It’s been 7 years exactly since I made the decision to change my diet and then coerced my flexible husband into changing his. When we make new friends, we don’t tell them. It has become a little more tricky now that I “do vegan” for a living, but we both evade and defer the questions until eventually the newbie says,

“So……you don’t eat meat?”

Seven years later, it’s still awkward.

My mom recently told me about a genetic trait that people have that causes thumbs to look the same as a toe. She suggested that she wanted to tell her toe finger co-worker about her new found knowledge, thus pointing out that my mother noticed she is a carrier of this genetic trait. I digress into my mother’s apparent absence of social cues, only to help you understand the level of awkward the no meat conversation elicits.

Over the last 7 years I have realized that food/ diet is equally as divisive as religion and politics. For the first 3 years after I changed my diet I was so starry eyed over the positive changes in my mood, physical appearance and athletic performance that I was blind to the sudden decline in social engagements. So sure of myself and my decision to isolate my family from meat and friends, I stood on my soap box loud and proud. Dear reader, let’s discuss my unscientific and under-researched observations of the social world from atop my soap box. For ease, I am dividing our friends and family into 4 categories:

Uninterested By-stander: This isn’t the foodie of the group. He or she eats because it’s a necessity for survival, but doesn’t have an opinion. Maybe this person would eat a veggie burger just the same as a beef Wellington. Albeit, he or she likely thinks your new found experiment is a little over the top. Just the same, they don’t care. If you want to share your passions, you will encounter a glazed expression within the first 90 seconds.

Know-it-All, Meat or Die: If I had to choose one type to be my least favorite, the know-it-all is definitely the one. He or she read the BOOK on the most recent pro-animal protein trend; be it paleo or keto, and knows it all. If you encounter this person, don’t engage.

Foodie: This person loves food. All of it. It is incomprehensible why anyone would eliminate any food group. Health nor environmental issues trump delicious, unadulterated food. This person is a lot of fun to engage, because they like vegan food too!

Aspiring Vegan: Your new friend has latched onto you for life and needs to know everything about cashew cream and nutritional yeast immediately. They want to “be vegan”, but CHEESE is the issue (gosh that stuff is good!). What do you do when you go out to eat? What about pizza (cheese)? Will my husband leave me (bacon)? It is fun to have a new friend.

There are so many amazing (and life saving) benefits to adopting a plant-based diet, but a word to the wise….don’t take yourself too seriously and you will have more friends.




Within American culture, November and December are strange times in the health and wellness profession. On one hand, we have an open platform for discussing all the effs with our clients….food, family, fitness and faith. On the other, November and December are prime time for a pass to sabotage any futile efforts that were made during “bikini season”. All the effs cause such anxiety that cake, pie, bacon wrapped dates and spinach artichoke dip seem like the only plausible answer for self medicating. A million untruths wrapped into a single paragraph, all to dissect for my reader’s benefit.

How did we arrive here? Let’s discuss the effs:

Food: I blame Starbucks and their brilliant marketing. It is October 1st and you DESERVE a pumpkin spice latte laden with 100 million grams of sugar and not a trace of actual PUMPKIN in sight. Sure, it’s just a change of season, but you aren’t experiencing fall in all her glory unless you EAT your way through ALL the harvest’s bounty.

Family: If you’re married, decide mutually and respectfully who you will spend Thanksgiving with. Never mind; just go ahead and polish off the “practice” apple pie, because in-laws are challenging. If you’re single, enjoy Thanksgiving with your family while they ask in 45 different ways if you’re STILL single. It’s ok, just have another glass of wine. If you have kids, they DESERVE a memorable and Instagram worthy Thanksgiving that they will forget, with gratitude. Good luck.

Fitness: August was really hot. October was really busy. November you exercised twice, once the day you signed up for the Turkey Trot (a family tradition) and then the Turkey Trot. You can’t eat unless you “ran” a 5K.

