Tag Archives | vegetables

4 Ways to Deal with a Picky Eater

 

 

As I’ve mentioned many times before on this blog, I have the personal experience of being the mother of a very picky eater.  This would bother most moms, but as a dietitian, it’s made me want to pull my hair out very frequently.

Now that I have another boy who is now 2 years old, I can see that even the kids who are not very “picky” as babies can still get a little funny about their food later on!

Before you pull your hair out, here are 4 ways to deal with a picky eater:

1. Try, try again! And again.

You must realize that sometimes it takes 10 or more times of offering a food before your child will even taste it.  Like many things in life, patience and persistence are crucial to success.   You will get tired of “wasting” food or going to the trouble of preparing it for your child, only to throw it out.  It will be worth it in the end.

2. “Hide” some good nutrition.

Sure, ideally you want your child to reach for a raw carrot with excitement, but until that happens, be sneaky!  Hide pureed carrots in spaghetti sauce or spinach in a smoothie.

3.  Make it fun!

Making food fun does not always have to be complicated, it can be as simple as the way you talk about it.  Only you know what excites your kids!  Here’s an example: My son is very into being “the strongest” and “biggest.”  He hardly ever eats actual meat, which is why I make sure he gets protein in other ways.  When I was browning some ground beef for spaghetti, I said tonight we’re going to have spaghetti with protein bumps in it, and they make you get stronger!  He finished his entire bowl of homemade ABC’s with “protein bumps” in it, and the whole time was watching  his arm muscles!

4. Avoid war at the table.

Maybe  not all kids, but it seems that many will use food to declare war.  It seems they can sense when they are “winning” and stressing you out.  Other times, kids are just very cautious about trying new things.  Either way, getting all worked up into a tizzy about the situation will not help things…and will probably make it worse.

These strategies have worked with my picky eater, and they seem to work with many.  I’ve heard many a frustrated mom say that they just don’t know what to do next.  Like many other aspects of parenting, you cannot control everything about your child but you can set boundaries.

You cannot force your child to like broccoli, but you can make healthy foods available.  You can limit how much fast food, sweets or high calorie beverages they consume!  You set the limits, set a good example, and reap the benefits!

 

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An Easy Way to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

 vitamix

I have talked about my Vita-mix a lot on this blog.  And it’s truly because I use it a lot.

The most important thing the Vita-mix does for our family is helps us make delicious shakes full of plant-based foods!   The Vita-mix allows us to consume way more produce than we would otherwise.  My kids even ingested beets in this beet shake!

I’ve made super-fresh basil pesto, peanut butter and even a pumpkin bread with my Vita-mix.  It is not just a blender!

Here are five surprising things you can do with a vita-mix:

  1. You can make a smoothie with an apple with the peeling, a beet, and other fresh produce.  And it’s a smooth smoothie.  You can even throw whole flaxseeds in there and they will be ground in your smoothie (something you cannot do with a blender).
  2. You can make fresh, hot soup made with broth and whole vegetables.
  3. You can make cold ice cream!
  4. You can make your own nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, etc) without adding any extra oils or ingredients.  Just nuts.
  5. You can make your own breads with the dry mix carafe and even grind your own flour.

It’s just wonderful for helping our family get more fruits and vegetables in our diet.  Especially our kids!

If you’re like most people, it’s just hard to get enough fruits and vegetables in your diet.  The Vita-Mix provides an easy way to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Even raw! 

The Vita-Mix can help you:

  • Lose weight
  • Get more fiber in your diet
  • Prevent disease
  • Eat more raw foods
  • Get way more fruits and vegetables in your diet than you typically do, and it can taste great!

If you’ve ever even entertained the thought of dumping a lost of money in a juicer, consider this fact: you will lose a lot of the fiber and other nutrients by not eating the whole fruit.  With the Vita-mix, you will be able to keep all of that important nutrition!

