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Curried Cauliflower Bowl with Creamy Curry Sauce

So it all started when I was born… I remember those days well. JK – did I get you?! I HATE recipe pages that start with stories from childhood!! Anyone else just scroll past? Yup me too. So I’m gonna get right to it and share this killer recipe that I made the other night which has NOTHING to do with my childhood because I don’t think I ate a curry dish until I was 23 years old lol.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped and rinsed
  • 1.5 cups shelled edamame beans (I used frozen)
  • 1.5 cups cooked rice (I used the ancient grain mix from costco that cooks in 10 min)
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream + 2 Tbsp whole milk (I wanted to use tahini + water but didn’t have it on hand so I used sour cream + milk)
  • 2 Tbsp curry spice (mine is mild)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayanne
  • S&P
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat airfryer OR oven to 400 degrees. Mix half of all the spices in with avocado oil and pour over cut cauliflower, toss until mixed. Air fry for 7-8 min, toss then air fry again for 3-4 min (at 400 degrees, I did mine in 2 batches so it cooked evenly. You can also roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 min, stir and then again for 5-7 min until crisp).

Meanwhile while cauliflower is cooking steam or microwave edamame beans and once cooked add a pinch of salt and set aside. Finally mix the other half of the spices plus lemon juice with sour cream and milk (or tahini and water) and let sit. Once all components are cooked layer them into a bowl. I layered the rice first, then spread the edamame beans and cauliflower and topped with the sauce. This meal is excellent served deconstructed for little ones with the sauce as a dip.

I absolutely LOVED this dish and next time will go heavier on the spices and likely use potatoes as well cooked alongside the cauliflower to get crispy and spiced too. This dish took me about 15-20 minutes total and will likely become a staple in our home because it’s using ingredients we almost always have on hand.

I bet you’ve done this before…


In this episode, we talk about picky eating and why the usual ways parents try to help don’t always work. Have you ever told your kid they’ll get a cookie if they finish their plate? Or tried to explain why eating veggies is good for them, hoping they’d understand like an adult? Turns out, these methods might not solve the picky eating puzzle. We’ll share some simple, kind tips on how to make mealtime smoother and help your child enjoy a variety of foods. Tune in to learn how to turn food fuss into fun, without making promises of dessert for dinner.

Click here to take my free workshop to help identify why picky eating is happening and how to start reversing it.

Loving the podcast but looking for more?

Head over to my Instagram account @nutrition.for.littles where I drop almost daily content helping you change the mealtime environment in your home (make sure to watch my stories where I teach and explain in more detail!)

Also if you liked this episode share it with your friends and family because it really does take a village to raise kids and it helps when your village is all on the same page!

Thanks for tuning in, until next week mamas!

Hop into Easter with this Easy Easter Appetizer

Grass patch guacamole with carrot crackers is an easy Easter appetizer that doubles as an interactive activity for kids. Amid menu planning for this year’s family Easter meal, I wanted to come up with something delicious, relatively light, with lots of fresh ingredients and several tactile steps. Furthermore, I wanted it hearty enough to fuel the little ones for a pre-dinner Easter egg hunt, and this hit all the marks! The guacamole is nice and creamy with a bright tartness, while the crackers are crispy, buttery, and infused with the subtle sweetness of carrot.

Why You’ll Love This Easy Easter Appetizer

Customizable: Developed with picky eaters in mind, this easy Easter appetizer recipe can be changed to suit the preferences of any palate. 

Palate cleansing: This is primarily due to the citrus juice in the guacamole.

Interactive: From preparing the carrot cracker dough to rolling it out, cutting cracker shapes, and mashing the avocado, kids can be involved in pretty much every step of the process. 

Nutritious: This appetizer is packed with healthy fats from the avocados, has fiber from the carrots, and an array of vitamins and minerals from the other fresh ingredients.

Great make ahead: The cracker dough (or crackers themselves) and guacamole can be made 1-2 days in advance. 

