heading to that party this week…wondering what to do when your little one goes to town on the cookies.  But since becoming a mom of three little ones, I realize I can’t waste my energy on this stuff.  Speaking of 3 little ones…   [Let me interrupt this blog post with an important message!]   Meet our brand spanking new Mackenzie, who is the ripe age of 6 weeks today!  You’ll see more of her and our shenanigans in the coming months.  She’s a gem if I might say so myself.  Her older sisters on the other hand, they are the hard work!  Good thing they are cute.     [Back to our regular programming]   The holidays are one of those times I know I just need to chill out.  Especially when it comes to how to handle holiday treats with kids.   When I’m fixated on keeping my girls away from the goodies and filling them up on greens, it gets ugly.   I put pressure on them –> they resist eating –> I want to withhold ‘treats’ –> they want to indulge even more –> I get...
Why parents should ‘fix’ picky eating early

Why parents should ‘fix’ picky eating early

So my techy husband set up our television at home to function as a digital photo album when the screen is idle (i.e. when my girls aren’t watching Calliou or Frozen for the 20th time).   He’s also a photographer so I have the luxury of seeing beautiful family photos cycle through – photos that bring back mostly pleasant early parenthood memories. Although, the other day I caught a photo that didn’t spark those fond memories in the slightest.  It was a picture of Sienna looking unhappy at the table.  What you can’t see is her anxious mother (me) sitting nearby and wanting so desperately for her to eat more. Those were not my happier days. That photo sucked me in and brought me back to ‘those times’…when I shed tears at the table and truthfully was fearful of mealtimes.  I was a foodie and loved to cook/eat but living with a picky eater took the joy out of eating. It saddens me to think that I spent the better part of time together consumed with getting Sienna to eat better and worried about her nutrition (being a Nutritionist, I knew what she needed).  I worked so darn hard trying to expand her appetite and food favourites, but with no real plan…and no real results. While our wonderful pediatricians were telling us everything was “fine”, my mommy instinct was telling it was not ‘fine’. Sienna was far from fine (she was so unhappy at meals and not interested in food). I was far from fine (I was worried and emotionally exhausted from the constant food battles). I see and speak with so many parents who are in ‘my old shoes’ and I so...
5 reasons why kids are picky eaters (and what to do about it)

5 reasons why kids are picky eaters (and what to do about it)

Dear god, why won’t she just eat? That’s the question I asked myself daily a few years ago.  Actually, who’s kidding who.  I asked it every stinking time I put food in front of my little one.  She was underweight (major source of stress for me) and had zero interest in food.  I desperately wanted to know the reasons why kids are picky eaters and how to fix it. The most painful part was watching her eat (or not eat) next to other little kids her age.  Those moms were chatting away, sipping coffee, and smiling while their little ones noshed on a smorgasbord of food. No bribing, no trickery or iPads to distract them. They just ate. However, if those moms looked my way they would see an anxious mother, struggling to smile, while begging a little girl to have a bite. Just one bite of the meal I worked so hard to prepare.  The comparisons killed me.  And of course, while watching other kids with envy, that question became even more urgent. If I simply knew the reasons why kids became picky eaters, I could find ways to help her.  And, it would help me get through the mealtime misery. I was already a Certified Nutritionist and knew what to feed a smaller child with a limited appetite.  But I lacked what was even more important. I needed to know what was driving her picky eating, so I could determine how to approach meals. I wanted to be able to sit down at a table and feel 110% confident that I wasn’t ‘messing her up’ by bribing and begging her to eat.  Heck, even I have a few lingering food issues...
How to make quick and healthy snacks for kids

How to make quick and healthy snacks for kids

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with loads of awesome moms lately at local workshops with Mommy Connections, MumNet, and other “mommy groups”.  At every single one of those workshops, I can bet my bottom dollar that I will be asked this ONE QUESTION: What quick and healthy snacks can I give my kids [before bed, on the go, for school]? I’ll rhyme off a list of my favourite quick and healthy snacks for kids, often forgetting most of them.  So I thought it would be wise to get this list of snacks for kids down on ‘paper’ as a reminder for me and a reference for parents. Before I dive, let me step back and give you a few pointers: Food for Thought: Every snack should have some protein (or fat) to keep kids satiated longer, and those blood sugar levels stabilized.  In other words, a banana or a biscuit on its own isn’t sufficient.  You’ll feel satiated briefly and then the sugar cravings (and tantrums) will rush in. Include a veggie or fruit in all snacks for nutrient-density.  Crackers, bread, and cookies have their place but don’t offer the same nutrition bang for every bite. Quick and Healthy Snacks for Kids This mix & match list will help you crete quick & dirty clean healthy snacks for your kids (most with no cooking required)! Pick one of these 10 foods These foods contain mostly carbohydrates. Fresh fruit (berries, banana, melon, plum, pear, etc) Fresh cut veggies (peppers, cucumbers, carrots, snap peas, etc) Dried fruit (apple chips, banana chips, prunes, unsulfured apricots, mango, etc) Roasted nori sheets Crackers (TIP: choose a brand like Mary’s Crackers for more nutrition)...
Sneaky Spinach Muffins (without being sneaky at all)

Sneaky Spinach Muffins (without being sneaky at all)

If only our kids ate more green vegetables we wouldn’t have to go to crazy lengths, like making gluten-free “Spinach Muffins”. If you’ve seen my Picky Eating 101 Webinar you know my stance on getting sneaky in the kitchen.  It can totally work if the goal is to get our little ones to EAT something green.  On the other hand, it’s not an ideal strategy if we want our little ones to LEARN to like green stuff (or what it is). My girls have a well-rounded list of preferred foods, but spinach isn’t one of them.  No surprise there.  Geesh, I don’t even know a lot of adults who gush over raw greens of any variety (excluding my social circle of kale-obsessed nutritionist friends). If a child isn’t big on veggies, we start with the basics like these 5 great veggies for kids (and picky eaters).   And with these Spinach Muffins.   Admittedly I was nervous when I slid Sienna up to the counter to see my latest experiment.  Green Muffins. I worried that she would run away when she saw 4 cups of blended spinach going into the muffin batter, but instead she was intrigued by the bright green concoction. Even better, when they came out of the oven she willingly tasted these green muffins and happily ate one (although her expression below would suggest otherwise?). Spinach (like other raw greens) has a distinct texture making it difficult to chew for kids.  So finely chopping or blending spinach leaves into foods is a-ok…..if we Show our little ones we are putting green stuff in the blender Let our little ones help add greens to the blender (and...