DIY: 7 Steps to Progress Your Picky Eater

DIY:  7 Steps to Progress Your Picky Eater
By Laura Cipullo RD CDE CEDRD CDN and Mom

 

“I just want to go home and eat what I eat everyday for lunch.”

 

Is this your child? It is most definitely my child, as this is what he said to me on Friday when we walked into the burger joint known for its burgers and milkshakes. When he said this, I just let out a deep breath and decided it would be milkshakes for lunch. He doesn’t like change, and therefore he doesn’t like change in food, rules, or where he puts the furniture in Minecraft.

But this does not mean that you or I should take the summer off from exposing our kids to new foods and/or textures. Actually, summer is ideal because schedules are changing, and you can create a new schedule that incorporates trying new foods, say, twice a week. There is no school, stress, or homework, so take advantage of this time.

I am trying to incorporate different foods into dinner meals on Sundays and Wednesdays. Just yesterday, the boys tried fresh mozzarella, which neither would eat. They liked it melted but not cold. Last week they tried vegetarian sushi with avocado (they both licked it). Remember, touching, licking, or just getting it on their plate can help. Of course, they get these new foods alongside their faves or sometimes before their favorites are served. They tried a falafel burger and cocoa-dusted almonds!

My oldest, Bobby, has taken to eating fresh corn on the cob with butter and salt each night with his dinner, while Billy has incorporated strawberries without the skin at each of his dinner meals. That’s right, no skins. One night he said, “Mommy, I like the insides of strawberries.” My husband told me that Billy would eat the strawberries’ flesh, but he could not take a big bite. So I got the peeler out and voila!! He is now my strawberry man. So as summer begins, we will take this opportunity to continue exposing the boys to new foods and even former foods.

The food exposure may follow this progression or something similar.

Recognize that this is helpful for toddlers, children, and even pre-teens.

  1. First, get the food on the same plate
  2. Next, get touch involved.  Maybe your child touches the food with their fingers or puts the food to his/her cheek or lips
  3. Employ the One Lick Rule
  4. Employ the One Chew and Spit—if you must
  5. Use the One Bite Rule
  6. Use the Three Bites Rule if your child has achieved the One Bite with that food
  7. Make the food part of the main meal on a regular basis

 

If you think that your child may have issues with sensory integration, get the expert advice of a speech pathologist and/or an occupational therapist. Books that may help include Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids: How to Teach Your Child About the Joy of Food by Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP, and Ellyn Satter’s Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook.

 

Keep your eyes open for MDIO’s (Mom Dishes It Out’s) upcoming blog on when to get a consult from a speech therapist versus, occupational therapist or dietitian.

 

And of course, let us know what works for you. Does your child fit the description of Potock’s case examples, or does your child easily follow the flow set by Satter’s “Division of Responsibility”?

Mom Asks, MDIO Answers: Are your children hiding bites of food?

Are your children hiding bites of food?
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN and Mom of Two

 

A real mom asks:

MDIO recently received a question about how to handle a young child who hides her food. The mom explained that her daughter regularly showed her empty dinner plates. Her regular response would be: “What a great job!” Later, she would find her child’s food hidden somewhere. When this mom asked her daughter why she was hiding her food rather than eating it, the child responded: “I don’t know.” I’m sure many parents can relate to this in one way or another.

 

A real mom/RD answers:

There always seem to be so many challenges when feeding our little ones! Here are some suggestions to explore…and hopefully help to resolve your “missing” food dilemmas.

Photo Credit: 27147 via Compfight cc

1. Eat meals with your children or at least sit down at the table during their meal times. Not only will this prevent your children from having easy opportunities to get up to hide their food but it may also foster valuable conversations and enjoyable family time together. Your children may be acting out…or silently asking for attention…or just trying to gain approval for dessert!