I know that they are not cheap, but they truly are a wonderful investment in your health.  Below you will find a  link to one similar to the one I use in all of my posts.  (Mine is a few years old so it’s slightly different)

 

 

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Healthy Replacements for Junk Foods

healthy trail mixThis month, I have focused on cutting out some processed foods in my 30 Day Eat Less Processed Foods Challenge.

I didn’t set any “rules” for myself, but just tried to find some healthier alternatives to some of the more processed foods I was eating at times.

For example, I know that in the afternoons I tend to crave something crunchy or sweet, and I found this trail mix (pictured above) in the bulk bin at a local health food store.  It has everything from pumpkin seeds to dried cranberries to dark chocolate chips.

One warning about trail mix is that you are much better off if you pre-portion it, because it is calorie dense!

Here’s some replacement ideas for junk foods…

Instead of potato chips…try pickles (or other pickled vegetables such as pickled okra!)

Instead of peanut butter crackers…try celery with peanut butter.

Instead of packaged chocolate chip cookies…try homemade granola bars.

Instead of a candy bar…try a small piece of dark chocolate.

Instead of nachos….try pita chips and hummus.

Instead of a Slim Jim…try beef jerky.

Instead of ice cream…try greek yogurt with honey.

One way to cut out processed foods at dinner is to keep it simple.  The more you focus your meals around the vegetables, the healthier you will probably be.

If you need some new ideas for simple dinners, check out pesto pasta recipe, sweet potato salad recipe or the cranberry bbq chicken!

What are YOUR favorite healthy replacements for junk foods?  {Leave a comment below!}

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Curry Chicken Recipe

easy curried chicken recipeThis curry chicken recipe is full of vegetables, whole grains and flavor!

As part of my 30 Day Less Processed Food Challenge, I thought I’d try a recipe that contains a lot of whole foods.

Though it is fairly simple, it’s a little more time consuming than most recipes I typically like to make.

{Warning: This recipe is only for people who have a taste for stronger foods!  It is anything but bland.  In the words of my husband, it has some “kick” to it!}

Here’s a little nutrition tidbit about quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”):  it is a grain, technically a seed, that is full of a nutty flavor and nutrients.  Not only does it contain protein, but it is a complete protein (meaning that, like meat, it contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs).  It is also a source of fiber, manganese, folate, magnesium and phosphorous.

If you’ve never tried quinoa, this is a great recipe to try it out in.  It pairs great with foods you might normally pair with brown rice.

Curry Chicken with Sweet Potato, Cauliflower and Quinoa

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tsp salt

1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces

1 onion, chopped

1 cauliflower, cut

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 14-oz can chicken broth

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes

2 cups quinoa

1.  Cut the chicken into small pieces and cook on medium-high heat on the stove with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook 8-10 minutes. (see step 2 while chicken is cooking)

curry chicken recipe2.  Cut the vegetables (onion, sweet potato and cauliflower.)

curry chicken and vegetables3.  After chicken is cooked, remove and set aside.  Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet, along with the onion and sweet potatoes.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes.

curry chicken with sweet potato4.  Add cauliflower, curry, cayenne pepper and remaining salt and cook for about 4-5 minutes.

5.  Add broth and tomatoes.  Cook about 5-7 minutes.

6.  Add chicken to the skillet with vegetables.

7.  Cook quinoa according to package directions.  Serve with the curry chicken and vegetables.

curry chickencurry chicken and quinoaHope you enjoy this curry chicken recipe!

 

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Smoothies Help me Sleep at Night

shake in mason jarYou’re probably thinking that I have trouble sleeping, and I have found the magic formula to aid in sleep, right?

Well, this is sort of  true.

Here’s the truth: I am a Registered Dietitian with a very, very picky eater living in my house.  He is four years old, and has the determination of a 20 year old!  And when he is determined not to eat something, he won’t.

I have been known to try to trick him into eating something new, but usually it doesn’t work. Can you relate?

As a dietitian, this type of problem can really stress me out.  I, of all people, know the importance of getting a well-balanced, healthy diet.

