It’s PUMPKIN TIME!
Every year these pumpkin recipes (see below) are on repeat all autumn long in our home. The chili post is adapted from Wellness Mama and it’s delicious!
These recipes also happen to have easy dairy-free modifications for those who need it, and they’re also egg-free!
Why is pumpkin such a nutritional powerhouse? Just one tablespoon fulfills your child’s vitamin A needs for the whole day (ages 1-8)! Vitamin A, specifically as beta carotene in pumpkin, supports eye health and vision, skin and the immune system. Pumpkin also has tons of other vitamins and minerals.
We choose boxed or canned unsweetened pureed pumpkin, but you can also make your own by roasting pumpkin flesh and pureeing it yourself - it’s just a lot more work.
For the cookies - we like cake mixes with simple ingredients like flour, sugar, vanilla etc. so Immaculate Baking and Foodstirs work well, but you can try any boxed cake mix at your grocery store.
Concerned about sugar? Head to our post to read our stance on sugar and how/when to incorporate into your child’s diet. The bigger deal we make about sugar, the more kids focus on it.
How are we doing, friends? We know this can be a really challenging time for everyone, and we wanted to help in our own small way. Click on the link below to download our free Family Meal Toolkit - Dinner Edition! In it you'll find:
Click on the link or image below to download the Toolkit now!
Do you have a kiddo that needs a little help in the growth department? Perhaps you’re pregnant and are struggling to gain weight yourself, or maybe you’re breastfeeding and are losing weight very quickly. We all have unique nutritional needs!
Sometimes we need to add Calorie Boosters to foods to help each bite count. One simple strategy we use with our clients is adding a layer of fat/oil underneath other toppings on toast, pancakes, waffles, rice cakes, sweet potato spears, etc. It helps each and every bite count a little bit more.
How do you know if your child needs this? Talk to your doc first! Are they worried about your kiddo’s growth? Can their growth trajectory be explained by genetic/environmental factors? If your doc’s not worried, keep doing what you’re doing! On the other hand, if your provider has expressed concern in your child’s growth it may help to try these strategies.
Nut allergy? Use sunflower seed butter or tahini (shown on top right toast).
Dairy-free? Try the Kite Hill Foods cream cheese spread with coconut oil or avocado oil underneath for the third toast option.
This is just one of the many techniques we’ve outlined in our new Calorie Boosters handout we just added to our Infant and Toddler Courses! It includes so many unique ideas and has allergen-friendly options. We also have included some tasty recipes! (If you already purchased either course you have access to this handout! Head to Step 5 in the Infant Course and 13 in the Toddler Course!)
We also added an entire handout for constipation in Step 4 of the Infant Course and Step 13 of the Toddler Course.
Our courses are live, meaning that you’ll always have the most updated version (and they don’t expire - as long as we’re hosting them!). Go back and watch them again and again.
Are you and your kiddo getting sick of the same ol’ sandwich? Perhaps you have a nut allergy in your family or can’t bring nut products to school. Here are some simple options that are balanced, tasty and easy to put together. Maybe some of them will work for your family!
These are open-faced sandwiches so you can see the fillings - add bread on top!
Shown is Trader Joe's sprouted bread, and we also love Dave's Killer Bread - watch for big seeds for kids under 4 and honey for babies under 1 when choosing bread!
We like BPA-free canned wild salmon as an affordable way to get more omega-3 fats in our diet. It’s great mixed with Primal Kitchen avocado oil mayo, which is made from avocado oil, eggs, vinegar, salt and rosemary.
To add flavor to mashed black beans, add garlic, cumin and sea salt - hot sauce for you (or your kid if they like it)!
There are so many great deli-style turkey options on the market - we love True Story brand and Trader Joe's organic turkey - the only ingredients in these options are turkey and salt. If you don’t have access to them, try to find nitrate-free options if you use deli turkey.
If your kiddo has a pine nut allergy omit the pesto or use a pine nut-free option like Alessi Foods brand.
How do you teach your baby or toddler to eat a sandwich? Well, you can just give it to them and see how it goes, but if they stuff it all in their mouth or can’t figure out how to eat it we have a few Foodie Judy tips for you below:
All new breakfast series - Part 1: Allergen-free Breakfast Ideas! These ideas also happen to be all plant-based options.
We want to take you through many different ways to mix up breakfast, starting with ideas for our friends allergic to any of the top 8 allergens - all ideas shown are free from the common allergens, but of course humans can be allergic to anything. (Judy is allergic to avocado!) Modify if your child can’t tolerate something shown.
We also have plenty of breakfast ideas in our free Breakfast Toolkit as well.
If you have taken our online courses, you know that early and frequent exposure to allergens is important for non-allergic kiddos. But if you have a child with an egg, dairy or wheat allergy, breakfast can be tough. Many typical “breakfast” foods that have some protein in them contain an allergen.
Each idea here contains fat, a little protein, and fiber - this combo of macronutrients is important for blood sugar regulation and keeping kids satisfied so they can play, learn and grow. Many protein options like hemp hearts, sunflower seed butter and chia seeds are also a good source of iron - a critical nutrient in childhood! Protein needs aren’t crazy high for kids - they just need exposure to some protein to help balance their nutrition.
If you’re struggling with picky eating or want to help prevent it in your child, don’t forget to check out our Toddler Course.
Each food served here, except the more crunchy rice cake, is appropriate for 6+ months - hold off on the rice cake until around 14-16 months unless you use a really thin rice cake. Babies under 1 can have sips of smoothies, but we don’t want smoothie intake to displace their breast milk or formula intake.