Ingredients Notes

  • Flour: All-purpose is the way to go here. 
  • Butter: I use unsalted butter to control sodium. The fat helps achieve light, crispy crackers.
  • Carrots: Although carrots with the green tops attached are the freshest and offer the fresher, richer, more true carrot flavor, the bagged ones are sweeter, making them more appealing to younger palates. 
  • Avocado: I always look to the stem end to determine ripeness. If it comes off easily and I can see green underneath, the avocado is ready to go!
  • Citrus: I add a little lemon juice to the cracker dough to tenderize it and make the dough easier to work with. Fresh lemon or lime juice also goes into the guacamole for acidity. 
  • Tomato: Roma tomatoes are best for this recipe because of their tangy-sweet taste and low water content.
  • Extras: Have extra vegetables, fruits, and herbs on hand, including shredded lettuce, julienned cucumber, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, sliced radish, etc. Since I serve grass patch guacamole and carrot crackers in individual bowls, I like offering ways to customize each serving. 

Find the complete list of ingredients with precise measurements in the recipe below!

How to Make Grass Patch Guacamole and Carrot Crackers

  • Prepare the dough: Call your little ones into the kitchen because this is their moment to shine! Teach them how to measure ingredients, have them squeeze the juice from the carrots, cut the butter into the flour, and knead once the dough is hydrated enough to gather into a ball. Dough prep is primarily what makes this a tactile recipe.
  • Roll and cut: Chilling the dough before rolling it out isn’t required. Roll the dough out on a clean, floured work surface and have carrot-shaped and other Easter-themed cookie cutters on hand. Size does not matter. The only exceptions where chilling is suggested are hot days when the butter is likely to melt. 
  • Bake: First, I bake the carrot crackers at a lower temperature to cook them through and dry them out. Then, I increase the oven temperature so they get nice and brown.
  • Make the guacamole: Mash the avocado, add the citrus juice of choice, and season, then fold in the onion and tomato until everything is well combined.
  • Assemble and decorate: You can do as much or as little as you want. I set up a small activity station for this easy Easter appetizer. I divide the guacamole into 3-ounce portions and place those in small bowls or cups, then arrange the crackers along with the extra produce on the side. This gives everyone a chance to customize their appetizer while possibly encouraging picky eaters to try new foods.

Variations, Substitutions, and Tips

Make it vegan – Replace the butter with a vegan alternative like Earth Balance or use refined coconut oil that has been chilled. Refined is important. Otherwise, the crackers will have an apparent coconut flavor.

Go gluten-free – Gluten-free all-purpose flour can replace all-purpose flour 1:1; however, unless you use gluten-free flour with xanthan gum, you will need to add some.

Use a light baking sheet – Light-colored baking sheets reflect heat, while dark ones absorb it. Stick to a light one to reduce the chance of burning the crackers. 

Grass Patch Guacamole with Carrot Crackers

Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients

Serves 4

Crackers

  • ¼ cup (30g) finely grated carrot 
  • 2/3 cup (100g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting  
  • ¾ teaspoon (4g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • ¼ cup (60g) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (21mL) cold water
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Guacamole 

  • 2 medium avocados, ripe
  • 2-3 tablespoons (30-40mL) fresh lime or lemon juice
  • ¼-½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼-½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (20g) chopped onion
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeds removed and diced

Optional Extras

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Julienned cucumber
  • Sliced radish
  • Chopped green onion

Instructions

Crackers

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Place the grated carrot in a paper towel or piece of cheesecloth and squeeze the liquid into a cup. Reserve the juice. This will yield about ½ tablespoon (7mL) of carrot juice. Follow this with enough water to make 2 tablespoons (28mL) of liquid. 
  • Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. 
  • Add the butter and grated carrot. 
  • Cut the butter into the flour by hand using a quick pinching motion until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. This is a great time to get kids involved as the process is a fun tactile activity that also benefits the texture of the crackers. 
  • Add the lemon juice and half of the liquid. Mix by hand, then add the remaining liquid if needed. The dough will be scraggly and moist enough to stick together when pressed.
  • Knead the dough a few times to form it into a relatively smooth ball, then shape it into a flattened disk.
  • Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out until it is 1/8 inch (3mm) thick. 
  • Cut into crackers using cute carrot or bunny-shaped cookie cutters, or cut into squares with a knife. Gather scraps into a ball and roll them out again to reduce waste if you use cookie cutters. 
  • Arrange the crackers on the baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes or until set and cooked through but not browned. 
  • Remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 400°F (200°C).
  • Once the oven comes to temperature, return the crackers to the oven for 3-4 minutes or until brown. 
  • Set the carrot crackers aside to cool on the baking sheet.

