Win a Month's Supply of Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars!

Mom Dishes It Out is giving 5 lucky winners

a month’s supply of FREE Yasso!

As the temperature increases, so can our the calling for cold, creamy sweets. If you’re looking for a cold treat, we have a delicious dessert for you. And if you’re not already a fan of Greek yogurt, these Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars will win you over! Available in three berry delicious flavors, these gluten-free bars ring in at 70 calories each and provides 6 grams of protein. Made without corn syrup and with rBST-free milk, these treats contain live and active cultures-which are good for your body. The individual packaging of each treat also allows for practicing good portion control skills too!

Want to enter for a chance to try this deliciously cold treat?

Enter by one of the following ways:

Let us know what you like about the Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars and you could be one of five lucky winners!
Winners will be announced on Friday, August 24, 2012 at 6:00 PM EST.

MomDishesItOut’s 5 Family Friendly NYC Food Spots

Playgrounds and museums, there’s no doubt that NYC is jam packed with kid-friendly activities and events. But are there children friendly food spots too? If the thought that restaurants might be ‘too fancy’ to take your kids along has ever crossed your mind, think again! Busy Moms and Dads, grab your partner and your kiddies too!

New York City is filled with healthy and affordable restaurants that are family friendly. If you want a night out, kids-free, you can always get hip and healthy with my list of NYC’s Top Chic Restaurants. In the meantime, navigate your way to these eateries for tasty and budget friendly neighborhood food.

 

Bareburger
Enjoy a fun and adventurous meal with your family and introduce your little ones to bison, boar, elk, lamb or ostrich! If that doesn’t suit your families’ taste buds, this restaurant has a little something for everyone. It also specializes in more traditional burgers with grass-fed meats like beef, turkey, chicken, and portabella mushroom for vegetarians. This Mom loves the all-natural bison burger on a whole grain roll!!

Dig Inn
Come here for local produce and lots of flavor. While you pretty much make your own plate, it adds to the atmosphere, making it fun and casual. How does it work? You choose 1 protein, 1 grain or green, and a pick of your favorite seasonal vegetables, (perfect for sharing). With so many options sometimes it can be hard to pick. Go for the lemon chicken, raw baby spinach, tomato & cucumber salad!! My son Billy loves their hummus!

Energy Kitchen
At Energy Kitchen, you don’t have to sacrifice health and nutrition for taste. With a kid’s menu and healthy sides, I love taking my kids here! The bison burger is > 90 % lean so this is always a heart healthy bet!! All meals are less than 500 calories so perfect for a kid’s dinner or a quick, healthy mom lunch. Mom Dishes It Out is offering a free giveaway to Energy Kitchen. Check out our blog for more details.

GustOrganics
Choose food that you can feel good about. Kid friendly food from turkey burgers (large enough to share for young kids) to quesadillas!! The filet mignon and the sizzling fajitas are delic! Using 100% organic ingredients, with Latin American-inspired cuisine, the average kid can find something to eat here. My favorite part is that everything from the purified water to the packaging is based on organic and sustainable practices. This restaurant is actually the first and only certified and organic restaurant in New York – how awesome!

Josie’s Restaurant
Start with fun finger food such as the edamame and or one of the many dumplings at this dairy free, health conscious restaurant. Whether you are vegetarian or a beef eater, you can find a simple no fuss dish. This mom loves the tuna burger and the fish specials. Picky palates can opt for the pasta with turkey meatballs or the roasted chicken with the smashed potatoes!!!

Mom's Dishing Out: Energy Kitchen Giveaways!

For those of you who have yet to try a delicious meal from Energy Kitchen, you’re in for a tasty, healthy treat!

MomDishesItOut is giving away 2 giftcards, worth $15 each, to two lucky winners!!!

When it comes to dining out, sometimes it can be hard to practice healthy on the go. That’s why I love Energy Kitchen! From burgers and wraps to salads and smoothies, this fast-casual eatery is filled with healthy and tasty options. Being healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a burger here and there with your friends, or split a smoothie with your kids. Being healthy can also mean knowing what ingredients go into the foods you eat, how it’s prepared and how to make healthier choices.

