Walnut-Stuffed Apples

With the start of Winter fast approaching, we’ve been searching for few more Fall recipes to savor. We recently saw this wonderful recipe on Cooking Light for Walnut-Stuffed Apples and we had to share!

Photo Courtesy of Cooking Light


  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons dried currants
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 4 medium Granny Smith apples, cored
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple cider



Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, stirring to combine. Peel top third of each apple; place apples in an electric slow cooker. Spoon walnut mixture into cavity of each apple.

Combine the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup brown sugar, and apple cider in a small bowl, stirring to combine. Pour over apples. Cover with lid; cook on LOW 2 3/4 hours. Remove the apples with a slotted spoon. Spoon 1/4 cup cooking liquid over each serving.


The recipe and photo featured in this post were provided by Cooking Light. To read the original recipe please click here.

Eating New Foods

Well, moms and dads, I finally did it. My husband and I had been talking about the boys’ limited intake a.k.a. lack of variety. Last weekend I spent $150.00 on taste-test Sunday, and my boys groaned while carrying on for every food.


I worry that my younger son’s smaller stature is due to lack of adequate protein. We continue to expose the kids to more protein, but the pantry always seems to win. On Thanksgiving my dad commented on my sons’ diet and height too.

But I think those words, along with the blog of Dr. Heather McGuire, finally propelled me forward! Because after making the boys cheese and bean quesadillas and watching them pick out every freaking bean, I just did it—I grabbed a bag and filled it with our pantry stock, including the gummy vitamins. The kids liken them to candy.


I announced our family mission to eat more foods. “I am not talking about clean food or veggies. I am just talking about eating foods that are not your favorites, eating foods that you may not be in the mood for. I am talking beans and chicken and pasta for Billy.”

So we packed up all packaged snack-like foods. I served the boys chicken parm and eggplant parm for dinner. And you know what, they ate it. Was dinner drawn out? Yes. Was it a wasted meal? No. Five days later, Billy has only skipped one meal. And I have loosened up, being that it is the school week. I still give them their same lunches every day. But breakfast has been different daily, and on Mondays both boys ate a chicken quesadilla, mind you only a quarter of it, plus half of a cheese quesadilla. But I am just happy to see a willingness in them—without all the drama. I don’t want food fights or feelings of deprivation for my kids. I just want a willingness to try foods and eat certain favorite foods just some of the time. So I encourage you, read our stories here, especially Heather’s!


May you have happier eating and being days ahead!!

Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN
Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition

Help! My Child is a Picky Eater!

Dr. Heather Maguire is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) and the author of the parent training manual, Get Ready… Get Set… Go! It’s Time to Create Behavior Change! As the mother of two young children, she applies her knowledge of behavioral science to everyday parenting. Visit her website www.drheathermaguire.com for more information.

Photo Credit: orangeacid via Compfight cc

Help! My Child is a Picky Eater!
By Dr. Heather Maguire

Kids, food, and behavior… Where should I even start? A story from my own childhood comes to mind. When I was a toddler, I decided that the only food I wanted to eat was saltine crackers. Being a stubborn individual even at such a young age, I gave my mother a run for her money. She offered me peanut butter and jelly, but I said, “No!” She put cereal in front of me, but I refused to touch it. At dinnertime I refused to even look at the spaghetti she had made. In situations like this, what’s a parent to do?! Now that I’m a mother myself, I have come to realize that food can be one of the most challenging parts of parenting. As parents, we are charged with caring for the health and wellbeing of our kids, but it is not possible to force children to eat what they do not want to eat. No parent wants his or her children to “starve,” so we are tempted to cave in to our their requests. Recently I overheard a mother explain that her pediatrician recommended letting her toddler snack on whatever he wanted during the day, as long as she supplemented his nutrition with a popular meal replacement beverage. I’m not saying there aren’t cases where extreme measures are warranted, but to me this sounded like a horrible long-term solution to picky eating! Looking through the lens of applied behavior analysis, here are six strategies that have helped me tame the beast of the picky eater in my own home. I hope they will help you, too!

