Chicken & Bean Burritos

Spinach adds a healthy twist to your typical burrito

Recipe by Laura Cipullo, R.D., C.D.E. *Originally published on DisneyFamily.com

INGREDIENTS (Makes 2 servings)

4 whole-wheat tortillas
4 ounces cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup black beans
1 cup chopped cooked spinach
½ cup salsa

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat cooked chicken and beans over medium heat. Add spinach.
  2. Fill each whole-wheat tortilla with 1 ounce chicken, ¼ cup beans, and ¼ cup cooked spinach. Serve with 2 tablespoons of salsa for dipping.

 

Nutrition Facts:
Serving size: 2 burritos

Exchanges: 3.5 carbohydrate, 5 protein, 2 fat
Calories 504
Calories from fat 97
Total fat 11 g
Saturated fat 1 g
Trans fat 0 g
Cholesterol 48 mg
Sodium 690 mg
Total carbohydrate 70 g
Dietary fiber 17 g
Sugars 2 g
Protein 35 g

Perfect Yogurt Pancakes

Chobani’s Perfect Pancakes

Adapted from Chobani’s Perfect Pancake recipe, this Mom’s swapped in some whole-wheat flour and a touch of flax seeds for a healthful kick!

INGREDIENTS (Makes 4 servings)
1/2 cup Chobani Simply 100 Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1/2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c whole-wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp flax seeds
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¾ c skim milk
Nonstick pan spray
Driscolls berries and organic honey, for serving

 

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large bowl combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, flax seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a smaller bowl, gently whisk egg, Greek yogurt and milk.

2. Add wet ingredient mixture to flour mixture and gently mix.

3. In a nonstick skillet, spray a light coat of cooking spray over medium heat. Pour about ¼ cup batter onto pan for each pancake, leaving space between pancakes. Cook for bout 2 minutes, until bubbles appear on surface. Flip once to brown other side. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with remaining batter.

4. Serve warm with organic honey and berries.

While you’re at it, be sure to check out our Chobani giveaway! Mom Dishes It Out will be giving away one customized case of Chobani Greek Yogurt, with winner’s choice of favorite flavors. ENTER FOR GIVEAWAY HERE!

Simply Satisfying Salmon

As featured in Identity Magazine’s “Easy Back to School Recipes”

INGREDIENTS (Makes 4 Servings)

4 5 oz. Wild salmon filets
½ cup Mustard
½ cup Breadcrumbs
4 Ears of fresh corn
Haricot verts (either frozen or fresh)

DIRECTIONS

1. Set oven at 350 degrees.
2. Place salmon on a foil lined baking sheet & spread about ½ tbspn mustard on each filet. Then cover w/ a layer of bread crumbs.
3. Cover w/ a foil tent and bake for ten minutes.
4. Microwave the ears of corn for 5 minutes per 2 ears w/ the husks on.
5. Steam the haricot verts in a steamer for about 8 minutes.
6. After ten minutes, remove foil tent & broil for 5 minutes or until salmon is ready (flaky and pink not red).
7. Serve each salmon filet w/one ear of corn & haricot verts.

Quick Fix:
Can use frozen green beans. Make sure each salmon filet is of equal thickness.

There’s More to Your Child's Food Personality Than Rules and Exposure

American kids can eat almost anything; that’s what I’ve noticed over my past two weeks of travel. If you live in California, your children may be accustomed to eating Mexican meals, snacks from Trader Joes, and occasionally visiting the Donut House for some yummy in the tummy fried dough. If you’re a Colorado native, your kids may enjoy a juicy bison burger, trail mix concoctions and hot cocoa on particularly cool nights. And if you’re from the East Coast, like my family, your tots may be exposed to pizza for easy dinners, organic applesauce for snacks and ice cream on summer nights.

But if you think that a child’s ultimate “food personality”—aka whether they’re a picky or an easy eater—is fully based on the neighborhood they grew up in, the foods their parents purchased or their underdeveloped palates, then think again. Children’s preferences are not black and white, and just as some may be strong-willed, athletic, outgoing or shy, they have equally unique food personalities too.

During my family’s vacation, we spent time on a dude ranch in Colorado, where I observed the same kitchen quandaries I write about here on Mom Dishes It Out all the time. I observed a mom bribing her daughter (the youngest of three) to eat her carrots in order to get her ice cream. I heard another parent tell his sons, “Enjoy your last big breakfast of bacon and eggs.” Personally I just gave up and let my boys eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ice cream twice a day, as they refused all other foods anyway.