They use wholesome ingredients like grass-fed and free range beef, 90% lean meats, whole wheat buns, and fat-free dressings to create entrees, sides and delicious desserts. Unlike your typical fast food restaurants, by steaming, grilling or baking all items (nothing is fried!) everything on the menu falls under 500 calories. And while it’s not always about counting calories, Energy Kitchen features nutritious menu items that makes it easier for people to make healthier decisions while on the go. With an agenda to transforming the fast food industry, we love the taste of Energy Kitchen and we’re almost certain you will too!

Want to be one of the two lucky winners to receive a $15 gift card to Energy Kitchen?

Enter by one of the following ways:

Let us know what you like about Energy Kitchen and you could be one of the lucky winners!
Winners will be announced on Friday, August 10, 2012 at 6:00 PM EST.

Tolerating Your Children's Boring Palates

Photo Credit: Leonid Mamchenkov via Compfight cc

Do you ever get frustrated with the monotony of your children’s meals? Are you bored preparing the same chicken dish every night? Do you feel that you and your husband are limited in restaurant variety as well as quality due to your children’s picky palates?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then welcome to my world. Because whether you spend all day working in an office or at home caring for your tots, there is nothing more heart-breaking than laboriously preparing an elaborate and flavorful meal that is received without enthusiasm.

 

 

 

My boys’ food preferences seem to rotate. Although they are gradually expanding upon what they’ll tolerate, this process can be painfully slow at times. Exposure therapy, while valuable, often works at a snail’s pace, and there are days when getting your children to try—and actually enjoy—a new food can feel drawn out and downright frustrating.

Just tonight, I had to “go with the flow,” and be sure not to make a big deal about my little guy’s refusal to try a measly nectarine. While he looked absolutely adorable in his attempt to give me a big ol’ orange-hued smile, he never actually consumed the fruit.

The beautiful—albeit incredibly vexing—part about raising children is that their reactions to different foods can be so misleading. Though Billy didn’t technically eat the fruit, he was at least open to making silly faces with the peel in his mouth. That’s progress, right? In a way, I was thrilled by his openness; but internally, I was conflicted. I guess, like all moms, even registered dietitians can get irritated when trying to understand why the introduction of new flavors is such a challenge.

Just when I was about to give up, my older son, Bobby, gave me the answer I’d been searching for.

“I don’t like the red part of the nectarine,” he said (which, of course, happens to be my favorite part).

Bobby added, “Mom, I just like everything the same! I like to have the same thing every night.”

As he often does, Bobby brought me back to reality. Kids like monotony. They like structure and knowing what their days—and their meals—will bring. Bobby understands the basic concepts of eating nutritiously, and so he makes an effort to eat a fruit, a vegetable, and a protein along with his favorite box of Annie’s Mac and Cheese. The last thing he wants, however, is to be adventurous in the kitchen. He just wants the same nutritious foods every night.

Billy is only three-and-a-half and is still unable to verbalize his needs and wishes. As moms, we sometimes become subjective and emotional, mistaking this lack of communication for something it isn’t. If we step back for a moment, observe (or in my case listen) to our children, it is possible to find clarity.

Boring food can be safe and predictable in an overly stimulating world ripe with change. Children relish in what they know, whether food, their school day or their bedtime ritual. If their plates are filled with nutritious and wholesome foods, be thankful. Continue exposing your children to new food, and try to enjoy the process rather than just endure.

Better-than-Takeout: Easy Beef & Broccoli Stir-fry

Beef and broccoli stir-fry gets a family-approved makeover! In about as much time as it takes for you to order takeout, you can make this much healthier and not to mention, tastier stir-fry with this easy-to-follow recipe. Without the added saturated fats and high sodium that you’re bound to find in most takeout, check out this Mom’s healthier dish.

