Muffin Club for Moms

Random fact for the day about me: I am not spontaneous. So consider this highly out of character that I am changing up my content calendar so last minute to include this very important announcement:

I am hosting an impromptu Muffin Club for Moms and I have a feeling at least a few of you may want in [click here to join - it's free!].

Since a book club still seems like a distant dream, one thing I can commit to in the real day to day right now is baking once a week, every Monday, to both keep myself accountable and healthy snacks on hand in our home. As I gear up for postpartum, this is part of the meal prep I am also committing myself too in hopes for a slightly smoother transition come my third child's arrival in August.

The good news is that whether you are expecting a little one soon (like me), early on in your pregnancy and wanting to find some tried-and-true muffins for future postpartum prep, or are a fellow busy mama who just wants to make life a liiiiiittle more streamlined, efficient, and low-stress, this Muffin Club is for you.

You likely saw me talk about this in my stories last week (if you follow me on Instagram). Considering how enthusiastic the response was when I threw out this idea, I opted to postpone the content I had planned to share on today's blog post to instead breakdown a bit more info on this upcoming Muffin Club for Moms and how you can get in on it (if you'd like to!).

 
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Here is What You Can Expect:

Each week, I will:

  1. Search, find, and organize muffin recipes that I personally approve of as a dietitian-mom. I won't necessarily have personally tried each of these in advance, but I will select from those that in good faith (and with due diligence to research reviews on) are going to taste awesome and offer worthwhile nutrition for you and your family.

  2. Send out ONE email with the recipe for the upcoming week. I will send this on Saturday mornings, only to those who have joined the Muffin Club. Join here >>

  3. Share on my Instagram a picture and/or story about the muffins we are making for the week using the hashtag #muffinclubformoms.

Each week, I ask that you will:

  1. Check the recipe for the upcoming week so you can make sure you have the ingredients on hand. You can find this recipe on the email I send out each Saturday morning titled, "New Recipe for Muffin Club: ________." To join this email list and get this recipe in advance to your inbox, make sure to sign up here.
  2. Whenever you decide to make the muffins (be it on Monday or not), please share a picture or a video on your social media. When you do, I would really appreciate it if you would tag me (@veggiesandvirtue) and include #muffinclubformoms. This will help me to gauge if the time to organize ideas and email out this info to everyone is worth the effort each week (since I am offering it for free). Better yet, the engagement will make a more fun "community" feel for our super official Muffin Club for Moms :)
  3. Enjoy the muffins! Email me in reply to my weekly recipe emails or send me a PM on Instagram with questions, feedback, etc. so I can hear how each week's muffins go over in your home!

FAQs for Muffin Club

I have already received several questions about making muffins in advance and the logistics of doing so to freeze and enjoy again later. To address some of these questions, I have provided the questions and my answers below.

What kind of muffins will be included?

As discussed in the initial Instagram post for this idea, the plan is for these are to be healthy, homemade muffins. Set your expectations for them to taste delicious AND nutritious as a nutrient-dense breakfast, snack, or anytime option! If you are wanting a muffin that is delicious but not so nutritious, I am probably not your gal nor is this going to bring you the type of snack you have in mind. The pre-made options you will find at most coffee shops and grocery stores are better suited for those decadent versus nutrient-dense options.

What type of ingredients will these muffins be made from?

Since I personally can't consume gluten, I usually bake gluten-free to ensure I can eat whatever I make (even if my girls opt not to). When possible, I use oats/oat flour, almond flour, or coconut flour as the base, or a gluten-free all purpose flour (as a substitute for a whole wheat flour or when specified). You are welcome to make your muffins with whatever flour is called for or is your preference (i.e. whole wheat instead of a gluten-free flour). I am by no means endorsing a gluten-free diet is appropriate for everyone; this is simply how I cook for my family so the recipes chosen will naturally reflect that.

As for other ingredients and allergens, please be sure to review the recipe in advance if you have questions about substitutions or concerns about omitting allergens. I'd be happy to help provide guidance on this for those who need nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free alternatives, if asked.

Otherwise, I am not looking to make anything fancy here folks! Most every recipe will be selected with the common home kitchen and pantry in mind, as I value recipes that use our everyday staples vs require exotic (or especially expensive) ingredients.

What is the best way to store muffins?

For the muffins that I plan we will eat the week of, I usually store them in a glass Pyrex with a snapware lid (as seen on my Amazon shop - affiliate link). I don't want to tie these glass storage containers up long term however, so for freezing I use a gallon-sized freezer Ziplock and/or a metal disposable container with heavy duty foil top (I find the best size options and price for disposable metal pans at Dollar Tree).

What is the best way to freeze muffins?

Ideally, I recommend that after the muffins have cooled and come to room temperature, to transfer them on a cooling rack (or in the original muffin tin) to a freezer for 30+ minutes to flash freeze individually. Once quick-frozen, transfer muffins to a sealed, freezer-safe container (see question above). This will help them to not stick together but prevents you from having to waste the time or product to wrap each muffin individually.

What is the best way to keep muffins tasting fresh?

Especially during hot summer months, I recommend you keep your fresh batch of muffins in the fridge (once they have cooled). Most will mold at room temperature if left out for more than 1-2 days, so I suggest storing them in the fridge and then pulling them out in advance to bring them to room temp on their own before eating or by quickly warming them up in the microwave (~10 seconds).

What is the best way to thaw frozen muffins?

When you go to thaw your muffins from the freezer, simply transfer the container of them to the fridge. Allow them to thaw on their own, or take one and put it on a paper towel to microwave (~15-30 seconds depending on how frozen they are). You should be able to transfer the whole container to the fridge to enjoy, or you can remove one muffin at a time from your freezer stash and thaw in the microwave. For muffins with more moisture, you may want to consider putting a paper towel inside of the container/Ziplock to absorb it as the muffins thaw.

How long do the muffins last in the freezer for?

From my experience and the notes I have read on many muffins recipes, most muffins are fine to be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months (assuming they have been well-sealed). When you put each batch in, just be sure to label with the name and date and then rotate using First In, First Out method when it comes to eating those that have been frozen.


Past Recipes

Interested in the recipes I have already shared? I will update this blog post to contain the muffin recipes we have already included in our round up here. The three recipes I mentioned in the initial Instagram post and stories on this subject are included below for reference:

Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins (by Running with Spoons)

Green Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins (by Milk & Honey Nutrition)

Flourless Chocolate Chip Zucchini Banana Muffins (by Running with Spoons)


Although I am only committing (for now!) to have this as a club that runs for eight weeks as I prepare for postpartum meal prep, my hope is this weekly "muffin club" will inspire each of us busy moms with enough creativity and accountability to always have muffins as a healthy, satisfying snack on hand!