Guacamole

  • As the crackers cool, mash the avocado in a bowl using a fork or potato masher. 
  • Add the lemon/lime juice, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined. 
  • Fold in the onion and tomato.

Assembly 

  • Divide the guacamole into bowls.  
  • Arrange the crackers in each bowl along with any desired extras. 
  • Enjoy. 

Moms and kids and why this matters with Brooke Miller

In this week’s episode, I talk with Brooke Miller about mom health and kid health. We talk about sweets and how our relationship to sweets can impact our children’s relationship with sweets. As well as talk about starting solids and so much more.

You can follow Brooke on Instagram @nutrition.for.mamas.

Click here to take my free workshop to help identify why picky eating is happening and how to start reversing it.

Breastfeeding Blueprint is helping moms navigate breastfeeding their babies! You can get $50 off their course when you use NFL50! Click here to learn more!

Hope this episode was helpful for you! If it was it would mean so much to me if you left a written review it only takes you a second but helps other mamas just like you!

Loving the podcast but looking for more?

Head over to my Instagram account @nutrition.for.littles where I drop almost daily content helping you change the mealtime environment in your home (make sure to watch my stories where I teach and explain in more detail!)

Also if you liked this episode share it with your friends and family because it really does take a village to raise kids and it helps when your village is all on the same page!

Thanks for tuning in, until next week mamas!

3 Places to Start Building a Foundation for Transforming Your Picky Eater

Whether you’re new to dealing with a picky eater, or an experienced pro, building a firm foundation for your family’s habits is critical. Without a strong foundation, the rest of your picky-eating transformation tactics will crumble. Navigating this journey can often feel like solving a complex puzzle, one where each piece represents a different aspect of your child’s relationship with food. But fear not—today, I’ll guide you through three of the six basic structures for dealing with a picky eater. 

These foundational strategies are designed to create a supportive and positive environment, encouraging your child to explore and enjoy a variety of foods. By focusing on these key areas, you can start building a resilient framework that will not only help in overcoming picky eating habits but also foster a lifelong healthy relationship with food for your child.

1. Avoid Emotional Reactions

Even the calmest, most resilient of parents can struggle to maintain their composure with a picky eater. So whether you’re new to picky eating or not, it’s essential that you avoid emotional reactions regardless of your child’s behavior. 

Your emotion may manifest as a guilt-driven negotiation. For example, you might say, “I’ve worked so hard to make this food, you don’t want to hurt my feelings, do you?” Alternatively, we might resort to punishment, declaring, “If you don’t eat this, you’re going straight to bed” or “You can’t leave the table until you’ve eaten your food.” However, these tactics are extremely unlikely to effectively address picky eating.

Conversely, it’s also easy to respond overly positively when your picky eater finally tries something new. For instance, you might be tempted to express excessive excitement when they try the carrots you’ve been serving for months. While positive reinforcement is important, overdoing it can create a complex scenario for children to navigate. 

Children have a natural desire to please their parents, and often, they will engage in behaviors outside their comfort zone to receive approval and praise. The way we communicate with our children about food in their formative years sets the tone for their relationship with food throughout their lives. Attaching strong emotions, whether negative or positive, to their eating habits can adversely affect their long-term food preferences and eating behaviors. 

Sharing this is not about adding guilt or pressure. Quite the opposite. By steering clear of emotional reactions, you not only prevent negative behaviors in the future but also alleviate your own stress in the present. Rather than focusing solely on what they did or didn’t eat, you can shift the conversation to other enriching topics altogether.

2. Create an Eating Rhythm

Some families refer to their mealtime plans as an eating routine or schedule. I prefer to think of it as a rhythm. A schedule, for example, might rigidly specify lunch at 2 pm every day. In contrast, a rhythm allows for more flexibility, such as having lunch after a midday nap.

Choosing the best approach for your family, whether a rhythm or a routine, plays a crucial role for picky eaters. A rhythm helps them understand the who, where, and when of eating. It sets clear expectations for meal and snack times.