 

2. Stop giving praise for finishing all of their dinner! Yup, that’s right! Praise your children for trying foods, sitting at the table, and sharing their day’s activities with you…but definitely not for cleaning their plates! Keep in mind that your kids will typically overeat or hide their food to garner praise for eating 100% of their meal…or sometimes just to follow the table rules you mistakenly may have set!

 

3. Start talking with your children about listening to their bodies’ cues for hunger and fullness. Teach them to notice how they feel at the beginning of a meal, the middle of a meal, and at the end of a meal. Then check in with them to see how they feel an hour after. This will help your children learn to use “self talk” and check in with their own bodies as they get older—and hopefully cultivate a lifetime of  internally regulating their food intake by way of mind and body clues. And please let your children know they do not need to eat everything on their plate!

 

4. Give your children a choice of two different dinners. The act of choosing helps to give your children feelings of pride and independence. For example, you might ask: “Do you want roast chicken with sweet potatoes and green beans tonight or would you prefer rice and beans with ham and green beans?”

Photo Credit: theloushe via Compfight cc

5. Cook with your children to help identify which foods they like while also teaching them some of the fundamentals of living. Learning how to cook, set the table, clear the table, and even clean up the kitchen help children to understand the basics of nutrition, the time spent, and the constant effort required to feed a family. Your children will be more likely to respect meal times and less likely to hide their food…and then start “grazing” later.

 

6. Play detective! Observe if your children are grazing…or eating more snack foods or just some specific foods…before or after the meal. (And don’t forget to check out whether instances of food hiding have occurred.)

 

7. Finally, don’t forget that heart-to-heart talks are always helpful. Sit down with your children and let them know you will not be angry…or yelling…at them! (But you must remember to keep that promise!) Then try to explore their feelings about and behaviors during the meal and, perhaps even more revelatory, other things that may be affecting their food consumption behaviors.

 

Have a question for Laura? Ask her by clicking here

Food Antics

Food Antics
By: Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN and Mom of two

 

Is there ever a dull moment in your kitchen? Well, there sure isn’t one in mine! My husband and I have noticed that our older son continuously asks for food all evening long—from dinner on until his bedtime. And he’s not actually asking for food; rather, he’s telling us that he’s hungry. Since Bobby has always been my famously “intuitive eater,” one might readily think: that’s terrific. Just feed the growing boy!

 

But of course, nothing is as simple as it seems when it comes to food. Bobby is most definitely growing and can easily consume an entire box of mac and cheese with spinach, an apple and a chicken cutlet—and still be hungry! This is completely fine with me if it isn’t every night just before bedtime arrives. What we have noticed, however, is that Bobby is responding to all statements concerning getting ready for bed, or even going to sleep, with “But I’m still hungry.”

 

Attempting to find out what Bobby is really “hungry” for, I ask him: Do you want more dinner? Would you like a yogurt stick? How about some ice cream? An apple? A yogurt? Maybe a smoothie?

We tried giving him larger dinner portions, serving dessert with dinner and even calling “last round” for kitchen requests. But it never fails to happen just like this…

 

Last night Bobby was in bed. The family had read books together and we even shared some “silly” time. Just as I was saying goodnight and leaving his room, he said: “But I’m still hungry.” By this point in time, I don’t want to care if my kid is hungry. Either he needs to learn to be more mindful and check in with his belly and brain before bedtime…or he’s really needing and wanting something else!

 

Now, as I sit here writing…an important concept leaps into my brain: I’m not sure if I ever asked Bobby if he wanted something else. Like a little more time with mom. Or to talk about a bad dream he may have had. Or perhaps he’s just trying to defy the boundaries his dad and I have set. There are so many possibilities in this scenario.

 

When I consider this difficult situation from an RD’s perspective, I know just what I would suggest to any of my mom clients dealing with this type of issue: “Have a real heart-to-heart talk with your son. Ask him during the day time—at a non-meal moment —what he’s truly feeling and wanting at night.”

