Tag Archives: picky eaters

tips for picky eaters part 3

25 Oct

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We’re back with our last installment of Melissa d’Arabian’s “Picky Eaters Project.”

We’ve learned a lot along the way! For a quick recap, click here for part 1, and here for part 2.

Here is our summary for you all to enjoy:

Healthier meal makeover:

  • Bridge from kid food to adult food with gradual transitions. Start with the chicken nuggets your kids love, then create a homemade version of them. From there, go onto a  homemade chicken milanese, then onto a baked breaded fish stick.
  • Other examples include: transitioning from white bread to wheat bread, then to whole wheat bread. Same goes for pasta (regular – whole wheat), or juice (regular – to diluted with water).

Menu planning strategies:  

  • Include your kids in the menu planning process, so that you’re involving them in creating a family meal. On your night, use that as an opportunity to introduce new dishes, making sure theres at least one thing that your kids will eat.

Master breakfast and snacks:

  • Swap out the sugary stuff, and develop two or three easy breakfasts that you can rotate like mini muffins, whole grain cereal with milk, fruit, or green smoothies. For snacks try something nutritious like whole grain crackers, apples, almond butter, string cheese, or berries.

Don’t forget the fun:

  • Do something fun and physical with your kids whether it’s bike riding, walking, dancing, or playing. Make  up recipes with your kids. Cooking can then become even more of a family activity mainstay.

Take stock of where you are:

  • Review the binder that you created at the beginning of the project, and see how far you have come. Celebrate your small victories, “its about progress, not perfection.”

We hope that Melissa’s tips will continue to inspire your family meals for some time to come!

Photo courtesy of blog.landofnod.com

tips for picky eaters part 2

18 Oct

Melissa-dArabian-and-her-daughters-on-Ten-Dollar-Dinners-784x1024Welcome to our second edition of tips for picky eaters, thanks to Melissa d’Arabian’s “Picky Eaters Project.”

We hope that her advice has been helpful to our readers who have children, grandchildren, or are caretakers of children, educators, or anyone who is interested in childhood nutrition.

Here is our quick summary for this week:

Create food awareness: 

  • Foster a basic understanding of nutrition, where food comes from, and how it affects your body. Go shopping at a farmers market, or go visit a farm. Have your children chose produce, and bring it home to cook with. Review the importance of nutrients with them, and make it easy for them to remember: vitamins (make us grow), proteins (build muscle), fiber (scrubs your insides), carbohydrates (give you energy).

Food presentation: 

  • Have your children present the meal to the table, reviewing what each food item is and how it benefits your body.

Play the sugar game: 

  • Melissa’s children love sweets, so she wanted to educate them on the amount of sugar present in their favorite treats. She accomplished this by measuring out the teaspoons of sugar in those desserts, providing them with a memorable visual of the sugar content of these foods (1 tsp of sugar = 4 grams of sugar). You can do this with fat or salt, depending on what your family eats too much of, or has a sweet spot for that is not necessarily healthy.

Swap in healthier options: 

  • For dessert, try swapping out full sized brownies for one bite brownies, then serve more open quantity dishes like yogurt, and chopped fruit. That way they will get their brownie fix, while filling up on more satisfying and healthier options.

Other tips: 

  • For vegetables, instead of serving just one veggie per night, serve two and offer them a choice.  This will give them a voice at the dinner table.
  • Work on their crutch foods, like Melissa’s daughters’ passion for shredded cheese. She serves it to them in pre-portioned ramekins to control portions, and she won’t serve it two days in a row.
  • Get your kids involved in the cooking process. Have them pick a recipe or two of vegetables, and have them take the lead and make it for dinner.

We have one more post in store, so stay tuned!

Photo courtesy of askmissa.com

tips for picky eaters part 1

11 Oct

FN_Picky-Eaters-Promo-Video_s4x3_al (1)Great news for parents who have picky eaters!

Melissa d’Arabian from the Food Network has put together the “Picky Eaters Project” filled with fun videos and tips that might be helpful for you.

Don’t have time to watch the videos? Don’t worry!

We will be featuring a few blog posts filled with Melissa’s best tips.

