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Why is my child a Picky Eater? And what to do about it!


If you have a picky eater at home, you might be struggling to get your kids to try new foods. You've probably become a short order cook. And you may feel like you have to bribe, pressure or reward your child to try even take one bite of dinner.

 All of this just leads to stress at the table for everyone. And often arguments and tears (on behalf of the kids and parents!). And we want dinner to be a nice place for everyone!

Wouldn't it be great to stop stressing about how much or what your kids eat at the table? Have more peaceful dinners, with no more tears or yelling at the dinner table? And for your kids to eat new foods without complaining about it!?

This is definitely possible. But one of the obstacles for us to getting to this point is the plethora of contradictory advice about how to deal with your picky eater! My doctor told me to give my daughter what she wanted....which I know is exactly the wrong advice.

 To give you some understanding of the...

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Healthy Snacking for the New Year: Prune Energy Ball Recipe

This post was sponsored by the California Dried Plum Board. All opinions are my own 

Happy New Year! If you have resolutions this year to feed your family better, I encourage starting small. For example, one good area to start with could be daily snacks.

Snacks are a struggle for many of the moms I work with, when feeding their kids. One step to healthy snacking for kids is to offer set "snack" times, rather than allowing your child open access to the pantry. This will allow them to have an appetite come meal time.

As for what to offer for snacks, it doesn't have to be chocolate-dipped granola bars and fishy crackers. Keep it simple, and just think of offering 2 food groups. Here are a few simple ideas:

Balanced Snack Ideas

1) Peanut butter on whole grain crackers

2) Boiled egg and fruit

3) Berries and yogurt

4) Fruit smoothie

5) Veggies and hummus dip

6) Energy balls with nuts and fruit (see recipe below)

California Prune Energy Balls

These prune energy balls taste...

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School lunches for kids of all ages

Check out the global interview here.

Welcome back-to-school again! Maybe you start the year gung-ho to make Pinterest-inspired, fancy home-made lunches all year long. And most of us are over that by oh….about day 3 of school!

Today I’m going to share some easy school lunches for kids of all ages. Homemade lunches, that still are healthy enough to provide them with the energy to feel and learn their best!

The Li’l Ones

It’s super important that the preschool/kindergarten aged crowd can get into their lunches! Practice at home, to make sure they can open the containers and packages.

They also need food that’s easy to hold and eat. Think finger-foods. Bento-style lunch boxes are fun and easy for kids of all ages.

In this lunch box, I’ve included finger-sized pumpkin seed butter & jam rolls and Avocado Blueberry Mini Muffins . Muffins are a great alternative to packaged granola bars. I make double-batches and keep a stock in the...

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How to manage kids & sweets

It seems like kids have sweets thrown at them from everywhere these days. Get a haircut? Have a lollypop! Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, a birthday at school….come home with a loot bag full of candy!

So how do you manage treats and desserts for your kids at home? There seem to be two options, without something in between:

  1. Free-for-all. Your child will likely fill up on cookies and candy all day and have no room for the healthy dinner you slaved over! They’ll likely be missing out on import ant nutrients. Plus, have a mouth-full of cavities!
  2. Total sweet restriction. Attempt to have a “sugar-free” child, and it’s very possible that they will be the school-aged kid who eats 5 slices of birthday cake. And may horde chocolate bars under their bed. It’s similar to putting yourself on a diet. Total restriction = cravings = binges.

But I’m not advocating for the free-for all approach either. Somewhere there must be...

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How Do I Get My Picky Eater to Eat Vegetables?

Does your kid avoid anything green? All veggies? Picky eating is a struggle for many families and vegetables are definitely one of the most challenging foods for young kids to enjoy. They naturally tend to prefer sweet foods - or quick, easy energy sources. So it's common for children to enjoy fruit, but shun more bitter vegetables. The good news is that fruit and veggies contain many of the same nutrients! Your child can find folate, vitamin C and fibre in both fruit and vegetables, so you can relax a bit.

One common tactic I want to chat about is sneaking pureed vegetables into your children's food.  I don't recommend this, as it does not allow your child  to experience that particular food and learn to like (or dislike!) it on their own. And at some point, they will also probably figure you out - possibly leading to distrust,  a stronger dislike of the offending food and power struggles.

It's also not aligned with the "Division of Responsibility" principles, which...

