For Parents

Nourished Kids: Dairy Free Green Dressing

As a mom of a kid who doesn’t exactly love vegetables, I am always looking for ways to make them more enticing, whether that means cutting them into fun shapes, preparing them in unique ways, or experimenting with different dips. This dressing is one of my favorites to use as a veggie dip because it is delicious, easy to make, and I mean just look at that color!

ingredients1food processor1dressing2aDairy Free Green Dressing

Adapted from simplyrecipes.com

  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup dairy free yogurt (coconut or almond)
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped tarragon
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped chives
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. Use as a dip or over salad. It should last about a week in the fridge.

The verdict on this dressing? The first time I offered it, my son was not interested. I tried again the next day, and after a few shy tries he happily dipped his carrots (and everything else on his plate) in the dressing. Time to make more!

DF Green Dressing


Eunice Holmes, RDN, LDN is a regular contributor to this blog and assistant nutrition manager for PreviMedica. Her favorite things are pretty food, being a cat lady without actually having a cat, and of course, her family.

Nourished Kids: Banana Bread

If you don’t know what to do with your over ripe bananas, here is the perfect recipe for you and the little ones in your life! This banana bread is the perfect combination of natural sweetness and nutrition. Feel free to use any add-in you’d like such as walnuts, chocolate chips, or even dried fruit. Little hands love this delicious bread!

Banana Bread

  Banana Bread

(This recipe was loosely adapted from www.cookieandkate.com)

  Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 overly ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup almond milk or other desired milk
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour OR gluten free flour blend
  • 1/3 cup mix-in’s such as chocolate chips, walnuts, etc.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Combine all wet ingredients in a small bowl, and combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Save the mix-in’s to stir in at the end.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, folding until just mixed.  Fold in the mix-in’s at the end.
  4. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan and bake at 325°F until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about an hour.
  5. Let cool for 10 minutes in the loaf pan and then place on a cooling rack.
  6. This bread freezes well or can be kept at room temperature for a few days.

Megan Huard, Chef RD and Stefanie Gates, chef are regular contributors to our blog and culinary advisors for PreviMedica. They enjoy developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. You can learn more about them here and here.

 

Nourished Kids: 6 Creative Ways to Introduce New Foods to Kids

We are excited to introduce our Nourished Kids series! Each week we will share creative ideas and recipes to feed your littlest eaters. Today we are sharing six creative ways to introduce new foods to your kids. 


In a previous post, we gave you some ideas to help introduce new foods to kids who are selective or picky eaters. This time we thought we would expand on one of those suggestions and help you put your creativity to the test!

Nourished Kids (3)

Although it certainly doesn’t apply to all, children (and adults) who are visual learners may also tend to be visual eaters! This means that what they see on their plate can play a big part in their decision to partake in a meal.

Bright colors, cool shapes, different textures, and getting them involved, can make mealtime all that more appealing to your child. Here are six ways to brighten up mealtime and have some fun in the process:

1) Eat the rainbow. If your child is drawn to bright colors, use nature’s prettiest foods to make a colorful dish he or she will love to eat!

food rainbow

2) Dress up breakfast. A simple bowl of oatmeal can be turned into a work of art that will make any morning brighter.

Bunny oats23) Cookie cutters are your best friend. If your child really loves a certain animal, car, shape, or holiday, find a cookie cutter for it! This is the easiest way to dress up a sandwich, and it gives you a starting point to add other fruits and veggies that they may not have tried before.train4) Don’t forget about lunch. A fun lunchbox with lots of compartments makes it easier to include a variety of healthy options for your child to choose from. This one from PlanetBox has a section in the middle that is perfect for stickers!lunchbox15) Get them involved. Whether it’s something as simple as a smoothie, baking muffins, or preparing a salad, let your kids join in. Seeing what is going into their food and being able to recognize or even try ingredients as they help, makes them much more confident about their meal. You may be surprised at how much they can do!

helping in the kitchen

6) Use familiar foods, and one new food. No matter how pretty your meal, if your child’s plate is filled with foods they don’t like or are not familiar with, you probably won’t have much luck. Choose foods that your child knows and loves, and include only one new item for them to try.

owl

At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to offer healthy options and your child’s responsibility to choose what they will eat. Just like you and I don’t like certain foods, our kids will also have their preferences. Patience is key in these matters, and even when it seems like your child won’t eat anything other than chicken nuggets and cheese crackers for the rest of his/her life, take heart. Continuous exposure to healthy options (and your example, of course) will reap long-term benefits.

Happy mealtime!


Eunice Holmes, RDN, LDN is a regular contributor to this blog and assistant nutrition manager for PreviMedica. Her favorite things are pretty food, being a cat lady without actually having a cat, and of course, her family.

Healthier Treats This Halloween!

healthy_halloween_treats

Earlier this week, we talked about the Teal Pumpkin Project and how it is making it possible for kids with food allergies to take part in the fun of Halloween. Whether your kids have allergies or not, we can all agree that the typical Halloween treats and snacks leave a lot to be desired! Between the artificial colors/dyes and the loads of sugar, many parents are looking for healthier alternatives.