  1. Say goodbye to packaged snacks

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “If they’re hungry, they’ll eat.” This is very simple, but very true! One way to encourage children to eat is to make sure they’re actually hungry when mealtime comes around. This may mean eating less during the periods in between meals. Now I am not suggesting that you cut out snacking all together, but you can control what snacks you offer your children. Personally, I have made the decision to only offer fruits and veggies as snack options in between meals. As opposed to snacks like chips, cookies, and crackers, fresh produce is less likely to curb one’s appetite for more than a short while. I am not saying you have to cut out packaged foods completely, but it may be better to serve these items right after meals or just occasionally as a special treat rather than as snacks.

Photo Credit: antonychammond via Compfight cc
  1. Timing is everything

As parents, we often have to be strategic in interactions with our children. If Sofia is feeling under the weather, didn’t sleep well the night before, and had a rough day at school, it is probably not be the right day to offer her a new food or try to get her to eat a food she has previously rejected. Sounds obvious, right? Well, let me share where parents often go wrong. Rather than using this strategy proactively, they use it reactively. Once they place food in front of Sofia and she refuses to try it, then they give her a preferred food. Unfortunately this often results in a pattern of food refusal that can hang around long after the bad day has been forgotten. Therefore, try to prevent food refusal by offering preferred foods on the hard days, but do your best not to cave in once undesired behavior has been displayed.

  1. Dangle the carrot

This is a simple, yet scientifically verified truth that can be applied to several areas of life. In food terms it equates to, “After you eat your vegetables, then you can have dessert.” Now, this does not mean that you need to offer dessert or other junk food to your children on a daily basis. Rather, choose foods that you feel comfortable offering to your child on a consistent basis (e.g., juice, crackers, popcorn, etc.). In order for this to work, there are two key things to keep in mind. First, the food has to be something your child really likes. Second, this strategy will work best if you keep your “carrot” valuable by not offering it to your child in other circumstances.

  1. Sometimes easier is better

This strategy is specifically geared towards younger toddlers who are still developing fine motor skills. As a human species, we are more likely to do things when they are easier, and it takes more motivation to do things that are difficult. Therefore, even if your son or daughter can independently eat, you may want to help them… at least with their first few bites. You may find that after the first few bites your child eats independently. Why is that so, you ask? Without getting too technical, food is naturally rewarding when we are hungry and so our bodies encourage us to keep eating until we are full.


To be redirected to the full article, please click here.

Ingredient1: App Review

Ingredient1: App Review
By MDIO Product Review Team

Sometimes it can be hard to find foods you crave that also meet your dietary restrictions and taste preferences. Ingredient1 is a free mobile app that allows you to find natural and healthy foods that meet your nutritional needs within your zip code!

Photo Courtesy of Ingredient1

An App for Our Friends with Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

Ingredient1 is perfect if you who have food allergies or need a specialized diet for medical reasons.


The Test—Here Is How to Use It:

  1. Make a food profile.
  2. For instance, you can enter gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or GMO-free diet.
  3. Use the “Food Mood” section of the app. If you are craving something sweet, crunchy, small, and GMO free, just tap on the circles to reflect this food mood.
  4. Scroll through the options that appear. Cinnamon & sugar pumpkin seeds by Supersedes look delish to me. I was pleased to see the product had all the ingredients, nutrition info, certification claims, and allergen information!
  5. Click “Find It” and/or “Share It” (favorite option for RDs to send their clients food ideas!
  6. Go and get it!! Enjoy!!


Seems Easy and Perfect; However…

Unfortunately, upon selecting the snack and clicking on “Find It,” the seeds were not sold in the NYC area. Even when I selected another food choice, Whole Foods didn’t come up as a store selling the chosen item. Seeing as there are quite a few Whole Foods in NYC and the nearest store carrying this product was a market over twenty-five miles away, I chose another snack. But you can order the foods online if you want. Just click the “Share It” icon, and email the link to yourself, roommate, and/or partner to order. My advice would be to order the products you like online and choose a food in your zip code for cravings!


When I asked Ingredient1 about what seemed to be a faux pas, they immediately let us know the plan to have Whole Foods included on the app’s “Find It” in the very near future. So go ahead and download Ingredient1!

Photo Credit: joeltelling via Compfight cc

Bottom Line:

  • MDIO gives thumbs up—Love this app!!


    • For everyone: Whether you have specific dietary choices and/or are looking for new healthy food products.
    • Great selection of foods that meet your taste preferences.
    • “Share It” option allows you to share your food finds with friends or clients.
    • Lists of ingredients, nutrition info, certification claims, and allergen information.