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5 Top On-the-go Snacks for Kids

Whether your summer is full of road trips or day-trips to the park, if your kids are like mine, their first question is “Do you have any snacks mom?” Us moms have to be prepared to avoid hangry kids and repeated, expensive trips to the lake ‘snack shack’ store. Here are some ideas for easy, portable snacks:

1) Fresh fruit is easy to grab and healthy. But can be a mushy, juicy mess at the bottom of your diaper bag! I love dehydrated fruit, which is becoming easier to find at your Cost-co or grocery store. Bonus –it’s very light to lug around!

2) Dried fruit and nuts (or trail-mix) are another go-to for my kids. It’s energy and nutrient-dense, and doesn’t take up too much space in the diaper bag! You can also make your own snack mix with add-ins like: whole grain cereal, popcorn, pretzel sticks pumpkin or sunflower seeds, nuts & your favourite dried fruit.

3) Keep baggies of sliced veggie sticks in the fridge for easy-to-grab...

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How to Deal with the Halloween Candy Overload

My kids can’t WAIT for Halloween. How much fun is it to dress up and go door-to-door for a free candy-overload!? I too remember the excitement of going from house to house, hoping for as many full-sized chocolate bars as possible. But now as parents, I know many of us dread letting our kids eat a pillowcase full of sugar and food colouring. Here are some ides to make Halloween healthier, and how you can deal with the candy overload at home:

  1. Have a good dinner (including some protein and veggies) before going out trick of treating. This way, your child has some healthy food filling their tummy in preparation for sugar overload.
  2. Buy your child a small plastic pumpkin to fill for trick-or-treating, as opposed to a large pillowcase. Once it’s full, you’re done trick or treating!
  3. Trade the candy for money. There are some dental offices that do a candy “buy back” and exchange your candy for money. I would only suggest this if it excites your child, and...
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Help for your picky eater

Click image to see Jen talk about Picky Eating on Global

Creating stress-free mealtimes, even with picky eaters!

Feeding struggles are common, making dinnertime full of stress, fights and tears. It is understandable that  you are concerned if your kid refuses to eat multiple meals in a row, or never wants to try a new food. So you enforce a “3 bite rule,” don’t offer dessert if dinner wasn’t consumed, and bring out said refused dinner for bedtime snack. Or try sneaking vegetables into your child's food. And not only does your child now seem to be eating less than ever, but there are tears. Fights. Tantrums…. on the part of both the parent and the child. And then you read that rules such as these can negatively affect your child’s eating practices for life! Possibly leading to not only an even pickier eater, but an unhealthy relationship with food  and the potential for disordered eating or weight issues as an adult.

So you stopped the...

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Decreasing your kids intake of sugary drinks

Global Morning Show had me in to talk about helping kids decrease their intake of sugary drinks this summer. Watch it here, or read on...

It's hot out, and kids are looking for tasty options to quench their thirst! Unfortunately, sugar-sweetened drinks like pop and energy drinks are easy to find and inexpensive. The average 9-18 year old Canadian child drinks 2.5 cups of sugar-sweetened beverage per day!

Why is this a concern? The World Health Organization recommends less than 10% of our sugar intake should come from added sugar. This is about 12 tsp of sugar in a 2000 calorie diet. Yet a 500ml bottle of pop contains 17 tsp! These sugar-sweetened drinks cause cavities, but are also linked to chronic conditions like diabetes, cancers and obesity. Which can also affect kids.

To help decrease kids intake of sugary drinks, there are a few steps that the government can take to help

  1. The Canadian Federal Government is currently moving to restrict the marketing of food and beverages...
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3 Tips to Help your Child Grow up to Love Food in a Healthy Way

Disclosure: I am happy to bring you this sponsored post today, thanks to Alberta Milk. All thoughts are my own.

Happy Valentine's Day! Speaking of love.......does food = love for you?

Often food is often equated with love. And this can be a beautiful relationship!

  • Think of a breastfeeding baby, learning that their food comes along with their mother's loving touch and cuddles.
  • Or eating at a romantic restaurant on a first date.
  • Or your mom's chicken noodle soup when you're sick.

These are all fantastic ways to love food! But learning to equate food with love is not always a good thing. It causes some of us to turn to food for comfort when we're depressed or lonely. This can result overeating and guilt.

As a parent, we hope to raise kids who have a healthy relationship with food. This will help prevent picky eating in young kids, disordered eating and struggles with weight later on.

While your kids need nutrients to grow - it's just as important that you as a parent help them...

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