 

There are a variety of life changes that may be affecting Bobby that he, along with his peers as well as adults, is not aware of feeling. Or perhaps he may just be hungry! The lesson for me and my readers is this: Consider creating an open dialogue at a non-food time to find out if the problematic situation is indeed about food—or about feelings. What you learn will surely help you to resolve the issue. Sometimes the answer may be serving more protein and fat with dinner…and sometimes the answer may be spending a special day alone together…just mommy and me.

I’m so glad I was able to give myself a free nutrition session!

 

And by the way, my younger son Billy told me he eats his fish sticks with his dad because daddy makes him. But he won’t eat them with me! Yep, that’s a whole other can of “gummy” worms! Maybe the subject of my next blog. Of course, don’t forget you can always ask us your questions by submitting them right here:

Likable Lunches: Citibabes' Style

Need nutritious ideas for likable lunches? Here are some flavor favorites you can add to your child’s springtime lunch box: remember exposure to new flavors and textures are key to increasing your child’s nutritional repertoire.

If you have a picky eater, introduce one new flavor with other favorite lunch foods.

* Whole-wheat wrap with thinly sliced fresh roast beef with thin layer of olive tapenade and an apple.

* Sushi bowl: Rice in a bowl with edamame, baked terrakyi tofu cubes, fresh corn and side of pickled ginger or cucumber slices.

* Whole grain sandwich with Cheddar, hummus, grilled red peppers, spring lettuce on whole grain bread with side of mini heirloom tomatoes.

 

To read more on likable lunches head over to Citibabes to read the rest of Laura’s article by clicking here.

Positive Interactions: How Friends Affect Our Health

Positive Interactions: How Friends Affect Our Health
By Laura Cipullo, RD CDE CEDRD CDN and Mom

I needed to keep my two boys as active as possible during their spring break from school. My intent was to safeguard their physical health—and my own personal mental health as well! We shared a fun-filled week. Although we did engage in some “brainy” activities like touring the Math Museum, we truly stretched our bodies and minds rock climbing.

 

Yup, thanks to my wonderful clients (they teach me things too!), I was introduced to indoor rock climbing. I have rock climbed in Colorado but never thought it would become an afternoon activity I could replicate here in NYC. Well…we did it…and will definitely be doing it again.

 

My “mommy” friend and I rounded up our children, and literally, up they all went! My older son Bobby has always been a little timid about rock climbing. He was about five years old the first time I introduced him to the sport…and he was positively terrified. As you might easily imagine, I was so very disappointed. I had paid for a full semester of mommy and son rock climbing! But now with some extra age plus the addition of his younger brother and his two peers, he just had to become highly self-motivated. Upon our arrival at the rock-climbing venue however, Bobby told me he wasn’t going to climb. Before I could say anything, my friend Abby said: “That’s okay. You can just watch.” Thank goodness she had responded to him first; it influenced me in a very positive way. I casually chimed in: “Yeah, don’t worry, you can just watch.” So, because the pressure had been removed, he decided to do it on his own. He saw the other three kids—including his younger brother Billy—happily putting on their harnesses and clipping in. I think he decided against letting his fears be the cause of his missing out on all of the fun. I also wonder if the fact that his friends were girls, and they were excited to rock climb, had any bearing on his decision. He even told the instructor he wasn’t sure if he was climbing. But, as soon as he saw the girls and Billy go up, he clearly said: “I’m next!” And he truly had the best time!

Wow! What a confidence booster for Bobby and real assurance for me about not pressuring my kids into doing anything they may not immediately embrace. Abby’s (the other mom) demeanor was great. When I thanked her for unknowingly helping me through the difficult earlier moment, she just laughed. And then she told me that if it had been her kids, she too would have been urging them to try and just do it.  So while I was supported by my peer, my older son also was supported by his peers. All four kids were climbing “rock stars”! I was so jealous. Now I’m planning to go back to climb there myself.