Faith: Summer was busy. Back to school was, back to school. Now, be grateful. Have gratitude. Then start buying a bunch of stuff because nobody will have the capacity to celebrate Jesus; the savior of the WORLD, unless there are a lot of wrapped gifts under the tree. Don’t forget to flock the tree, because everybody is doing it.

How do we depart from here?

Food: The Spiced Double Mocha Peppermint thing with sprinkles on top, doesn’t define your season?! I know it seems like it should or maybe for that MOMENT when you taste the artificial “Christmas”, you BELIEVE that yes THAT FLAVOR defines THIS SEASON. For all the efforts of large corporations to redefine a season, I personally stand in defiance. Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, apples, cinnamon and Oh, my beloved….butternut squash. They, among many more not mentioned (but not forgotten) are the provisions of the season. Not by accident, this harvest provides the exact nutrients the body needs as the days get shorter and the temperatures drop.

Family: They are my people. For better or worse, they are my people. If you have a family to lean into during this holiday season; do it, because the sanctity of family holds power. Throw off the pressure, pull out the cozy blankets, put down the tech and lean in. From the littles to the elders, we have so many truths to uncover within our families.

Fitness: You don’t have to move a muscle to earn a meal. Let the permission to eat wash over you. Now, bundle up in hats and vests and go for a walk. The Turkey Trot has massively engaged families across the nation in exponential numbers in the last 10 years, which is good news. Unless you’re a health coach and you see the hidden message of exercise outweighs poor eating habits. That untruth will never be reframed as truth. Never mind the psychological implications of this message, the science is also faulty. If calorie expenditure were equal to calorie consumption, then an apple and a coke would be equals. My four year old would laugh at that ridiculous way of thinking! Exercise is amazingly beneficial to our bodies, but it will never be a good reason to over-indulge in nutritionally inadequate food.

Faith: If you are over the age of 15, holidays can be sensitive. Memories of what was are poignant. Realities of what is are difficult to navigate. Aspirations for what we aim to be are daunting at the turn of a year. Practicing gratitude can feel like another failure. However, taking the time to intentionally reflect on the highlight reel will unintentionally create mood boosting hormones. On a personal note, Folk Angel Pandora takes me to that place. Sufjan Stevens version of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” gives me all the feels every time.

Cheers to the Holiday Season AND Don’t forget to order your cookie box if you live in Flux Nourishment meal delivery areas. Indeed, the irony is not lost.


In March of 2017, while we were still living in Kansas, we returned to Savannah for spring break. During that time my friend, Kathleen Benton, met my family with her family at CO Savannah for dinner. We took over the whole back corner with our 5 rowdy kids who were over the top excited to be reunited after almost a year separation. The two of us drew up a napkin official business partner contract, while chaos ensued around us. Just over 6 moths later, a tremendous amount of foundation has been laid for what we believe is going to be a pivotal piece in changing the trajectory of health for the community of Savannah, and very possibly many other communities in this country. In addition to our Flux Nourishment Health Coaching, LLC, where I coach individuals and groups for any length of time from 6 weeks to 6 months, we have established a separate entity geared at giving back; Flux Nourishment Community, Inc a 501(c)(3). 

Our mission is very simple. We believe that every person should have the right to choose a nourishing lifestyle; but along with many other experts, we recognize that this right is not a reality for a large sect of Americans. The most disadvantaged populations are consistently shown to be more susceptible to health risks associated with obesity. Multiple factors contribute to these findings, and as an organization we desire to address causal factors primarily in the nutritional realm. Disadvantaged families tend to make the following food choices:

  • High-fat foods dense with energy such as foods with high sugar content and processed meat products. These foods are more affordable and last longer than fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Fast food and convenience store foods instead of shopping in large supermarkets because of accessibility, lack of transportation, and cost. 
  • Economic insecurity leads to stress, and our innate physiological response to cope is by eating high-fat, sugary foods. 