Established meal and snack times within this rhythm are key to preventing all-day grazing. Continuous snacking can lead to a lack of hunger, which is counterproductive for picky eaters. Feeling hungry at meal times can be a natural motivator for children to try new foods.

Conversely, a lack of a predictable eating rhythm can lead to stress for children. They might not understand the timing of their next meal amidst busy family schedules. This uncertainty can cause two types of reactions: 

  1. They overindulge in carbohydrates. Our bodies are genetically driven to prefer carbohydrates if we think a famine is coming. So when your kids aren’t sure of when their next meal will be, their bodies may encourage them to desire potatoes and avoid the broccoli when the food eventually arrives.
  2. They shut down. On the flip side, because their bodies are experiencing this fight-or-flight stress response, they may shut down and not feel hunger at all. The best example of this is with public speaking. You could skip 2 meals before a speech, but you’ll likely forget your hungry until after your speech because you’re so anxious about your environment. 

Establishing a consistent eating rhythm is one of the most impactful foundations you can set for your picky eater. 

3. Serve Safe Foods

Serve safe foods at every meal. These are any food that your little one has reliably eaten in the past. 

When I share this basic structure with parents, they often ask if they can wait until they’ve presented the new food or if they can skip it altogether. I get it, the fear is that kids will only eat the safe food. And while this will happen at some point, safe foods can actually encourage kids to try new things too—trust me.

To put this into a relatable adult context, imagine you’re faced with cleaning your house, and the bathroom is your least favorite task. You might start with something less daunting, like laundry, before tackling the bathroom. This strategy makes the overall task feel less overwhelming. Similarly, safe foods act as a comfortable starting point for children, easing them into trying new foods.

Safe foods give kids a safe launching and landing pad for them to use when they experiment with new culinary experiences—safe foods effectively take the edge off new foods. 

Final Thoughts

There you have it! The first three areas to start building a foundation as you tackle picky eating

Let’s recap. The three key strategies for transforming your picky eater’s habits are:

  1. Avoiding Emotional Reactions: Steer clear of guilt-driven negotiations and punitive responses, as well as overenthusiastic praise. By managing your emotional responses, you can set a healthier tone at meal times and influence your child’s long-term relationship with food in a positive way.
  2. Creating an Eating Rhythm: Establish a flexible yet consistent eating routine. This helps your child anticipate meal times and build hunger, making them more likely to try new foods. It also prevents the stress of unpredictability, which can lead to unhealthy eating habits.
  3. Serving Safe Foods: Introduce familiar foods alongside new ones. This approach offers comfort and eases the transition to trying new flavors and textures. It’s about balancing the familiar with the new, providing a safety net that encourages exploration without overwhelming your child.

Implementing these strategies forms a solid foundation for addressing picky eating. They are not only about changing immediate behaviors but also about nurturing a healthier, more adventurous approach to eating in the long term. 

Remember, consistency and patience are key in your journey with picky eaters.

Top 5 First Steps to Reverse Picky Eating

Kicking off the New Year, many of us are looking for fresh starts and new approaches, especially when it comes to our family’s eating habits. Today’s blog post, inspired by a popular Instagram post, focuses on a topic close to many parents’ hearts: reversing picky eating. Join me as I share the first five steps I would take to tackle picky eating, setting the stage for a year of healthier, happier mealtimes with your little ones.

1. Sit with Your Kids

January often marks the return to normalcy after the hectic holiday season, with its travel and family visits disrupting our usual routines. But as we leave the chaos behind, it’s a great time to reestablish your regular family routines, particularly when it comes to meal times with your kiddos.

I won’t bore you with the science highlighting the numerous benefits of eating with your little ones. But for those interested in exploring some of the scholarly work on this subject, here are two:

Systematic Review of the Effects of Family Meal Frequency on Psychosocial Outcomes in Youth

The Benefits of the Family Table

Family eating dinner around the table together

Ultimately, for our children, sharing meals at the table presents an opportunity to watch us enjoy the various foods we serve. This acts as a real-time, live-action, nonverbal demonstration of our relationship with food—remember, our kids are always observing and learning from our actions, especially at the dinner table.