    • The product you desire may not be available for immediate consumption.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe

With the holidays just around the corner, we wanted to share one of Laura’s recipes. These make a great addition to a holiday party or cookie exchange. What is your favorite holiday cookie recipe? Share with us in the comments below!

Photo Credit: jypsygen via Compfight cc

Recipe by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE,CEDRD, CDN
Originally  published in Everyday Health



  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1½ cups wheat germ
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup powdered fat-free milk


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line 2 large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the canola oil, honey, eggs, vanilla extract, raisins, chopped walnuts, wheat germ, and rolled oats.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and powdered milk.
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ones until well-combined.
  • Scoop out spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Cookies will not spread much, so you don’t need to leave a lot of room between them.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until dry around the edges.
  • Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

The holiday season has officially started! Here’s a Mom’s guide to making it through the holidays:

Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc

Staying Healthy During the Holidays
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN

  1. Be the Tupperware Lady– bring Tupperware to family events to pack leftovers or “seconds” and  bring home to eat another time.
    • Rather than overeat on delicious food, plan to use hunger fullness cues. Pack the remainders up for a mini holiday dinner part II.
  2. Healthy Cook Book Exchange (rather than cookie exchange)
    • Holidays typically revolve around gifts and food, so why not give a gift about being healthy and moderate? Healthy cookbook ideas are the Mayo Clinic Williams – Sonoma Cookbook and Martha Stewart’s Healthy Quick Cook
  3. Favor family over food– make festivities about seeing family and not about eating food.
    • Serve a simple meal and focus on entertainment like music and or trivial pursuit.
  4. Stretch your dollar, save your waist – Use Intuitive Eating to portion your restaurant meal.
    • Be economical and bring leftovers home to eat at the next day’s snack or meal.
  5. Eat your favorite food– skip the appetizers and save room for dinner.
    • If dessert is your favorite, don’t fill up on apps and entrees. Make sure you are still hungry for your chocolate cake!!
  6. Secure a snack– before leaving make sure you are not starving, eat a snack to prevent overeating at the party.
    • Restriction cause binging, don’t restrict the day of a special event. You are likely to overeat or even binge later that night.

      Photo Credit: Lotus Carroll via Compfight cc

  7. Wine, beer and liquor on a full belly. If you drink on an empty stomach you are more likely to make poor decisions and overeat.
    • Take your sip of wine with your entrée. If you drink on an empty stomach you will not be mindful of your internal or external cues.
    • Most importantly, don’t drink and drive.

Our Perception of Taste: What’s Sound Got to Do with It?

By Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP

*This post was originally published on ASHA’s online blog. The original can be found here.

Photo Credit: Fey Ilyas via Compfight cc

My first love as a speech-language pathologist is pediatric feeding.  I spend lots of time talking to little kids about “carrot crunchies” and “pea-pops” and various silly names for the sounds that different foods make in our mouths as we explore all of the sensory components of food in weekly treatment sessions.

Is it possible that sound is a larger component of our eating experience than many of us realize? What’s sound got to do with eating, or more specifically, with taste? Discovering how the sound of a crunching potato chip affects flavor is more than just curiosity.  Prof. Charles Spence, who leads Oxford’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory, studied how the sound that food makes in our mouths influences our perception of freshness.  It’s an important point for potato chip manufacturers, who strive to create the “crunchiest crisp possible.”

Background sounds in the environment also influence our interpretation of taste.  Spence conducted an experiment where individuals were presented with 4 pieces of identical toffee.  Two pieces were eaten while the subjects listened to the lower pitch of brass instruments.  Two other pieces were eaten while listening to the higher pitch of a piano.  The pieces eaten during the higher pitched piano music were rated “sweet” by the subjects and the pieces eaten during the lower pitched music were rated “bitter.”

Photo Credit: Maarten Hornstra via Compfight cc

Chef Blumenthal, owner of The Fat Duck near London, has taken Spence’s research findings to the next level.  Order the “Sound of the Sea” and you’ll enjoy more than seafood delicacies  presented on “a sand of tapioca and fried panko, then topped with seafood foam.” The dish is accompanied by an iPod nestled in a seashell, “so that diners can listen to the sound of crashing waves as they eat.” Spence reports that diners experience stronger, saltier flavors with the sound of the ocean in the background.  Another London restaurant, the House of Wolf, serves a cake pop along with instructions to dial a phone number and then, before tasting,  press 1 for sweet and 2 for bitter.  Diners who listened to the first prompt heard a high pitched melody and those who pressed “two” heard a low brassy tones.