Flux Nourishment Inc. Community believes we can begin to alleviate these obstacles prevalent in vulnerable populations within Savannah through the following avenues:

  • wellness coaching to all populations
  • engagement in educational events: cooking demonstrations, nutrition expert speaking events, sponsoring, hosting and/or participating in events and activities that promote nourishing lifestyle choices.
  •  partnering with and linking existing non-profit organizations

All of this will be made possible through amazing partnerships in the community; which we have established so many beautiful ones so far, but also through small and large financial donations from those that believe in the Flux Nourishment Community Inc. mission! Our efforts this fall and winter will be geared primarily in the following two projects:

  •  Quarterly classes at the Edel Caregiver Institute that will equip caregivers to prepare meals using fresh foods rather than being solely dependent on nutritionally inadequate processed foods. The first class will provide attendees with “healthy swaps” they can easily make on both a tight budget and time constraints. Financial donations will go towards the food used to teach and sample, marketing materials needed to promote the class, and teaching materials for attendees to take home. This is going to be an ongoing and developing partnership as we believe Edel and Flux Nourishment Community Inc. align perfectly. 
  • We recently were matched with a thriving organization in town, Park Place Outreach , and we are excited to see how this relationship will evolve. We know that we want to teach a class to the house parents who are responsible for preparing meals for the residents, as this was an expressed need by the director. I would also love for Flux Nourishment Community Inc. to sponsor a Local Farmbag once a month. Ideally, I see us also providing a Thrive Market box each month with nutritious prepackaged products that are more nutritious than what is currently available to them. 

There are many other exciting partnerships and projects that are evolving and changing daily it seems! If what we are currently doing piques your interest, please consider supporting us financially. Our excitement for the potential change to come in our own community is contagious and we want you on board with us! Tax deductable donations can be made through our new Flux Nourishment Community website. Upon donation you will immediately receive a letter confirming your tax deductible donation. We appreciate your partnerships and support far more than we can express through written word! Thank YOU. 

On Wednesday, I will be representing at the SmartWomen Expo and Luncheon! I’m really excited for our first true engagement with the community, and all of the resources we are rolling out in the coming year! I have officially been coaching for one year this month! Looking back on the last year, all the things I have learned, and ALL THE WOMEN who I have had the opportunity to work with, fills me with tremendous gratitude. One of the foundational aspects of health coaching that I appreciate the most, is how people are able to sustain the changes they make! In a short year I have watched a tribe of Flux Nourishment, plant eating women blossom!

In the last year there are reoccurring hurdles that women have expressed needing resources to overcome. One of these is packing lunches for littles. In my opinion it has less to do with a need for education, and more to do with doubt that their child will eat what is packed. It is amazing how our preconceptions of what you expect your child to do, often shape the actual outcome. Children are not born knowing that they are “supposed to be” adverse to vegetables! When preparing meals for small (and older) children, expect them to try it and like it! Allow them to surprise you, and for heavens sake, don’t make a big deal over it! Eating vegetables should be the expectation!

The first salad is suited best for a warm day, but it can also be made in the dead of winter, if you’re craving for a taste of summer. If you are serving to children, leave out the jalapeños and cayenne. The second salad is a perfect pot-luck option and is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser! Do not be shy about swapping out vegetables that are seasonal to you! I have used spinach instead of kale, and added roasted butternut squash instead of bell peppers. The lemon tahini dressing is shockingly versatile, and I suggest it as a healthy swap to ranch dressing. If you are packing it into a PlanetBox, pack it into the largest container with a lid. Allow it to cool before you pack up the lunch box.


  1. 1. 2 1⁄2 cup cooked black eyed peas
  2. 2. 2 cups cooked quinoa
  3. 3.  2 cups thinly sliced celery
  4. 4. 1 3⁄4 cup organic cooked sweet corn
  5. 5. 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  6. 6. 1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro
  7. 7. optional, minced jalapeno without seeds
  8. 8. 1/3 cup chopped green onions


  1.  1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
  2.  1 teaspoon cumin
  3.  1 1⁄2 teaspoon Oh She Glows 10 spice blend (cayenne optional)
  4.  3 cloves of garlic, minced
  5.  1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  6. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl
  • To make the dressing, whisk together all the dressing ingredients.
  •  Toss the salad with the dressing until well combined. It is really best after it has sat a bit in the fridge, but is still good eaten right away!



