Top 5 Tips to Help Your Picky Eater

This is a guest post written by Anna Lutz, MPH, RD, LDN, CEDRD.

“How can I help my picky eater?” This is the number 1 question that I hear from parents. It can feel like everywhere we look people are telling us how our children should eat. There’s not one way to feed a child. As parents, we can provide children with experiences and structure to help them learn and grow in their eating. However, we can’t make our children be adventurous eaters.

We are all different and, therefore, eat differently.

Tips to help picky eater

Some children may approach new situations and food with excitement and curiosity. Other children, may be a bit more cautious and new situations, including food, may be a bit more challenging. Just like anything in parenting, it’s important to support our children for who they are. As parents, it’s important set up a structure for our children so that they can progress in their eating over time, just like we’d help a child learn to go to bed on their own or take responsibility for their homework. If we’re too permissive, children don’t learn how to do things on their own and if we are too forceful or authoritarian, children may not learn sustainable skills outside of being forced. There are things we can do, as parents and caregivers, to help our children grow up to eat a variety of foods.

5 Tips to Help Your Picky Eater:

1. Eliminate pressure: Research shows that pressure doesn't help children accept new foods. It may “work” at a particular meal, but it doesn’t help them readily accept food over time. What is pressure? Pressure can be telling a child they have to eat a certain amount, cheering for a child when they eat certain foods, or telling a child they have to eat an item in order to eat another food item. Pressure for one child may not feel like pressure to another. Being neutral about food choices is the best bet to support a child in making progress.

2. Have “food amnesia:” One of the biggest changes I encourage parents to make is to keep offering foods to their child, even and especially, if you know they won’t eat it. Have “amnesia” about what they ate or didn’t eat the last time you served the particular foods. So often, concern about a child not eating enough food or a particular type of food, can lead to catering to these preferences. For example, if a child eats broccoli, but not carrots, a parent may not make carrots and only offer broccoli so the child “gets in her vegetables.” The problem with this is that the child will never learn to eat carrots if she isn’t offered them. You may need to offer the carrots for years before your child eats them, but she will never eat them if they aren’t offered.

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3. Offer an easily accepted food at meals: I encourage parents to decide what is offered at meals and snacks and to not cater to only the preferences of the child. However, for many children, seeing one food on the table that they already accept, can decrease anxiety and worry at that meal. If you include a readily accepted food item at a meal, a child will know they can “make do” with the food there. This can help a more sensitive child to know they can try the more challenging foods if they want to, but there’s not the pressure that they must eat the challenging food or, if they don’t, they will not eat anything.

4. Serve meals family style: Serving meals family style is a great way for a child to have autonomy. They can decide if and how much they put on their own plate. This is a great way to reduce pressure at the dinner table. This can feel like a lot of work, but I encourage parents to put pots and pans right on the table if that makes it more doable. Parents can serve from the pot at the table and ask each family member if they want some of the food item on their plate and how much.

5. Get kids cooking: Exposing kids to foods in different ways helps children try new foods. When we get kids in the kitchen they are exposed to food in different forms and are more likely to try the food when they sit down to eat. Kids can help measure or mix ingredients. An older child can chop or cook foods on the stove top. Check out this post by Elizabeth Davenport about kids cooking at Sunny Side Up Nutrition.

My hope is these tips will be support for you! Establishing structure that is not too permissive or too authoritarian can help children expand their eating skills. Try not to win the battle at a particular meal, but rather think about supporting your child to learn to eat and expand his variety over several years.

Anna Lutz, MPH, RD, LDN, CEDRD

Anna Lutz is a mom of 3 and a Registered Dietitian with Lutz, Alexander & Assoc. Nutrition Therapy in Raleigh, NC. She specializes in eating disorders and pediatric/family nutrition. Anna received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Duke University and Master of Public Health in Nutrition from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian (CEDRD). Anna is a national speaker and delivers workshops and presentations on eating disorders and childhood feeding. She is passionate about helping parents avoid the food battle and raise kids to feel good about food and their bodies. She writes about simple cooking, nutrition and family feeding at Sunny Side Up Nutrition.

FB: @lutzandalexander and @sunnysideupnutritionists

IG: @annalutzrd and @sunnysideupnutritionists

Twitter: @AnnaLutzRD and @sunnysideupnutr




The Benefits of Adding Frozen Foods to Your Meal and Snack Line Up

This is a guest post written by Elizabeth Davenport, MPH, RDN, LD.

March is Frozen Food Month AND National Nutrition Month. So, it’s a fitting time for a Registered Dietitian to write a guest post about frozen foods! Often frozen foods get a bad rap. Many of the nutrition messages we see these days are either inaccurate or fear based. They leave us feeling like we’re not doing enough and not feeding ourselves and our families in the best way possible.

Nutrition is not black and white and there are many ways to eat and feed our families well. I use frozen foods on a regular basis in my own cooking. It’s absolutely OK, and beneficial, to use frozen foods and other convenience foods when feeding your family. Actually, there are quite a few benefits to incorporating frozen foods into your meal and snack line up.

Nutritious

One of the benefits of using frozen fruits and vegetables is that they’re typically picked at peak ripeness and processed (frozen) right there on the farm where they’re grown. Fresh fruits and vegetables have to be picked a little earlier for shipping and begin to slowly lose nutrients. This is a natural process and doesn’t mean that fresh isn’t a good option. However, freezing fresh fruits and veggies essentially locks in the nutrients by stopping the oxidation.

Many frozen foods, especially fruits and vegetables, have only one ingredient, the produce itself.

There are also brands like Mom Made Foods that have products with impressively short lists of ingredients. This is the ingredient list for Mom Made Foods Turkey Meatball Bites!

And look at this impressive list for their Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs!