Milk Alternatives for Toddlers

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kabrita. All opinions are my own.

Milk Alternatives for Toddlers

Around the time a child turns one, many parents become privy to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for milk intake in infants. However in recent years, more and more parents are coming to me with questions about if cow’s milk is still the best milk option for their young children after transitioning off of breast milk and/or infant formula.

The question of if/how to use milk alternatives for toddlers usually comes up based on a variety of vantage points, making the “right” answer unique to a family’s personal food preferences and dietary priorities.

For children who cannot consume cow's milk due to an allergy or lactose intolerance, cow's milk alternatives are a necessity. Many other children have functional digestive symptoms associated with cow's milk, while some families are simply looking for a high quality, easy to digest choice. Here, I'll highlight some important considerations when choosing cow milk alternatives for toddlers.

As always, be sure to consult your child’s primary health care provider if you have specific questions or concerns about which milk might be best for your toddler.

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Your Child’s Nutritional Requirements

The transition from infancy to toddlerhood comes with changes to how your child meets their nutritional needs. As breast milk and/or infant formula is eliminated and more table foods are introduced between years one and two of life, toddlers begin to rely more heavily on the nutrition they get from the foods they consume and less on liquid calories. This makes deciding on which milk or milk alternative to offer your child all the more important.

Parents need to consider what role milk plays in their child’s existing diet and if/how these nutritional gaps will be met (or not) through the different options for milk alternatives on the market. Many of the key nutrients that were critical in your child’s diet as an infant are still important in toddlerhood. These include:

Calories

On average, toddlers need around 1,000 calories per day. While I don’t recommend parents count their children’s calories, this can be a helpful number to keep in mind when parents consider how many calories per day their child gets from milk (or a milk alternative). Often times, toddlers are meeting more of their calorie needs from dairy than necessary. A good target for toddlers is to get two servings of dairy per day, as this helps children to meet their calorie, vitamin D, and calcium needs for growth and development without taking over the role other foods have on helping them meet their overall nutritional needs.

Fat

More so than in any other age group, toddlers need fat in their diets. So much so that 30-40% of a toddler’s caloric intake should come in the form of fat, which is just under what they relied on getting from breast milk or infant formula. A variety of fats are necessary for key functions of a child’s health and development, including our children's ability to absorb important fat-soluble vitamins from food (like vitamin D). Fat also offers a mouth feel with the foods it is found in that can help reinforce pleasure and satiety (including with kids). Opting for a milk or milk alternative that offers flavor and a positive mouth-feel by way of fat instead of in the form of added sugars, flavors, or other additives is ideal.

Protein

Protein is a major component of every cell in the body and plays a part in helping keep young kids feeling full between meals.Young children, however, often need less protein in their diets than many parents assume, with the average 1-3 year old only requiring 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day (i.e. 13 grams of protein for a 26-pound child). While this may not be a lot of protein, milk or milk alternatives can play a key role in helping toddlers meet their protein needs as they transition to table foods and adopt eating habits that include protein-rich foods. Parents should consider the amount, quality, and variety of protein their child is getting from milk- and food-based sources when evaluating which milk alternative offers adequate protein to help their child meet their daily needs.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is increasingly being known not just for its role in the development of healthy bones and teeth but also in immune health and reducing inflammation. As toddlers, our children’s need for vitamin D increases from 400 to 600 IU daily. Although some foods have been fortified with vitamin D to help boost our toddler’s intake, many toddlers struggle to get enough vitamin D from naturally-occurring or fortified food sources alone. Since cow’s milk is often a key source of vitamin D for toddlers as they transition to table foods, parents ought to consider if and how much vitamin D their child gets from non-milk-based sources in order to find a milk alternative that best fills the nutritional void for vitamin D.

Calcium

From ages 1-3, children need approximately 700 mg of calcium per day to support their growing bones, bodies, and teeth. While cow’s milk is an obvious and efficient way to help toddlers meet their calcium needs, traditional milk is not the only means for children to get enough calcium. Other foods are naturally good sources of calcium and many milk alternatives are fortified to help children on dairy-free diets to meet their calcium needs. Parents should compare the calcium content of milk alternatives when considering which one is best suited for helping their child meet and maintain their calcium needs throughout childhood.

 

With these nutritional considerations in mind, parents can more keenly compare and contrast the following milk and milk alternatives to evaluate which is nutritionally the best option for their child’s diet.

 

Milk and Milk Alternatives for Toddlers

Cow’s Milk

Nutritional Pros

Many families are already accustomed to buying and consuming cow’s milk. This makes this milk option an obvious choice for the majority of toddlers (who aren’t avoiding dairy). It is an efficient way to help children get in calcium and vitamin D, as well as to add protein and fat to their diet (assuming a full or reduced fat milk variety is used). Cow’s milk can be an economical and readily available option for families who prefer a milk choice that is convenient both in accessibility and nutritional bioavailability.

Nutritional Cons

An obvious concern with cow’s milk is that it is not suitable for children with a cow’s milk allergy or lactose intolerance, or for families who have adopted a vegan lifestyle. Also, some littles ones may experience functional symptoms related to cow’s milk consumption, such as gas, spit up, constipation or diarrhea. Nutritionally speaking, some children consume more than the recommended daily amount of cow’s milk (or dairy), which may interfere with their intake of iron-rich foods and compromise their iron status since cow’s milk lacks iron and replaces iron-rich foods in some toddler’s diets. Ethically speaking, more families are becoming concerned with the quality of conventional cow’s milk compared to some of the more premium options for organic and/or grass-fed on the market. These premium milk options may be less available and/or cost-prohibitive for many families to consume exclusively.

Bottom Line

Cow’s milk is an appropriate pick for parents who want an affordable, readily-available milk option, as long as children do not have an allergy or sensitivity.  It also helps promote the nutrients a toddler needs as their diet continues to expand to include more nutrient-rich foods. When possible, I would recommend an organic, grass-fed whole milk as the gold standard for cow’s milk.

