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Feeding Babies Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters

October 1, 2016

3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Is there such a thing as a child who eagerly comes to the table ready to eat anything set before her?

I truly believe that it is a possibility, and whether you clicked on this post because you are a brand new mom hoping for some guidance as you start solids with your baby, or you are a seasoned momma pro who has a bit of pickiness in the house you are hoping to change a bit, I hope by the end of reading this, you will feel empowered.

3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

I think feeding babies and toddlers has become a big source of anxiety for some moms, and I want to take that away.

I remember being so nervous to feed my first baby. I had no idea what I was doing, but along the way I have learned some things that literally make the difference between a toddler completely refusing a food and gobbling it up without question.

3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

A little dose of reality before we get to the tips!

Before we dive in, I wanted share a little real life with you. Many of you might picture my 3 kids as these perfect little angels that float to the table and politely eat every last crumb of food on their plate without complaint…

We certainly have our moments. How can you not with 3 completely different personality kids?! It is impossible. They are kids. They have completely different temperaments, bad days, good days, and they are still learning and growing. Do we have some complaining some days? Yep. But much fewer and far between than many homes. If you hop over to my Instagram and search the hashtag #toddlerfeedingtips you will find a plethora of 2 and 3 year old “moments” that I made teaching examples out of my current toddler, who is…ahemvery 3 years old right now!

3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!


3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

Babies are essentially blank slates when it comes to first tastes of new food. Take advantage of that! They have no past experience of food to draw from like you. You may have hesitance toward certain foods that you don’t particularly care for, but your baby might like it on the first try!

Saying things like “It might be kinda bitter” or “You might not like this but…” or “If you don’t like it we can have_________instead”, especially when said with a hesitant look on your face, is totally setting baby up to be cautious about the food! They are reading your face like a book!

Instead, when trying new tastes of food with baby, put that smile on your face even if you don’t like it. Start saying things like “mmm” or “yummy” while you are feeding it to them – keep it happy and light. Never force feed or get upset. First foods should be fun and exciting. I truly miss this part of my babies at home! Make it fun.

Tips with toddlers

If you have toddlers already, continue to keep the atmosphere positive. When a new food arrives to the table don’t make a big deal out of it! I try to not even draw attention to it. Telling them right off the bat “This is a new food and you have to at least try it” is basically telling them, “I know you aren’t going to like, it but you have to at least give it a try.” My current 3 year old is the QUEEN of saying NO to brand new food on her plate. It is the funniest thing because once that first bite is in, 9 times out of 10 she says “oh it’s good momma” and continues on her merry way.

An anecdote about keeping it positive…

I remember a few years ago we finally found a source of wild caught fish in our area. We don’t live in an area where it is abundantly accessible, so my first and second babies didn’t get a ton of fish as babies other than daily cod liver oil, and a huge splurge on something we could barely afford here and there. So we found this source of fish, and because I didn’t grow up on fish (unless you count fish sticks from a box!), I was absolutely just sure they were going to hate it. I pepped talked myself that we were going to have to get them used to it. Despite my hesitancy, I put a smile on my face and served dinner that night. When the girls – toddler and preschooler at the time, asked what it was, I excitedly said “It’s salmon!”, and “It is so delicious! What a treat to find this where we live!” I happily started eating, even though it was a taste and texture that was not my favorite, and the girls took a bite. One of them was hesitant with the first bite, but to this day she is still my fish addict! She would eat it every day if she could. Neither one of them batted an eye to the brand new fish on their plate, and I truly think it had a lot to do with not only the fact that they have broad taste palates from being served a variety of food as little ones, even more so I think my attitude set the tone of the meal.


3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

Our culture overwhelms babies and toddlers. Plain and simple. We overwhelm them with over stimulation in brightly colored, overly decorated fancy toddler plates and fancy sippy cups. And we overwhelm them with way too much food on their plate.

Babies and toddlers are still learning how to sort out any and all stimulation in their environment. Putting a brand new food in front of them on a brand new plate that is very interesting to look at is sending their sensory system into overload. They eventually “cash out” displaying crabbiness and fidgeting because they don’t know what to do with it all!

Keep the portions small.

You can always give them more when they finish! My 5 year old still gets overwhelmed if I put too much on her plate. It makes the plate of food look manageable and appealing when you use smaller portions. Their little tummies don’t hold much as it is – they will ask for more if they are still hungry.

