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Foodie Friday: Raising a Picky Eater


Pancakes with maple syrup, hold the blueberries

My 3 year old son is a very picky eater, with an emphasis on “very.”

It’s obviously a common problem amongst kids his age, but I feel like it’s getting increasingly worse. He refuses to try new foods and often pushes his plate away, complete with a look a disgust and “blech” sound effects.

The Monkey was great with food until he was about 2 years old. At 2, he stopped drinking from a bottle, which was primarily used for milk. Since he associated milk with a bottle, he stopped drinking milk altogether. He started to push meals away, especially if vegetables were seen on his plate, and started to ask for specific foods. My child, who once devoured my roasted Brussels sprouts, scrambled eggs with veggies, and beet salads, now wants to live on chicken fingers, pizza, and pancakes.

We established a rewards system that is very hit or miss.  We would reward him with a small soy ice cream sandwich or a few organic chocolate covered pretzels as a treat after he ate his dinner. However, as for trying new foods, the reward system doesn’t even work. He would rather skip a treat than try something new. He has been known to throw a tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants or simply refuses to eat. (continues…)

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Foodie Friday: A Happy Ending to Happy Meals

happymealThe San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to ban the distribution of toys with fast food meals that have a calorie count of more than 600. Fast food chains and other restaurants are allowed to include toys with meals as long as they do not exceed 600 calories and include fruits or vegetables. The ban will go into effect in December 2011.

I, for one, applaud San Francisco.

Having once worked on a public health-driven task force with the SF Board of Supervisors, I wasn’t surprised about the ban. The health of San Francisco’s residents, especially among children, is a big issue among city officials. With childhood obesity on the rise and the growing number of Type II diabetes cases among children, I agree that it’s important to put an end to enticing children with a fun item for an unhealthy product.  I liken the use of toys to promote and sell Happy Meals to the use of cartoon images to sell alcohol or cigarettes. The death of Joe Camel was a good move among advertisers and I believe that an end to the inclusion of toys with unhealthy meals for children will be a good thing as well.

Some people are up in arms about the ban because they don’t want government telling them what their families can and cannot eat (doesn’t the FDA do that already?). This ban does nothing of the sort. This ban is ultimately about marketing and advertising unhealthy products towards children. As a parent, it’s also about rewards. I want to see our society go back to a healthier era when it comes to the consumption of food. Children used to be rewarded with a treat if they ate their healthy dinner. However, in the past few decades, we’ve been rewarding children with toys when they eat an unhealthy fast food meal.  If parents and fast food chains want to really reward a child, put a toy in a bag of carrots. Give a small portion of a dessert after a child eats green beans with dinner. To me, that sounds like the happiest meal of all.

What do you think about the ban? Would love to hear from you.

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Foodie Friday: The New OC Whole Foods Preview and Gift Card Giveaway!

Whole Foods Market(A note to my readers – this is a review of an Orange County, CA based Whole Foods and the give-away included is only open to residents of Southern California, Hawaii, Arizona, and Nevada. My apologies in advance if you are not eligible for this give-away.)

I’ve been a fan of Whole Foods grocery stores for many years so, needless to say, I was thrilled when I was invited to preview the 300th Whole Foods store that just opened in Huntington Beach, CA. Two days before the grand opening on Wednesday, October 13th, I joined up with other bloggers and media outlets for a fun tour that showcased everything the new Whole Foods has to offer its new community.

In addition to many of the natural and organic items that you find in Whole Foods stores across the country, the new Huntington Beach location will offer unique regional products and cuisine from more than 50 local vendors, including Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce, Mary’s Free Range Organic Chickens, Honey Pacifica, Carlsbad Aquafarm, Yasutomi Farms, California Baby, and Xan Chocolates, to name a few. Many of the local vendors were at the preview and I happily sampled their goods. I was introduced to quite a few products I’ve never tried before and saw even more that I know and love. I’ve been a fan of Mary’s Chickens for years (my delicious Thanksgiving turkey last year was from Mary’s farm!), and it was a pleasure to actually meet her in person. It was also a treat to discover other local vendors. I especially loved the Xan chocolates, the sage and eucalyptus honey from Honey Pacifica, the shrimp from Carlsbad Aquafarm, and the hot sauce from Gringo Bandito (a Tapatio loyalist for years, I have to admit that this incredible hot sauce won me over). (continues…)

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Foodie Friday: The Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora!

Muppets KitchenI headed to the Disney Studios yesterday in beautiful downtown Burbank to help celebrate the launch of The Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora!

As a huge fan of Swedish Chefs and Iron Chefs, I was thrilled with the invite and opportunity. The Muppets Kitchen is a wonderful new online video series starring celebrity chef Cat Cora and Muppet Chef Angelo (who, with his thick Italian accent, is clearly not Swedish). However, Chef Angelo is a close friend and apprentice to the Swedish Chef and, as I quickly learned, is just as entertaining and lovable.  His cooking skills, however, are questionable.

The online videos, which are featured on Disney’s and websites, are not only entertaining to watch but are filled with helpful cooking tips and ideas for little eaters. As a mom herself, Cat Cora has a ton of ideas for healthy and delicious food that even the pickiest eater will enjoy. There are no surprises and sneaky methods with her recipes. Cat believes that educating your children about what’s in their food and where it’s from is the best way to go. As she explained to the audience, knowing the ingredients of her food and trying everything at least once has not only expanded her own palate but helped her become the incredible chef she is today.


Watching Cat Cora, Chef Angelo, and Pepe explain how to make trail mix popcorn

Cat and Angelo demonstrated how to make a delicious snack called Trail Mix Popcorn. You can make the popcorn with the nuts and dried fruit on their own or add the melted sugar, corn syrup, and butter for an extra treat. Either way, it’s going to taste great! It’s a Moms and Muppets approved snack. Check it out! (continues…)

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Foodie Friday: Vroom-Vroom Juice

Put a little *vroom* in your juice

For my two year old Monkey, everything that makes a loud whirring sound is called a *vroom-vroom*. Which explains why whenever I break out the blender to make a smoothie, my toddler says it’s time for *vroom-vroom juice*.

There are a ton of different ways to make a smoothie and it seems like I’ve tried a hundred different varieties without nailing the perfect consistency. The smoothie either turns out too sweet, too bitter, too grainy, or has too many seeds.  This one, however, is my favorite smoothie recipe. And the Monkey loves it, too:

The Monkey’s Vroom-Vroom Juice

  • 2 cups organic Acai juice (I prefer Acai with pomegranate juice)
  • 1/2 cup of non-fat organic vanilla or plain yogurt
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 small package of frozen organic strawberries
  • 1 frozen mango


1 tablespoon of flaxseed

When you’re preparing to *vroom-vroom*, make sure to add the ingredients in the order I listed in order to help blend more smoothly and evenly. If the blender doesn’t seem to be working, you may have an air pocket. Safely and carefully, lift the lid and use a spoon to stir up the mixture before proceeding to blend again. You may have to blend for about 2-3 minutes before you get the right consistency.

For toddlers, the best cup I have found for smoothies is the Munchkin Mighty Grip Flip Straw Cups. They’re not the easiest sippy cup to clean and assemble, but toddlers find them very easy and fun to use.

The *vroom-vroom juice* smoothies also make great frozen fruit bars! My favorite mold is the Tovolo Shooting Stars.


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