2. Stop Using Pressure Techniques

Pressure techniques are the many different ways we apply pressure on our children to get a desired result, particularly at mealtimes. These techniques can take several forms, including:

  • Bribing – “You can have dessert if you finish this broccoli.”
  • Negotiating – “You don’t have to eat all of the broccoli, but you do have to take at least two bites.” 
  • Begging – “Please, please eat this for Mommy? I really want you to try this for me, please.”
  • Guilting – “I spent a lot of time making this yummy food for you. Don’t you want to make Mommy happy?”
  • Demanding – “You cannot leave this table if you do not finish your broccoli.”
  • Praising – “You did so great eating that broccoli! I am so, so proud of you for eating that for me!”

Knowing what the most common pressure techniques are is great. But let’s take it one step further and truly understand why these are things you should refrain from. 

  • Bribing – With bribing, children learn to eat for a reward rather than because of their own hunger or joy. This pressure technique can be especially troublesome because it causes children to learn to eat based on external factors rather than internal ones. 
  • Negotiating – Going back and forth over when and what to eat sets a precedent for power struggles, creating an environment where they may seek to negotiate to get what they want.
  • Begging and Guilting – These create a sense of obligation, which detracts from a child’s natural ability to gauge when they’re hungry and when they’d like to try new things. It can also lead to feelings of shame or anxiety around eating.
  • Demanding – Demands at the dinner table can make the dining experience anxiety-inducing and stressful, which may completely deter your little from not only experimenting with new foods, but wanting to engage with family meal time at all.
  • PraisingExcessive praise can cause children to eat for approval rather than in accordance with their own internal cues. Praise can also concede kids into thinking that non-praised foods are less desirable or valuable, leading to picky eating in other areas. 

Everyone’s family is different. So while these are general rules that apply to most families, they may not apply to yours—I get that. If one of these techniques seems effective, consider closely why your child is responding to it. The aim is to ensure that they are trying new foods based on their own curiosity and hunger cues, rather than to avoid conflict, fulfill a request, or earn a reward.

3. Be Considerate, Don’t Cater

As a parent, my approach involves being considerate of my children’s preferences without yielding to every complaint or resistance they might show. I do this by offering what I call safety foods.

Safety foods are foods I know my kids will find safe and enjoyable, which creates a comfortable launch pad they can leap from (or come back to) when testing the waters with new foods.

What’s important is to avoid running into the kitchen to prepare an alternative meal because your littles refuse to eat what’s on the table. Catering like this often leads to selective eating habits, rather than the open and diverse habits we’re looking to foster.

4. Be Mindful of Food Communication

Our society is deeply entrenched in diet culture. Consider how frequently conversations revolve around guilt for indulging in a treat, counting calories, or declaring a ‘cheat day.’ As adults, we navigate a complex relationship with food, often voicing sentiments like, “I shouldn’t be eating this,” among peers who grasp the cultural context of these statements.

But our attitudes toward food can be confusing to a toddler, who doesn’t understand the cultural and contextual complexities of diet culture. When they hear an adult express regret over eating certain foods—often those that are sweet and appealing—they receive mixed messages. 

Mom choosing to either eat a donut or a salad

While an adult may exhibit avoidant behavior towards these sweet, sugary foods, a child becomes conflicted. Then, they struggle to reconcile their enjoyment in these foods with the negative social cues they observe from family members. And as a result, they gravitate toward those foods more in an attempt to understand their internal conflict about those foods. 

5. Focus on Making Meals Fun

I vividly remember my childhood mealtimes being incredibly stressful. Now, as a parent dealing with picky eaters, I totally get that mealtime can be filled with questions and concerns. As parents, we often find ourselves too focused on what and how much our kids eat rather than simply being present and enjoying the time with our families. We get fixated on what’s on their forks instead of the shared moments around the table.

Dinner time should be about connecting with your family, and it’s important to make it fun in whatever way best suits your household. This could be through using funny placemats, playing games before dinner, or telling silly stories about the food on your plates. Making meals enjoyable and lighthearted can be incredibly effective in transforming the dining experience into something exciting and welcoming, especially for picky eaters.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the first five steps I’d take to reverse picky eating in 2024.

