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...
6 Healthy Breakfasts for Picky Eaters

6 Healthy Breakfasts for Picky Eaters

Full disclosure.  Mornings are usually a little messy over here as everyone rolls themselves out of beds and cribs (often feeling hangry).  We’ve all been fasting through the night and are more than ready to refuel our bodies and refill our bellies.  Patience is a virtue although it’s not something our kids have much of. The want breakfast. NOW. And we have to come up with an edible solution. FAST. Especially when Sienna was her pickier-self.  She had no appetite in the morning (not the case anymore!) and breakfast options were limited.  I was desperate for healthy breakfast ideas for picky eaters but I was too darn exhausted to search.  So I stuck to the staples. Now, my kids want breakfast ASAP and often aren’t willing to wait and get some clothes.  So naked breakfasts are typical. To avoid the potential of early morning tantrums, I have a tendency to reach into the cupboards and grab Mary’s crackers to accompany some hummus, or pull out the ol’ Yoso Coconut yogurt from the fridge with some fruit.  It gets repetitive. But I get it!  When you have a picky eater, options aren’t that vast.  At least not the healthy ones. In the morning it’s important to get our family off the right foot with the food they eat.  A sugar-based cereal is going to send their blood sugar way up there and won’t keep them satiated for a good period of time. Even with picky eaters, we can still spice things up in the mornings and do so with a nutrient-punch.  All of the breakfast ideas below include some healthy fats (our little...
Homemade Healthy Raspberry Gummies

Homemade Healthy Raspberry Gummies

It never fails! Every time my 4 year old and I walk into the bulk food store, Sienna makes a beeline for the section with rainbow-filled bins of glowing gummy worms and gummy bears.  Even the healthiest of bulk food stores has candy.  And while it may be “sugar-free” and “organic”, it is still candy. Sienna’s favourite: the gummies.  Ugh. The odd time I’ll begrudgingly toss some in a baggie, and cringe as she eats them.  My sanity saver is that picky eating is in our past - I know she’s a much better eater and gets her nutrition at home. Well, instead of cringing, I decided to make my own homemade healthy gummies that actually had some nutrition to offer. For those parents with fussier eaters who love their sweets, this recipe is going to be a favourite - for you and them! Your ‘picky eaters’ can get their sweet fix while we improve their eating.   Click here to join the webinar These Homemade Healthy Gummies are SOOOO much better than the store bought ones, because: They are made with organic, nutrient-dense and vitamin-packed berries (versus just fruit juice) They only have a bit of sweetener from quality honey (versus simple processed sugar) They are also a source of important amino acids (versus just a sugar hit) Protein in gummies?  That’s right!  The amino acids come from something called Gelatin. What is Gelatin? Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, and flavorless food (thank goodness!) derived from collagen, which we find in animal parts.  The parts that we no longer consume such as skin, tendons, and other gelatinous cuts of meat.   It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food and other products and give gummies their...
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...
9 Healthy All-in-One Snacks

9 Healthy All-in-One Snacks

In one of my last posts I shared some snack inspiration.  I simplified snack prep with a mix & match list of foods to combine - foods that included a protein + carb + fat. Being a nutritionist, I love that list of simple ideas that I (and you) consisting mainly whole foods. Being a foodie, I love THIS list with fun combinations of whole foods with healthy all-in-one snacks.  No need to pack 2-3 separate foods because these snacks contain carbohydrate, protein and fat - in every bite. It’s so easy to fall into a rhythm of offering similar foods over and over. I recently noticed I was getting a little lazy and uninspired when it came to packing snacks.  Clementines, avocado, roasted chickpeas, pear, hardboiled eggs were the staples being rotated around throughout the week.  That gets boring for everyone - and doesn’t help my little ones expand their palate. So I had to give myself a kick in the butt and start thinking outside the snack box.  Starting with these yummy all-in-one snacks. Healthy All-in-One Snacks No-bake energy balls (Raspberry Coconut Balls) Granola balls (Made Good Granola Minis) Smoothies (Blueberry Hemp Smoothie - you can omit maca powder) Egg muffins (Zucchini Frittata Cups) Cookies (Pumpkin Cookies) Dip (Roasted Red Beet Hummus) Pudding (Avocado Carob (Chocolate) Pudding) Granola bars (No-Bake Hemp and Chia Protein Bars) Brownies (Black Bean Brownies) Do you have any quick, healthy and complete snack favourites for your family?  Please share them below! If you’re feeling stuck on what to pack for lunch grab this FREE Cheatsheet.  You will learn which 5 things are needed to create a balanced lunch (and meal) for your...
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)...