To do our part, our culinary team had some fun in the Previ Kitchen creating a trio of  not-so-scary treats:

Banana Ghosts, String Cheese Brooms, & Tangerine Pumpkins

We also compiled a list of healthy treats and snacks from around the web that will be perfect to create with your kids in the days leading up to Halloween or as a fun treat in their lunchboxes:

Pumpkin Patch Dippers from Family Fun Magazine

Spooky Spider Snacks from Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons

Apple Bites from Oh She Glows

Healthy Candy Corn Snack from Family Fresh Meals (replace whipped cream with whipped coconut milk to make it dairy free)

Pumpkin Spice Granola from Gimme Some Oven


And if you are looking for candy options that are dye- and high fructose corn syrup-free for trick-or-treaters, try these options:

Surf Sweets

Natural Candy Store

Unreal

Enjoy Life Dairy Free Chocolate 

YumEarth Organics


Have a happy and healthy Halloween everyone!!

Celebrating Halloween With the Teal Pumpkin Project

Halloween is just around the corner and you know what that means… candy and lots of it! While this is a favorite holiday for most children (I mean, who doesn’t love free candy), for millions of kids with food allergies Halloween can be a very unenjoyable experience, not to mention a pretty stressful situation for their parents.

Alas, there is a solution that allows every kid to trick-or-treat: the Teal Pumpkin Project. How does it work? It’s simple; you display a teal colored pumpkin (the color for allergy awareness) outside of your home on Halloween to signal that you are offering  trick-or-treaters goodies that are non-food items and therefore allergen friendly.  Children with food allergies can trick-or-treat at these homes and enjoy the childhood traditions that come with the holiday, and parents can rest easy that their child will not be exposed to their allergens.

The Teal Pumpkin Project was started by a local awareness group in Tennessee a few years ago and was officially launched as a national campaign by the FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) group in 2014. Last year, houses in all 50 states and 14 countries participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project ,with growing recognition every year!

FARE’s website has tons of great resources for the Teal Pumpkin Project, including ideas for non-food items to give out on Halloween, frequently asked questions about the project, as well as a map that allows you to see homes and business that will be participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. You can even add your address to the list if you’d like.

Stuck on what to give out instead of candy? Here are some great ideas:

-Glowsticks, glowstick bracelets, or necklaces (Not only do kids love the glowsticks, but parents appreciate that it helps make kids more visible throughout the night.)

– Pencils, pens, crayons, chalk, or markers

-Bubbles

-Playing cards

-Mini toys such as slinkies, yoyos, and/or whistles

-Stickers

-Temporary Tattoos

-Halloween novelty items such as vampire teeth and plastic spider rings

*A few things to consider:  Bouncy balls are commonly made from latex which is a common allergy and most playdough contains wheat/gluten so it would be best to avoid those.

Rest assured, if you still love the idea of giving out candy, you can still participate! It’s just recommended that you make sure the goodies are kept in separate bowls to prevent any cross contamination between candy and non-food treats.

Don’t have time to paint a pumpkin teal?  Visit FARE’s website and download one of their free signs/flyers to display on your front door instead.

PreviMedica’s staff will proudly be displaying their teal pumpkins not only to give kids with food allergies a safe trick-or-treating experience, but to also offer a healthier alternative to commercial candy. Happy Halloween!

The Picky Eating Chronicles: Back to School

 

lunchbox (4 of 6)To read the first part of the Picky Eating Chronicles, click here.

We are now a few weeks into the new school year, and hopefully the back-to-school madness at home has calmed down. Even with all the craziness that comes along with this time of year, it’s a “new beginning” for your child – new clothes, new classroom, new teachers, and hopefully new foods in his eating pattern. Packing lunch for a selective eater is struggle, but if you are still packing the same two or three lunches that you’ve been packing for the last couple of years, I encourage you to consider some new tactics to help expand your child’s repertoire of foods.

Get Feedback: It is important to think about potential reasons why your child may not be eating the foods you are sending in his lunch box. Does the bread get mushy? Does the fruit have brown spots? Is the food at the right temperature? Is the sandwich too big or messy? Is there too much food? Some detective work may be necessary and with a little creativity on your part when addressing these potential issues might be the answer to your picky eater’s eating troubles.

Now for the fun part… what to pack?

banana roll ups

Menu Planning: Make a list of different preferred carbohydrate, protein, and healthy fat choices and ask your child to choose one food in each category (ideally the options would be different for each day of the week). You are ultimately still choosing the foods available, but it will make them feel in control. Menu planning with your kids gets them involved with food, allowing them the opportunity to choose good nutrition.

Putting your Creativity to the Test: We most definitely utilize all of our senses when it comes to eating, but remember we tend to eat with our eyes first. Making your child’s lunch visually appealing can make all the difference, and this can be done in several different ways.

