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...
Made Good Granola Minis Recipe

Made Good Granola Minis Recipe

I’m going to take a wild guess that you’re one of the hundreds (ok, thousands) of moms who love Made Good Granola Minis and Made Good Granola Bars.  What’s there not to love? Made Good has done a good great job solving snack problems for parents - it’s free of allergens (dairy, nut, peanut, egg, sesame-free, etc.), school-friendly, and healthier than most packaged snacks.  The hidden serving of vegetables is a bonus, especially for parents with “picky eaters”. That’s why I’m a little giddy about this homemade alternative - my successful attempt at a Made Good Granola Minis Recipe (Chocolate Banana flavour).  Otherwise known as the “Poor Mom’s” version or “wannabes”. I don’t keep many packaged treats around because 90% of the time we keep things simple with snacks: essentially mini meals with lots of whole foods. The other 10% of the time we will keep things even simpler and I’ll invest in pre-packaged snacks.   That’s when Made Good Granola Minis make it into my cart and my girls start gushing over those bite-sized granola balls. I’ve always been a big saver, \except when it comes to food.  With all the organic, local, grass-fed, farmer’s market products on my list, grocery bills get expensive.  So, I’m trying to streamline spending a bit and cut back on the non-necessities. At about $5 a box, Made Good Granola Bars and Minis had to go. As they came off my shopping list, I started to envision a homemade replacement and the recipe experimentation started this weekend. My girls were the guinea pigs and I recorded their reaction live after their first bite of my “Poor Moms” Made Good Granola Minis recipe.  Thankfully my eldest uttered the words “I like it mommy” (completely...
Should we make separate meals for picky eaters?

Should we make separate meals for picky eaters?

Yes, our little ones are special.   Every single one of them!  But should we make special and separate meals for picky eaters? However, it doesn’t mean that moms and dads should go out of their way to make alternate meals just for them…and then have to whip up another meal to suit the rest of the family.  Let’s talk about how to handle separate meals for picky eaters. The survey says… 1 in 4 children who are “picky eaters” continue to be picky as adults.  In other words, 25% do not outgrow their reluctance to try new foods unless the right mealtime strategies are used. (Source). And unfortunately, preparing the same few favourite foods (over and over) and separate meals for picky eaters is one sure way to limit their exposure and ability to grow out of picky eating. So, from one mom (with a former picky eater) to another….I have to tell you that it’s super important we set our kids up for healthier eating habits sooner than later.  That’s exactly why I show parents exactly how to do this (step-by-step) in the 6-week online program - The Picky Eater Protocol. Alternate meals can backfire Pressure is one of the biggest reasons why our kids don’t eat well.  Often parents are surprised when I pinpoint things they innocently say or do, that are forms of pressuring their kids to eat.   These are the things that I did at most meals, unaware that they were amplifying my daughter’s pickiness. Well, preparing separate meals for picky eaters can put pressure on them to eat it.   Even more so if we say “Look what mom made JUST for you“. The interpretation for most...
How to Meal Plan for Picky Eaters

How to Meal Plan for Picky Eaters

I have a few “mommy friends” who swear by meal planning, but I didn’t get what all the hype was about.  Nor did I want to add another “to do” to my ever-growing list. But there was no escaping it.  Meal planning was popping up on Pinterest, Facebook, mommy blogs, etc.  Everyone was meal planning and I was…struggling. The FOMO (fear of missing out) kicked in.   I wanted in on whatever miracles “meal planning” was bringing other moms. I am (or was) that mom who planned meals on the fly.  Frantically trying to decide what to make for Wednesday dinner on Wednesday morning.  My challenge wasn’t necessary making the meal.  It was the lack of a plan for those meals. So I jumped on the Meal Planning bandwagon for a taste of what everyone else was raving about. Meal Planning = Sanity Saving Having a plan has been liberating.   Especially when you have a little one who is a selective or picky eater. It’s easy to fall into the trap of making the SAME few recipes over and over and over.   That’s when the “short-term phase” of picky eating can evolve into a “long-term problem”.  Variety is crucial to their willingness to explore and try new foods.  And so is our approach at mealtimes - which doesn’t include bribing, saying one more bite, or throwing on the iPad.  All of the things I was guilty of doing in attempt to get Sienna to eat. I wish I knew then, what I know now My struggles with making meals were exacerbated because I was trying to get something…ANYTHING into my picky eater.  I was doing it all wrong, and that’s why I...
4 lunch box must-haves…make sure your child isn’t missing out

4 lunch box must-haves…make sure your child isn’t missing out

Packing a lunch box for our kids is a feat in itself.  Then there’s attempting to pack a balanced & healthy lunch box for kids.  An even bigger  challenge for busy parents.  Heck, I’m a Nutritionist and sometimes I even get stumped trying to avoid duplication. If you find yourself resorting to sandwiches and the same ol’ lunches, this post is for you. If you wonder whether your little one is getting a balanced meal, this is definitely for you! I know mornings are hectic.  I might even go so far to say they are “hellish” some days.   So let’s take some of the pain out of packing lunches for your little one right now.  What I’m about to share can actually be used for planning ALL meals.  Not just lunch! Why a balanced lunch box for kids? It fuels children with sustained energy.  No blood sugar high and lows (and fewer tantrums). It feeds their brain so they can focus, learn, and communicate much better. It reduces their chances of common childhood nutrient deficiencies (omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, B12, etc). This next section provides a high-level overview of the 4 things I include in every one of my meal plans for kids (my own or others).  I break this down further in this complimentary download.  It includes an awesome (parent-approved) Mix & Match Lunch Box cheatsheet with over 60 lunch ideas across the 4 categories I’m about to reveal. As a mom who can’t seem to make it through a “to do” list, I know I don’t want to dedicate hours to packing lunch boxes.  This is the cheatsheet I use to maintain variety while still maintaining my sanity! 4...
5 veggies kids want to eat!

5 veggies kids want to eat!

Veggies get a bad wrap.  Most of our kids (especially our picky eaters) will eww and ick at the sight of green stuff.   We can change that by changing the types of veggies we offer. While our kids may not get giddy over brussel sprouts today, or fight for the last fiddlehead tomorrow, there are veggies you can offer with some success.  In other words, there are some fabulous vegetables most kids will want to eat! These are five of the first veggies my daughter Sienna (and my formerly extremely picky eater) added to her list of favourites pretty quickly. Frozen peas In the eyes of a child, frozen peas are a heck of a lot more fun than their cooked counterpart.  Frozen peas offer a crunchy texture making it easier to eat.  However the skin on a cooked pea requires a little more work from an oral motor perspective.   Plus, frozen foods of any kind often work quite well with children who have sensory challenges.  So I often recommend giving these little ones some ice cubes or a popsicle to nosh on before a meal (to “wake up” their mouth). So…ask your little guy if they want their peas cooked or frozen tonight.  And if they don’t want to try them, no problem!   Use them for play and practice their counting skills instead (i.e. what happens when there are 5 peas and mommy eats 2 of them?). Snap peas I’m cheating a little by including peas twice on this list, but I’d be remiss not to mention this gem of a veggie.  When we add a bit of entertainment to eating, kids...