 

Goat Milk

Nutritional Pros

Goat milk is an often overlooked alternative to cow’s milk.  Goat milk offers a nutrient-dense option to help growing children get in the calories, fat, and protein they need. For children who are sensitive to cow’s milk, goat milk may be a gentler alternative before eliminating dairy-based milk options altogether. Goat milk protein is naturally easier to digest than cow milk protein. It forms a softer, smaller curd in the digestive system (the protein clumps formed during digestion), compared to cow milk. Goat milk proteins are also digested at a closer rate to breast milk than cow’s milk, making goat milk alternatives gentle for tiny tummies and helpful at improving digestive discomfort in sensitive babies.

Nutritional Cons

Goat milk is not suitable for children with a confirmed Cow Milk Protein Allergy, as majority of children with a Cow Milk Protein Allergy also do not tolerate goat’s milk. While standard goat milk is an appropriate option for older children and families, it lacks some important vitamins and minerals for toddlers and infants, such as folic acid, iron, and vitamin D. For these children, my recommendation is to choose an appropriately fortified product, such as Kabrita goat milk formula.

Bottom Line

Goat’s milk is an appropriate pick for parents who have a child with digestive symptoms associated with cow milk (i.e. constipation, diarrhea, spit up), but not a true Cow Milk Protein Allergy. Goat milk is also a good option for families who want an easy to digest alternative to cow milk, but aren’t looking to jump immediately to a plant-based alternative. Since a fortified goat milk, like Kabrita, offers more nutritional value than plant based milk options, it may offer the calories, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals a toddler needs better than other alternatives.

 

Plant-Based Milk Alternatives

Nutritional Pros

Plant-based alternatives offer vegan milk alternatives for families who may be avoiding cow or goat milk due to dietary preferences and/or food allergies. Depending on their selection of plant-based alternatives, families will find a variety of allergen-friendly options that allow them to avoid top allergens like dairy, soy, peanuts, and/or gluten.

Nutritionally, some plant-based milks have comparable calorie, fat, and protein content to cow’s milk. It is important to note, however, that not one plant-based alternative mimics the complete nutritional profile of cow’s milk as closely as goat milk does.

Calories: Oat milk followed by rice milk have the most calories of any plant-based alternative, comparing to the calorie content of a 2% reduced fat cow’s milk. Note these calories come predominantly from carbohydrates, as neither is high in fat nor protein.

Fat: Hemp milk offers more fat than any other plant-based alternative (being comparable to whole cow’s milk), including omega 3s. Coconut milk and pea milk have the next highest fat contents being comparable to 2% reduced fat cow’s milk.

Protein: Options like soy and pea milk offer the most protein content of any plant-based alternative, being comparable with cow’s milk.

Vitamins and Minerals: Since many plant-based alternatives lack the calcium and vitamin D found in cow’s milk, fortified plant-based alternatives are important especially for the toddler population.

Nutritional Cons

Some plant-based alternatives may not be suitable for children with allergies to soy (soy milk), tree nuts (nut milk), or gluten (some oat milk). Research has shown that children may also react poorly to soy milk if a milk protein allergy or intolerance is present, making soy an unfit alternative for some children with a dairy allergy.

Nutritionally, many plant-based alternatives overall contain less calories, fat, and protein than cow’s milk, as well as less vitamin D and calcium. In order to improve the taste and mouthfeel for plant-based alternatives, many have added sweeteners and stabilizers that are best avoided (especially with toddlers).

Calories: No unsweetened, plant-based milk alternative offers comparable calories to whole cow’s milk.  

Fat: Plant-based alternatives like almond, flax, oat, and rice all have a much lower fat content, making them comparable to 1% cow’s milk. Remember fat is important for child development, especially the brain!

Protein: Plant-based alternatives like almond, flax, coconut, hemp, oat, and rice all have a lower protein content than cow’s milk, with all but oat milk having only 0-2 grams of protein per 8-ounce serving.

Vitamins and Minerals: Homemade plant-based alternatives (like almond or cashew) will not be fortified like the options available in stores. Parents should consider this when switching exclusively to homemade alternatives to ensure such vitamins and minerals are being consumed elsewhere in the diet.

Bottom Line

Plant-based milk alternatives may be an appropriate pick for families who need a milk free from common allergens like dairy, soy, peanuts, and/or gluten. If a toddler consumes enough calories, fat, and protein from other food sources, these milk alternatives may be a healthy beverage alternative. For young toddlers around one year, most plant based milks do not offer sufficient nutrients to be a healthy alternative to cow milk. If/when milk alternatives are introduced, it is important that children prefer the taste in order to promote healthy habits that will last them through adolescence and into adulthood (when their needs for many of the nutrients in cow’s milk increase). Equally, families must consider how easy to find and afford plant-based alternatives are, as some are less readily available and/or economical for a whole family to consume regularly. For plant-based alternatives that have varieties with added sweeteners, parents should select unsweetened varieties to reduce unnecessary added sugar. Using such plant-based alternatives to cook with (in place of water) is a good way to include such milk alternatives on occasion (instead of exclusively) for families who would like to integrate more plant-based options without completely replacing more traditional milks.

 

Making a Decision on Milk Alternatives for Toddlers

In closing, it is important to note that each toddler’s food intake and taste preferences differ, making there no one-size-fits-all approach to selecting a milk alternative for families. Instead, each parent should consider their child’s diet, lifestyle, and nutritional needs for how a milk or milk alternative helps to support their overall growth and development.

While it can be wonderful for our food industry to expand our options to more products including milk alternatives, it is important for parents to consider what elements of their child’s nutritional needs are being met by milk versus food alone. After factoring in any potential allergies or sensitivities, a family’s first consideration when switching from cow’s milk should be to select a milk alternative that is nutritional suitable and sustainable to meet their growing toddler’s nutritional needs. Most often, this comes in the form of a fortified beverage that contains calories, fat, protein, and vitamins and minerals in an amount complementary to what the child already consumes.

Hopefully this review has helped provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of the pros, cons, and other considerations for choosing a milk or milk alternative for your toddler!

 

Thank you to Kabrita for sponsoring this review of milk alternatives for toddlers; if you'd like to learn more about their goat milk formula, click here.

How to Make One Meal for the Whole Family

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Super Silly Online. As always, all opinions are my own.

If you find yourself short-order cooking and amidst the stressful dynamics of making everyone a separate meal, you need to tune in to today's post.

Over on the Super Silly blog, I share how to How to Make One Meal for the Whole Family. With five considerations to avoid short-order cooking or fights over the food that is offered, this post will walk you through some of the steps to establishing set a new precedence at family meals. These act as a framework to help you begin serving one meal for the whole family.

