Sunday, July 30, 2017

Parenting Hacks: Tips for Picky Eaters

Meal time with young kids can often be stressful and full battles, as picky eaters and well-meaning parents come head to head. But it doesn't have to be this way, there are a number of tricks and hacks you can do to help your children be more willing to not only eat more food, but healthy food at that! Read more below to learn my go-to tricks that I use with my own girls and the students in my preschool classroom to turn them from picky eaters to healthy eaters...

Here are some of my top tips for dealing with picky eaters.

A list of the tips:
  1. Try smoothies. Smoothies are great at hiding a lot of things in, such as spinach, hemp seeds, chia seeds, protein powder, and even green powder. And if you pair it with some frozen bananas it can even take on an ice cream-like texture. If you're kids get a little squeamish with the green color, try adding blueberries to make it more purple and disguise the greenness.  
    • Another option to hide the color even more is to use a cup with a colored straw so they can't see the color of it
    • And another option to tempt them to eat it is to add some fun toppings like vegan marshmallows, dye-free sprinkles, and even some chocolate chips...cereal is fun too! 
  2. Try other sneaky foods that pair a healthy or commonly not-liked food with something kids do like: like "Sneaky spaghetti sauce" "spinach pancakes" "red lentil pasta" "cookie dough dip" made from beans, popsicles you make from home with smoothies, veggie-filled "meat balls",  chocolate pudding made from avocados,  or banana ice cream.
  3. Only disclaimer with that is that they don't get used to the actual texture and look of Offer fruits and veggies in a variety of formats and flavors. So where as your kids may not like cauliflower raw, they more be likely to take to it if it's roasted and with a yummy dipping sauce, or instead of cooked carrots, they may just like raw baby carrots. 
  4. Leave some of your meal "plain." As you can imagine recipes with lots of flavors and spices, may be enjoyable to adults, but kids may not find them appetizing at all, and once you lose them on the flavor the chances of them eating any dinner is pretty much out the window, so I like to leave some of my main dish "plain". 
    • You can do this by scooping a portion of the meal out before you add the main spices, sauce, or other stronger flavoring options. And then present your child with the option to eat the flavored version of the meal or the plain one. Either way, they are still eating dinner, just in a way that might appeal more to their younger tastebuds. 
  5. Use sectioned plates to teach kids what a balanced meal looks like. I love these stainless steel trays that I got off amazon with 3 sections, one for the main dish, and two sides. We typically fill the larger of the two sides with a fruit, and the smaller with a veggie. This also helps me make sure the meals I feed my kids are balanced too! Then over time they come to expect that each dinner or lunch, I know I'm going to have some fruit and some veggies, that's just how it goes.
    • If they don't like the fruit or veggie offered, I open it up to them to feel free to swap it for  another fruit or veggie they would like to have that they can get on their own from the fridge. Either way they are eating some fruit and veggie each meal so I take it.
  6. Fancy up your food presentation, the better it looks the more likely they are to eat it. 
    • New silverware, accessories, silicone cupcake wrappers, little forks, etc. 
  7. Have them help out with the cooking and serving. Although it may not always be convenient for adults, kids usually love helping with cooking. This allows them to help make choices for the meal (these noodles or those), feel a sense of pride and ownership in the meal, and gives them a chance to bond with you. 
    • Increase their willingness to try more foods by allowing them to serve themselves, if they are old enough. This will build fine motor skills, and increase their sense of ownership over their plate
  8. Enforce a "1 bite rule" that kids have to try at least 1 bite of each item at dinner. 
    • You could try showing them the Daniel Tiger song, "You gotta try new foods cause it might taste good!"
    • Model for them how you try new foods or taste foods that aren't your favorite by also following the 1 bite rule.
  9. Make friends with condiments. still not interested, give them the option to try dipping or topping it with. "What do you think might make this taste better?
    • Ketchup, ranch, bbq sauce, parmesan, hummus, peanut butter? They may pick something random and gross, but let them make the choice because as long as they eat it...who cares?!
  10. Last, provide least desirable foods when you know they will be hungry (like after school). I love whipping up some roasted veggies, or a small fruit tray or even a veggie tray for kids that I have available right when they get home from school or right after their nap on the weekends. This hits them at their hungry time and I find they are way more likely to try the veggies or fruit! Give it a try. 
  11. Still having difficulties, check with your pediatrician to make sure they are growing appropriately and seek help from your the school district you live in. Specifically parent educators (through a Parents as Teachers program) as well as occupational therapists often have a wealth of information on how to help children with oral sensory issues. 
So those are a few of my favorite sneaky tips and hacks to help with picky eaters. What are your favorite picky eater tips? Share below!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

How the 5 Second Rule Changed My Life

You guys know I love a good motivational book, and I have an awesome one to share with you today... The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins! Since learning about it, I’ve applied “the five second rule” to help me get motivated to tackle my big goals, make better food choices, to connect more with my kids, and have courage to say what needs to be said. How can it help you? Let’s find out in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...go!