  • Start by letting your child pick out a cool and fun lunch box. Lunch boxes nowadays come in all different shapes and sizes. Compartments are awesome because it keeps foods from getting all mashed together. If your child’s lunchbox doesn’t have compartments already built in, consider purchasing separate lunch box containers that are likely to fit.
  • Think of different cookie cutter shapes you may already have on hand. You can transform a typical square sandwich into a star shaped one! Or add an artsy touch to cheese and whole grain crackers by cutting the cheese into flower shapes.
  • For a fun take on a traditional sandwich, try substituting bread with a tortilla or even apple slices! Elevate it with some nut butter and dried fruit or even some chocolate chips for a twist on your ordinary PB&J.
  • Vegetables can be souped up by adding a dip with them or adding nut butter and dried fruit- like “ants on a log”.
  • Kabobs can also be a fun option (using plastic coffee stirrers instead of skewers)- who doesn’t like food on a stick? Mix and match fruits and veggies with nitrate free cold cuts. For example: pineapple chunks with nitrate free ham, cherry tomatoes with nitrate free turkey, grapes with cheese squares and nitrate free chicken… the options are endless. Your son or daughter may have their own ideas for combinations, so don’t forget to ask them too!

With a little planning and creativity (and patience of course), you will give your child the opportunity to explore other food options in a positive way. Happy Lunch Packing!

school lunch


Basilia Theofilou is a contributor on our blog as well as one of the nutrition advisors here at PreviMedica. You can read more about her here.

For additional nutrition guidance for you and your family, sign up for a PreviMedica membership by contacting us at 855-773-8463 or by email at hello@previmedica.com.

 

Previ Nutrition: The Picky Eating Chronicles

“Ewww!” “Yuck!” “I don’t like that!” Are these common responses your child blurts out when you’re serving dinner? If so, you’re not alone.

For many parents, patience is definitely tested at the dinner table by their kids who may love one meal one day and hate the same exact meal the following week. As a result, many parents succumb to pleas for favorite foods- which, most often than not, tend to be the least nutritious choices. As a parent though, it’s understandable that you want your child to eat SOMETHING. So, at the end of the day, a bowl of Froot Loops cereal or Cheeze-itz crackers seems better than nothing.

There are a number of reasons why a child could be picky or selective. You may be surprised to find out that your child’s rejection to a particular food may not have anything to do with the food itself. Knowing what is behind the refusal of a food can help you to push through a fussy phase much more quickly. Let’s start with the basics of promoting positive eating at home.

  • Division of Responsibility: As a parent you are responsible for what food is available, when it is offered, and where it is consumed. Children are responsible for choosing which foods they eat from what is offered, how much is eaten, and whether they eat or not. There is a fine line between being too controlling and being over-permissive. The goal during childhood is not only to meet nutrient needs, but also to promote a positive relationship with food so that when the child transitions into adolescence and on to adulthood they will make wiser food decisions.
  • Meal Planning with Structured Meals and Snacks: No one food provides all the nutrients we and our children need. Therefore, it would be best to offer ALL food groups at meal and snack times. Structure with meals and snacks is just as important as providing a variety of foods as this will avoid mindless eating throughout the day.
  • Catering to Likes and Dislikes: Don’t do it! Catering to your child’s likes and dislikes by limiting menus to the foods you are certain he will consume, prevents him from expanding his food repertoire. Catering to picky eating just prolongs picky eating.
    • Kids like having control, so when planning dinner, give your child either/or options HE can choose from rather than asking an open ended question. For example instead of asking “would you like carrots for dinner” which may lead to a very quick “no!” you can ask: “would you like carrots or sweet potatoes” or” would you prefer pasta or mashed potatoes”.  Giving them a forced-choice option will still make them feel empowered!
    • It’s normal for a child to be resistant to new foods. If your child does not like a food, do not give up offering it. Continue to serve it on a regular basis. It could take up to 10 or more exposures to a new food before finally accepting it. With that said, avoid overwhelming your picky eater with too many new foods. Offer one new food at a time with something you know your child likes. That way, even if he chooses not to eat the new food, he will not go to bed hungry and you are not offering a different meal compared to the rest of the family.
  • Family Meal Time/ Environment: Children learn most of their behaviors and habits from watching their parents and family members. The dinner table is an opportunity for adults to model everything from manners to healthy eating habits. Studies have shown that children who eat more meals with their families consume more varied balanced meals, report better grades, and improve language skills critical for school success. That said, sitting down as a family for every meal may not be realistic in today’s rushed world. If your family’s schedule is too hectic to always sit down together for meals, make it a priority to come up with other creative ways to eat together- try breakfast as a family meal at home, or enjoy a wholesome meal as a family at a sit down restaurant, or as a picnic in the park.

Make eating a positive experience for everyone involved! Enjoy easy conversation at the table and avoid stressful topics. Even toddlers can discuss topics like “what made you laugh today?” Be patient and continue developing your child’s repertoire of foods by not giving in to their likes and dislikes, and continue exposing them to new foods appropriately.

Stay tuned for more tips to put into practice with your picky eater at home!