A festive and delicious recipe full of nutrients.
Even if it's still hot where you live and enjoying fall foods hasn't quite hit yet, keep in mind that pumpkin is a crazy good source of beta carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant and supporter of eye health! Just one tablespoon of pureed pumpkin can exceed your child's needs for vitamin A (as beta carotene) for the day.
This simple, freezable recipe is adapted from Wellness Mama and is seriously tasty!
Here's what you need:
Brown beef in a large pot. When beef is almost completely cooked, add the onions and cook until soft.
Add the pureed pumpkin, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, stock, beans and spices. Simmer for 10 minutes until heated through. Top with cheese, sour cream/yogurt or avocado slices. Feel amazingly festive and satisfied (even if you could still cook an egg on the sidewalk).
Corn on the cob can have a nutrient-rich place in your family's diet.
What's the deal with corn?
We’ve seen people mention that “corn has no nutritional value.” When it comes to whole corn, this couldn’t be further from the truth, friends!
(By the way, the term “no nutritional value” doesn’t really apply to food when you think about it. Yes, many foods are more nutrient rich than others, but almost every food supplies something nutritionally, even if it’s just calories. This is especially true for veggies and fruits - they all have some sort of nutritional value.)
Did you know that corn has helped sustain civilizations for millennia? If it were void of nutrients it wouldn’t have helped grow populations like it has. Yes, corn byproducts are now overused in the processed food industry and in raising livestock, but whole corn kernels are a great source of fiber, zeaxanthin and lutein (both important phytochemicals), potassium, B vitamins, and magnesium. Sweet corn is also usually non-GMO for those worried about it.
Corn is technically a vegetable - yes, a starchy, higher-carbohydrate one - and kids are drawn to it because eating it on the cob is novel and fun. It’s also a “safe” flavor for many kids who are reluctant to eat new foods, so having corn on the plate may get them going and trying other options. Remember, eating begets eating! Once they’re on a roll they may be more open minded. (We go through all of this in our toddler course!) Babies can have corn on the cob too - they tend to really like it! Just serve it on the cob cooked very well so it's soft.
Side note: corn on the cob holders are fun novelty tools for older kiddos (who won’t pull them out of corn and poke themselves - you know your kiddo best with this)! We found Interlocking Corn Holders by Zyliss at Whole Foods today and were so pumped to use them for corn on the cob with dinner! Check out Walmart, Target or Amazon for great corn on the cob holders.
Switch up the crust.
Who likes pizza night?
Have you tried cauliflower crust pizza? Yes, it's trendy right now, and some see it as "diet-y"...but we like cauliflower crust pizza for those who need a wheat alternative or people who want to add more veggies to their life in a tasty way. Don't feel like you "have to" try it or that other crust isn't "healthy" - it's just an alternative to check out and integrate into your menu if you enjoy it!
Cauliflower crusts come as just crusts that you heat and top or as fully-topped, ready to heat and eat pizzas. You can also make it from scratch, but we usually don't have time for that on busy weekdays!
Our favorite cauliflower crust options include those from Trader Joe's and Milton's brand at Costco, but many retailers are making their own cauliflower crust.
Why try cauliflower crust pizza? Different crusts offer different flavors, textures and nutrition. We want kids to eat all sorts of foods and be comfortable with different flavors so they can have varied, flexible palates and aren't thrown off by new ingredients.
We like to top our pizza with chopped tomatoes and mushrooms cooked from frozen, but choose your favorite toppings! If you can, let your kids help top the pizzas for a fun activity that also makes them excited to eat.
To make cauliflower pizza from a frozen crust (un-topped):
Serve with veggies and/or fruit of your choice! (We did shredded carrots and quartered grapes.)
Weeknights just got easier!
Asian Grilled Salmon, Feta Lentil Salad and grilled corn on the cob make a delicious and filling summer dinner! I will be the first to admit two things:
Here’s how to make it:
Grilled corn on the cob:
Lentil feta salad (a Trader Joe's original recipe):
We served the salmon, corn and salad with cherries, but any seasonal fruit of your choice works! Be sure to modify cherries for babies and kids under age four by removing the pit and cutting it into quarters lengthwise.
Your next go-to dinner is here!