To continue reading, please click here to be redirected to ASHAsphere.

Get Artsy This Holiday Season!

Photo Credit: bogdog Dan via Compfight cc

With the days becoming increasingly shorter and temperatures quickly dropping, it’s becoming ever so clear that the holiday season is almost here. With time off (and often away), we frequently enter the holidays with the best of intentions, planning to slow down and enjoy our family and friends, count our blessings and focus on what really matters. Unfortunately, holiday expectations can often get in the way. It’s all too easy to get swept up by the hustle and bustle, stressed by finding gifts, to-do lists, endless lines and expenses, holiday traffic, demanding in-laws…you get the idea!

Channeling some of this energy into the creative process can be a great way to release stress and anxiety and remember what really counts. Try some of these holiday-themed art activities to bring about family togetherness, kick off your holiday celebrations, and help everyone get grounded.

Photo Credit: ladytimeless via Compfight cc

1. Make a batch of Christmas scented cloud-dough for an afternoon of holiday inspired sensory play

  • Ingredients:
    • 7 cups of flour
    • 1/2 cup of green or red sidewalk chalk (crushed up)
    • 1 cup of vegetable oil
    • Peppermint extract
  • Instructions:
    • Combine the sidewalk chalk and flour.
    • Add a few drops of peppermint extract.
    • Pour in the oil and mix well.  Mixing will take a few minutes.  When done you will have an amazing substance known as cloud dough.


2. Make your own wrapping paper to really get in the spirit of giving

  • Materials:
    • Roll of white drawing paper or brown craft paper
    • Various paint colors
    • Variety of brushes
    • Tape
    • Newspaper
  • Instructions:
    • Lay out newspaper on the floor to protect your space.
    • Unroll the paper and secure down with tape
    • Experiment with different techniques to create your own DIY wrapping paper. So many options to try! Try splatter painting, polka-dots, handprints, etc.


3. Create a permanent imprint with salt-dough ornaments

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup of flour
    • 1/2 cup of table salt
    • 1/2 warm water
    • Rolling pin
    • Cookie cutters
    • Straw
    • Stamps, leaves, flowers, or any other objects to make imprints
    • String
  • Instructions:
    • Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mixing until you have a nice, smooth, and even consistency
    • Roll out onto a cookie sheet
    • Take your stamps and other objects and make your marks into the dough (can use ink with stamps if you want)
    • Once your done, using cookie cutters, cut the dough into different shapes. At the top of each shape take the end of the straw to cut-out a hole. This will be for your string once baked.
    • Bake in oven at 200 degrees for 4 hours
    • Once out of the oven, feel free to add additional color. Add your string and viola!
Photo Credit: Cellanova via Compfight cc

4. Create flower pots with your goals for the New Year

  • Materials:
    • Terra cotta clay pot(s)
    • White primer (any paint will do)
    • Selection of magazines/materials to cut our words and images
    • Mod Podge
    • Acrylic sealer
    • Whatever you need to plant- dirt, seeds/bulbs
  • Instructions:
    • Prime your clay pot(s) to keep the other materials from soaking through.
    • As a family, discuss your hopes for the upcoming year. What are your goals, resolutions, and inspirations? With those thoughts in mind, begin cutting out related words and pictures. These will be collaged on your clay pot.
    • Once you’ve finished selecting, use the mod podge to apply the words and images to the surface of the clay pot. You can use a paint brush, or even your fingers!
    • After the 1st coat dries, apply a 2nd coat.
    • Once completely dry, add a final coat of acrylic sealer to keep everything dry during watering.
    • Once everything’s dry, its time to get planting. Together, plant your seeds. As your hopes and dreams blossom in the upcoming year, so will a beautiful flower!


5. Make Gratitude Paper Chains

This is a great ongoing project. Leave the materials out in a corner and have each member of the family contribute one gratitude link a day. Decide as a family that you’ll hang the final chain up on Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, New Years, etc. It’s a lot of fun to watch it grow as everyone acknowledges all they have to be thankful for!