Ingredients (4 servings)

1/2 cup reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 tbsp olive oil
1 lb sliced, boneless beef sirloin
3 cups broccoli florets
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 shallot, chopped

Brown Rice, cooked

 

Directions

1. In a small bowl, mix teriyaki sauce and flour in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and shallots, sauté until golden. Add beef strips and stir-fry, tossing until brown for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

3. To skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil on medium heat.  Add broccoli florets and peppers, cover and cook, tossing occasionally until crisp tender for about 5 minutes. Add teriyaki mixture and return beef to skillet. Cook until sauce thickens, about 2 more minutes. Serve warm over brown rice.

Blast from the Past: 8 Tips to Increase Variety and Decrease Selective Eating

My oldest son, Bobby, and my youngest son, Billy, have thankfully made another step in the right direction of eating all food in moderation. As many of you know, my children, once adventurous eaters (well, at least Bobby was), have limited their variety more and more over the years.

Despite my nutrition background, I have internally struggled at times with my children’s restricted dietary intake and aversion to foods with different colors and textures. What we sometimes have to remind ourselves of is that kids’ habits, like those of their parents, are ever changing. Kids get tired of eating the same old foods over and over again, and just as current favorites fade, old favorites resume as well.

One of the best ways to increase the variety of foods your children eat and decrease selective eating is to reintroduce those former menu staples.

As time passes, I have realized that the apples don’t fall far from this tree. I too was a picky eater growing up and always fell on the lower end of the growth chart, sometimes nearly falling off altogether. Once, my parents even sent me to a doctor because all I would eat was macaroni with cheese or butter for 2 years straight. I couldn’t be convinced to eat a substantial amount of food either, and would say that I was full from half an apple. And, I really was.

For many different reasons—such as exposure to new foods and produce throughout my childhood and teenage years (I even experimented with vegetarianism and veganism)—I eventually figured out how to eat the right amount for me while incorporating a huge variety of ingredients and flavors. As I continue to observe my own children’s eating habits, I feel increasingly confident that, as time goes on, they too will acquire a new appreciation for texture, temperature, color, and quality. (I say quality because, I must admit, I have a penchant for fine ingredients, whether broccoli or a burger.)

So that brings me to the latest update on the home front. At one point, Bobby was happy eating pasta and spinach mixed up with feta or Parmesan cheese and a side of eggs. Then, he got “tired” of those flavors.

Recently, while sitting at dinner with my boys, Bobby said to me, “You know, I would eat the white part of the egg but not the yellow. I don’t like the yellow.” Of course, I had tried to just make him egg whites before; that’s all he ate for some time. But instead of reminding him of this, I said, “Okay, good to know.”

The next night for dinner, I made Bobby his usual whole-wheat mac and cheese with spinach and a side of applesauce (or apple slices). I also included a side of 2 egg whites, cooked without any flaws in the texture. And, well, he ate it up!

Photo Credit: Darny via Compfight cc

I can now officially say that Bobby’s dinner actually consists of a grain, a fruit, a veggie, a dairy and not 1 protein but 2! Now, this does not necessarily mean that Bobby is ready to eat a salad or dine at a fine restaurant. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But he is most definitely reincorporating former staples into his diet. Knowing that I changed, and that Bobby’s habits are changing as well, gives me joy, and I am loving every minute of observing this process.

This also gives me hope for Billy, who still refuses to eat basic dishes like pasta. I am happy to announce that, when looking in the freezer recently, I noticed a box of Dr. Praeger’s fish sticks. Billy used to gobble these up. Knowing that reintroducing certain foods, even after a hiatus, can be effective, I decided to serve some warm fish sticks to both boys the other evening for dinner. As it turns out, the timing was right, and Billy ate all of the fish sticks alongside his normal favorites of hummus, mango, cheese and Ak-Mak crackers. He has been happily eating the fish sticks for the past week now, and even declared, “I like fish!” Of course, this bout may end soon, but that’s par for the course.