I am confident that these five steps can help families find newfound freedom with what to offer at meal times, making the shared experience at the table a happy and healthy one! Which one will you start implementing tonight?


For more on this topic, visit these posts:


How to Make One Meal for the Whole Family Menu Ideas

I spent the first half of 2018 sharing family-friendly meal plans on the Veggies & Virtue blog. I also sent bonus content each week to subscribers on serving these up to more apprehensive of eaters, using my "Love it, Like it, Learning it approach to deciding "what to offer" so that everyone has something at the table they enjoy! To join the thousands of mamas who receive this newsletter each week, join here!

Otherwise, review the menus for Winter and Spring by clicking on the thumbnails below. You will find a variety of ideas of family-friendly meal ideas, all of which can be offered as one meal for the whole family!

Looking for more inspiration on how to offer one meal to the whole family?

Be sure to follow #onemealtwoways each week on my Instagram! With each, you will see how one meal is offered two ways for my child and my preferences and on each of our plates!

Gardening with Kids: June 2018 edition

We have officially made it one year into cultivating our own home garden, so I am finally getting on the ball with sharing more about our journey up to this point.

Many of you have asked for details about our experiences gardening with kids in our backyard garden, so I will be sharing monthly updates here in hopes to further inspire other families to help their children to learn to like fresh foods from the ground up!

Be it a vertical garden indoors, a small backyard garden on the patio, or simply planting a single seed in a disposable cup on the kitchen counter, I hope that sharing our very amateur-level entry into at-home gardening with kids will remind anyone on the fence about it that you too can garden. You just have to start somewhere!

Below is a recap of our journey thus far, as well as other information I will be sharing each month to give further inspiration for how to include veggies in your family's daily life!


Backyard Garden Progress June 2018

This is far from a complete recap, but below are some of the progress highlights from the past year with our backyard garden.

 
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April 2017

  • My husband created built-in garden beds in our back yard for my 30th birthday gift [DIY tutorial for the ones he made coming soon! Subscribe here to find out when it is available.]
  • Planted our first set of Spring seeds and starter plants. Crops included: zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, green bean varietals, jalapeno peppers, strawberries, and carrots
  • Total seasonal yield: 18 large and 106 cherry tomatoes, 12 cucumbers, one teeny carrot, two strawberries, one radish, eleven okra, 32 green beans, 2 jalapenos, 29 extra long green beans, and 16 sugar snap peas.
  • Items we would/would probably opt to do next year: the extra long green bean variety we grew we didn't know how to cook and thus didn't eat/enjoy to its fullest potential. We need to learn to like okra more, or else plant less as it was not our favorite crop. The squash and zucchini never took, so we will try those again with healthier starter plants hopefully. Our bell peppers also never produced, so we will need to figure out why and try again in upcoming years. We need to figure out how to help the carrots and radishes thrive better as well, as each produced a nominal crop.
 

October 2017

  • Rotated the crops between each bed per plot rotation recommendations I had read [Gardening rotation guide with what we have done coming soon! Subscribe here to find out when it is available.]
  • Planted our first set of Fall seeds and starter plants. Crops included: kale, romaine, red leaf lettuce, rainbow chard, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.
  • Total seasonal yield: endless kale (three varieties), romaine, and red leaf lettuce, four batches of rainbow chard, 11 Brussels sprouts, one small head of purple cauliflower, and three heads broccoli.
  • Items we would/would probably opt to do next year: we loved having so many different greens and how we didn't have to buy lettuce, kale, or salad greens for several months. The Brussels Sprouts looked promising all season and yet produced very few viable sprouts to snap off and actually consume. We will need to learn how to improve each stalks yield in coming years. The cauliflower rotted quickly, so we will need to either eat when it is still small or figure out how to keep it thriving to a larger size next year. Lesson learned on the broccoli is how it can continue to produce florets even after the main broccoli head has been removed (to eat). We likely could have gotten more yield from this had we known.
 
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April 2018

  • Rotated the crops between each bed per plot rotation recommendations I had read [Gardening rotation guide with what we have done coming soon! Subscribe here to find out when it is available.]
  • Planted our second Spring's worth of seeds and starter plants. Crops include: zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, celery, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, carrots, three green bean varietals.
  • We invested around $75 total for all of the seeds and starter plants we needed to start a new season. No new soil was needed from the past year, as we had added homemade compost prior to planting/preparing the garden for Spring.

 

More Updates and Resources to Come!

As part of an upcoming collaboration and project, I will be sharing how-to guides for backyard gardening with kids. To stay up to date on when updates and resources are available, subscribe here!


Veggie of the Month: Radish

I am honored to be a monthly contributor to Veggie Buds Club. Intended for children ages 3-6, Veggie Buds Club offers activities that empower kids to Learn + Cook + Play + Create + Grow with a monthly vegetable. Through fun, pressure-free ideas, Veggie Buds Club helps expose your child to a variety of vegetables in age-appropriate and engaging ways.

If you are interested in checking out Veggie Buds Club for your family (or to gift a friend!), I encourage you to hop on over today! Monthly registration closes at midnight on the first of the month, so be sure to sign up so you get this month's box - complete with a tip sheet featuring the advice I share below!

Tips shared in this month’s Veggie Buds Club:

Did you know one of the best steps you can take to getting your kids to TASTE a new food is breaking through the barrier to getting them to TOUCH it?

That's why Spring becomes a particularly fun time to help kids learn to like new produce, including radishes. Here are some ideas to breakthrough the barrier of neophobia (or fear towards new foods) in ways that emphasize kids to TOUCH before we as parents expect they will TASTE:

1. Plant your own radish.

Use your growing kit from this month's Veggie Buds Club, or go to a local gardening store for some seeds and soil. Even if you don't have an at home garden, you can plant radishes in their own small pot for each child. The exposure to the vegetable before it is even grown or in edible form can make for effective nutrition education away from the table!

2. Let your child clean the radish.

Whether you grow your own radish, pick some up at the farmer's market, or grab some at the grocery store, ask your children to be in charge of washing them. As a vegetable that grows underground, you can use this as an excuse to get your kids hands on with washing the dirt away. This helps kids to become comfortable with touching it when there is no expectation that they should too eat it.

3. Consider a visual assessment.

Away from a meal time, consider cutting up a few different radish varieties as part of an experiment. Ask your child(ren) to pick up each variety and then either draw pictures or explain the similarities and differences of each (colors, shapes, smells, touch, etc.). Once they have handled and engaged with each, ask your child(ren) questions that probe interest and potentially a desire to take a bite of each to further compare and contrast differences, like: "Which type of radish do you think is the prettiest? Which one do you think tastes the best? Do you think they all taste the same?"