  1.  1 cup uncooked French green lentils
  2. 1 cup, cooked short grain brown rice
  3.  Splash of vegetable broth or water
  4. 1⁄2 red onion, chopped
  5. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  6.  1 red bell pepper, chopped (or whatever vegetable you like!)
  7.  3 cups kale, roughly chopped
  8. 1⁄2 cup fresh parsley, minced
  9. sea salt
  10. chopped green onion and lemon zest to garnish


  1. 2 large garlic cloves
  2. 1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice
  3. 1⁄4 cup tahini
  4. 4 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  5. 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  6.  1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Rinse and drain the lentils. Add to a medium pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, simmer, uncovered for 15-20 minutes. They should be tender, but not mushy. This type of lentil holds its shape better than regular green or brown lentils
  • Prepare the lemon tahini dressing. Mince the garlic in a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet or pot, add a splash of vegetable broth, onion, and garlic, along with a pinch of salt. Stir and saute over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until the onion is softened.
  •  Stir in the chopped red pepper and saute for another 7-8 minutes.
  • Add the kale and lentils and stir to combine. Just until the kale is wilted. Remove the pot from the heat.
  •  Spoon the lentil mixture over top rice or a bed of greens. Drizzle the lemon tahini over the salad, serve with chopped green onions, and lemon zest. You can also eat the lentil mixture on crackers or toast!

Check out these ADORABLE cards my friend Ashley of The Paper Designery in Belmont, NC made to give away at the SmartWomen Expo!!!

I have debated over the last year about how much to share about my running to the Flux Nourishment community. As a health coach I strive to help people find their own form of physical activity that resonates with their bodies. I believe in natural movement and the flexibility to change preferred activities if one form ceases to be enjoyable. With all of that said, I’ve been a runner for over two decades now! What the what??!! I can’t even believe that when I type it! I started running when I was in middle school and didn’t stop! I’ve had my share of mediocre success, but never had the desire (or talent) to be “professional” or “elite”. I literally run for fun! If it stops being fun, I suppose I’ll have to find a new outlet. However, to my knowledge, the end is not in sight! 

This summer a running acquaintance asked me to join his relay team for the Chase the Sun Ultra Relay to support Liam’s Land. The mission of Liam’s Land is to advance the research and identify possible causes of lymphatic malformations by supporting a patient registry and funding further genetic testing and clinical trials. A cool guy and a great cause, sign me up! Initially I was going to use the race as a tune up for the Marine Corps Marathon I was registered for in October, but then I lost my childcare option and had to defer my registration for the MCM to next year. 

I didn’t really know what to expect for the relay, but this summer I didn’t shy away from the hot days and I made sure to get at least two, 2x a day runs a week. Then on the weekends I started buttressing long tempos and long runs together, so I would be prepared for running on fatigued legs both during the relay and hopeful marathon. All in all, I don’t think I would have prepared any differently! I consistently ran at my goal marathon pace (between 7:30-7:45) with the last 5-6 miles being at 7:10-7:15 pace. I actually started feeling stronger towards the end, which I think was attributed to the sun starting to give us an evening break. 

My fueling was far less complicated than I imagined it to be! I envisioned it being tricky to get the calories in with all the running and breaks between. However, I used Tailwind Nutrition throughout the day and it was PERFECT! I also brought some rice cakes, almond butter, jelly, and pumpkin apple sauce from Whole Foods. Between those things, and lots of water, I felt awesome and light all day! 

All in all I would absolutely do this relay again! I also made some really fun new friends in the Savannah Striders that I’m excited about spending time with in the near future. 