Convenient and Affordable

Frozen foods offer a great deal of convenience. I keep a variety of frozen foods on hand to put together “go-to” meals. We’re all so pressed for time it seems. It’s nice to know you have meals in your freezer that you can truly cook in 20 minutes or less. Making a dinner out of frozen foods is a nice alternative to cooking from scratch or eating out.

And of course, with frozen produce, you don’t need to worry about using it right away and you can get out of season produce. It’s helpful to be able to pull out just the amount you need and leave the rest in the freezer to cook another time, especially when children are young and eating smaller portions.

Frozen fruits and veggies are also a big time saver because they’re already washed, peeled, and cut. Prepared foods can also be a big time saver. Rather than making meatballs, you can buy them frozen and made with similar ingredients. And frozen foods are often more affordable than fresh and certainly more affordable than take-out.

Family Favorites

I use frozen foods in many different ways throughout my week. Here are some of my family favorites:

Frozen fruits are great in smoothies (here’s recipe for an easy fruit and yogurt smoothie) and in items like muffins, quick breads and baked oatmeal.

Frozen vegetables: I keep spinach stocked for spinach lasagna, spinach quesadillas and spinach enchiladas. I also keep frozen peas and green beans to use as a veggie side on busy nights or to use in weeknight fried rice or soups like this one.

Other frozen foods that are prepared foods are beneficial to keep on hand for easy meals and snacks. You’ll always find frozen meatballs in my freezer. Spaghetti and Meatballs is a favorite “go-to” meal that both of us at Sunny Side Up Nutrition have on our regular meal lists. I keep a few boxes of Mom Made Meatballs in the freezer to make spaghetti and meatballs when I need an easy dinner. And my family loves Mom Made Meatballs in meatball subs!

Mom Made Foods has some quick, healthy recipes on their blog like this one for Meatball and Orzo Soup.

Items like frozen waffles are great for a meal or snack along with some fruit and a glass of milk. Some of my family’s other favorite frozen foods are frozen croissants, mini pizzas, hash browns, breakfast sausages, veggie spring rolls, sweet potato fries, chicken tenders, rice, dinner rolls and lasagna.

What are some of your favorite frozen foods to keep on hand?

Elizabeth Davenport, MPH, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian. She co-writes the blog Sunny Side Up Nutrition and she’s in private practice in Washington, DC at Pinney Davenport Nutrition. We believe food doesn’t have to be complicated and that feeding your family doesn’t have to leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Visit us at Sunny Side Up Nutrition for tips for raising intuitive eaters and feeding your family.






5 Reasons Mom Made Foods Is Found in the Freezer Aisle

Happy #NationalFrozenFoodDay! Did you know there was such a thing? Here at Mom Made, we think the process of freezing is pretty cool. No pun intended. Freezing is our preservative.

We’re celebrating with a buy one get one free sale on all 4-packs of Meals and Meatballs bought online. (details below)

Here are the top 5 reasons why Mom Made is frozen:

1. Frozen food is convenient, fast and still provides nutritious value.

2.  Frozen food helps to eliminate food waste. Occasionally leftovers just end up in the trash. Did you know that 2/3 of the population ditch up to 20 food items a month?

3.  Frozen food manufacturers, like Mom Made Foods, flash freeze food within minutes of making them to keep the nutritional value, as well as lock in texture and taste. 

4.  Freezing food is a natural process and the use of any preservatives is NOT required. Instead, it seals in freshness, locks the vitamins and minerals.

5. Thanks to freezing, Mom Made Foods is available year around, allowing busy families the option to help their home freezers stocked with easy, healthy meal options for those really busy days. 

Celebrate frozen foods by stocking up on your favorite Mom Made in our buy one get one free sale on all 4-packs of Meals and Meatballs bought online. Use promo code FROZENBOGO at checkout. Offer valid thru 11:59pm 3/10/19.


Mom Made Foods makes healthy frozen meals for kids. Freezing is our preservative.

Meatball Tacos or Mini Taco Appetizers

Taco Night Made Easy by Mom Made

Kiddos and adults, all love tacos, right? BUT tacos can be messy. Well, we've got your solution.  Make some tacos or taco bites with our tasty and healthy meatballs and you're well on your way to a kid-friendly meal with half the work!

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time: 3 Minutes

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Yields: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

8 Taco Shells or 1 Bag of Scoop Chips

1 Box Beef & Cheese Mom Made Meatballs

1 cup Lettuce, shredded

1 Jar Salsa

1 C Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Cilantro, additional veggies, guacamole or sour cream optional.

Instructions:

Heat Mom Made Beef & Cheese Meatball Bites according to directions on box. Place lettuce and salsa in taco shells or scoops. Position meatballs on top of lettuce and salsa. Top off with cheddar cheese. 

Hungry for more Mom Made?  Find it in a freezer aisle near you.

Valentine's Day Dinner

Valentine’s Day dinner

Food is LOVE.

Are your kids digging up stickers, colored paper and the markers to make Valentine cards before the class parties tomorrow? Are you planning a special family dinner?

As for a love-filled dinner, how about a forkless dinner? The kids will think they’ve gone to heaven.

Head over to your favorite craft or party store for some heart toothpicks, ie Michaels or Party City. Or, make some yourself with construction paper, toothpicks and glue. Then pull your favorite Mom Made Meatballs from the freezer. Prep the meatballs in no more than five minutes. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces, cheese cubes, as well as bite-size fresh veggies and fruit.

If you really want to make it special, go around the table saying one thing you love about each person at the table.

Presto! Your family will know they are loved!

If you’re needing more ideas, here are a few of our favorite easy Valentine's ideas on Pinterest, ranging from homemade crafts and healthy foods to family activities.

Happy Valentine’s Day!