Use appropriately sized, simple feeding gear.

Because I get asked so often what plates, cups, spoons, and bowls are on my Instagram pictures of the girls’ food, I thought I would use this spot to address this, but please, use what you have at home!

I love the Corelle brand because they truly don’t break when dropped – which is going to happen! People often get nervous to give little ones real plates but I have found they catch on quite quickly to keeping the plate on the table (I don’t even bother with plates as babies – feed off your plate or toss it on the table or tray for them!). If you are lucky enough to have some of your Grandma or mom’s Corelle pull those vintage pieces out and use them!


3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

Starting out with lots of variety when they are ready for solids is so key. Even though my 3 year old is in a very toddler stage of wanting to express her independence with that fancy “no” word, she still has a super broad taste palate because when she started solids we tasted lots of different food! My now 5 year old was a lot like her at age 2 and 3 and I literally can’t think of any food she turns down right now.

Especially for those who didn’t grow up in homes that did the home cooked food all the time, I know that cooking seems overwhelming – especially when you throw in there making sure there is variety!

Helping families feed their babies well is such a joy to me. I want to take that source of feeding anxiety away from you. If I could hold your hand and cook with you a few times in your kitchen I would! Because I know how much of a difference it makes to serve real food to little kids.

Which is why I poured my heart and soul into writing Nourished Beginnings Baby Foodfor YOU.

3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

It is my way of walking new and seasoned moms through getting real food into your kitchen for your family in a do-able, busy family way.

  • The food in Nourished Beginnings is simple and nourishing and full of variety.
  • You will learn tips on the very basics of how to start feeding baby, knowing when she is ready for feeding, and what to start with, and how to feed it.
  • You will also learn how to take those basics and move them to the dinner table for the whole family.
  • The book is based on my no fuss approach to feeding babies a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, and fats – without spending all day in the kitchen.  I will walk you through safe foods to start for baby’s developing digestive system, while nourishing their growing brains and bodies.
  • Nourished Beginnings is more than just a baby food book! More than 2/3 of the book is family meals for the whole family with tips on how to serve it to baby. Simple tastes of nutrient dense food as they explore the family flavors in the beginning, will develop into full toddler meals that nourish rapidly growing bodies.

The recipes and tips in Nourished Beginnings is truly the heart of my home, and I am so honored to share this labor of love with you, my readers!

You can find Nourished Beginnings Baby Food here!

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Indibound

Nourished Beginnings Baby Food ::Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Infants, Toddlers and Beyond Inspired by Ancient Wisdom and Traditional Foods

 

Nourished Beginnings Baby Food :: Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Infants, Toddlers and Beyond Inspired by Ancient Wisdom and Traditional Foods

August 27, 2016

Years and years on my heart to write, and over a year in the making, Nourished Beginnings is now available or purchase!

Nourished Beginnings Baby Food ::Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Infants, Toddlers and Beyond Inspired by Ancient Wisdom and Traditional Foods

Growing broad taste palates for nutrient dense real food really is possible!

My three girls are living proof that serving simple, real food during those mold-able months and early years will reward you with toddlers and big kids that don’t bat an eye to a plate full of mineral rich vegetables, and brain boosting, nutrient dense food.

Nourished Beginnings is my simple, no fuss approach to feeding babies a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, and fats – without spending all day in the kitchen. I will walk you through safe foods to start for baby’s developing digestive system, while nourishing their growing brains and bodies. Simple tastes of nutrient dense food as they explore the family flavors in the beginning will develop into full toddler meals that nourish rapidly growing bodies.

Nourished Beginnings Baby Food ::Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Infants, Toddlers and Beyond Inspired by Ancient Wisdom and Traditional Foods

More than just a baby food book, this traditional foods focused cookbook will grow with your baby.

These recipes are truly the heart of my home. They have been the center of my kitchen for the last 8 years…when I had my first baby. The Nourishing Pea Soup grows from babyhood to the school lunch thermoses. Baby’s First Smoothie grows into Tropical Green Smoothies they will thrive on as a teen. Nourishing baby with beef, chicken, and fish purees with nutrient dense add-ins will train their palates to enjoy a grassfed roast for Sunday dinner and fresh salmon fillets on a weeknight. Let me show you how to introduce brain boosting egg yolks, cod liver oil, and fish without fuss so that they will love and even crave them as big kids.