 

After two hours of rock climbing, the kids were famished and the moms were exhausted just from watching. When we all headed out to share dinner, Billy had this wonderfully positive interaction. His little friend was dipping her bread in olive oil with salt and pepper. He simply adores her…and surely was influenced to follow her lead. Playing it very cool, he poured himself some olive oil and sprinkled salt and pepper on it. He dipped his bread with real pride. We moms laughed knowing how the kids had all been such great role models for each other that afternoon and evening. And what a great day the moms had too. My belly laughs, the delight of watching all four kids summit the climbs, plus having another mom to share the experiences with. Easily the best dose of good health ever!

 

Did you catch Laura on The Daily Meal yesterday? Click on the photo below to hear Laura’s tips and to learn more about her book Healthy Habits!

Coconut Macaroons with a Chocolate-y Drizzle

Photo Credit: anna.xie via Compfight cc

Coconut Macaroons with a Chocolatey Drizzle

With Passover right around the corner, we had the idea of trying out some Kosher for Passover recipes. While this recipe makes a delicious macaroon, it also allows you the opportunity to get your kids helping in the kitchen and to teach them the traditions of Passover.  Make these delectable desserts with your little ones and share with family and friends at your next gathering!

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 ½ cups of shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp of salt

Optional:

½ cup of semisweet chocolate chips

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  2. Combine the egg whites, coconut, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt into a bowl.
  3. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Do not let the bowl and the pot touch.
  4. Stir the ingredients until the sugar has melted, roughly 5 minutes.
  5. When the mixture is slightly thick and begins to appear opaque, remove the bowl from the heat.
  6. On parchment paper or a non-stick baking sheet, spoon out 2 tbsp of the batter for each cookie.  Leaving approximately 2 inches of space between each cookie.
  7. Bake for 5 minutes.
  8. Lower the temperature to 325˚F and bake for another 10 minutes so that the outside is a deep golden brown.
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool before serving.
  10. (Optional)- Melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat.  With a fork dipped into the chocolate, drizzle the chocolate over the macaroons.
  11. (Optional)- Let the cookies sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes until the chocolate has cooled.

Healthy Habits is coming to a school near you!

Healthy Habits is coming to a school near you!
By Lauren Cohen and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Starting in early March, members of the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team have been heading out to share our nutrition education program, Healthy Habits, with New York City students.  It has already proved to be an incredibly rewarding experience for both the students and teachers.

 

Over the past few weeks, we have been heading out to Schools and Day Cares around NYC and it’s boroughs to spend some time with students. With ages ranging from 5-9, we really have our hands full! It was thrilling to see the amount of nutrition knowledge students in this age range already had. The younger students were full of great information and even better questions while the older students were explaining the benefits of protein and exercise and asking questions about metabolism!

 

Here are some of the highlights:

1.  Meeting the students and finding out what they know.

The students at our first two locations have a nutrition program already and we quickly learned that all their hard work paid off. The students were able to name all of the food groups from MyPlate and were even able to categorize their lunch foods. They told us all about the lunch they had that day—there was something from every food group! They were eager to display their knowledge and learn more. Needless to say, we were very impressed!

 

2.  Learning about Sometimes and Everyday foods.

After we learned what the students had that day, we asked them what they liked to eat. They named a ton of healthy foods but also a lot of snacks and treats. Sometimes and Everyday foods are a big and exciting philosophy that Healthy Habits teaches. The students seemed happy to learn that chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes fit in the sometimes category. This is an important part of Healthy Habits’ lesson plan and the students were very taken to this concept.

 

3.  Learning about the Hunger and Fullness scale.

How hungry are you now? How hungry are you after you eat? Before you eat? Sometimes these questions are hard to answer. It’s a precious skill to be able to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness needs. We asked the students how to identify what hunger and fullness felt like and if that was how they felt now. It can be a big challenge to tune into your body that way and it was exciting to see the students pick up on this quickly. Some of them were hungry and some of them were not but their ability to gage their hunger/ fullness needs worked out well for the next part of our lesson!

