Picky Eaters – Sneaking in Veggies

Thanks to OSU dietetic intern Maryam for writing our blog post today. I think you moms out there will really appreciate it! 

Are you worried your child isn’t getting enough vegetables in their diet? You already know that vegetables are incredibly important for your child’s growth and development because they provide important vitamin and minerals. Most children need to be introduced to new vegetables multiple times before they start to eat and enjoy them. Keep offering them vegetables on their plate even if they don’t eat it. But in the meanwhile, here are ways to sneak vegetables into their favorite foods. Just remember, the blender is your best secret weapon!

  • Macaroni and Cheese- The cheese sauce is a great place to hide colors, textures and tastes! Puree butternut squash into the cheese sauce before serving.
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs- Mix in spaghetti squash, zucchini and asparagus strips into the spaghetti. You can also blend onions and carrots right into the marinara sauce. Chop up mushrooms really small and incorporate them into the meatballs.
  • Cheeseburgers- Add pureed spinach into the burger patties before cooking. They won’t even taste it!
  • Pizza- Mix in a can of pumpkin into the marinara sauce. Pumpkin makes the sauce nice and creamy.
  • Grilled Cheese- Spread a little bit of avocado right under the cheese to hide the taste but add nutrients. Avocado has a smooth mouth feel and a light taste that will be hard to catch by your child.
  • Mashed Potatoes- Mash up some cauliflower and mix it into the potatoes. You can also try making your mashed potatoes with half white and half sweet potatoes.
  • Chicken Noodle Soup- Cut up vegetables such as onions and carrots really small and cook them till they are soft. This one might be hard to slip by the really picky ones, but give it a try!
  • Smoothies- It’s really hard to hide the color of dark green veggies but not the taste! Blend in spinach into a strawberry and banana smoothie and call it a green mutant smoothie for your comic book lovers.
  • Popsicles- Use 100% fruit juice to blend spinach and other green veggies. Perfect for a summer treat!

Here is another great Extension resources on feeding children:

Feeding Without the Fuss a power point presentation from University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension



New Year’s Goals 2014

It is hard to believe that it has already been one year since I sat here and wrote about New Years Resolutions for 2013. I know we say this every year, but man that year went by fast! If you read through my post from last year you will see that one of my goals for 2013 was to read at least one book a month. Well for the first time ever in my life I kept my New Year’s resolution, I read 19 books in 2013!

Were you able to keep your goals for 2013? What are some of your goals for 2014? Let me guess, one of them is to get healthy or loose weight. This seems to be on the top of everyone’s list in January. I love it! As a dietitian I am so happy when people decide they want to get healthy, but how long does this usually last? Maybe until the first of February? Then all those fruits and veggies you bought for your juice cleanse are over ripe in the fridge and your gym bag is collecting dust in the back of your car. (I’ve been there, I’m not judging.)

Well let me offer you some quick tips to help you get healthy in 2014. First of all, it won’t be easy. It just will not. Prepare yourself for that battle right now, mentally and physically. If being healthy was easy and came naturally we would not be battling an obesity epidemic in America.

The best way to start is small and simple. Overwhelming yourself with goals that aren’t attainable is the quickest path to resolution ruin. Start small and grow bigger as you gain confidence. For example, if you never go to the gym don’t go out and buy a membership now. Instead start by taking walks around your neighborhood or playing basketball with your kids. These things probably fit much more naturally into your schedule and won’t be as intimidating. You don’t have to be at a gym to be “working out”, as long as your heart is pumping faster than normal you are making progress.

When it comes to your plate small steps are the key. Again, making drastic changes only causes you to get worn out faster. Instead of vowing to cut out sweets, decide to eat more fruits and vegetables. Instead of giving up soda completely, limit yourself to 3 sodas a week, etc. Supplements, juice cleanses, detox diets and other trends may help you loose temporary weight but they won’t help you get healthy. MyPlate is the perfect eating pattern to start getting healthy. You may look at it and think “that doesn’t work” but it does. It really does!

MyPlate Full

Getting healthy and loosing weight takes time and lots of commitment, but it is attainable. Don’t get frustrated and don’t overwhelm yourself. This year my goal is to run a 10k. I know that might not sound like much to some of you avid runners, but for this girl who hates running it really is a commitment. But just like you all I want to be healthy in 2014 too. Good luck, this can be your year!

P.S. I would love to hear some of your New Years Resolutions. Let me know in the comment section.

March: National Nutrition Month


Every March the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics hosts National Nutrition Month. The theme for this years event is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”. I love this theme. I love it because it is personal. Many times we start feeling like eating healthy is a small box that we all have to fit ourselves into and a lot of times our lifestyle does not fit into that box! But this is far from the truth. There are many ways that you can eat healthy no matter your lifestyle.

For me eating healthy does not include fixing a dinner at home every night. I am a single girl on the go. With my job I am out on the road frequently, even working some nights and weekends. During the winter you can find me all over the state at wrestling events watching my boyfriend coach. Other times of the year you might find me traveling around with my mom. On weekends I like to eat out with my family and friends. My point is I am never in one place very long and eating a healthy homemade meals isn’t always an option.

Healthy eating for me involves keeping nutritious snacks available so when I’m on the road I’m not tempted to stop for sugary or fatty foods. It’s choosing a bottle of water at the concession stand instead of soda. And it’s choosing marinara sauce instead of cream sauce on my pasta when I eat out. These are a just a few examples of the little choices I make daily that allow me to incorporate healthy eating into my lifestyle. Eating healthy does not have to mean you can’t enjoy the world around you.

How do you include healthy eating in your lifestyle?