My biggest goal is to show you how to make a nourishing meal for the whole family to enjoy – from the babies to the teens.

What others are saying!

Nourished Beginnings Baby Food should be in every new parent’s kitchen! Renee brings food back to the basics in a way that will not only provide your child with the nutrients they need to thrive, but also help train them to love whole foods in a way nature intended.”
―Amy Roskelley, co-owner of Super Healthy Kids

Nourished Beginnings Baby Food delivers approachable, inspired recipes enveloped in practical, grounded guidance that’s otherwise missing in the dialogue on first foods. Renee Kohley shows you not only how to optimally nourish your children as they begin solid foods, but many of her recipes will likely become favorites for the whole family.”
―Jennifer McGruther, author of The Nourished Kitchen

“When it comes to elegantly simple recipes proven to be both nourishing and delicious, Renee positively shines. The simple ingredients and flavors are sure to be a hit in my home as well as others. Five stars!”
―Jill Winger, creator of The Prairie Homestead

“Renee’s book is just what our world needs. Almost all of the common diseases afflicting our children (and adults) today have a root in poor nutrition. Starting our children off right, from the very start, is going to be key to their long-term health, and Renee shows us how to prepare nutrient-dense foods that even the pickiest eaters will like. This book is not just for new parents. It’s for ALL parents.”
―Jessica Espinoza, creator of DeliciousObsessions.com and 20Dishes.com

“In Nourished Beginnings Baby Food, Renee offers an invaluable resource of approachable family recipes to help your family confidently lay a nourishing foundation for a balanced and practical real-food lifestyle.”
―Kristin Marr, creator of Live Simply

“Renee’s Nourished Beginnings is an absolute must-have in any parent’s library. She teaches you how to get your children hooked on real, nutrient-dense, traditional foods no matter their age, with a special focus on making every bite count for babies and toddlers. This is especially helpful for new moms or otherwise busy parents who want to feed their children the best food possible made from whole ingredients.”
―Amanda Torres, MS, creator of The Curious Coconut

Nourished Beginnings is available at ::

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Indibound

 

 

 

 

Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Snack Ideas

Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!

June 24, 2016

A simple “mix and match” lunch plan to help you and the kids pack fun and healthy, real food lunches!

Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

I originally planned on this post for the middle of August to get everyone’s wheels turning toward back to school, but get this….

Kids totally need to eat in the summer too 🙂

Right?!

And I don’t know about you, but I spend almost as much time packing up lunches in the summer as I do during the school year for everything from park picnics and beach days, to zoo trips and friend visits.

Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!

So one of my goals for this post is for it to be universal.

An all year plan for lunch packing that is evergreen from the first day of school through the last day of summer – without getting boring.

Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!

And as always, my number 1 goal in lunch packing is to make every bite count. Nutrient dense and nourishing to fill up busy, on the grow bodies and brains.

So let’s make this fun! Sit down with the kids and let them do some mixing and matching for their lunch! I’ve left an outline here so you can have some links to recipe ideas, and here is a printable PDF for you to print out and use together as a family. You can laminate it and use dry erase markers for the kids to mark off what they like, or you can mark off the choices they have to pick from for the week based on what is in season right now and what you have grocery shopped for.Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!

main meal

Pick ONE of these:

  • Coconut butter and jam or raw honey sandwich, roll ups using wraps, or leftover waffles
  • Nut butter or seed butter and jam or raw honey sandwich, roll ups using wraps, or leftover waffles
  • Tuna salad (or could use canned salmon) – can serve this as a sandwich, wrap, pita, in a bell pepper cup, or as a dip with crackers or veggie sticks.
  • Egg salad – can serve this as a sandwich, wrap, pita, in a bell pepper cup, or as a dip with crackers or veggie sticks.
  • Chicken salad – can serve this as a sandwich, wrap, in a bell pepper cup, or as a dip with crackers or veggie sticks.
  • Hummus and veggies wrapped in a pita, wrap, or with crackers.