With all transparency, the first half of September was brutal for me. Expectations of what I thought would be, basically did not come to pass. At some point in the month I realized I was living in a fog of regret instead of gratitude and it was causing some serious attitude probs. When I hear my girls being ungrateful and bratty and it grates on my nerves, I know to check my own attitude. Normally what is being manifested outwardly by them is what they are either hearing or feeling from me. I want to be the type of person that sees a shortcoming in my life and instead of blaming circumstances, I do everything in my power to make it right. 

Soup isn’t a seasonal food in my house. Even as a child, soup, chili, stew, those were my jam. Don’t tell me that since its still 80 degrees out there that I can’t soothe my soul with some hearty vegetable soup. As a mother, it is also my weapon of choice to pack as many vegetables in my children as possible. Particularly if I have a feeling they are fighting illness or heartache. Black bean soup is freaking cheap to make, requires one pot, and is a nutritional powerhouse. 

Black Bean Soup 


1 pound dried black beans

6 cups cold water

1 teaspoon sea salt 

2 bay leaves 

6 cloves garlic

1 yellow onion, chopped finely 

1 roasted red pepper, chopped 

1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes or 1 fresh tomato

1/2 cup vegetable broth plus a couple splashes

1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 

1 teaspoon cumin 

1 teaspoon smoked paprika 

2 tablespoons lime juice 

salt and ground pepper 

1. Sort through the dry beans and remove any particles or broken beans in a large bowl. Add cold, fresh water to cover the beans for overnight. After the beans have doubled in size, drain, rinse, and place in a large pot. Add the 6 cups cold water, bay leaves, and salt. Partially cover and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Skim off and discard any foam that forms on the top. Lower the heat to low, stir, and cover. Cook for 2-2 1/2 hours until the beans are tender. You will know that the beans are cooked if it mashes easily with your tongue at the roof of your mouth. There should be 5 cups of liquid once the beans are cooked, but add more water or broth if you would prefer a thinner soup. 

2. While the beans are cooking, prepare the vegetable medley that will provide flavor. In a large skillet, combine a splash of vegetable broth and garlic and bring to a sizzle over medium heat, cooking garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the chopped onion, red pepper, and tomato. Stirring frequently, cook until the mixture is soft and liquid has mostly evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add lime juice, oregano, and cumin, and simmer for 1 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside. 

3. When the beans are cooked, stir in the vegetable medley, making sure to scrape every morsel of flavor from the pot. Add the smoked paprika, stir, and partially cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30-35 minutes, until the soup has slightly reduced, then remove the bay leaves and discard. Ladle 2 cups of soup into a blender, puree until smooth, and stir back into the soup to create a thicker, smoother consistency. Season the soup with more lime juice, salt, and pepper if desired. I like to serve with a dollop of cashew cream, cilantro, and when in season some diced heirloom tomatoes. The soup can also be served with hot rice on the side! 


I served with sweet potato biscuits in this picture and it was an amazing combination! 

Everything about the morning is my favorite. This morning, I’m sitting in my favorite spot on the porch, after a smooth drop off of both girls to school. Sam is on his last day of 5 days of leave, and working on projects in the garage and yard. There is even a little breeze to accompany a very sunny blue sky for a nice change! I’m excited, terrified and energized for a busy fall as my health coaching business grows in Savannah. For some insane reason, I also committed to running another marathon in D.C at the end of October. The thing about a marathon is, you commit so far in advance, that the reality of what you have committed to doesn’t set in until it is too late. Thats really where I’m at right now, but last week and this weekend I had some smooth runs that gave me a boost of confidence. Maybe I’m not overreaching to commit to the many hours of training a marathon requires AND build a business AND raise two little girls AND volunteer AND build a non-profit AND AND AND……. 

I really believe these waffles have magical powers to sustain and energize small children through the morning, but also will serve as a bedrock for my long runs this fall. My girls are often satisfied with only a half waffle each and a side of berries. Double the recipe, pop the leftovers in the freezer after the waffles cool, and toast in a toaster or reheat in the oven. Very magical indeed. 

