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Picky Eaters

2 Jan

pickyeaters

I have a 14-month old that is very picky about her foods sometimes.  As I was talking to my friend who used to teach nutrition, she mentioned something very interesting to me.  She said that many times parents will assume that a child doesn’t like a particular food because he or she refuses to eat it.  Most of us know a parent that has used the phrase, “Oh, she doesn’t like vegetables,” or “sorry, my darling kid does not eat lettuce, tomato, cucumber, apples, or anything red.”  My friend then explained that:

Babies and toddlers can take up to 15-20 tries before developing a taste for particular foods.  Too often parents give up after a few tries and then assume for the rest of that child’s life that it is something they don’t like.  The child assumes it to be truth, and makes a connection in the brain that they do not like that food.  That’s why it is important to give your kids a variety of foods when they are young and keep offering them again and again.  I know first hand that it can be very frustrating to offer your child something repeatedly only to feel like you are wasting the food when they refuse to eat it, but I have noticed as I have done it with my own little girl that it works.  I find myself shocked to see her eat an entire serving of something she gagged on just days or weeks prior.

Texture Matters.  My husband and I like to play games to try to get our daughter to eat certain things.  One night I tried repeatedly to feed her some of the soup we were eating for dinner and she gagged it up, spit it out, and refused to let the spoon come near her.  I then decided to experiment:  I dumped her food into the blender and 2 minutes later she was practically inhaling the soup as if it was her favorite meal.  I also used to think my daughter hated bananas which made me very sad; however, I was surprised to find her chewing on a whole banana while visiting my mom’s one day.  I discovered that it must be the texture of mashed up bananas that she does not like right now.  If I just take the peel off and offer it to her whole she will usually eat it.

One Bite.  Some may think it’s cruel, but I force the first bite.  I do this because more often than not my child will absolutely refuse to eat something, but once I force the first bite she will realize that it tastes different that she anticipated and she will finish the entire serving.  If I gave up at her initial refusal she would only eat two food categories: bread and anything sweet.

The “List”.  Anyone from a big family notice that the “second half” of the siblings get raised a little bit different that the first?  As a college student visiting home, I was surprised to hear one of my younger siblings say the following phrase at the dinner table: “I don’t have to eat broccoli, it’s on my list.”  apparently my mom had gotten sick of the “fight” in making the kids eat their vegetables that she let them make a list (I believe it was a list of 3) of the top fruits and/or vegetables that they absolutely hated eating.  If that item appeared on the dinner table they were excused from having to eat it, but if it was something not on their list, they had to eat a serving of it.  If only that rule had existed when I was young…I remember many long nights of sitting at the dinner table (gagging repeatedly) hours after everyone else was excused because I refused to eat my broccoli (funny thing is that is now one of my favorite vegetables!).

Offer Choices.  Sometimes picky eating can be a result of your child trying to exercise his/her independence.  In this kind of situation you could try to offer choices as much as possible.  Before fixing dinner, think of 2 different vegetables that could go with the particular meal before settling on one.  Then allow your child to choose his fate:  “Would you like corn or peas with dinner tonight?”  This approach may require some planning, but if avoids a fight and gets some nutrition in your child is it worth it?

Limit Snacking.  My pediatrician even suggested eliminating snack altogether.  He suggested that kids that walk around with sippy cups and fruit snacks turn into teenagers that walk around with potato chips and big gulps.  I personally don’t mind offering my toddler a snack here and there, but when we are going through periods of picky eating, I eliminate them and she is a much better eater.  If you make sure they are hungry when dinner is served, they will be more willing to try what’s on the menu.

If your child is still a baby/toddler:  My daughter refused solids until she was about 8 months old and even then she would only eat the fruits.  I eventually got her to eat vegetables by mixing small portions of the vegetables in with her fruits.  Gradually the ratio of vegetable to fruit became larger and larger until she was eating vegetables by themselves.  Again, I believe this goes back to the principle of many tries before a child develops a taste for certain types of foods.  If they are used to full-time breast-feeding they are probably used to a more sweeter taste.

I post this not to say that my child is perfect little eater–she is still learning to like a variety of foods and still has quite a way to go.  I post to share what I have learned so far and also hope to get suggestions from other mommies out there!  Please!  If you know of something that works that isn’t already listed, please share!

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Meal Planning and Groceries: From Nightmare to Magic!

9 Oct

Okay, so remember my posts on meal planning and time management? Combine both of those posts with this one and you just might begin to enjoy the whole process of  putting a meal on table!  I might have just discovered my most favorite website ever!  And as with most things, I am probably the last person to find out about it…but if you are like me and had no clue it existed, your life is about to change forever.  This will help stay-at-home moms, working moms, single moms, dads and students alike!