Having this kind of hands on, pressure-free exposure away from offering new foods (like radish) at meal times can be a great way to get kids learning to like new vegetables before they've ever had it on their plate!

Remember to check out Veggie Buds Club before 12/midnight on the first of every month if you aren't already a subscriber. Then you can still order this month's box and veggie in time to participate!


Other Areas of Growth in the Garden

Garden Yields Update

Total seasonal yield to date (June 1st): 6 yellow squash, 3 zucchini, 1 small cucumber, 11 cherry tomatoes, 17 broad beans

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New Feeding Wins or Progress via Food Play

The girls continue to enjoy picking the tomatoes best. Each girl will put the tomato in her mouth but seems apprehensive towards biting down and how it "bursts" in their mouths. The most fun the girls have had this past month was in pretend play having a "restaurant" with all of the produce we picked that day. They washed it (in this DIY water table), then prepared pretend "recipes" from the ingredients. They dressed up and served these meals as a chef and waitress for hours of creative play. While it didn't lead them to eating any of the produce then and there, it got them comfortable and familiar with it before we as a family used the ingredients in actual meals!


Want More Actionable Ideas on How to Turn Your Veggie Averse Kid Into A Gardener?

Subscribe here for updates and early bird access anytime there is a new resource added and available!

Family-Friendly Meal Plan: Week #21

It is hard to believe this will be my last official meal plan shared here on the blog.

In case you missed my announcement at the beginning of May (you can see it here), this comes with an exciting opportunity for me to provide more valuable content in an even better platform than these meal plans via weekly posts. I appreciate knowing how much everyone has used and appreciated these as a weekly resource. I look forward to continuing to make them available soon through another awesome opportunity I am doing as a collective with Feeding Littles!

If you want to be kept up to date about the release of our new project, I encourage you to subscribe here so you get our release date and more importantly, subscriber-only coupon codes!

Together myself, Megan, and Judy (both from Feeding Littles) are so excited about what we have in store for you (make sure you stay in the know here)! I know that if these meal plans have been helpful to you so far, you will love having them all in one place with our new offering.

For now, here is one last meal plan for you to enjoy this spring and into the summer! Thanks so much for your ongoing interest and support.

 

Veggies & Virtue Meal Plan: Week of May 27

 
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STEP 1: PLAN

If you have been following the past 20+ weeks of meal plans, do you feel like you can now plan, pick, pair, purchase, and prep like a pro?

It does take some practice but I hope this outline has helped to equip you with a better understanding of how to walk through meal planning in a way that works for you and your family. If you want more concrete tips and meal planning templates to use from here on out, please check out the link immediately below to grab your copy of my "Meal Planning Playbook." It is an outline of the five steps I suggest for meal planning, as well as details on how to be more successful with each. There are also two varieties of meal planning templates to use and my healthy-family grocery list for you to continue to reprint each week or as needed!

Get my Meal Planning Playbook (currently on sale) HERE!


STEP 2: PICK

A SPECIAL THANKS TO EACH OF THE FOLLOWING CONTRIBUTORS FOR THE DELICIOUS RECIPE IDEAS THIS WEEK!

Dinner Menu:

1 ǁ Seafood Sunday: Cajun Grilled Shrimp (Recipe by @firstandfull)

2 ǁ Meatless Monday: Trader Joe's 1-minute Lentil Salad (Recipe from @traderjoes)

3 ǁ Taco Tuesday: Grilled Fish Tacos (Recipe from @cookingclassy)

4 ǁ Asian Night: Lettuce Wraps (Recipe by @mydiaryofus)

5 ǁ Salad Night: Kale Peach Salad (by @detoxinista)

6 ǁ Pasta Night: Pesto with Cybele's Veggie Noodles (store-bought)

7 ǁ Family Night Out (slash Mom's Night Off!)


STEP 3: PAIR

Want more ideas and encouragement for how to offer #onemealtwoways from this week’s meal plan? You can follow me and check out this hashtag on Instagram to get new ideas of how we are making one meal work for the whole family (apprehensive eaters included!).

Otherwise, email subscribers have gotten a breakdown of how we use "#loveitlikeitlearningit" for any of the meals we offer during the week for every one of the meal plans I have shared in 2018. I will continue to share these on the meal plans offered through my upcoming project with Feeding Littles, so I encourage you to subscribe here if you want more information about when that becomes available!


STEP 4: PURCHASE

What I Buy and Why: A highchair at the right height*

*This post is sponsored by Regalo. All opinions are my own.

As we prepare for baby #3, there are a lot of infant products I look back on and laugh at being so "research-savvy" about in anticipation for our firstborn that later proved to be silly first time mom "mistakes." The saying goes you don't know what you don't know but nothing could be more true than when it comes to infant high chairs and toddler booster seats.

After five years now as a parent and even longer as a feeding professional, I have such a better sense of what I wish I would have considered when I first bought a high chair (before our oldest was born). I have tested SEVERAL out there, keeping some and letting others go, only to learn what I did, and more importantly didn't, want in a high chair.

A high chair or toddler booster seat is synonymous with a daily war zone where mom is 0-497 for winning against food. It is a messy place for exploring food, and don't get me wrong - one of my FAVORITE places to experience children in their element. But I thought I would share this criteria to any new mom who is considering what high chair or booster seat to buy:

1. Ease of clean: This is the big one, but you don't realize quite how much so until you have had kids and see how messy meal times really are - especially when happening so many times a day. Something I could wipe clean without having to disassemble or machine wash is a must to me, especially now with three littles to clean up after each meal.

2. Portability: Is this ONE high chair something you could easily pack up and take to a friend's house, out of town, or even to a restaurant if you wanted to? I love having something I can pack up easily, is compact, and can even fit in with the car seat as checked luggage when we go on a flight. It could be in addition to a more permanent solution at home, but honestly, I find a single adjustable booster seat can dual at home and away just fine. Plus within the home, I want something that is manageable around our current kitchen set-up and doesn't require it's own "space" (often away from the family table). For us, that means my youngest uses a booster like this one both at home and away.