OR Pick TWO of these:

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Breakfast cookies (Here are a few to stash away in the freezer! Lemon Breakfast Cookie, Molasses Protein
  • Breakfast Cookie, The Ultimate Breakfast Cookie)
  • Guacamole & crackers or tortilla chips
  • Yogurt with granola (Here are some easy homemade granola that stashes away in the pantry well: Grain Free Apple Cinnamon Granola, Simple Cinnamon Granola, Strawberry Quinoa Granola)
  • Granola chunks or easy trail mix with raw cheese or coconut flakes or coconut butter. For trail mix I just take a handful of whatever nuts/seeds I have on hand and mix it up with raisins or other dried fruit. You can add a TB of Enjoy Life chocolate chips if you have older kids that are used to “typical” trailmixes.
  • Olives (not a “main meal” but goes well with any of the options in this section as an added real food fat)
  • Avocado (not a “main meal” but goes well with any of the options in this section as an added real food fat)

veggie

Pick as many as you like to fill the veggie section of your lunch container!

  • Carrot sticks or rounds (rainbow carrots are fun too!)
  • Celery sticks
  • Broccoli florets
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Cucumber rounds or sticks
  • Radish slices
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Zucchini sticks
  • Sugar peas
  • Bell peppers of all colors

Dip Options to add real fats for nourishment and digestive aide for the veggies

  • 5 Minute Ranch
  • Cream Cheese
  • Hummus
  • Sour Cream
  • Herbed Olive Oil (just whisk sea salt and herbs into the oil)
  • Coconut butter
  • Olives (not a dip but a great fat that goes well with veggies)
  • Raw Cheese (not a dip but a great fat that goes well with veggies)

Other veggie sides to try!

  • Salads with quick homemade dressings (try some of these!) Can add hard boiled egg or nuts/seeds to the salad too!
  • Ferments such as pickles, sauerkraut, dilly beans, or fermented carrots. Either homemade or check out Bubbies brand at your health food store if you are just getting started!
  • Beet Slaw
  • Coleslaw
  • Summer cucumber chunks with cherry tomatoes and olive oil with sea salt
  • Peas from the freezer thaw out by lunch time – drizzle olive oil and sea salt
  • Cucumber “Sandwiches” using cream cheese in between rounds
  • “Ants On A Log” (celery sticks with nut, seed, or coconut butter down the middle and dried fruit sticking to the butter!)

fruit

  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc)
  • Grapes
  • Apples (if cutting them, put cinnamon on the flesh to keep them from browning)
  • Pears (use the same cinnamon trick as the apples!)
  • Orange slices
  • Cherries
  • Peaches/Nectarines
  • Melon/watermelon slices or chunks
  • Mango chunks
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Banana (best kept in the peel so they don’t brown)
  • Dates, Larabars, or homemade Larabars (I count larabars as more of a fruit even though there are nuts mixed in as they are mostly composed of the dates)

Planetbox 5

A few of my favorite Bento Box style lunch gear!

Our school lunch staple has been the PlanetBox. We are going on our 3rd year of this box and it still looks brand new. Occasionally I will get inquiries about what I think of the cost, and, in my book, buying one lunchbox that lasts for years on end when being used day after day, is a huge budget saver! We use the “Launch” style, though they have a few different layouts depending on how you like to pack up!

I really love our LunchBots containers as well. The Uno, Duo, & Trio are a great sizes for toddlers and little kids, and we are going on our 3rd year of them holding up just like brand new. During the fall and winter months of school, my daughter takes along soup or dinner leftovers 2-3 times per week requiring the use of a thermos. On those days a thermos of soup and a LunchBots container of the extras makes for perfect packing. The also have larger sizes for the bigger kids and teens too!

Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!

A quick note on packable drinks!

Water is our staple, though we do drink a lot of kid friendly nettle infusions as well all year long. Herbal tea infusions can be a great way for kids to hydrate and load up on missing minerals from a busy morning. Adding a squeeze of lemon is always a nice idea if your kids like that!

We have used these Kid Basix Safe Sporter cups for the last 5 years – including the last 2 years of daily school. The spouts are finally starting to look a little worn after 5 years of daily use so I think they have been a good buy especially for toddlers and little kids in early elementary who maybe won’t handle an open water cup as well for on the go situations. This year I decided to invest in an “older kid” water bottle and we went with these Eco Vessessl for Kids for both my 2nd grader and I think my new Kindergartener will do fine with these without spilling. My toddler (2 years old) drinks out of open cups perfectly, but doesn’t manage a bigger, open bottle like this without help.

Ok! Keep me posted on those lunches! You can follow my Instagram hashtag #rgnschoollunches for more packable lunch ideas too!

Oh! And don’t forget your free mix and match printable!

Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!