Homemade energy bites are my kids' favorite snack, hands down! We have been making these for years and they’re so tasty for mama and kiddo alike - please make sure read the safety information below before serving.
These are also awesome for pregnant mamas as some data suggests that dates may help with cervical ripening before birth.
Best of all, they are a nice balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates (read: energy) that taste amazing.
I loved having them on hand when I was pregnant and breastfeeding, especially because they’re a quick, satisfying snack that can be eaten with one hand! You can make a large batch and keep them room temperature, in the fridge or frozen - you (adult) can eat them frozen, but make sure to thaw for younger eaters.
These energy bites are similar to commercially available energy bars and are simply equal parts Medjool dates and nuts or seeds of choice. Make sure to use a high powered blender or food processor to blend. If using the Vitamix, use the tamper.
Vary the nuts you use: each one provides different nutrition! For non-allergic people, regular exposure to allergens is important for allergy prevention.
A few tips for success with these:
We talk often about feeding our kids, but feeding yourself is important as well!
Every time I post about my lunch salads I get tons of questions about how to make a salad tasty and satisfying. Y’all say that your salads aren’t interesting, but with a few tweaks I bet they could be something you really enjoy!
I love salads. They’re what I crave for lunch. I don’t eat them because I “should” or because I’m trying to be “good.” I eat them because I love how they taste and I love how they make me feel. If I’m not craving a salad one day I don’t eat one! Yup, sometimes that means a sandwich or a burger. But most days when lunch rolls around, salad usually sounds tasty.
However, I rarely eat the same salad two days in a row. Adding variety in flavor and ingredients keeps them interesting and satisfying.
I also love trying salads at restaurants - there are always so many creative ways to make them!
When making a salad, consider adding one component from each category so there’s enough flavor, satisfying nutrition, and texture in your salad. (Many of us miss out on protein or filling fat when we make a salad and are hungry 1-2 hours later.) Let’s face it - plain chicken on lettuce is oftentimes not that interesting, but once you add some avocado, chopped almonds and fresh strawberries it becomes a little more tasty! Dress it with tangy vinaigrette and suddenly you have a winning lunch.
New to this? Want to get more salads in your life? Don’t overwhelm yourself, just pick one thing from each category to try to have on hand when you build your next salad. Use a pre-cut base so you can wash and pour it in a bowl.
Oh, and one more thing - some people just aren’t satisfied by a salad alone. Try pairing it with a whole grain bread, some fruit or some soup and see if that helps round out the meal for you.
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:
Perfect for game day!
Need to bring an easy, fun snack to your next Sunday night football party (or, well, any party)? We love these sandwich skewers originally inspired by Pinterest browsing. The Cuban flavor is amazing, but I figured we could mix it up in so many ways! Some of the flavors are more complex and may or may not be kid-approved in your house (but we still recommend trying it so your child has the opportunity). Just be careful with food on sticks/toothpicks for kids under 2-3, and watch round foods like olives and cherry tomatoes for kids under 4!
Here's some ideas:
Don’t feel like party snacks have to be “healthy” to share - all foods can be a wonderful part of living life and enjoying celebrations!
For years we’ve been asked to do a cookbook, but we hesitated because our expertise wasn’t in recipe development. Enter Ali from Inspiralized and Inspiralized Kids, the brilliant New York Times best selling author! Together we collaborated to create Inspiralized Littles, our first eCookbook! It's now available! We are so thrilled to partner with such a talented cookbook author and recipe developer. The best part? It’s just $5.99!
What does this eCookbook include?
Need more of a step-by-step guide to baby-led weaning? Check out our infant course covering everything you need to know about starting solids with you baby at 6+ months old.
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":
Late summer is fig season! These fun, high-fiber and mineral-rich fruits are awesome eaten raw, but I especially love them as a salad dressing or dip!
I’ve been making this Fig Vinaigrette for years, and every time I make it I love it even more. This recipe is heavy on the vinegar (because that’s how I like it - bring on the sour and strong flavors!), but you may not like as much acid. It’s perfect on a big green salad with feta, walnuts and strawberries. Watch whole nuts for kids under 4; if you use walnuts on your salad, finely crush them for your tot.
Dips are great to start serving as early as infancy (6+ months) because as a child gets older, a familiar dip makes a less familiar food not so scary. Hummus and guacamole are great places to start, but we also love vinaigrettes, marinara, fruit purees served as dips, ranch, Greek yogurt, ketchup, etc. Serve dips often so that when your tot inevitably shuns a new food, the familiar dip makes it much more appealing.
Here's how to make it:
Magic bars are always the favorite of the party when we make them. We gifted them to neighbors recently and I already got the "best neighbor ever" text from a few of them - one asked to put in a large order, another asked if I’m selling them. Not kidding, they’re insanely good!
Do you feel out of control around holiday desserts? One thing to try: sit down so you can really enjoy your dessert - we savor food most thoroughly when we are given the space to enjoy the eating process. Put it on a plate, maybe grab a glass of milk/milk alternative (or beverage of choice), and taste it! Eat slowly and savor each bite! After all, isn’t that why you want to eat it?
We usually use more quantities than what typical recipes call for - see images below of us putting together the layers. *Make sure the walnuts are finely crushed if serving this to kiddos under 4.*
Do you have a go-to party or holiday appetizer? I love making new party snacks!
This one is my favorite - it’s requested by my dad’s golf friends every time I see them! The smoky, salty sweet combo of the olives, goat cheese and crushed smoked almonds make it taste complex and interesting, but it’s literally just three ingredients! You’ll feel like a fancy gourmand serving these, even if you couldn't accomplish other tasks in your day you meant to get to. Kids can eat this too, just make sure to quarter the olives for kids under 4.
These ingredients were just what I found at Target but you can use whatever you can get!
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!