3. Longevity of use: Personally, I hate buying kids products that last for only a short window when others may suffice for a much longer stint. That's why I would love to spare some parents wasting the money that we did when we first invested in a traditional infant high chair when our oldest first began solids. By the time she was a year old, I knew I disliked how much space it took up in our house, how awkward it was to pull up to the table, and the hassle of cleaning all of its nooks and crannies after each time she ate. For this reason, we got rid of it when we moved and immediately transitioned her to a toddler booster seat (like this one). The toddler seat worked just fine for her up until she was 2.5 years old, when my next daughter began using it as we introduced solids again with her.

4. Adequate support: Too often, I see parents go from infant high chair to their child having minimal added support at the table as an older toddler. While some older kids may still benefit from special seats or books on a stool to support their feet, giving young children proper core support to aid in the difficult task of eating is important. As I shared in this post on 7 Ways to Keep Your Child Seated at the Table, a booster seat with straps and proper support can play a big role in trying to move beyond solely "self-feeding" to actual life skills around family meal times and appropriate table behavior.

5. Affordable: As much as I love feeding products and novelty kitchen gadgets, at the core I am still a budget-minded-mom who wants to see what is worth the splurge and where I can save without noticing much of a difference. That's why I often encourage friends to add booster seats like this one to their baby registries and personally gift them at baby showers. I know firsthand that these have met my criteria for the above four items and are something my family has used day in and day out without missing the bells and whistles of other, more expensive high chairs. Plus, beyond boosters like this one by Regalo making a great gift, I feel good giving them as a "mother-tested, dietitian-approved" tool for feeding.

I hope this information provided some helpful food for thought if you are in the market for a infant high chair or toddler booster seat, or something that can function as both like this one by Regalo! If you'd like to try it out, get 10% off a Right Height Booster seat with coupon code "BOOSTER10" on Regalo's website.

What kind of chair does your child use?


Want my free grocery list download? Download it here.

Want your own tear-off pad of my go-to grocery list to keep on the fridge? Order your 6-month magnetic grocery list notepad here.


STEP 5: PREP

Steps to simplifying:

1 ǁ Seafood Sunday: Cajun Grilled Shrimp (Recipe by @firstandfull)

  • Make your marinade and chimichurri sauce in advance. Thaw shrimp within 24-hours before eating.

2 ǁ Meatless Monday: Trader Joe's 1-minute Lentil Salad (Recipe from @traderjoes)

  • Easy-peasy idea! No prep required.

3 ǁ Taco Tuesday: Grilled Fish Tacos (Recipe from @cookingclassy)

  • Make your slaw in advance. Combine all the oils, juice, and spices for the marinade in advance and add to fish prior to cooking.

4 ǁ Asian Night: Lettuce Wraps (Recipe by @mydiaryofus)

  • Make the filling and dipping sauce in advance. Wash and dry lettuce leaves and store with a paper towel in the fridge.

5 ǁ Salad Night: Kale Peach Salad (by @detoxinista)

  • Make salad dressing in advance. Buy pre-washed baby kale.

6 ǁ Pasta Night: Pesto with Cybele's Veggie Noodles (store-bought)

  • Use a premade pesto and toss over noodles while they are still hot for a one-pot meal!

7 ǁ Family Night Out (slash Mom's Night Off!)


Family-Friendly Meal Plan: Week #20

Do you know what you are making for your Memorial Day festivities yet?

I love holiday weekends in the summer when everyone is outside, kicked back, and enjoying the warmer weather. Outside of tasty ideas for what's on the menu (shared below!), I have some other considerations for How to Best Handle Holiday Picnics, Summer Potlucks, and Picky Eaters that may help you with "what to plan" for your weekend fun.

 

Veggies & Virtue Meal Plan: Week of May 20

 
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STEP 1: PLAN

Depending on what your plans for the holiday weekend, you will find a variety of crowd favorites on this week's menu. Ranging from pasta salad to cobb salads (both of which make great sides to bring to any potluck!) or grilled chicken or salmon that can be made as a larger fillet (if you find yourself hosting!), I hope some of the ideas below get you ready for next weekend and the togetherness that three-day weekends bring!


Interested in walking through the steps to meal plan like a pro?

Download your copy of my Meal Planning Playbook. It outlines the following five steps of successful meal planning in more detail so you can achieve "Less Meal Time Stress and More Feeding Success" for your own family!

On sale!


STEP 2: PICK

A special thanks to Fruit Bliss for sponsoring this week's meal plan!

Dinner Menu:

1 ǁ Seafood Sunday: Roasted Salmon with Herbs (Recipe by @InaGarten)

2 ǁ Meatless Monday: Mexican Quinoa Salad (by @minimalistbaker)

3 ǁ Taco Tuesday: Slow-Cooker Carnitas (Recipe from @chewsfoodwisely and shared in this FREE download)

4 ǁ Salad Night: Build Your Own Chopped Cobb Salad (Recipe by @skinnytaste)

5 ǁ Pasta Night: Tuscan Pasta Salad (by @alyssa_therecipecritic)
Made with
these Organic Turkish Tomato Halves from Fruit Bliss (Sponsored)

6 ǁ Grill Night: Marinated Grilled Chicken (by @veggiesandvirtue) 

7 ǁ Family Night Out (slash Mom's Night Off!)


STEP 3: PAIR

Ideas and encouragement for how to offer #onemealtwoways from this week’s meal plan!

Family Meal: Baked cod, roasted asparagus, this Tuscan Pasta Salad made with these Organic Turkish Tomato Halves from Fruit Bliss (Sponsored), and mandarin oranges for dessert.

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Kids plate:
LOVE IT:
plain noodles in EVOO, mandarin oranges
LIKE IT: baked cod
LEARNING IT: pasta salad, roasted asparagus

Parent's plate: Similar to my child's although I ate the savory options together and saved the mandarin oranges for last.

Notes: My oldest tends to prefer no sauce on her noodles, nor other ingredients mixed in so we offered the pasta salad both plain and composed as the recipe calls for so both girls could try it either way. They also just tried their first mandarin oranges recently when eating out on vacation and really liked them. Although they aren't a fruit-alternative we will have often (due to them not being as nutritionally-dense as other options they also enjoy), we serve fruit for dessert Sunday through Thursdays so it was a sweet option the girls enjoyed alongside our family meal. Of note, both girls tried the learning it foods but neither "ate" them, per say beyond their initial touch, lick, or taste.


STEP 4: PURCHASE

 
  This post is sponsored by Fruit Bliss. All opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored by Fruit Bliss. All opinions are my own.

