v happy bellies

Picky eating. Not my favorite phrase but this is normal. Yes, normal and a temporary part of childhood development. Fussing over eating broccoli? Normal. Doesn’t want carrots but happily ate them yesterday? Normal. Only drinks from that one, dang green cup? Normal. I love [this] article by pediatric feeding specialist Melanie Potock, fellow SLP. She mentions red flags that may warrant a discussion and/or referral to a specialist (speech or occupational therapist). If any of these stand out to you, definitely consult with your ped.

  1. Consistent avoidance of particular foods
  2. Extreme pickiness when deciding what to eat
  3. Gagging when presented with certain foods
  4. Anxiety around trying new foods
  5. Difficulty chewing and/or swallowing
  6. Weight loss/slow growth
  7. Extremely limited range of “safe” foods

Back tracking to picky eating…I love that Melanie notes in her new book, Adventures in Veggieland, “Kids will most often live up to the labels we assign to them” (251). Like cool cat, little Einstein, picky eater, migraine-giver. Just kidding on the last one. Or am I? I get asked if Dane is a picky eater. My response: we are trying our best to become healthy, adventurous eaters with v happy bellies and the occasional side of pizza or mac ‘n’ cheese. Other advice I received from an Instagram follower…. look at what your kiddos ate for the week rather than meal by meal. Great! So snacks all day but doesn’t eat a legit meal is cool since it’s not an every day occurrence.

My personal interest in feeding peeked because I am trying to prevent “food jags”, where toddlers insist on eating the same foods, over and over (250). I also truly enjoy meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking/baking. Healthy (ish) is the goal for my tribe.

Let’s start with some stats. “According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, kids need two to three servings of veggies per day” (2). The visual Melanie gives is a large egg: toddlers get two to three eggs of vegetables per day. Note: please tell me, you’re like oh shoot, my toddler def isn’t getting that. Because Dane is not. Maybe like one egg. If I’m lucky. And it’s me. All me. I don’t cook enough veggies or incorporate veggies into what we are eating. But all that is about to change!

What I really love about Melanie’s new book are the recipes. They are super easy to modify to meet dietary needs or restrictions (DF, GF). We have some dairy sensitive tums (Travis) and our favorite recipe so far has been the kale pene pasta. One, because it’s crock pot. Hello, easy. Done. Two, because it’s suuuuper delicious. It does have some cheesy goodness (ricotta, asiago, parm, and mozzarella) so I cut the ricotta out and just did tiny handfuls of mozzarella and a parm/asiago blend I found at TJ. We wolfed it down! Other recipes, I’ve made from this book are the spinach cucumber sammie (winner), honey butter carrots (winner), beet dip (working on it), corn salsa (winner), and chocolate spinach pudding (winner). Next on my to make, taste test list: cauliflower caramel corn, chicken broccoli enchiladas, broccoli cheese squares, and corn chowder.

Ok, keeping it short. Was that short? 10/10 recommend [this] book. What’s included: the science behind expose, explore, and expand, parenting in the kitchen, the importance of family meals (we eat the early bird special at 5:30/5:45/6:00), household friendly (husbands approve) veggie recipes by season, addressing feeding and sensory challenges. Get aaaaaat. You’ll love it.

Feel free to peep some of the feeding things we use to encourage filling that scrumptious belly with all the yummies! We also love our ezpz mats. It’s a happy face! And research shows, if we present food with a smile, children are more likely to eat what they are serverd. Plus, my OCD, type-A-self loves how organized and pretty food can look.

I’m a medical affiliate with ezpz fun and like any other affiliate links, I receive a teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy commission. However, with this link: http://wwwezpzfuncom.refr.cc/prouty

interested buyers receive 10% off their purchase!


Potock, M. (2018) Adventures in Veggieland. New York, NY: The Expierment.



This post contains affiliate links to products I use and, if purchased, a very small commission goes to help our family. These products are truly things we love, would purchase/DO purchase, and fit our style. 

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