Real Mom Question – Real Mom Answer

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Real Mom Question – Real Mom Answer: I’m in Need of Some Lunch Options…
By Laura Cipullo, RD CDE CEDRD CDN 


Real Mom Question:

“So we are reaching the picky toddler phase already- my daughters will be 17 months on Sunday and they have decided they do not like a lot of the foods they used to such as eggs, avocado, peas, carrots. They also do not like mozzarella cheese, tomatoes (but like tomato sauce), and no Muenster cheese. – Needless to say, I am in need of some lunch options.”

1. I am thinking of peanut butter and banana sandwiches and tuna with cranberries and apples (they like their tuna plain- weird, but I do not ask).


2. Are there healthy deli meat options?


3. We usually give whole wheat pasta with ground beef for dinner and/or turkey meatloaf or chicken from chicken soup. They do like brown rice, but now no veggies.


What does Mom Dishes It Out suggest?

Real Mom Answer:

I most definitely remember those days and it seems the food adventures continue. Do not fret if your child or children decide they are no longer interested in eggs, avocado, peas or carrots. It may not mean that they no longer like these foods rather they may have grown tired of these foods. Keep these foods in you children’s diet or you will soon be left with no additional options. Instead, continue to offer one of these foods with new favorite foods every few days so that your child continues to be exposed to their former favorite foods. They will also realize they don’t have to eat it. Reintroducing foods is key in food exposure.

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So when thinking lunch options, you can still include a side of avocado or egg, just in a new form. Think outside the box:

1. Peanut Butter with bananas is a great option for lunch. Serve with whole milk and a veggie squeezer.

2. Tuna with apples and cranberries sound delish! Just be sure the cranberries are easily chewed and not a potential choking hazard. Most important, be sure the tuna is chunk light from skipjack and not albacore to minimize the mercury level. Only give the tuna in 3 oz portions and no more than 3 times per month to your toddler.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, canned light tuna is the safer choice (with 0.12 parts per million of mercury). They advise that children “under six years of age can eat up to three 3-ounce portions per month. Older children and adults can safely eat it once a week. But look out for “gourmet” or “tonno” labels. They are made with bigger yellow fin tuna and can contain mercury levels comparable to canned white.” – For more information on this topic please visit the Environmental Defense Fund.

3. In terms of deli meat, there are now deli meats that are without added nitrites. However, they can still contain nitrites or nitrates from the salt or celery salt listed in the product. Your best bet is to make a homemade organic turkey or chicken and serve this in small pieces.

4. Brown, wild and white rice or whole-wheat pasta with beef, meatloaf and/or chicken are great options to serve the kids. Think about adding a tomato sauce with pureed veggies to this blend. Ratatouille and pesto are other great options to serve with pasta and proteins.

5. Finally, some serious lunch options:

— Pesto Pizza – Spread pesto sauce over a toasted mini whole-wheat pita and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan or provolone cheese. Serve with sliced apples.
— Hummus Wrap – thickly spread some hummus and a thin layer of avocado on a wrap and roll. Serve with pitted olives, cucumbers, cheese cubes and thin blanched carrots.
— Grilled Cheese with cheddar (use real cheese not cheese food product) melted on each side of the bread and an egg white in the middle for added protein. Serve with something red – grapes and strawberries for color.
— Mashed Cauliflower (try the yellow and or purple varieties for added antioxidants) with a homemade chicken cutlet (or Bell and Evans for a quick fix) and sweet potato cubes.
— Sundae Yogurt Parfait – Mix Greek yogurt with granola, frozen fruits pieces and wheat germ in to a yummy bowl for a an easy lunch. Sprinkle with nuts and top with a berry. Take caution with nuts in case of food allergies.
— Turkey Meatballs with veggies like onions or peppers finely chopped into the meatball. Serve with child’s favorite tomato sauce and multicolor pasta.
— Chicken Soup with roasted asparagus tips (just the tips and roasted with olive oil) and a baked sweet potato.

Winter Breakfast Kasha

With this cold weather and the last (hopefully!) of the Polar Vortex, we’ve been scrambling to find meals that help warm us up. While we had little trouble finding dinner and lunch recipes, chili and soups usually do the trick for us, we did have a bit of a hard time finding a warm breakfast besides oatmeal. With a bit of searching, we found inspiration from a wonderful recipe in Miraval’s Mindful Eating Cookbook.

Photo courtesy of sweetbeetandgreenbean

Winter Breakfast Kasha:
Serves 4


  • 1 cup kasha or buckwheat groats
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sliced strawberries, blueberries, or sliced bananas

Optional: you can add a tbsp of brown sugar or maple syrup for those who prefer sweet. Or a few tbsp of Greek yogurt for a bit of tang!


Bring the kasha, salt, and water in a saucepan to a simmer over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and optional fruit. Stir until incorporated. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the liquid is absorbed and the kasha is soft. Serve hot and top with optional fruit or toppings of choice.

Photo courtesy of Cooking Light

Not a fan of kasha? Try Cooking Light’s delicious Breakfast Polenta with Warm Berry Compote!

New Years Giveaway!

2014 is here! And this year we’re focusing on setting new intentions and creating healthy habits! To help with these endeavors, we’re giving away The Children’s Nutrition Tracker: an apple a day. This nutrition tracker is a wonderful and interactive way to get your kids involved in making healthy habits and allows them to view their progress at the same time. To learn more about an apple a day, click here.

To enter complete as many of the following tasks as you’d like:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Homemade Banana Cake

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Do you ever get stuck with a bunch of overripe bananas? This happens to us every now and again. We go a little crazy at the grocery store and by a batch of bananas that go ripe too quickly and we find ourselves scrambling to eat them before they go to waste. Some great options are slicing them and freezing them for smoothies, or a classic is making banana bread. Well we have another option for you. Check out Mama Mariean’s delicious Homemade banana cake recipe!