Oddly enough, while away over Memorial Day weekend, a guest at my friend’s house commented on my children’s healthy eating behaviors. This baffled me, as I typically hear how my kids are picky, but this person realized that, while their choices are limited, their intake is generally healthy. If nothing else, I’ve at least managed to successfully inspire them to choose nutritious options most of the time. And if that’s the case, I’ll take what I can get for the time being.


Want to expand your child’s food repertoire? Here are a few tricks that have helped me through the years.

  1. Don’t forget that eating habits are always evolving. Think about your personal habits in the kitchen and when out to dinner, and how this affects your own children’s choices and habits.
  2. Talk with your children while they eat dinner. You may learn something about their likes and dislikes.
  3. Ask your children what they like to eat. It may surprise you what they come up with!
  4. Make your children the foods they request, so that they feel as though you’re heeding their wishes. Then, they may be more likely to comply with yours!
  5. Let your children observe you eating a range of foods to help pique their interest.
  6. Be patient, and don’t force feed.
  7. Reintroduce former favorites and new foods with something you know they like to ease the process along.
  8. Most importantly, reintroduce old favorites and former staples on a regular basis. What they loved yesterday might be off limits tomorrow, and what’s off limits tomorrow might be their future favorite!

Trying New Foods

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A mother asks us: My child sometimes gets anxious when I introduce a new healthy food. What can I do to entice him to try and eat it?

Elyse Falk, MS, RD, Mom and Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, Mom answers…

Elyse Replies:

There are a few important things to remember when introducing your child to a new food.

First, it is a good idea to introduce the new ingredient with other foods that they already like to eat.

Next, make the entire process matter of fact. Tell your child that you found a great recipe that you know your friend’s kids really like, and you thought they would like it too. You can tell them what it is (a grain, veggie or protein) and maybe what nutrition it has. But that’s it. Keep it simple.

In my home, I eat the kinds of dishes I like in front of my kids so that I can be a role model and show them how much I enjoy trying new foods. Don’t get me wrong; there are recipes I have made that I just have to say, “Ugh, this really doesn’t taste good,” in front of them, but I think it also shows that I am human and that they can dislike certain foods too. The most important part is trying them. (Some parents choose to impart a “one-bite” rule in their homes, but I wouldn’t push it if it’s going to cause a tantrum.)

Don’t forget that food isn’t always love at first bite. It may take a few attempts for them to taste the new ingredient, so remember that exposure and repetitiveness is key. Try to introduce the new food in different ways by changing the flavor, texture (pureed vs. whole) or cooking method (steamed vs. roasted).

Friends and family may be your best allies too, as sometimes, siblings or friends could entice each other to try a new food. For example, if one sibling likes the food, and the other one has never tried it before and sees his or her sibling really enjoying new flavors, it usually draws interest and the desire to try them too.

At the end of the day though, remember that you don’t want to place too much pressure on your child. If they see you getting angry over the fact that they didn’t taste or like it, they may feel added pressure or anxiety the next time. Just teach them that, in certain instances, it is ok to reply, “no thank you,” and let it go. Children’s taste buds change every day, so don’t lose hope.

Laura Replies:

If your child is really picky, like my boys are, then start by exposing your son or daughter to the new food before even asking them to try it. Exposure is essential. Place the food on or perhaps just near their plate first. They don’t need to eat it, but they do need to leave it be. Even this can be a challenge. My boys still move the food away from their plate—and far away at that. But eventually, it gets on to their plate and stays there.

Once you’ve accomplished that simple yet monumental task, try implementing the one bite rule. If they refuse to take even a small bite, instead of making a big deal, instead try the one lick rule.

My boys are typically ok with the one lick rule. My oldest son, who is now 5 and a half, is even coming around to the one bite rule, of course, as long as he can spit it out if he doesn’t like it. At this point, if I can ask him to take one bite and swallow, he will—but only with certain foods.

Billy, my youngest, is still in the “one lick phase,” unless he sees something he actually wants to try. Billy has made a ton of progress. He tries a lot on his own now, even though he usually doesn’t like it. I know I was the same way as a child. I only ate macaroni with butter or cheese for almost two years. My mother took me to the doctor at the time; he said I would grow out of it, and I did.