At the ranch, I spoke to one guest, an ER doctor, who told me his daughter is a great eater but his oldest son is finicky. When his son went off to college, he lost weight due to his selective intake, and since then has become more open to trying new foods.

Another guest, a nurse practitioner, told me how three of her four children ate well-balanced meals, while one son’s eating patterns were the complete opposite. Interestingly enough, her son with the picky palate is a twin, and exhibited totally different food preferences when compared to his fraternal sibling. (This story reminded me a lot of my own childhood, and how my sister and I had very different eating habits growing up despite our similarities.)

What’s the point of all this? It’s simple. Though rules and exposure in the kitchen may play a significant role in the development of our eating habits, they are not the only factors that will determine a child’s unique food personality. All you can do is sit back, enjoy the ride, and do the best you can as a parent to support them along the way.

  • How would you describe your child’s food personality?
  • What do you think are the greatest influences on your child’s food personality?

Tolerating Your Children's Boring Palates

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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.

Am I restricting my child when I say "no?"

Do you ever feel bad telling your child they can’t eat the ice cream while their friends eat ice cream? Are you the mom that always says yes to placate your child and hope that food will not be an issue if you just give it to them? Well, I am the mom trying to balance both scenarios at the same time. Working in the field of eating disorders and weight management plus living in a world focused on food and weight makes me sensitive to my children’s interpretation of all of these messages. Being that is the Fourth of July, I though it would be helpful to answer so many moms’ question “Am I restricting my child when I say “no”? Of course this is a fine line, but today is a great day to get practicing since food will be plentiful at the BBQ’s you are attending.

My Answer: Saying “no” is okay. Restriction can be the equivalent of boundary setting, not deprivation. There is a difference.

For example, say your child is eating food, and you are not okay with it because they have either had enough (meaning multiple pieces) or it’s nearing a meal. If the child’s snack-time choices will affect their overall daily nutrition, you can feel free to say no. If you are at the BBQ today and your kids are grazing on the chips and salsa near the meal and you fear they will not eat the burger, you can say “finish your chips and let’s save room for dinner. Mommy wants to make sure you get some protein and vitamins or enough nutrition before the day is over.”

Parents must recognize that boundaries are just as important when thinking about food as anything else in life. For some children, it is helpful to explain that the candy or cookies are a “sometimes” food and that it may hurt their belly and or even make them feel weak or dizzy if they eat a lot at one time. If you are concerned that your child will be too full to eat their next meal, remember to explain that lunch or dinner is not far away, and it is important to eat a well-balanced meal with the rest of the family. Whatever you do though, do not label the food as “good” or “bad.”

Besides BBQ’s and family celebrations, another instance in which this may come up, as it does in my home, is after a birthday party. My boys come home with goodie bags filled with “little nothings” all the time. Almost immediately, they start tearing through the bags like it’s Halloween, and the next thing I know, we have wrappers and hyper kids everywhere.

Sometimes, my kids ignore the candy, but most times it is a frenzy of excitement, and I must put my foot down. After the boys have had one to three pieces, I simply ask them to give me their bags, and we put them on the kitchen counter, into the cookie jar or on top of the refrigerator. Typically, when something goes in the cookie jar or on the refrigerator, my kids seem to forget about it. This is consistent with the “out of sight out of mind” philosophy. It doesn’t have to go to waste either; I may then give them this food item a week later as part of their lunch or as a snack at a later date.

In this scenario, I gave my kids some but not all of the candy, setting a boundary, without restricting them altogether. (Restriction would be saying they couldn’t eat the candy today, tomorrow or ever because it is bad or because they don’t need it.) Some may choose to restrict their children from eating less nutritious foods, but research has proven over and over again that limiting a child’s intake leads to binging and obesity—especially when restricting little girls or placing them on a diet. More often than not, deprivation is not the answer. Instead, focus on moderate choices now to equip your children with the ability to make healthier choices in the long run.

If you are thinking, well what about at the BBQ, consider this: For today, you can tell your kids they can take a piece of the Fourth of July cake home for tomorrow if they want the ice cream after the dinner, rather than both if they have already consumed a crazy amount of “sometimes” foods. Or you can let the kids have the cake and ice cream just a smaller portion of each to prevent a meltdown after a long hot day. Don’t make saying yes or no a big deal! Life is not perfect and as far as parenting goes, just try your best and lead with love!!

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.