Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tips for Picky Eaters You Might Not Have Tried

I’ve partnered with Wonderful Halos to bring you this blog post. Right now, the brand is hosting a “Good Choice Challenge” to encourage consumers to make good snacking choices by choosing Wonderful Halos over other traditional unhealthy snacks in order to lead a healthier lifestyle. With the holidays here, Wonderful Halos definitely make a delicious (and easy) option! As always, thank you for your support! 

We have quite the picky eater on our hands with Quinn. Sure, it’s his age (he’s 3.5 years old), but it has been a serious struggle for our family. As a baby, Quinn used to eat just about everything that we put in front of him. But, just after his first birthday, things went down hill. Meal time is almost always a challenge, and I can’t remember the last time he ate a vegetable (unless it was stealthily added into a smoothie).

As you might remember, Quinn participated in Massachusetts Early Intervention Program starting at 22 months for a full year. During this time, he made GREAT strides with his language and communication skills, but meal time was always still a problem. We met with a Registered Dietitian on a few occasions. She gave us some eating strategies, but they only kind of helped at the time. We attempted to implement them for many months with only minimal success, so, more recently, we’ve started to do our own thing and identify what works for Quinn. He’s still a picky eater, but we’re finally making some progress. Of course, some days are better than others, but I wanted to pass along some of the things that are working for us right now. When you have a picky eater, I feel like you’re open to just about anything to get your little one to eat, so I hope these help!

No toys at meal time – Here’s a perfect example of adjusting to Quinn’s needs. When he was two, I wrote a blog post about how we encourage toddler conversation. In it, I said that making meal time fun was a good way to get Qman to talk, which, at the time, was our goal. Fast-forward a few months, we realized the toys at the table were distracting him from actually eating, so now mealtime is a “no toy zone,” so Quinn can really focus on the task at hand.

Playing with his food – Ok, so there’s no toys at meal time, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun! We often encourage Quinn to play with his food, especially new ones, so he gets familiar with them. The more often he’s exposed to new foods, the more likely he’s to try them. We like to make our food talk and drive or fly it into ours or his mouth, which definitely gets him to eat more at meal time. Wonderful Halos can also be a fun and colorful addition for any part of the day – as a snack, in recipes, and you can even incorporate them in (holiday) crafts with your kids. Related: I really want to buy this construction utensil set for Quinn since food play is working so well for us. Looks fun, right!?

Serving 1-2 foods at a time – This strategy is one from the Registered Dietitian that we met with. She suggested serving Quinn no more than 3-4 foods at time, but we’ve since reduced that number to 1-2. I think maybe having too many options overwhelms him, so he does much better with eating when he only has just a couple of food choices (or no choice). If he finishes all of the food on his plate, we’ll give him something else to eat.

Limit milk – Quinn lovvveesss milk. In fact, he used to go days (not exaggerating) with only drink milk and eating no solid food, so we’ve stopped giving him so much, especially in between meals. Nowadays, he only has milk in the morning and at night with dinner, and we’ll often start him with a small portion to encourage him to eat real food before filling up on milk.

Cooking together – Cooking with Quinn has been huge for getting him to try new foods. He helps me almost every night in the kitchen when I make dinner. I find little tasks for him to do, and he really seems to enjoy it. He doesn’t always eat what we make together (he’s only eaten meat once in his whole life), but sometimes he will and that’s a win for us! Just recently, Quinn tried mashed potatoes and took two bites without spitting them out! 🙂

No snacks after dinner – We really try to stick to this rule. Quinn will often take a few bites of dinner, say he’s “full,” but then ask for a snack 20 minutes later. We caught on to his little game, so now we encourage him to eat while reminding him that there’s no snacks after dinner. It usually gets him to eat a bit more at the dinner table.

Pack only healthy snacks for on-the-go – When we’re out and about running errands, I only pack healthy snacks to bring with us because I know if Quinn is hungry enough, he’ll eat them. Plus, having snacks on-hand prevents us from buying less-than-stellar options. We especially love Wonderful Halo mandarins because they’re sweet, seedless and easy to peel – Mother Nature’s perfect snack. They are 100% California-grown, non-GMO Project Verified, and tree-to-table, which makes them the perfect portable, convenient, and healthy snack for kids and adults on-the-go. (Yes, I sometimes travel with Halos in my purse! Haha!)

Eat treats together – Our family loves “fun” foods just as much as we love the healthy stuff, so we often share our treats among the three of us. That way, Quinn realizes that donuts or Cheetos are foods for special occasions and not a regular part of our diet.

Pick your battles – One of the things that the Registered Dietitian recommended is not making a big deal about food. Even though Quinn’s pickiness is frustrating at times, we do our best to keep a relaxed stance about it. If anything, we focus on the foods that will make him “strong” and encourage those as much as possible. Quinn loves fruit, especially Wonderful Halos, so we’re more than happy to serve it to him as a healthy option in his diet.

Question of the Day

Parents of picky eaters: Any tips or tricks to share that have worked for you? 


The post Tips for Picky Eaters You Might Not Have Tried appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

from Carrots 'N' Cake

Why Aren’t We Talking About the Cognitive Health Crisis?

Pumpkin Farro Salad

My favorite kinds of recipes are those where versatility shines. I love it when you can mix and match ingredients, customize it to your liking (because I always do!), or serve it as a light lunch or dinner side. This recipe fits those criteria.

I found myself with a whole pumpkin and some extra farro that a friend gave me, and I put this together for an easy dinner. Rotisserie chicken completed the meal! I loved the mix of flavors from the salty feta, sweet roasted pumpkin (sweet potato or butternut would work great too!), chewy farro, and bright basil.

Cutting open a whole pumpkin is never fun, but if you microwave it a bit it sure is easier. I do my best to cut it in half, and then place the cut sides down on a plate with a little water and microwave it until it’s tender enough to easily cut into chunks.


The farro cooks up easily on the stove top (or in a rice cooker.) You could also use brown rice or wheatberries. Everything else just gets tossed together!

Pumpkin Farro Salad

Yield 3-6 servings


1 small pumpkin, sliced into little ¼-inch cubes

1 cup dry farro

1 cup chopped fresh basil¼ cup pomegranate seeds1 lemon, juiced3 tbsp olive oilSalt and pepper to taste1/3 cup rumbled feta cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Slice pumpkin in half, remove pith and seeds, then cut into manageable sized pieces. (Microwaving might help!) Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place cut pumpkin skin side up in a large roasting pan. Add 1/4 inch of water and bake uncovered for 1 hour or until tender. Remove from oven and allow pumpkin to cool.
  2. While the pumpkin is cooking, combine the farro and water in a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and let the farro rest for 5 minutes in the covered pot. Fluff the farro with a fork then season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  3. Toss farro and pumpkin pieces together in a serving bowl. Add the chopped basil and pomegranate seeds. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the bowl and drizzle in 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, to taste.  Add more salt and pepper if needed. Toss and serve with crumbled feta on top.

Courses Salads, Sides

Enjoy it for lunch, dinner, or as a holiday side dish!

from Kath Eats Real Food