By implementing these five steps, you’re laying the groundwork for healthier eating habits, amongst numerous other benefits. Remember, the journey to overcoming picky eating is a gradual process that requires patience, understanding, and a dash of creativity. Embrace these strategies, and watch as mealtime transforms from a battleground into a space of exploration, laughter, and bonding for your entire family.

Safe Foods Secrets for Picky Toddlers

Today, we’re focusing on ‘safe foods’ for toddlers. We’ll discuss why these foods are essential for picky eaters and strategies for when your child only wants to eat their safe food or suddenly rejects it. This episode provides practical tips for introducing new foods and maintaining a balanced diet. Join me as we tackle these common feeding challenges with effective solutions.

Click here to take my free workshop to help identify why picky eating is happening and how to start reversing it.

Loving the podcast but looking for more?

Head over to my Instagram account @nutrition.for.littles where I drop almost daily content helping you change the mealtime environment in your home (make sure to watch my stories where I teach and explain in more detail!)

Also if you liked this episode share it with your friends and family because it really does take a village to raise kids and it helps when your village is all on the same page!

Thanks for tuning in, until next week mamas!

2024’s Top 5 Secrets to Overcoming Picky Eating: Transforming Mealtime Struggles into Family Fun

Welcome to a breakthrough episode of ‘Nutrition for Littles’ in 2024! This year, we’re kicking off with a game-changing discussion that will revolutionize your approach to mealtimes. Are you battling the picky eating habits of your little ones? Struggling to make mealtime a joyous occasion rather than a battleground? In this episode, Alyssa, your trusted registered dietitian and picky eating specialist, unveils her exclusive ‘Top 5 Secrets to Overcoming Picky Eating.’ These are not just any tips; they are transformative strategies that Alyssa herself would use to reverse picky eating. From integrating family meals to changing the way we talk about food, each secret is a key to unlocking a happier, healthier mealtime environment for your family. Get ready to turn mealtime struggles into moments of bonding and fun, and watch as your little ones develop a healthier relationship with food. Tune in now for these life-changing insights and start your journey towards nurturing healthy, independent eaters in 2024!

Click here to take my free workshop to help identify why picky eating is happening and how to start reversing it.

Loving the podcast but looking for more?

Head over to my Instagram account @nutrition.for.littles where I drop almost daily content helping you change the mealtime environment in your home (make sure to watch my stories where I teach and explain in more detail!)

Also if you liked this episode share it with your friends and family because it really does take a village to raise kids and it helps when your village is all on the same page!

Thanks for tuning in, until next week mamas!

My Kid Called Dinner ‘Yucky’—Here’s What I Did!

Hearing your little one call your dinner “yucky” can be frustrating and demoralizing, especially after a long day of work or parenting. I know first hand that it’s a situation that can test the limits of parental patience. So today, let’s explore navigating these tricky dinner-time conversations, helping your kids communicate respectfully at the dinner table.

Recognizing and Managing Our (Normal) Emotional Response

Experiencing your child’s negative reaction to a meal can often trigger an emotional response from you, the parent. It’s natural to feel a sting when they, perhaps inadvertently, hurt our feelings. 

But, when we express our unfiltered, unregulated emotions, it can sometimes lead to heightened emotions at the dinner table. When this happens, a cycle of reactivity begins. Before you know it, the situation has escalated, leaving everyone feeling even more upset and frustrated, which can make it difficult and uncomfortable for our littles to express themselves again in the future.

So, take some time now to think of HOW you want to respond when this happens next. Right now you are likely unemotional about it so you can think clearly on how you’d like to respond. So next time this happens you can recognize the emotion, then think back (to right now) when you decided how you would respond and respond out of a plan instead of emotion. 

Educate Them on Communication

Children are new to the table—literally. They are still learning how to express themselves appropriately, both at and away from the dinner table. And they learn these cultural norms from us. So, modeling appropriate responses is essential. 

When a child calls food “yucky,” it’s an opportunity to teach them about respectful communication. For example, I like to say, “I hear that you don’t want the food in front of you. Next time, Mom would like to hear you say ________.” 

Fill in the blank with what aligns with your family’s definition of respect.