 

4.  Learning how to eat mindfully.

Have you ever thought about your senses while you eat? What does your food look like, sound like, and feel like? How does it smell? How about the taste? Have you ever thought about the food you’re eating while you’re eating it, or taken three slow breathes to enjoy your meal before chowing down? All of these factors have a huge impact on how we feel about our food and eating. It’s a valuable skill to incorporate into your daily habits. This was the student’s favorite part! Maybe it was the snacks or perhaps because we were playing with food—either way, it was a blast!

 

We wanted to say a very big thank you to the students and faculty at the various locations we have been working with for welcoming us into your school and allowing us to have such a wonderfully positive experience learning with you.

 

If you are interested in having members of the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team come teach Healthy Habits at your school, please contact us at newyork@lauracipullollc.com.

 

For more information on the Healthy Habits curriculum or to purchase it, please visit http://momdishesitout.wpengine.com/resources/healthy-habits-for-children/.

 For a FREE download of one of our Healthy Habits worksheets click the photo below!

Screen shot 2014-04-03 at 7.40.20 AM

Salmon Patties for Breakfast!

We mentioned the importance of getting kids active in the kitchen in yesterday’s blog post. To continue with that message, we wanted to post a recipe that makes a great addition to a homemade, weekend brunch and serves as a wonderful opportunity to get your children to expand their eating and cooking horizons! Salmon is a great source of both DHA and EPA, forms of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to aide in decreasing the risk of heart disease and help fight inflammation. So have the kids help with the potatoes (careful of the knife, of course!) or cracking the egg. Then enjoy a family meal all together to help further foster a positive relationship with food!

Photo Credit: Dalboz17 via Compfight cc

Salmon Breakfast Patties
Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 8 ounces skinless, deboned salmon
  • 1 lg egg white
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • 1 tsp canola oil + oil for cooking

 

Method

  1. Bring potatoes to a boil in small saucepan. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain and allow to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  3. Place salmon in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the egg white, salt and pepper. Process until pureed.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Mix in the potatoes, onions, oil and basil.
  5. Spoon the mixture into burger-sized patties. Set aside.
  6. Heat a skillet with canola oil over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook until brown (roughly 2 minutes per side). Transfer the cooked patties onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all patties are cooked.
  7. Bake the patties an additional 5-7 minutes in the oven.
  8. Remove from oven and enjoy!

 

Recipe adapted from the Mindful Eating Miraval Cookbook.

Get your kids cooking in the kitchen!

Get your kids cooking in the kitchen!
By Laura Cipullo, RD CDE CEDRD CDN and Mom

To honor National Nutrition Month we wanted to focus on helping children foster a positive relationship with food. A great way to do that is by getting kids active in the cooking process. Even if its making sometimes foods like baking cookies or, in this case, making pancakes! Here’s a cute video we made with the kids:

 

Buttermilk Pancakes
Recipe makes about 12 pancakes, depending on size.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2.5 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • maple syrup for serving

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beginning with the eggs, followed by the buttermilk, butter, and whisk until combined. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk until the flour is incorporated.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, add a little butter or cooking spray to the pan. Spoon about 1/2 cup of batter into heated pan and cook about 2 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Serve with optional warm butter, maple syrup, and/or fruit.

 

 

– See more at: Bitsy’s Brainfood

What eating right means to this mom and RD…

What eating right means to this mom and RD…
By Laura Cipullo, RD CDE CEDRD CDN and Mom

 

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recently asked RDs to explain what eating right means to them. So I asked my assistant, my interns and my student volunteers to describe what it means to each of them. They shared their definitions with me—and therefore with you—at www.EatingAndLivingModerately.com.