I am still, however, quite picky with the quality of my food. I’ll try anything—even pig’s intestine—so long as it’s prepared well. In this sense, the kids definitely surprise me by which foods they will and will not try, so at least they inherited that from me too.

In the case that your child truly, adamantly does not want to taste an ingredient, you may benefit from simply letting it go and trying again a month later. You never know how their taste will evolve, especially at such a young age, so continue to offer and or expose them to new and different foods periodically. While it may seem like it at times, your children are not only going to eat mac n’ cheese and chicken nuggets forever, well – we hope.

Moms: Are your kids anxious around new ingredients? How do you get your kids to try new foods? Do they get their picky tendencies from you?

Mixed Berry Smoothies

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On Saturday, we had my son’s school spring fair. Being that I am the food and
nutrition chair, I was automatically given the responsibilities of the Smoothie Bar.
I never follow recipes so trying to forecast the amount of fruit we would need to
make 100 smoothies seemed impossible. Thankfully, Driscoll’s Berries offered to
donate to our event. The graciously sent us delicious raspberries, blackberries,
blueberries and strawberries. I used their recipe to determine the quantities to buy
and then just improvised on the day of. We didn’t need the OJ and we used low fat
organic vanilla yogurt. To my delight, we sold every last berry and my boys loved
the smoothie. Hence my blender is not going away. Both of my boys drank two
smoothies each over the 4-hour period. And, last night they had smoothies for the
night snack!!!

Moms and Dads, I highly recommend this smoothie to help increase your children’s
intake of fruits and vegetables. You can use plain Greek yogurt and or add protein
powder to increase the protein content of the smoothie. The added protein
will prevent a blood sugar roller coaster. Yes, this can happen in children too,
so as adults we should always be thinking of serving our children wholesome
carbohydrates, with lean proteins and healthy fats at each meal and or snack.

So get refreshed this spring with this awesome antioxidant mixed berry smoothie.
Here is the Driscoll’s Mixed Berry Smoothie. I adapted it by eliminating the OJ and
ginger and using extra ice. You can use this version or modify to your heart’s desire.

Guest Blog: Elyse Falk

Hi, I’m Elyse Falk and I am a registered dietitian in Westchester, NY and a mom of 3 wonderful, energetic boys, ages 11, 8, and 4. I initially decided to become an RD because I love good food—you know, the kind that makes your body healthy and strong—and immediately knew I wanted to raise a family that would grow up appreciating good, wholesome food as much as I do.

Through my education as well as my professional and personal experiences, I have learned that both parents and their children must play active roles in cultivating a healthy relationship with food.
As a parent, I am responsible for determining the types of food that are in the home and preparing these ingredients in a way that my family will actually eat and enjoy. In order to do this, I am always planning a day ahead and thinking about how to serve meals that include at least 3 to 4 food groups. Looking at my childrens’ diets as a whole, I ask myself: Did they get their fruits and vegetables for the day? What about lean proteins and low-fat dairy?

But it’s not just about what they eat; I am also in charge of structuring their meals and snacks throughout the day, deciphering how they eat too. My ultimate parental role is to educate my children so that they understand the difference between when to eat foods that “do good things” for the body versus when to eat “sometimes foods,” otherwise defined as those products or ingredients that don’t offer much nutrition for the body.   
Something I’ve discovered is that “sometimes foods,” like cookies (my boys love chocolate chip cookies), don’t necessarily need their own place and time. Instead, I find that they should be neutralized in order to eliminate the notion of treats. If they ask for cookies, for example, I allow my boys to eat them with their dinner, a decision which neutralizes dessert so that it is not necessarily the highlight of their evening intake. When I first started combining dinner and dessert, I was fascinated that my son actually went back and forth between eating his veggie burger and cookie at the same time, finishing both without an issue. This also proves how insignificant dessert really is to children; all they’re really hoping for is a “sometimes food” at some point during their meal.