Here are a few of my go-to responses:

  • We don’t yuck someone else’s yum. – This is one of my favorites, but it usually works best for toddlers and older. Start by explaining that it’s not okay to call something yucky that someone else thinks is yummy.

    Then, I like to share an example. For example, if you like to ride bikes but I like scooters, that doesn’t mean scooters are yucky. That just means that you like bikes, and I like scooters. 
  • Next time, say, “No, thank you. Not today.” or “I’m not interested in this  right now.” At the core of working with picky eaters is encouraging a growth mindset.

    When kids say, “Ew, gross!” it cements their dislike for the food. Something as simple as “No, thank you” takes the line-in-the-sand mentality and replaces it with an open mindset.

    It’s okay not to like a food today, but that doesn’t have to mean we won’t ever like it. Sometimes, I want broccoli on Monday, and I don’t want to see it at all by Tuesday. That’s okay!

If these two responses aren’t quite what you’re looking for, consider these extras:

  • “I don’t want this right now, but maybe I’ll try it next time.”
  • “This isn’t my favorite, but I’m glad I tried it.”
  • “Can I have a small portion to start with?”
  • “This is interesting, but I’m unsure how I feel about it yet.”
  • “Thank you for making this. Can I try this another time?”

Bottom line: it’s okay to have feelings about food, but it’s not acceptable to disrespect others over our food preferences. 

Final Thoughts: Not Everything Requires Immediate Action

Being too tired or frustrated to address your child’s comments immediately is okay. In my experience, handling the situation in the moment is rarely the best timing anyway. I find it’s best to tackle these teaching moments after my emotions have settled.

Returning to the conversation with a calm and clear mind often leads to more effective communication. For example, I’ve found success by revisiting the topic later, saying something like, “Hey, remember when you said that? I understand why you felt that way, but it actually hurt my feelings, and here’s why…” 

This approach allows for constructive conversation and helps your child understand the impact of their words. These conversations are crucial in helping our children build effective communication skills they can use for the rest of their lives. 
And remember, pressuring, bribing, or begging rarely leads to lasting change. Instead, encourage respectful refusals and foster a space where trying new foods happens in their own time.

Responding to Comments

Today I am answering these questions, “What do you do when your little one doesn’t like the food you are serving.?” “What to do if they are only eating their safe food?” “What to do if your child is not happy with how you are handling picky eating and start doing things differently?”

I mention my picky eating course, Table Talk. Click here to get started! I also mention some episodes, “When to say no,” click here to listen, “Screens at the table” click here.

Click here to take my free workshop to help identify why picky eating is happening and how to start reversing it.

Breastfeeding Blueprint is helping moms navigate breastfeeding their babies! You can get $50 off their course when you use NFL50! Click here to learn more!

Hope this episode was helpful for you! If it was it would mean so much to me if you left a written review it only takes you a second but helps other mamas just like you!

Loving the podcast but looking for more?

Head over to my Instagram account @nutrition.for.littles where I drop almost daily content helping you change the mealtime environment in your home (make sure to watch my stories where I teach and explain in more detail!)

Also if you liked this episode share it with your friends and family because it really does take a village to raise kids and it helps when your village is all on the same page!

Thanks for tuning in, until next week mamas!

3 Places to Start Building a Foundation for Transforming Your Picky Eater

Today I’m tackling a topic that I know resonates with so many of us – picky eating. If you’ve ever felt at a loss during mealtime battles or wondered how to encourage your little one to explore new foods without the fuss, this episode is for you. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite, tried-and-tested strategies that are not just about getting through dinner but about laying the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy eating. So, if you’re ready to turn mealtime from a challenge into an opportunity for growth (both for you and your child!), tune in. You won’t want to miss these game-changing tips that I have in store for you!

Click here to take my free workshop to help identify why picky eating is happening and how to start reversing it.

Loving the podcast but looking for more?

Head over to my Instagram account @nutrition.for.littles where I drop almost daily content helping you change the mealtime environment in your home (make sure to watch my stories where I teach and explain in more detail!)

Also if you liked this episode share it with your friends and family because it really does take a village to raise kids and it helps when your village is all on the same page!

Thanks for tuning in, until next week mamas!