Imagine my shock when my dad started giving my picky eater “green drinks” (full of fruits and vegetables) and he actually drank it.  And sometimes even asked for more!

little buddy drinking shakeI have shown how to make your own peanut butter and make pesto with the Vita-mix, but the shakes we made with the Vita-mix are just as amazing.  My picky eater says “YUCK” about a blueberry but he sure will drink it!

I “hide” all sorts of things in these yummy “milkshakes” (as my picky eater calls them!): flax seeds, Greek yogurt, spinach, carrots, strawberries, blueberries and lots more!

vitamix shake with flaxseedsThe smoothies we make are full of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.

vitamix berry shakeIf I can’t get my little picky eater to eat many fruits and vegetables, at least I can get him to drink them!

It really does help me sleep at night.

{Linking up to Mouth Watering Monday & This Chick Cooks}

 

 

 

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30 Day No Sugar Challenge: Day 12

Hopefully by now you are feeling freed from the addiction of sugar.

I know that there are still moments when you may (as I do) crave chocolate or something else sweet.  And when it’s right there in front of you, you may still wish you could have a taste.

I hope that you find yourself less and less thinking about wanting something sweet, and more about the healthy foods you can eat that have a sweet taste to them.

Daily Recap (how my day went without sugar)

  • It was a busy day, so I did not think about sweets much.
  • The only time I did want something sweet (a milkshake actually) was after I went to the dentist today and my mouth was numb, yet I was so hungry my stomach was growling.  Ice cream would’ve been nice right then!
  • Enjoyed some sweet potatoes for dinner.

Sugar Rehab

Fruits and vegetables have such a delicious natural sweetness to them, and they taste even sweeter when you are eating less sugar.

My favorite “sweet” foods that are healthy:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Red seedless grapes
  • Bananas
  • Fruit shake made with yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, flax seed and banana
  • Fresh pineapple

What healthy foods satisfy YOUR sweet tooth when you are trying to eat no sugar?

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Simple Menu Planning

white chicken chili

Today is Labor Day, and we are going to celebrate with a not-so-typical meal.  But I cannot wait!

Simple menu planning is so key for busy families to be able to eat at home and spend time with each other across the kitchen table!  Eating healthy does not have to be complicated.

How to Simplify Your Meal Plan (without compromising nutrition)

1. Focus on fruits and vegetables.  They are full of fiber, nutrients, and color.  And don’t feel like you always have to buy fresh.  Frozen fruits and veggies are an easy and inexpensive way to get more of these superfoods in your diet!

2. Eat leftovers.  Leftovers are the only way I survive in the kitchen.  Thankfully, my husband likes leftovers and often takes them for lunch the next day.  Some meals are better the next day than others, but oftentimes I will make a big pot of chili and that’s what we’ll eat for lunch throughout the week.

3. Use the crock pot. That wonderful kitchen tool can save you so much time and can allow you to make one pot wonders that include meat and vegetables!

4. Make a nutrient-packed smoothie for breakfast. I actually will sometimes do this for lunch on the days I don’t work, but most people probably prefer it for breakfast.  My Vita-mix allows me to throw in all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and even whole flax seed for a vitamin-packed meal.

My Weekly Meal Plan

Monday:

Lunch: Leftover White chicken Chili

Dinner: Spinach and Strawberry Salad (with grilled chicken)

Tuesday:

Lunch: Turkey Sandwich on Alvarado Street Complete Protein Bread (flourless with sprouted grains) with light mayo and side of grapes

Dinner: Angel hair pasta with pesto, feta and tomatoes (made with homemade pesto)

Wednesday:

Lunch: Leftover angel hair pasta with pesto

Dinner: Balsamic chicken with brussel sprouts and baked potato


Thursday:

Lunch: Turkey sandwich with baby carrots and low fat Ranch dressing

Dinner: Spaghetti (made with homemade spaghetti sauce from the freezer) with salad

Friday:

Lunch: Leftover spaghetti

Dinner: PIZZA NIGHT!  Homemade pesto pizza!!

(Linking up at Menu Plan Monday!)

I’d love for you to share what your favorite simple meals and simple menu planning tips are!  Leave a comment below!

 

 

 

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