I’ll be honest - cooking a whole chicken kind of intimidates me. That’s why I love doing it in the crockpot. (I admittedly haven’t tried it in the Instant Pot, and until I get a new lid after I melted my IP lid on a hot stovetop, I won’t be able to try!) I still love my trusty crockpot and adore making this chicken recipe, even if I've made chicken recently.
I created this recipe after experimenting with various recipes online, so feel free to explore the interwebs to find various crockpot whole chicken recipe ideas. This is just what worked for us.
We serve this with fruit (optional) and Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi (2 bags because this was sure to be a hit with our family of 4).
To make the cauliflower gnocchi, add 1 T olive oil or butter to a large pan on medium heat. Heat gnocchi on oil until cooked though, and as it’s heating add another tablespoon olive oil to prevent sticking. Sprinkle with Parmesan. (We altered the heating instructions from what’s on the package as suggested by an awesome follower!)
Super simple, super yummy!
A delicious dinner doesn’t have to be complicated! This dinner only needs the following ingredients:
Here’s how we made it:
You can also cook the chicken in the instant pot on high for 7 minutes. We hope this helps inspire you on busy weeknights!
Grilled cheese made even easier.
How do we make the most PERFECT grilled cheese? The secret’s in the cooking method - use a toaster (or regular) oven, people! I don’t know if I’m just not good at skillet-made grilled cheese (or if I get way too distracted when I’m supposed to be watching it brown), but I tend to burn grilled cheese made on stovetop. Perhaps you do too!
A few years ago I discovered that it is absolutely amazing in the toaster oven on convection bake setting at 350F. If you don’t have a toaster oven, use your regular oven and a baking sheet but watch it closely! Use it the next time your kids are hangry or the rain starts pouring - it pairs nicely with tomato or vegetable soup, especially when cut into strips for dipping!
Here’s how to make it:
Allergy note: use dairy-free butter alternative and dairy-free cheese + gluten-free bread if needed!
Great for the whole family!
You know those fast, easy, delicious dinners that you love but always forget to make? Yeah, this is one of them for me.
I play around with different tortillas, and this brown rice version from Trader Joe's was pretty good! We use their fat free beans, not because we avoid fat (we think dietary fat is waaaay important!), but because the other types at Trader Joe’s are kinda spicy and my girls haaaaate spicy still, despite numerous exposures! (We're working on it.)
Here's what you need:
Here’s how we made them:
Particular toddler at home? Let them build their own fajita and make sure to serve familiar foods with new ones so they’re not overwhelmed by unfamiliar options. We have more tips like this to help with your picky eater in our Toddler course.
Baby at home (6+ months)? Omit salt and serve deconstructed - shrimp, cooked peppers/onions, tortilla (soft), avocado strips, and refried beans plopped on the tray or presented on loaded NumNum GOOtensil. Looking to do baby-led weaning with your little one? Check out our Infant course.
Different types of pasta offer different flavors, textures and nutrition.
So many kids love pasta - we call them "noo-noos" in our house. What's not to love? They're easy and fun to eat and are topped with delicious sauces.
I’m especially a fan of all the new alternative pastas like Banza is made from chickpeas and has a ton of filling protein and fiber. One 2-oz portion (which is a pretty decent size) has 14 grams of protein, just 4 grams short of their total daily need. We serve it so many ways - here's a few ideas:
Remember, kids learn to eat what is served to them, so mix it up! Offer different types of pastas with different presentations and different sauces. Sticking to the same dishes increases their likelihood of picky eating...try to get creative when you can!
Quick and easy!
Ready for another simple Instant Pot recipe? We LOVED using the Trader Joe's Marsala Sauce. We dumped 2 jars over 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (more tender and cheaper than chicken breasts) and cooked it on high for 10 minutes. That's it!
For an easy veggie idea, roast broccoli and cauliflower in olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper and serve it with Organic Super Grains from Whole Foods (basically a combo of white and red quinoa, millet and buckwheat).
Add an easy side dish: Throw together a tomato, basil and burrata salad with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper! YUM!
We are ALL about fast, easy, tasty, filling and nourishing meals that don’t take forever!
Megan and Judy, co-owners of Feeding Littles, bring you helpful info on food, nutrition, picky eating, and feeding young children. Megan McNamee MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Judy Delaware, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist specializing in feeding therapy with children 3 and under in Boulder, Colorado. Megan and Judy are both moms of two and love helping families develop a healthy appetite for all foods!