So…. this one time, on Pinterest…. I saw a recipe for asparagus and I thought it was something else. When I read the original post, the recipe didn’t sound as good (due only to my personal tastes). However, I was inspired to come up with a recipe that I would love! At our family Easter dinner, this asparagus went from being our veggie side dish to the quickly consumed appetizer that it should have been!
WonTon wrappers (find in your refrigerator section)
EV Olive Oil
To make Wrapped Appetizer Asparagus:
Cut wonton wrappers in half diagonally. Baste wrapper with beaten egg. Sprinkle the wrapper lightly with garlic salt and roll asparagus up in the wonton wrapper. Fry asparagus wraps in olive oil that just coats the bottom of the entire pan until all sides are light brown. Eat plain or with either a sweet chili sauce or wasabi ranch! So yummy!
Toddlers can be sooooo picky! They go through these phases where they will eat their body weight in food and at other times they’ll eat nothing at all. It can be one of the most frustrating things to deal with because you are worried about their nutrition. For some reason, we actually believe that our children might starve themselves rather than eat what we’ve given them. Let me assure you that, with a healthy child, this will not happen.
I have been blessed with children who are pretty good eaters. I credit much of this to using the “Baby Led Weaning” method which I have described in previous posts (see HERE). They are now 28 months old (this makes me cringe a little, knowing how big they are getting!) and still have off and on days. I thought I’d share with you some things that have helped me when they are in a more picky stage.
Sometimes there are legitimate reasons they don’t want to eat. When my daughter is getting a canker sore she slows down quite a bit and then will sometimes start crying in the middle of a meal. This is usually one of my first clues that she had a canker sore and I start giving her yogurt mixed with lots of things so that she can eat in comfort. Another legitimate reason is when they are getting new teeth! Yes, they are still getting teeth….
I find it pretty amusing that my son and daughter are SOOOOO different when it comes to food. If I put a breakfast in front of them, consisting of waffles with cream cheese and a pear, my daughter will devour the pear first and my son will eat the waffle (and maybe some of the fruit – if i’m lucky). My son is a carb guy. He will devour any kind of bread within a mile radius. My daughter will eat half a bag of frozen green beans (cooked) and look for more.
My daughter is one of the least pickiest eaters around but my son will fuss over anything. One day he’ll like it, then next “you’re out”! I have found that it can help to change things up a little. If he is having a fussy meal I’ll take the fruit slices and try cutting them into small chunks, or asking him if he wants his fruit in a bowl so he can scoop it with a spoon. Giving him a utensil or a different utensil can also be a game changer. He loves to stab his food. There were several months that if he couldn’t put his finger through it, he wouldn’t eat it. So, a fork is only second best to poking his food with his finger. Sometimes I’ll try putting the food in a snack trap while he’s at his highchair. This is just another way to mix it up. He’s thinking “Oh! It’s not breakfast, it’s SNACK!” Somehow, snack has grown into this really cool time/stuff to eat. I give them healthy snacks, so I’m not sure what all the fuss is about, but I’ll take enthusiasm for food any way I can get it!
If all else fails, I’ll take my son out of his highchair and see if he will eat from my lap or at a small kids table we have. I try not to worry too much about a picky meal day. My son always makes up for a picky day with a “eating everything in sight” day soon after. As long as I continue to provide them with a well balanced meal (whether they eat it or not) they will eventually get what they need. We recently started giving the kids a gummy vitamin with lunch to try to make up for any pickiness. It seems to have helped my daughter to get fewer canker sores!
Make sure to let your doctor know your concerns if you feel your child isn’t getting what they need. It may be reassuring to keep a food diary/log of what your child eats to help either reassure yourself or to use for a reference when you talk to your pediatrician or his or her phone nurse.
I have found that if you find that one thing that your child loves and eats plenty of, and you feed it to them too often, they will eventually burn out on that food and not want it at all. Yikes! There goes the safety food or the good ole standby that baby will most surely eat!
Do you have any fun techniques that you use to encourage your child to eat? I’d love to hear about them in a comment on this post! For a great idea of the Baby Led Weaning method, check out this Blog!
Is that an oxymoron? Fast food tends to be on the, shall we say, less than healthy side. Still, I like to have a nice place to take my kids for a healthy meal – other than my house. I figured I’d share my favorites in case you were looking.
We have several favorites, but the first two are big chains that are doing a lot about making “fast food” better in quality and taste.