I really think my blogs—and even simply many of the titles of my blogs—paint a very accurate picture of what eating right means to me. But just in case you may have missed my continuing message, here’s a short synopsis:

One Size Does Not Fit All

I’ve learned that diets basically don’t work! And I learned this fact more than twenty years ago! Since then, via earning my RD credentials, attempting to balance my own state of wellness, and working with clients, I’ve definitively learned and absolutely believe that ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL! Every individual carries a different set of genes, brings a different mindset and lives in a different environment. So although I believe all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle, how I educate my clients (and my children) depends a great deal upon their personal situations. The concept of eating right is truly unique to each person’s unique needs. We need to go back to defining diet as habitual nourishment, rather than a quick fix.

Mixed Meals with Internal Regulation

For me, eating right became much easier when I let go of perfecting my diet and made the decision to eat all foods. Yes…carbs, proteins and even fats! I began using internal regulation methods rather than external regulation methods such as calorie counting or using a scale to “weigh my health.” Eating “imperfectly” became my perfect! For example, this means that if I eat a cupcake with my boys or share a meal with a client even though I’m already full, I don’t think twice about it. Rather, I enjoy the taste while I’m eating and remain mindful of my overall lifestyle. Learning to eat meals mixed with all three macronutrients and snacks with two of the three was essential—and still remains my ideal means for structuring food intake throughout each day. Actually, many of the techniques I use to feed myself and my family as well as what I teach all of my clients are based on the knowledge I’ve gained as a diabetes educator. Eating in harmony with the endocrine system (insulin, blood sugar, mixed meals, rate of absorption and fullness, etc.) and empowering intelligent decision-making are integral to wellness.

Some Food From Boxes

But I also know that eating right must also be realistic! Being a mom of two and having a full-time career which requires my working out-of-my-home two nights each week means learning how to create— and quickly prepare—healthy meals with just a few basic ingredients. It means sometimes eating a Kale Caesar Salad with salmon, or pasta with fresh asparagus or just pizza. It means actually making my children’s meals—even if not totally from scratch. At the very least, what I prepare is much less processed than fast food or take-out. And it also means my family and I can choose to eat vegan chili for lunch with chocolate chip cookies for snack!

The 75/25 Approach

My personal eating behaviors reflect what I teach in my book HEALTHY HABITS: The Program plus Food Guide Index & Easy Recipes. Although I created this book to help parents and educators teach children how to feed and eat in healthy ways, my husband, my children and I all practice these lessons in our daily lives. As explained in HEALTHY HABITS, I employ the concept of consuming what I call “everyday” foods (nutrient dense and sustainable) the majority of the time  (in general about 75%) and “sometimes” foods (low nutrient dense and less likely to be earth friendly) the remainder of the time (about 25%). And I use a “hunger/fullness scale” to help determine my portion sizes.

 Eating a Variety of Real Food

As evidenced by massive, ongoing research, nutritional science is neither black nor white. We always hear what the latest study has found or is associated with; it may, in fact, be in extensive conflict with a study completed just a year previous. So I personally try to stay in the middle—what I like to refer to as the grey zone. If I’m not eating excessively of one food or nutrient, I genuinely feel this will help minimize my risk of developing disease—such as diabetes, heart disease or even cancer. Being in the grey zone also helps to keep me at ease mentally. The mind-body connection is an important part of eating and being healthy. The yin yang symbol of balance bearing the apple and the cupcake on the cover of HEALTHY HABITS truly summarizes my definition of health and healthy eating and therefore, eating right.

Focus on Behaviors

And one more thing, eating right does not get measured on a scale located in your bathroom or in your doctor’s office. Here’s what is truly measurable and absolutely remarkable: The behaviors we engage in on a daily basis and how these actions and interactions affect us as complete, unique individuals. For me, that means being a mom, a wife, a friend, and an RD who eats, moves, rests and, of course, laughs!

Have Some Fun

So while you’re trying to live a life with what you deem as eating right, be sure that flexibility, spontaneity and “ a light hearted” attitude accompany your food choices. Again, this is the grey zone rather than the extreme zone.