Here is our quick summary for this week:

  • Setting the stage for victory:
  1. Try to get your family to agree to try new and different foods.
  2. Organize your  pantry so that easy to reach foods are healthy choices.
  3. Measure your success by creating a binder that lists all of the foods your children eat, adding to the list as you go.
  • Redesign dinner time:
  1. Build a constructive routine and create a positive environment. Strive to sit down at the table for meals, and create a clear start and stop for dinner.
  2. Get your hands on a dinner bell that your kids can ring when dinner is ready.
  3. Set the dinner table earlier in the day to ensure that dinner starts on time.
  4. Make dinner fun: share stories, and enjoy yourselves together.
  5. Create a “daily victory file” in your binder, writing down two things that went well, and one opportunity for improvement.
  • Expanding palates:
  1. Encourage your children to take food risks by making slight variations on foods they already love, for example: if your kids love a particular brand of chicken nuggets, try serving a different brand. Or if they like blueberry muffins, try serving them cranberry muffins. If they like chocolate ice cream, serve them marble swirl ice cream instead.
  2. Reward them for having an adventurous palate with foods you know they are going to like.
  3. Encourage them to have an opinion on the food by making taste test books, where they can write down their review of the food, on a scale from 1-10 and leave a comment.
  4. Set the precedent that everyone in the family eats the same meal. It might help if you make one of your kids favorite meals like quesadillas, but cut them up into little pieces, and serve it as a side dish rather than a main, and make something that everyone will enjoy (more grown up food) for the main.

More to come, so stay tuned!

Photo courtesy of foodnetwork.com

colorful tailor-made tacos

27 Mar

photo-22It’s taco night!

What a fun way to include your children in the cooking process – have them come up with some of their favorite toppings, and include them in the cooking process. They can tailor their tacos as they please, and will likely get a little experimental with some fun ingredients!

Start with some shell’s either hard or soft, depending on your liking, cook up some lean ground turkey meat with some spices, bake, then top off with your favorite toppings, and you’re in for an amazing meal!

Here’s how:

Serves 2

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • .5 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp of your preferred spices: cajun rub or a mixture of cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper
  • 4 taco shells, or soft tacos
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • optional: shredded cheese of your liking, garnish of cilantro, lime wedges

Directions:

1. Prep your ingredients. Preheat oven to 350F. Mince garlic, cube avocado, dice onion, shred cheese, pluck cilantro, cut lime wedges. Arrange taco shells on baking sheet.

2. Cook and season turkey. Add olive oil to your pan, sautee the garlic then add in your turkey. Sprinkle in your cajun rub or spice mix. Mix turkey meat in pan, and cook for 10-12 minutes.

3. Assemble your tacos. Distribute taco meat into taco shells. If you’re using cheese, add in as well. Place in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until tacos have warmed up, and cheese has melted.

4. Finish. Remove tacos from oven, add toppings, garnish with cilantro and a splash of lime, then dig in!

Buon aprovecho!

suggestions for picky eaters

4 Feb

Picky EatersFeeling defeated in trying to get your children to eat healthy?

Perhaps it’s the texture, color or consistency of a food that discourages them from eating it, or simply an aversion to specific foods?

Your children are not alone, picky eating is a very common phase for growing children. In fact, research has shown that the average child needs to be repeatedly exposed to new foods before forming an honest opinion on it.

When introducing your child to a new or healthy food, have patience. It may take more than a few times of trying the newly introduced food before your child accepts it. A great way to help children ease into the introduction is by working new food into your typical family meals. Some favorites of ours include:

Cannellini puree: Makes for a great addition to various kid-friendly foods such as mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, tomato sauce, or to thicken up soups. It will add in some extra protein and fiber into your everyday meals.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • herbs and spices of choice

Directions:

Blend until smooth.

Carrot puree: Add this puree to your favorite tomato sauce, mac and cheese, muffin or pancake recipe. A wonderful way to add more vitamin A and folate to your meals.

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrot stalks, peeled and diced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

Put sweet potatoes and carrots into a pot, add enough cold water to cover. Boil for 30 minutes or until soft. Drain, then add into your food processor with 2 tablespoons of water. Blend until smooth.

What strategies have you come up with to add nutrients into the diets of your picky eaters?

Photo courtesy of CarbonNYC

Recipes adapted from Parenting.com