  • Materials:
    • Interesting types of paper (patterns, colors, etc.) cut into strips
    • Stapler
    • Thankful printables 
    • Glue stick or double sided tape
  • Instructions:
    • To get started….Print out attached thankful template and cut into strips (or make your own)
    • Complete the sentence. “I am thankful for______________________.” Then glue or tape the paper onto a colorful strip of your choice.
    • Staple into a circle, connecting around the prior link.


Happy Holidays!!

 Jennifer Kind-Rubin, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed Creative Arts Therapist; Psychotherapist
80 East 11th Street, NYC

Fruity Baked Oatmeal: A breakfast my kids adore!

Fruity Baked Oatmeal: A breakfast my kids adore!
By Adina Pearson, RDN

Breakfast has long been my kids’ best meal. And by best I mean they tend to have good appetites and rarely reject anything.  It’s also the meal with the least variety, which my husband prefers and I do not.  I had been wanting to try baked oatmeal for some time, but just never got around to it.  Mostly because..let’s face it, baking always takes more time than a quick stove top boil and simmer.  Plus at least half the time my husband takes care of our morning pot of porridge so why fix what isn’t broken, right?

But my desire for variety got the best of me one day and we found a breakfast dish that all four of us love.

The first time I made it, I decided to add fruit to the bottom of the pan.

It did not disappoint and turned out quite pretty if I do say so myself!

The fruit has varied based on what I had available.  Usually blueberries and canned peaches.  The first few times I made this our family of four ate through at least 3/4 of a 9×13 pan.  It’s almost like a cobbler, but less rich and more breakfast-y.

*To read the rest of this blog please click here to be redirected to www.HealthyLittleEaters.com

Happy Thanksgiving! + Giveaway

Photo Credit: Sugar Daze via Compfight cc

Going Back to Our Roots—Recreating Thanksgiving

by Laura Cipullo RD, CDE, CDN, CEDRD, Mom, and Bitsy’s Registered Dietitian 

Here in the USA, Thanksgiving is the day to celebrate the harvest. Thanksgiving dinner is informally yet nationally known by all as the meal and even day of binging on harvest foods, including turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and, of course, a pie of apples, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes.

How did we get from giving thanks to a day that sometimes seems focused simply on overeating?  For many of us there is nothing to be more thankful for than a healthy family.  So how can we return to the roots of gratitude of Thanksgiving, while celebrating over a traditional healthy and wholesome family meal?

As you read this blog, consider how you and your family can go back to the roots of the first Thanksgiving in 1621, when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag natives gave thanks for the plentiful harvest. Both pilgrims and the Wampanoag natives were accustomed to giving thanks by feasting and sport, whether recreational or dance (the latter referring specifically the natives)1.

The original feast likely included wild fowl of some sort, but not necessarily turkey. Rather, it was geese and waterfowl such as ducks that probably appeared on the first-ever Thanksgiving menu1. And if there was stuffing of the fowl, it would have been made with herbs and onions; perhaps the Pilgrims even used oats. What about cranberry sauce? Being that sugar was quite expensive at that time, it can be assumed our sauce version was not on the table. Rather, cranberries were found in recipes of Wampanoag dishes, and “possibly added tartness to a Pilgrim sauce1.” However, it was “fifty years later when an English writer would mention boiling this quintessential New England berry with sugar for a “Sauce to eat with… Meat.”1” Potatoes are from South America and were not yet a staple in New England’s diet. Wampanoag did eat other tubers including Jerusalem artichokes, groundnuts, Indian turnip and even water lily. Pumpkins and squashes were native to New England but again, sugar, butter and piecrust were not available and thus pumpkin pie was not on the first menu1. “Today’s typical Thanksgiving dinner menu is actually more than 200 years younger than the 1621 harvest celebration and reflects the holiday’s roots in Colonial New England of the 1700s and Victorian nostalgia for an idyllic time when hearth and home, family and community were valued over industrial progress and change.1”

– See more at Bitsy’s Brainfood


A Thanksgiving Giveaway!

We’re all thankful to be spending our Thanksgiving with family and friends this year. To spread some holiday cheer we wanted to host a giveaway! Our friends at Litehouse Foods were kind enough to gift one of our readers with a spice set (perfect for holiday cooking)!

Photo Courtesy of Litehouse Foods

a Rafflecopter giveaway