 

What I Buy and Why: Fruit Bliss Sun Dried Tomatoes (Sponsored)

Parents are always asking me how to get their kids to eat more vegetables or how to expand on a child's existing favorite(s) in a few more ways. Especially with smaller children who can't (or won't!) crunch through raw produce as well, finding safe and enjoyable veggies can be a bit of a trick.

That's one of the reasons I love the products by Fruit Bliss, including these Organic Turkish Tomato Halves. If you saw me share any other of Fruit Bliss's organic dried fruit on my Instagram stories, you might remember my sharing how their products were significantly more tender than most dried fruits I find at the grocery store. This not only makes them more flavorful to eat, but as a mom with young kids it also helps reassure me that my girls can safely chew the foods (which isn't always the case with dried fruit as it can be a choking hazard to small children). The dietitian in me also appreciates that the ingredient list is simple and preservative-free to include only organic sun-dried tomatoes, water, and salt.

These Fruit Bliss tomatoes are tender enough that they resemble a really soft dried fruit and yet they have a savory taste that offers a tasty twist on traditional raw tomatoes. If your child is still learning to like tomatoes in their plain, fresh form, consider trying these sun-sweetened tomatoes:

  • At breakfast: alongside scrambled eggs, avocado, and whole grain toast with butter
  • At snacks: Cut them up into smaller pieces to add into for a "salty  mix" with a variety of snack crackers, pea crisps, veggie straws, freeze-dried veggies, and/or popcorn (again, note choking hazard with small kids)
  • At lunch: Build your own English muffin pizzas. While you make them, have a taste test of fresh tomato slices, cherry tomato halves, pizza sauce, and these sun-sweetened tomato halves. Talk about how pizza sauce is made from tomatoes and all the different ways you can enjoy these, including diced up as a pizza topping! 
  • At dinner: Use them in place of sun-dried tomatoes in the Tuscan Pasta Salad  recipe shared above! We will be making this again for a Memorial Weekend backyard picnic. When doing so, you can make this assembled in advance (as advised below) or offer it up deconstructed with the noodles, sauce, and tomato halves separate and let them self-toss their pasta salad so they can try the ingredients individually. Doing this, they may learn to like the tender, easy-to-chew nature of these sun-sweetened tomato halves much more than they do their raw or sun-dried counterparts!

To get your Fruit Bliss Organic Tomato Halves, be sure to enter my giveaway over on my Instagram account! Otherwise, you can go ahead and order them online or find a retailer for Fruit Bliss products near you.


Want my free grocery list download? Download it here.

Want your own tear-off pad of my go-to grocery list to keep on the fridge? Order your 6-month magnetic grocery list notepad here.


STEP 5: PREP

Want to get ahead?

Pasta salad is one of my favorite items to make the day ahead and keep in the fridge - either for lunch leftovers during the week or to easy grab and go after wrangling our kids and packing up what feels like a million items for a picnic or play date!

If you want an easy idea to take (or make!) this Memorial Day, go ahead and order these Organic Turkish Tomato Halves. Then make this pasta salad up to 24 hours in advance and you'll have the perfect side dish to add to any Memorial Day menu.


Family-Friendly Meal Plan: Week #19

Happy almost Mother's Day!

Knowing that almost all of my audience is made up of moms, I want to personally send my warm wishes to you for a special day of celebrating YOU this weekend! While you may be the main cook in the family (like me!), I hope that you either get a day off from cooking or find a new favorite meal from the menu below to enjoy around the table with those who fondly call you mom/mommy/mama.

 

Veggies & Virtue Meal Plan: Week of May 13

 
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STEP 1: PLAN

I admit, this week's plan was made up of many of MY favorites! Because even though what my kids *will* (or likely will not!) eat drives a lot of decisions around here, many of you know I am not shy to still try to introduce them to new flavors and other's favorites as well. So in honor of mom this week, I planned meals that are ones I often crave and enjoy!

If you want to see how I breakdown each meal to make sure that everyone has something at the table to enjoy (even if the main dish shown below itself isn't their favorite!), be sure you sign up for my newsletter where I give a full meal plan of the main course plus #loveitlikeitlearningit options for what goes with each night's menu.


Interested in walking through the steps to meal plan like a pro?

Download your copy of my Meal Planning Playbook. It outlines the following five steps of successful meal planning in more detail so you can achieve "Less Meal Time Stress and More Feeding Success" for your own family!

On sale!


STEP 2: PICK

A special thanks to each of the following contributors for the delicious recipe ideas this week!

Dinner Menu:

1 ǁ Seafood Sunday: Grilled Snapper Vera Cruz (Recipe by @foodnetwork)
Made with snapper from our Fish Fixe delivery.

2 ǁ Meatless Monday: Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad (Recipe by @natashaskitchen)

3 ǁ Taco Tuesday: Taco Bowls (Recipe by @damndelicious)

4 ǁ Asian Night: General Tso's (Recipe by @skinnytaste)

5 ǁ Salad Night: Blueberry Feta Salad (Recipe by @lemontreedwelling)

6 ǁ Pasta Night: Spaghetti (Recipe by @wholesome_child)

7 ǁ Family Night Out (slash Mom's Night Off!)


STEP 3: PAIR

Ideas and encouragement for how to offer #onemealtwoways from this week’s meal plan!

Family Meal: Blueberry feta and almond spinach salad (recipe from @lemontreedwelling above) with red potatoes and a whole roasted rotisserie chicken

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Kids plate (self-served by my 4 yo):
LOVE IT:
blueberries, roasted chicken legs, roasted red potatoes
LIKE IT: shredded spinach
LEARNING IT: feta, toasted almonds

My plate: I had some roasted chicken breast with potatoes and a tossed salad

I love roasting whole chickens. It allows my daughters to eat their favorite part (the legs), my husband to have his favorite (dark meat) and me as mom to eat a small amount of chicken breast while still having plenty leftover for lunches or another dinner during the week!


STEP 4: PURCHASE

 
 

What I Buy and Why: Cybele's Veggie Pasta

If you have followed any of my "Feeding Therapy Thursday" tips on Instagram, you know I am often taking about food chaining and how to gradually introduce more variety into our children's diets using small, singular changes to "love it foods" (or those foods we know our children tend to prefer). While it may seem like changing something as simple as the shape or the color of a pasta noodle is no big deal, any of us with apprehensive eaters knows that these changes can make or break a meal time.