The concept behind the book is that anytime you feel an instinct to act or you feel like you should take action towards a goal, you countdown: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then you physically start to move or go or whatever will bring you closer to completing that task. The science behind it is that it takes about 5 seconds for your brain to start talking you out of the idea/action/instinct you have so in order to help keep you safe (it's main job). But when you focus on the counting down you distract your brain and instead focus in on the action and that's when you can make some pretty profound changes in your life.

(Image source)

Personally I really loved the idea that no matter where we are at in our life, there's always going to be things we don't feel like doing. I mean who really feels like climbing out of their cozy bed at 4:45 each morning to go workout? I know I don't on most mornings, but I do it (thanks to a little help now from the 5 second rule) so that I can accomplish the health goals I've set for myself. The same can apply to all those little things that pop up throughout the day that we have no desire to do but know that we should do like putting away the laundry, setting our phone down to go play with our kids, and making a healthier food choice even though we feel like we deserve a treat after our long day.

In today's video I'm going to share more about how I have used the 5 Second Rule to change my life and how you can do it too.

Share below, if you're new to the concept, how do you think you could implement the 5 Second Rule? Or if you've already read the book, in what ways have you used the rule to make changes in your life? Happy counting greenies.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vegan What I Ate Today: July 2017

From smoothies to corn on the cob, and all the IKEA veggie balls in between. Check out the food I ate today on fun family weekend day in July!

Here's a preview of the day...

Heading to Trader Joe's to do some grocery shopping!

The girl's lunch: vegan grilled cheese (baked in the oven because I was feeling
lazy-lol), Vegan Rob's Brussel Sprout Puffs, baby carrots, Hampton Creek's
Just Ranch, and organic strawberries. 

Dessert after dinner: Almond Dream vanilla ice cream, strawberries,
and Ah!Laska non-dairy chocolate syrup...yum!

Ikea Veggie Balls with what turned out to be a
 not gluten-free or dairy-free meal ) : see below.

Check out the full day of food here...

And if you got a little hungry, here's the Vegan Cheesy Casserole recipe I had for dinner!


IKEA food update: Apparently what I ordered at IKEA was officially called: "Veggie Balls w/Thai Coconut Curry, Brown Rice Blend and Seasoned Bean Blend (8 pc)" and now I know thanks to checking their menu online after I got home, that it contained milk and wheat. Bleh. No fun. ) : Next time I will just order the veggie balls plain...and check the menu ahead of time before I go. Don't you hate it when the menu changes!

Thank you for all your support

Monday, July 3, 2017

My Green Baby Must-Haves

Hey greenies, so don't let this title mislead you, I'm not pregnant. I have no announcement to make. I simply was getting asked by a number of pregnant and new moms what "green" baby products I would recommend and I thought it be nice to have all my favorite baby items in one place. 

Now, not all of these products are the greenest, most eco-friendly...some are just my favorites that couldn't imagine living without, so I'm sharing those with you today as well. So let's get started with that list!

From swaddles to baby bottles, here are my favorite "green" baby must-haves...

Don't have time to watch the video? Let me guess, a baby or toddler, or a few has got you busy...I feel your pain! 
Check out a list of the products mentioned in the video here...
  1. Cloth Diapering Service we used:
  2. BumGenius 5.0 Pocket Cloth Diaper - Kiss - One Size - Snap:
  3. bumGenius bumGenius Natural Flannel Baby Wipes - Pack of 12:
  4. Prince Lionheart Ultimate Wipes Warmer:
  5. BabyBliss Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads:  http_//
  6. Hygeia Enjoye Pump:
  7. PumpEase PumpEase Organic hands-free pumping bra:
  8. Evenflo Feeding Classic Glass Twist Bottles, 4 Ounce (Pack of 6):
  9. Original Mason Bottle:
  10. Colgate Eco Classica III Dual firmness Eco-Friendlier Crib mattress, Organic Cotton Cover
  11. SafeRest Premium Crib Mattress Encasement - Vinyl, PVC and Phthalate Free:
  12. Conair Sound Therapy Sound Machine:
  13. DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Rail, White:
  14. DaVinci Twin/Full Size Bed Conversion Kit, White:
  15. Arm's Reach Concepts Ideal Ezee 3-in-1 Bedside Bassinet:
  16. aden + anais aden + anais swaddle blanket 4 pack:
  17. Miracle Blanket Swaddle:
  18. Fisher-Price born Rock n Play Sleeper :
  19. Sleepy Wrap Comfortable Cotton Baby Carrier Designed for Newborns:
  20. Boppy Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner - Bare Naked
  21. Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm:
  22. Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter:
  23. Angel Baby Earth Mama, Mama Bottom Balm:
  24. Desert Essence Pure Hand and Body Lotion Unscented:
  25. Dr Bronner’s Baby Mild Castile Liquid Soap
  26. MAM Trends Silicone Orthodontic Pacifier, Girl, 0-6 Months, 2-Count
  27. The Original Tummy Tub Baby Bath - Clear
  28. Babyezz 2-in-1 Shopping Cart & High Chair Cover:

My favorite local consignment shop: Wild Child Upscale Children's Resale in Lee's Summit, MO:

So there you have my final list! Feel free to click around, add to your registry, or share with your friends. Post below what you would recommend as you favorite baby must-haves!  And also let me know if you're interested in me doing another post about my "Favorite Green Toddler Must-Haves". 

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