All parents, myself included, need to serve as a role model for healthy eating. One way I accomplish this is by sitting down for meals with my children and showing them how I enjoy consuming delicious, wholesome food. As for the kids, at the end of the day, they are the ones who are in charge of how much food to eat and whether they want to eat certain kinds or not. While I encourage them to try new foods, I won’t ever push them to the point where it becomes an issue. (I do expect them to say, “no thank you” and “please,” though. Manners are important too.)

Photo Credit: ….Tim via Compfight cc

As my boys get older, they seem to be developing more adventurous tendencies. If one tries a new food, the others seem to want a taste too. (This is incredibly funny to watch as an outsider.) As they’ve grown, I’ve also learned a thing or two about their eating habits. For instance, I don’t celebrate if one of them tries a new food, because as soon as they see my contentment, they’ll stop eating it (it has to do with control). I’ve also discovered that some days they can eat me under the table whereas other days they’re just not as hungry.

Being an RD and working with clients with disordered eating habits has made me particularly sensitive to the way my boys experience food at home. As a mother of 3, I know that food can be both necessary and fun, and yet I’m also aware that it can cause stress and concern at times too.
Laura, my friend and colleague for 10 years, has asked me to join her efforts on Mom Dishes It Out and to contribute my experiences and expertise to give her readers yet another perspective on finding joy and balance in moderate parenting and feeding. I am happy to be a part of this project and hope all the feeders and eaters out there know that it is a constant balancing act, but it is one that is worth every minute.

Potty Training without M&M's

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Many of you probably know that food shouldn’t be used as a reward. If you didn’t already know this, then, from the prospective of an RD, I am telling you now.

As a mom, however, I also know that this is easier said than done. Food to a child can, after all, seem somewhat rewarding. Yet through my own experiences, I’ve slowly picked up on a few tricks on how to prevent food from becoming equated with success—and I think I can make it relatively easy for you moms out there too.

It all started with Billy, who will be three in a few weeks and just finished potty training. And guess what. We did not use food as a reward during this process.

Since Billy is my second child, I felt a lot less pressured to potty train him than I did with Bobby. Right before the school year began, Billy asked if he could go potty on the big boy toilet, and so I immediately pulled out the kid potty and we started training.

Billy sat on the potty a few times and then on the toilet. He went potty with the kids at school, but he refused to wear underwear or use the potty any other time. I figured I’d just let him be. As my Australian friend Maureen advised, they’ll learn at some point. (As it turned out, Maureen’s advice from down under was great. I just let Billy do as he pleased, and while he was still wearing diapers, at least he was content. And so I was happy too.)

As the holidays approached, the boys and I decided that sport and ski camps could be a fun way to stay busy during their time off from school. But Billy could only participate under one condition: he would need to be potty trained in order to be eligible for the program. I explained this to my three-year-old and offered him a small token to forgo his diapers and, voila—he was willing to concede.

Everyone tells you to bribe your kids with M&M’s. Instead, I opted to present Billy with handmade wooden animal ornaments for our Christmas tree—presents that actually benefited the entire family, though Billy was all too excited to receive them as gifts.

When I ran out of ornaments, Billy picked out a presidential brigade box of cars, limos, security cars, planes and other trinkets. The box cost about $30, but it was filled with 15 to 20 potential presents inside. Each time Billy used the potty, I allowed him to pick out a new vehicle from the box.

I am very happy to report that this ploy worked like a charm. Now, Billy has been using the potty without gifts for the past week and a half. We still have toys left in the box, too.

So, instead of making food seem special and putting what we nourish ourselves with on a pedestal, opt for non-edible rewards like Matchbox cars, temporary tattoos, stickers, cool underwear, or Polly Pocket pieces. If you use food as a reward, you may end up sending the wrong message: that you have to earn food or that food is a treat for good behavior.

Remember to teach your children that food is food—nothing more, nothing less. As parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our children understand this concept if we want to prevent disordered and/or secretive eating in their future.

Do you offer your children rewards for certain behaviors or accomplishments? If so, what do you typically reward them with that could be useful for other moms out there?