That's one of the reasons I have LOVED introducing Cybele's Veggie Pasta in my home. Unlike a generic box of noodles or even a whole grain option, Cybele's allows me to food chain a favorite food (pasta) in a way that gets key nutrients in as well. With short ingredient lists containing only the foods my kids are otherwise "learning to like" (like lentils, cauliflower, kale, pumpkin, butternut squash, beets, sweet potatoes, and parsnips!), I have been able to swap out a standard noodle for Cybele's to provide a much bigger nutritional punch.

It has taken some time for my oldest to accept noodles in different shapes and especially any noodle made from lentils, but the first time I introduced Cybele's pink "princess noodles" (made from ren lentils, beets, sweet potatoes and carrots - that's it!), she took to them! Ever since, we continue to rotate through the colors as a fun new "love it food" I can feel good about offering.


Want my free grocery list download? Download it here.

Want your own tear-off pad of my go-to grocery list to keep on the fridge? Order your 6-month magnetic grocery list notepad here.


STEP 5: PREP

Suggested things I do to make my mom life easier:

1 ǁ Seafood Sunday: Grilled Snapper Vera Cruz (Recipe by @foodnetwork)

  • Use Fish Fixe for easy thawing. Make Vera Cruz sauce in advance. Wash and snap ends off of asparagus.

2 ǁ Meatless Monday: Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad (Recipe by @natashaskitchen)

  • Make in advance to eat for lunch and on taco night.

3 ǁ Taco Tuesday: Taco Bowls (Recipe by @damndelicious)

  • Cook rice and taco meat in advance. Prep corn to grill.

4 ǁ Asian Night: General Tso's (Recipe by @skinnytaste)

  • Buy pre-riced cauliflower. Make white rice in advance to mix.

5 ǁ Salad Night: Blueberry Feta Salad (Recipe by @lemontreedwelling)

  • Make salad dressing. Roast chicken in advance, or buy an already-made rotisserie if in need of an extra-easy dinner.

6 ǁ Pasta Night: Spaghetti (Recipe by @wholesome_child)

  • Make spaghetti sauce recipe in advance.

7 ǁ Family Night Out (slash Mom's Night Off!)

  • Put your feet up, and make someone else do the dishes!

Family-Friendly Meal Plan: Week #18

Summer is nearing in, the kids are almost out of school, and third trimester is creeping up on me! This has me planning and preparing for the next few months before baby #3's arrival in hyper-efficiency mode!

I am delighted by the overwhelming response to my weekly meal plans and how many of you have shared either publicly (on social media) or privately (via sweet emails and PMs) how much they have helped you and your family achieve variety in what is offered while also striving for less meal time stress and more feeding success. That was my aim and I am encouraged it has been achieved so far!

That's also why I am officially giving the one month countdown.

For the month of May, I will continue to share these weekly meal plans that so many of you are familiar with my doing. Come June 1st, my blog content will be shifting a bit to make room for an exciting new opportunity where my NEW meal plans will be housed each month!

This is an exciting collaboration with other experts in my field and a resource that I know many of you will find even more helpful than the complete meal plans I am sharing in my weekly emails (join here, if you aren't already subscribed!). If you would like to be among the first to know what is coming, when to get in on it, and how to access such meal plans after this month at a discount (as well as tons of other helpful printables and guides!), be sure to join the thousands of other mamas who already receive my newsletter.

I will be sharing more updates and exclusive discounts to my most loyal followers there, and I would love for you to be a part!

 

Veggies & Virtue Meal Plan: Week of May 6

 
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STEP 1: PLAN

Curious - do you plan your family's meals around the main course/protein? Or do the veggies take center stage in your meal planning efforts? Send me a quick note to share!

As I consider what we are making each month, it has me rethinking how I can highlight seasonal produce more in the coming months. I am excited to hear if and how this would be helpful to you!


Interested in walking through the steps to meal plan like a pro?

Download your copy of my Meal Planning Playbook. It outlines the following five steps of successful meal planning in more detail so you can achieve "Less Meal Time Stress and More Feeding Success" for your own family!

On sale!


STEP 2: PICK

A special thanks to each of the following contributors for the delicious recipe ideas this week!

Dinner Menu:

1 ǁ Seafood Sunday:  Salmon with Yogurt Sauce (from @foodnetwork)

2 ǁ Meatless Monday: Avocado Egg Salad (by @gimmedelicious)

3 ǁ Taco Night:  "Build Your Own Taco Bar" (by @veggiesandvirtue)

4 ǁ Asian Night: Sesame Orange Chicken (by @cleanlittleplates)

5 ǁ Grill Night: Honey Chicken Kabobs (by @allrecipes)

6 ǁ Pasta Night: Lentil-based pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, marinated mozzarella balls, broccoli, cucumbers, and berries (from my Costco printable shared here)

7 ǁ Family Night Out (slash Mom's Night Off!)


STEP 3: PAIR

In honor of Cinco de Mayo this weekend, I am bringing back a fun reminder for how to make "one meal, two ways" via tacos!

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I previously shared a post for how to create a "Build Your Own Taco Bar" set up here. You can use the recipe for taco meat or meat alternative shared on the post, or any other favorite your family has for tacos!

Whichever recipe you choose, I encourage you to try this type of set-up with your kiddos. It makes for a hands on meal that kids can customize however they'd like! Plus, as they become more adventurous in eating, they continue to try new flavor combinations and hopefully eat more veggies too!

 


STEP 4: PURCHASE

What I Buy and Why: Product Feature of the Week

I love stir-fry but I loathe having to cut all those vegetables on busy nights before dinner. That's why I love having a bag of frozen veggies on hand, like this one I get at Costco or Costco's big bag of frozen organic broccoli!

I have tried broccoli in this week's orange chicken and a veggie medley in the Cashew Chicken recipe (shared here) using both fresh-cut produce and frozen produce poured straight from these bags and don't know that I can notice a difference with either! Plus, frozen vegetables are often flash-frozen at their prime, so nutrients lost in freezing is not something to worry about.

Do you keep frozen veggies on hand? Which are your families favorites?

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Want my free grocery list download? Download it here.

Want your own tear-off pad of my go-to grocery list to keep on the fridge? Order your 6-month magnetic grocery list notepad here.


STEP 5: PREP

Admittedly, I haven't been doing a lot of meal prep in advance. Between being gone on the weekend and just straight tired on the Sundays I am home, I have been utilizing more shortcuts than my usual for meal prep.

Be it pre-diced onion, jarred minced garlic, or the frozen veggies shared above, these are all easy and efficient ways to make this week's menu items easier to execute!