The smoothie shown is made from 1 cup Ripple Foods milk (put in blender first), 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 3/4 cup frozen mango, 3 pitted dates and 1 T. coconut oil. We recommend serving smoothies alongside whole foods because many kids (and adults) aren’t satisfied with a meal when they just drink it.
Bread shown: Follow Your Heart brand from Whole Foods.
Don’t forget that breakfast doesn’t have to come from “breakfast” foods!
Our most popular recipe posts and stories on Instagram involve simple dinner ideas - including pouring sauce over chicken, setting the slow cooker (or Instant Pot) timer, and waiting for dinner to be made. Here are some of our favorite sauce ideas that you can experiment with to create a delicious, nourishing dinner (and maybe some leftovers for another meal)! Just pair it with 1-2 veggie sides and a starch like sweet potato, rice or pasta!
Pour at least 2 cups of sauce on the 1-2 lb. of chicken, enough to cover it thoroughly so it doesn’t dry out. You won’t eat all of the sauce; it’s there to retain moisture during the cooking process, which is super important for young eaters! Once the sauce is added, give the chicken a quick stir.
If using the crockpot, cook it on low for 4-5 hours. If using an Instant Pot, cook it on high for 9 minutes with manual release.
We like chicken thighs because they’re more tender and easier for kids to eat, plus they’re cheaper.
A few notes:
We have so many favorite fast breakfast options, but frozen waffles are definitely top 5 lately! There are a lot of waffle brands out there, and some of our favorites include:
The waffles listed pack a little more nutrition than traditional waffles and can be helpful if you have allergies in your family. You can serve them with the traditional butter and real maple syrup combo, but we also love mixing it up with the toppings and serving suggested listed below!
Make sure to cut them in the right size for your child - babies 6+ months can eat them as strips or “sandwiches,” and older babies/toddlers can eat them as small pieces, strips, or whole using their hands! Just toast them first and make sure they’re a little crunchy for reluctant eaters!
Judy loves waffles because they have natural bite spots for babies and toddlers working on the “bite and pull” skill. We listed various waffle brands above that help satisfy different nutrient needs, as we know that some of you are dealing with allergies, intolerances or health issues. If the waffle itself is low in protein, make sure to pair it with a protein source like nut/seed butter, eggs, hemp hearts, chia seeds, or milk. As always, read labels carefully if you’re avoiding allergens.
Megan here, talking about our favorite food group - chocolate! My family isn’t dairy-free, but we know that many are you are for various reasons. Some people have to stop eating dairy for their breastfeeding baby who isn’t tolerating dairy in human milk, or perhaps it doesn’t sit well with your system. We get messages all the time about adjusting to dairy-free life when you’re used to eating it. Enter Enjoy Life chocolate chips (not sponsored). They're a godsend for those who don’t do dairy but really miss chocolate and want to satisfy a sweet craving!
Here are some great ways to enjoy them:
Above are just some ways to use chocolate chips or melted chocolate - all of which can make needing to be dairy-free for baby a wee bit easier. To make energy balls (adapted from Gimme Some Oven), combine 1 cup uncooked oats, 1/2 cup peanut butter or other nut/seed butter, 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup (no honey for babies), and 2 T chia seeds; roll into balls and refrigerate to set. Keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Keep in mind that some of these ideas aren’t allergen free, so adapt if necessary! (Note: Larabar also has dairy free chocolate chip options, but it’s always more fun to dip it in chocolate sauce!)
Breakfast burritos are amazing for adults and kids alike because you can modify them to your tastes and dietary needs (see below for allergy/diet modifications), plus they’re super easy and delicious!
Sometimes babies, toddlers and kids are overwhelmed by burritos in their whole form and do better with deconstructed options, so above is one way you could present breakfast burrito ingredients to your tot - using an ice cube tray! (This is a silicone tray from Target purchased this past summer.) Shown here are tortilla, eggs, cheese, beans, guacamole and salsa (2 flavors). Yes, babies and kids can eat spicy foods - just start slowly! Some of these foods contain salt, so if you serve these to babies under 12 months just go easy on salty foods the rest of the day.
Since breakfast burritos from restaurants can be so filling, we’ve shown half of a burrito here. The most important thing is not rigid “portion control,” but rather eating until your body is comfortably full and satisfied.
The ice cube tray spaces are really small - the image isn’t to scale next to the full burrito so you can see it better. Each section has about 1 tablespoon of food. Keep offerings small for kids so they’re not overwhelmed - they can always have more than what you serve, and if they don't eat it you waste less food.
Here are some of our favorite breakfast burrito ingredients:
Need to modify your burrito for allergies or dietary concerns?
Do you struggle finding fast meal ideas and need help with filling, nourishing, tasty foods that your whole family can enjoy? Good news - we are in the same boat too! I think everyone struggles with the weeknight mealtime hustle. It’s hard to fit in everything, especially when you’re juggling busy after school schedules, work, cranky babies, or toddlers who decide they hate eating every other day.
We got you - being a parent is hard work. Do your best - which may mean takeout tonight - and give yourself grace to use easy convenience options! There are so many good ones out there!
This is one of my favorite simple chicken hacks using the beloved Trader Joe's Bruschetta Sauce - sub out marinara or even salsa if needed. It pairs nicely with Primal Kitchen avocado oil ranch (dairy-free), but use whatever ranch you’d like! We love this option for our dairy-free families who struggle to find meal ideas that lend creaminess similar to cheese!
Here's what you need:
Here’s the "recipe":