Sharky’s is one of my favorite restaurants. They have organic options as well as low calorie options. They also have a kids menu that isn’t limited to chicken fingers or grilled cheese like most others. We like to get a half power plate for the kids to share. This includes a protein (chicken, steak or tofu) and two sides. They have some great sides to choose from also. We like to get black beans and yams. Their yams are supper yummy. They are basically like mashed sweet potatoes. They also offer brown rice, pinto beans, and veggies like broccoli. I’m so glad there are restaurants out there that value growth hormone free, preservative free, steroid free, and antibiotic free meats. THANK YOU SHARKY’S! Sharky’s also has plenty of highchairs for us to eat in the restaurant with friends who have toddlers as well. They are always friendly, helpful, and never give us dirty looks for the inevitable mess that follows toddlers consuming food.
Chipotle is another favorite. They also offer hormone free meats and dairy products. They use local, organic ingredients when “practical” and keep the big picture in mind. They consider not only people (family farms), but animals (many free range animals and naturally raised animals), and the environment (recycled napkins and local produce when practical). Did I mention how good this food is? We usually get a chicken quesadilla with cheese and a side of black beans for the kids. I’m a big fan of the burrito bowl. Have I mentioned how good it feels to know that the chicken I’m giving my kids is from chickens that eat arsenic FREE feed? THANK YOU CHIPOTLE! Chipotle employees have also been very kind and have highchairs for several kiddos.
The Natural Cafe has been a healthy favorite for some time now. We have plenty to choose from here! Our 26 month olds LOVE “The Natty Cafe(‘s)” (as we call it) soups! They are pretty tasty. We all enjoy sharing a carrot shake as well. (It might sound strange, but it’s flavored with nutmeg and is SO GOOD!) My kids like the grilled tofu and almost anything they can reach from my plate, including lots of veggies. I think their favorite Natural Cafe meal is a shared soup and side of hummus. They have eaten veggie soups from this place that I never thought they would. Cream of asparagus? YES. Ate it and said “Yummy mommy!” The Natural Cafe is also very environmentally conscious. They have water glasses for you to fill yourself (so as not to waste water you don’t drink or water to wash a glass you don’t use), and recycle containers for glass bottles and cans. (Why don’t ALL restaurants recycle? It seems like a no brainer to me…) The Natural Cafe has plenty of highchairs for us to meet with friends to eat and not have to bring our own portable chairs.
I hope this has inspired you to look into some of your local favorite places to eat. I think it’s important to support places like the above listed. I’m proud that they are trying to make a difference in the world while continuing to produce great food!
I know it may not seem to be a big deal to sit down with your kids to eat dinner but I believe it has far reaching affects. If started early (at 6 months when many babies start solids) it can be a joy to have dinner together. Because we have twins we sat our babies in highchairs, but having a meal as a family can mean sitting baby on your lap while you talk to your significant other over a meal. When the weekend comes, and our whole family is available to eat together, we try to shut off the laptop, turn off the TV and take a bit to eat together. We talk about what we are going to do that day, or if it’s dinner, how the day went. Even at 2 years old, I ask my twins to “tell Daddy what we did today!” They have yet to be able to recite their most exciting moments, so for the most part, I then go through what I believe might have been the highlights of their day. It’s great to see their eyes light up remembering the fun they had at a playdate, at a parks and recreation class, or playing in the backyard.
So, while i’m encouraging them to eat dinner, and not put their spoon, fork or cup on the ground, we have a pretty nice dinner. Why is this important? By sitting down for meals several times a day we are teaching our children to be civilized. We are teaching them that there are times to run and play and there are times when we need to sit nicely and eat the food that has been given to us. We model how we want our kids to act. We don’t throw our forks on the floor or stare at the TV and ignore each other. We talk nicely, review our day, our problems or exciting events. When my son won’t eat his green beans, I make sure he sees me eating mine. Often times I then take one from his tray, bite the end with my front teeth, and hold it there in his reach. He most often takes it, eats it and smiles.
By teaching our children that there are times to sit and “behave” (which by no means happens with every meal – they are toddlers after all) they are much more willing to be civilized in other situations that call for being “still”. Our parks and recreation classes are both structured and unstructured. The kids are amazingly good at joining in the structured activities appropriately and I believe eating as a family has something to do with that.
Don’t get me wrong. Eating meals together regularly is not a cure all for the “hyperactive” child. I’m just saying…. I have a friend with a very active boy. Our two families go out to dinner regularly and he does just as amazingly as our children do with sitting in his highchair and eating the meal. If you are afraid to take your kids out to eat, try treating home like a restaurant for a while. Sit down together, eat, and leave the table together. I promise it will improve your family dynamic.