Oat and Casava Freezer Waffles 

3/4 cup oat flour 

3/4 cup cassava flour

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder 

1 tablespoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I use almond milk)

1/3 cup maple syrup 

1/4 cup almond butter (or sunflower seed butter for a nut free option)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the oat flour, cassava flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, combine almond milk, maple syrup, almond butter, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to until combined. 

2. Heat waffle iron to a medium setting according to your machine’s directions. These can also be made as pancakes on a cast iron pan. I use just a shot or two of Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray when I first start cooking the pancakes, and I do not have to repeat spraying between pancakes. You will know they are ready to flip when the edges begin to lift and the batter bubbles on the top. Top with berries or just a drizzle of maple syrup! 


Shocking, I have some neurotic behaviors that will probably never die. In our early married years, Sam and I lived about 90 miles from Panama City Beach. Without children, 90 miles down the road was throw the towel and sunscreen in the car and lets go! Believe it or not, Sam was the one who really required more than a bowl of cereal before hitting the road. It was painfully annoying to me that he couldn’t get up before the sun, cram a bagel down his throat, put his swim trunks on and go. He wanted to wake up slowly (how ANNOYING), drink his coffee (UGH), eat a proper breakfast (THE NERVE), and then enjoy a leisurly Saturday drive on the country scenic road from Alabama to coastal Florida.

 Me and my love in the early days!

When I think back to those early days and my eating habits, it is not confusing while I always felt so crappy, annoyed, depressed for no reason, and bloated. On beach days this was a pretty typical run down of what we would eat. Sugary cereal for breakfast, wheat thins, fruit, fig newtons, and deli sandwich for lunch, and favorite dinner of pork chops, baked potatoes, and French bread for dinner. Thankfully, over time, a few things have changed. Sam still hasn’t recovered from the trauma of my frantic behavior to get to the beach as early as possible, so he gives me the side eye as I prepare a huge breakfast on an intended beach day. He is still surprised as he opens the cooler and sees the smorgasbord of fresh foods packed neatly into containers, but he is delighted that I’m MOSTLY even tempered and pleasant to be around morning to night. I do want to get to the beach well before lunch time, so I pack boxes with dividers full of fresh vegetables and some fruits.

A few ideas:

  • Avocado, sliced in half and cubed while still in tact in the skin
  • baby carrots, I slice in half because the kids eat them better that way, and the hummus stays on better
  • cucumbers and grape tomatoes, sliced: Hazel really likes balsamic vinegar, but Mabyl doesn’t
  • hummus
  • frozen pineapple or mango: I buy bags at Whole Foods, dump in glass containers and by the time we get to the beach they are still icey but easy to bite through
  • berries
  • popcorn: I pop my own, add about a tablespoon olive oil and then a little salt
  • seaweed
  • granola bars
  • cold legume and grain salad, so many different options to experiment with but I really like to pack salads with more sturdy vegetables, like kale or cabbage, as opposed to spinach or romaine.

We pack a few extra grocery bags to take away our trash/ recyclables, forks, spoons, and plastic plates. Everybody is happy for hours on the beach. No bloat, no crankiness, no problem.

 Avocado, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Plus little fingers and precious toes.

We are finally ALMOST settled into our new house in Savannah, GA!!! I had images of porch furniture, flower planting, and little naked butts sprinkler dashing by now…. BUT the garage that we started plans for months ago is STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION. I want to be kind to the guys who are working on it, but I can’t help but notice that not much work is actually getting accomplished day in and day out. So boxes that are intended for the garage are still consuming my porch, and I feel waves of anxiety every time I open the back door. Nevertheless, we love being outside so we just sit on the steps and pretend it doesn’t bother me. These fudge pops are our favorite to make on these hot summer evenings. I use a  Zoku Popsicle maker and they are ready to eat in 15 minutes! Alternatively, you could freeze in molds and serve the next day.

