Hacks For Picky Eaters

 

We know how difficult it is to make sure a fussy eater is getting all the nutrition they need to grow big and strong. Picky eaters can be so frustrating for parents, preparing separate meals, them not wanting anything on the menu while you are out to eat; It’s enough to make you go nuts! There are ways to help promote healthy eating that your kids will love.

FREEZE IT! Kids love frozen things. An easy hack to getting them to eat fruit is to freeze it. A lot of frozen fruits can be put on a stick and frozen to give the illusion of a eating a freeze pop. For those extra stubborn eaters, try getting a freeze pop making tray, and filling it with a smoothie. These little frozen treats are healthier than regular popsicles but your child won’t know the difference!

DRY IT! Another way to get your child to eat more fruit is to buy dried fruits. Banana and strawberry chips offer a different texture than traditional fruits and sometimes the texture is what triggers your child to detest something. Freeze dried fruits taste similarly and you can even make it an entertaining experience for them by telling them how the astronauts eat freeze dried foods while in space!

DISGUISE IT! Create a dessert that is a healthier option, but looks like a sugary snack. Oatmeal cookies are far more nutritious than chocolate chip cookies, but many kids like them just the same. Introducing vanilla yogurt instead of vanilla pudding is another great option. Yogurt is rich in probiotics and calcium while pudding contains a lot of sugar.

PLAY WITH IT! Making eating into an exciting experience can be the missing puzzle piece as well. “Don’t play with your food” doesn’t always have to be the case. Treats like “ants on a log” can tell a playful story while still promoting healthy eating. Celery stock and raisins are rich in nutrients and peanut butter offers a sweeter taste, but that’s rich in protein and has less sugar than other treats.

REWARD THEM! Positive reinforcement works! Offer praises for trying new things. If they try one new thing a day for a whole week, reward them with a new toy at the end of the week, or cook them their favorite meal. Keep a chart that documents their progress so that they can have a visual representation of their achievements. You can even make it a friendly competition between siblings!

Above all patience with your child is the most important. Fussy eaters can be frustrating but making sure that you are trying healthier options with them is so important. Following these few hacks can help make sure that your little one is getting the nutrients they need, and you don’t have to worry so much!

 

Our menus meet the nutrition standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to improve the diets of our children and develop activities to help them acquire healthy eating habits. For additional information on Brightside’s nutritious food plan, click here.

11 Quick and Easy Ways for Moms to Take a Break

As mothers, we juggle plenty of responsibilities each day. We go to work, run errands, complete house chores, feed the children and keep them entertained … the list is endless. Why do relaxing and taking breaks end up at the bottom of our list? Taking breaks is a must for renewed energy and replenished PATIENCE! Make it a priority to see the benefits it will bring to your life and set a great example for your kids when they become adults.

SLOW DOWN
Our brains process incredible amounts of information every second. Taking a break requires you to slow down the pace for a moment and quiet down the mental chatter. We’ve come up with a list of things moms can do to relax and renew their energy. Try some of these after your children go to sleep at night, during a work break, even when you use the bathroom! Take a few minutes to explore the suggestions to see what works for you:

  1. Spend 5-10 minutes in a silent (or quieter) area –  Find an area that feels comfortable to you. Close your eyes. Use this time to breathe easy and clear your thoughts.

  2. Take a Quick Nap – People think naps should last an hour or longer, but in reality, just 15-30 minutes of sleep can give you a quick boost and help to continue your day on a better note.

  3. Look Closer – We are so rushed to do the next thing we forget to appreciate our experiences. Watch your children as they sleep. Find new details in the homes or buildings surrounding you, watch the clouds moving along the sky, anything that can help slow you down and appreciate the present moment.

  4. Decorate with Flowers – Flowers can brighten up the day for many of us. Buy flowers twice a month. Put them in a vase and pick a visible area of your home to display them. Make it a rule to keep the area around them uncluttered. Take a few seconds throughout your day to look at them, take in their colors, shapes, and textures.

  5. Take a Walk in Nature – This is something you can do alone or with your family. Take a long look at the trees, birds, water, anything you encounter during your walk.

  6. Write out Thank Yous – It can be easy to lose track of the good things when you are juggling so many things in a day. Write out thank you cards to someone who is there for you or just a letter thanking a higher power for the good things in your life.

  7. Take a Warm Bath – Nothing more relaxing than taking a warm bath after a long day.

  8. Light a Candle or Burn Incense – Nowadays fragrant candles are available everywhere. Pick a scent you like. At the end of the day, when the kids are asleep, light or burn your incense. Take a few minutes to watch the light burn the candle or smell the fragrant smoke as it comes up.

  9. Focus On The Good Things – Thinking for hours about what’s not working in your life only brings on more stress. Take a few minutes a couple times a day to only think about the good things you experience. Need ideas? Be grateful for the food you eat, the clothes you wear, your home, electricity, running water, your favorite song, your children, etc.

  10. Get Moving – Just a few minutes of moving your body can make a big difference. You don’t need any special equipment. From jogging in place to jumping jacks or sit-ups there’s a lot you can do at home to help energize your body.

  11. Get or Give Big Hugs – These don’t take long and are available for free from friends, relatives, and your children all of the time!
Taking a break is important especially for moms. Don’t just think of all the excuses for not trying this. Make a commitment that you will take care of yourself. You will notice positive changes in your mood, how you cope with your children, and even your outlook on the responsibilities you juggle every day. Try it, you are worth it!