  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick, room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 very ripe smashed bananas
  • 2 cups flour (can be gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk



  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients (not including the flour) with a wooden spoon. Add eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk. Mix thoroughly. Add the bananas and mix. Add flour slowly and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Grease and flour 9 x 11 pan. Pour in the batter and bake at 375˚F for 25-30 minutes. Test with a toothpick.
  4. While the cake is still warm, cover with powdered sugar. Allow to cool and serve!


Optional: slice a banana and other fruit of choice to garnish the cake. (We love to use kiwi and strawberry slices!)

A Look Back On 2013

2014 is officially here and we are very excited about all the possibilities and events to come this year! As we prepare ourselves for exciting opportunities, we wanted to take a look back at the posts from 2013. We’ve compiled a Table of Contents of sorts to highlight the MDIO blog posts of the past year. As you search through the list we want to wish the MDIO readers a healthy and happy New Year!

Mom Dishes It Out Posts of 2013 

Photo Credit: David Douša via Compfight cc


This Mom’s Advice on Navigating Advice During Pregnancy

Baked Crispy Chicken Nuggets

The Imperfect Food Mom

Lemon-Caper Salmon with Greek Yogurt

Keep Your Family Moving…Yoga and More

Zucchini “Pasta” with Shrimp and Cherry Tomatoes

Snack: It’s Not A Five-Letter Word


Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

A Mommy Blogger’s Muncheon

Eggs & Spinach Quiche Cups

Food Likes and Dislikes… a tough problem to lick!

Red Velvet Cake Bites with Fresh Raspberries

A Cup of Self-Love

Oven Roasted French Fries

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake

Beef and Quinoa Meatballs

Feeding your Kids from a Dad’s Perspective


Roasted Rainbow Veggies

Take the Legume Challenge!

Homemade Hummus

My Family’s Jeans and Genes

Almond Biscotti

Did the Baked Ziti Bomb or Was it a Success?

Crispy Kale Chips

Basic Cooking Skills Every Mom Needs to Know


Quinoa with Sautéed Mushrooms and Kale

100 Is the Loneliest Number

Tabbouleh Recipe

Are There Any Normal Eaters Out There?

Beet Hash with Eggs

Is Your Tween Hiding Her Lunch?

Chopped Salmon over Shaved Brussels Sprouts

Eating Un-favorite Foods

Gluten-Free Lemon Meringue Pie


Adam’s Gluten-Free Surprise, Helping Others Understand Gluten-Free

Vegan Blueberry-Banana Muffins

Teaching Nutrition in School

Whole Wheat Pasta Primavera

How Much is Enough?

Marinated Eggplant

Healthy Summer (Mama Q) BBQ Menu

Fresh Salmon-Cilantro Burgers & Grilled Peaches with Amaretto-Pecan Caramel Sauce

What a NYC Mom and Registered Dietitian Feeds Her Kids


Orecchiette with Roasted Pepper, Arugula, and Tomatoes

The Mommy Manual Series Debut!

Lemon & Olive Oil Polenta Cake

Laura’s Life Lessons Taught by Her Boys – One day at a time

Whole-Wheat Orzo with Mushrooms and Onions

Ice Cream…for Breakfast!

Summer Cucumber Salad

Walking with Purpose


Seared Salmon with Brown Rice and Greens

A Child’s Right to Say “No Thank You!”

Banana Walnut Yogurt Parfait

There Are No Good Foods or Bad Foods

Nectarine Arugula Salad

Cheeseburgers in Paradise…a tale of cheeseburgers, breadburgers and Bobby

Omelet with Summer Veggies

Mexican Menu… going “South of the Border” for dinner

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Top Ten Tips for Pre-Feeding Warm Ups


Summer Vegetable Soup

MDIO’s Easy Peas-y Tips for First Solid Foods

Cactus Flower Omelet

What’s in this Mom and RD’s Freezer?

Chicken and Couscous Salad

Managing a Full Plate: A Texas Mom’s Thoughts on Health

Eggplant Parm

Tips For Feeding Children with Special Needs

Back to School Snack Ideas


Rosh Hashanah Roasted Apples

Mindfully Enjoying, and Eating, Your Way Through the Holiday Season…One Holiday at a Time!

Tuna Salad – Three Ways

Get Ready to Bake a New Kind of Cake

Spinach and Leek Frittata

Food Lessons

White Bean and Caramelized Onion Salad

Understanding the USDA’s Smart Snack Rules

Lemon Cake

Irish Colcannon with Kale


Cuisine Kit Tutorial

Festively Fall Butternut Squash Pizza

Healthy Weekends in Woodstock, VT

Pumpkin Seeds x 3!

Making Fun of the RD’s Children’s Food

Veggie Chili with Butternut Squash

Cookie Comparison: Which Cookie Should You Feed Your Children?

Healthy Halloween Ideas

Wild Rice Burgers


Homemade Apple Butter

What Kind of Candy Mom are You?

Zucchini Bread with a Twist

An Inconvenient Life

Healthy Quinoa and Mushroom Stuffing

Children’s Multivitamins: How To Choose?

Cauliflower “Potato” Latkes


Leftover Turkey Soup

The Picky Eater Chronicles

Scheherazade Casserole

What’s In This RD’s Kitchen Cabinet?

PB&J Cookies

Should Kids Be Allowed to Sit at the Adult Table?

Diabetes-Friendly Roasted Veggie Mac & Cheese

Proud to Be A Mama Gift Giving

Spiced Carrot & Apple Mini Muffins