What is my biggest problem with meal planning besides my complete loathing for it?  Probably the nightmare that goes right along with it:  Grocery Shopping.  I really don’t hate a lot of things, but grocery shopping has always been one of my least favorite things in life.  I usually wander aimlessly around the store throwing things in my cart, and I always come home and realize I forgot something (Most people would suggest a shopping list…for some reason those never work for me).

Anyway, on to the exciting stuff!  Thanks to my sister I discovered a site AND app called pepperplate.  It rocks my world.  I might even say I’m excited to plan next month’s meals (this is huge).

What does it do?

What doesn’t it do!  You can copy and paste recipes from all your favorite blogs right into the website and it saves them all for you.  If it is a pepperplate supported site all you have to do is enter the URL and it imports the recipe for you!  If that wasn’t good enough, it also has a meal planning section.  Just click on the recipe and add it to the calendar!  And if that wasn’t heaven, it also makes your grocery list for you and categorizes it by recipe or grocery isle–whichever you prefer.  The great thing about this site is that if you don’t like having the same meals every month, it is still a very, very easy process to plan your meals every month!  I like to go through my meal ideas on Pinterest, add the recipes I’m interested in trying, fill them into my monthly meal sheet, and then I print my shopping list!

Ka-BAM!  Super easy.

Check it out and let me know what you think.  What things do you or what websites do you use to make your meal planning easier?

Doorbell ‘Witch’ing Ditching

13 Sep

I have always loved this time of year because I know once October gets here we have SUPER fun holidays to look forward to every month!  I have just been itching to pull out my holiday spirit as the fall weather has started to come in (maybe a little early) and so I whipped up this Halloween flyer to take to the neighbors this year.  We’ve gotten a ghost in past years, but I wanted to mix things up a little bit and I came up with was WITCHING DITCHING!  Come one, just admit it…it’s catchy?

So here’s the deal.  If you like fun things too, print this out and participate!  If you are just not really in for fun (what?!), chances are your kids are so print it out anyway!  Make a treat and ditch the witch! This is the poem that goes along with it:

Along with the following instructions:

1.  Enjoy the treats that were left for you

2.  Print out or copy 2 copies of the witch

3.  Send her on her way to 2 new homes, before she leaves you with a curse!

Click HERE to view full size and print.  If you’d prefer a black and white version, go here.

I’ve also been pinning some super cute and fun Halloween treats that would be fun to drop off for this activity, and there are a lot of them that require absolutely no baking, so feel free to check out my board for some ideas!

What are some fun Halloween traditions that you do in your family?  Now that I’m a parent I want to start some new ones.  What are some that you have heard of that you would like to try?

Meal Planning Made Easy

28 Aug

Does this sound familiar?

It’s 5:00 and you open the door to the fridge, “darn it, I’m such a goober.  I have no idea what to have for dinner tonight.”  The fridge isn’t completely empty but at this time of day your brain seems completely incapable of deciding which items from your fridge and which items from your cupboards could be good enough friends to make a good meal for the evening.  So you stand there and stare.  Wishing one of 3 things:  That dinner would magically make itself, that you had your own personal chef, or that the Mr. would come walking in the door with dinner in his hands.

Well in the unlikely event that one of those wishes come true for you…go have a party for yourself.  For the rest of us, it’s time for things to change.  Set aside one hour each month for planning a master menu! True, it will be a painful hour (at least it is for me).  But once it’s done you will love yourself (and so will the Mr. and/or the kiddos) for the rest of the month.

Plan out 30 meals that your family loves (give or take a few depending on your lifestyle and preferences) and write down the recipes for all of them on index cards.  Organize them into an index card box and you now have the recipe ready to grab each day.  This also makes grocery shopping much easier; just transfer the ingredients for that week from your index cards and run to the store on a very full stomach (we all know what happens when we go grocery shopping hungry).  If you follow this method you will have only had the same meal 12 times in a year.  If that is too dull for you and you want a gold star for over-achieving, go ahead and make two master menus and switch off every month.

Here is what my master menu looks like:

Click Here for a Larger View

And here is what it looks like filled out:

 

Click here for Larger View

I like to print my sheet and laminate it so that I can just fill it out each week with a dry erase marker

How do you do your meal planning?  What is effective for you?

Raspberry Brownie Tarts

30 Jul

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This post isn’t too “motherly” except for the fact that a lot of us moms have an addiction in common.  Here’s to chocolate!  My brother got married this weekend and I made these for the wedding dinner.  I don’t think I will ever stop loving them (kid’s love them too)! They are just the perfect amount of chocolatey goodness, with just a slight hint of raspberry awesomeness (although you can use any fruit you desire).  I got the recipe for them once from a neighbor, but they turned out not as soft as I would like, so I switched up the recipe to my own liking.  If you are a fan of homemade Oreos, chances are you will love these too!  I just posted this for fun, but message or comment if you would like the recipe.  I call these brownie tarts or cheesecake bites depending on what I choose to use for the filling.