3 Ingredient Dairy Free and Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Fudge Pops (Makes 5 Pops)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

5-6 medjool dates, pits removed

1/4 cup unsweetened, cacao powder

Blend all three ingredients in a high speed blender, like a vitamix. Pour the liquid into the molds to the fill line. Wait 12 minutes, twist out the pops, and serve. I strip my youngest to her undies because these hot Savannah evenings make for messy popsicles!

Messy endeavor, but so delicious!  12 minutes is a really long time for a 6 year old.   Anything better than eating a popsicle in your undies?

I know, the title is abrasive and obnoxious. Completely intended because now of course you are into the second sentence of this blog. Almost all children like to exert control during meal time.  I’m not a child psychologist, but from watching my own children and hearing the stories of so many mothers, I believe MOST pickiness stems from two factors:

1. A child’s predisposition to good ole’ fashioned stubbornness.

A plate with sections allows the child to choose and see the colors. Often I will feed the kids parts of the main meal that my husband and I are eating. a lot of children prefer their foods separate rather than mashed together.

  • My children have written the book on “stubborn”. Even as I write that statement, I think most mothers would argue that, no in fact their children wrote that book. The brutal truth that I am known for as a health coach is: your children are animals and as long as there are no extenuating circumstances, they will eat when hungry.
  • Choices are overwhelming for children, so I try to limit choices to only 2. For example, would you like oatmeal or cereal? An apple or grapes? Broccoli or Brussels sprouts? Smoothie or muffin? If both choices are healthy and identified as foods that your child will entertain, both you and the child win. The third option is that they will be hungry. Refer to top bullet. Of course the work is in identifying the list of nourishing foods that your child will eat and like!
  • For the stubborn child that wants control over her circumstance, a sectioned plate is ideal. I preface each meal with, “you don’t have to eat it all, but you need to try some of everything.”
  • A caveat is that if YOU are eating potato chips, gold fish, cookies, and sodas, why would your child eat anything different?

2. Your child isn’t hungry because he or she has eaten too many snacks prior to meal time. I understand how this happens. It happens to the best of us. Most frequently the toddler at home is the habitual offender. Breakfast turns into second breakfast, then she doesn’t eat all her lunch, then she needs an afternoon snack, and then dinner isn’t ready but she’s begging for something to eat. A child’s plea for food is far too strong, so you cut another apple or dole out a handful (or three) of crackers. It is so subtle that we are confused, why will you NOT EAT YOUR DAMN VEGGIES?!

My most stubborn of the two giving the thumbs up to gimbap, a type of Korean sushi.

  • Intentionally sitting down with your child while he or she eats will encourage her to eat when meals are served. I notice that when I’m up and about, my youngest wants to be up and about too. If I sit down to eat all three meals with her, she usually eats at meal times.
  • If the snacks are inevitable, keep them light. Fruit, popcorn, apple sauce, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, a handful of cashews, or rice cakes with almond butter or hummus to name a few.
  • If the kids are hungry at 4:45, and dinner is ready, go ahead and feed them! I understand waiting for spouses, but I notice that when parents give themselves the freedom to obey hunger rather than the clock, they avoid the 5 o’clock meltdown. One client completely eliminated a toxic load of sugar from her daughter’s diet AND eliminated a chaotic bedtime routine by changing dinner hour to 5:30-6:30, instead of waiting for her husband to come home from work. There is still opportunity for a family to connect over the dinner table, even if the children have already eaten. This philosophy is especially true with the 5 and under crowd.

I understand and sympathize that this is a frustrating subject for many families. What I have learned by listening to mothers is that the answer is usually quite obvious; however, when we are so close to the problem we can’t see clearly what needs to change. Day after day we perpetuate the same behavior that creates a challenging home environment. I encourage my clients to try one recommendation at a time, and celebrate every single small win! As a parent, YOU know YOUR child better than anyone else. You have studied their preferences and behaviors since the day they were hatched, allow your instinct to guide!