Inspiring Independence in Picky Eaters: {Free Printable}

Inspiring Independence in Picky Eaters: {Free Printable}

Lately, we’ve been struggling with the eating habits of my 3-year-old picky eater.  Maybe, it’s because my almost one-year-old is just experiencing all these new foods for the first time, and I am comparing his food acceptance to her pickiness;  maybe it’s a little burnout; maybe it’s a little bit of my own  health problems with my thyroid that I have been dealing with for the last several weeks. Whatever it is, I had hit my mommy and dietitian breaking point.

My daughter is extremely independent, and has been very capable of selecting her foods and feeding herself for quite sometime. That means when she requests a snack, she isn’t really requesting it, she is demanding it. Even when she says it with the sweetest voice, you know what is going to happen when you say no. Rather than having to tell her no all the time, which I felt like I was, I decided to try a little bit of a positive approach. She has just started being really interested in crafts and coloring and creating things that are “fridge-worthy.” Taking this into consideration, I decided to create a coloring sheet to be a fun backdrop for my little experiment. I helped her select the right color to go on the right fruit and vegetable which she colored meticulously. Then we colored strips with the names of colors on them. She knows a few letters so I explained each word to her and had her color them so she could remember which color was which word. Then I laminated the coloring sheet and the word colors sheet because I had the intention to use them over and over. (I actually might frame it to make it an even more permanent fixture). Then I attached a clothes pin to the paper (you could also use velcro strips), so we could swap out the color of the day. I hung it on the wall and we selected a color of the day which I incorporated into our dinner that evening.

As you can see she was really into coloring this printable.

Nutritionally, eating a wide variety of colors helps maximize the antioxidants and phytonutrients that these foods provide. Each color provides a unique blend. Grouping fruits and vegetables into colors is something that I do with my adult clients as well. I usually use the acronym BROG (Blue/Purple, Red, Orange, Green) to hit all the highlights. You can read more about BROGing for adults here.  I decided from a color matching standpoint to increase the number of colors for this activity to 6 (Blue, Purple, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red). While ideally, she would be eating from multiple of these groups each day, we have to start somewhere.

So far, this is has been going surprisingly well, like Christmas morning well! The day after we created it, she ran excitedly into my room asking what today was, I responded, Friday. She said, no, and repeated, “what day is today?”, clearly irritated I didn’t understand her nuance. Oh, I realized, today is RED day.

If you are ready to up your picky eater game, or just want a fun activity to get the whole family involved in meal planning check out my free printable.


  • Free Printable
  • Crayons or Markers
  • Clothes pin or velcro strips
  • Laminating Sheets (optional but this will make it last much longer)
Veggie-Lovers Healthy Donuts

Veggie-Lovers Healthy Donuts


I originally shared this post on National Donut Day. As I have learned new things about feeding my picky eater, I have referenced this post for healthy donuts over and over.  I wrote this post when mug cakes were all the rage and the donut pan was not a thing you could order on amazon. Now, that donut pans are easy to find I’m sharing 2 easy ways to make these healthy donuts. You can make them in the oven with a donut pan, or individually as mug cakes in the microwave.  Whichever way you decide to make veggie donuts, I always top mine with my Healthy Chocolate Frosting, and then let the kids help decorate them. 

Donut Pan

If you’ve already jumped on the donut pan trend. Harness your donut pan for good by making a batch of veggie-filled healthy donuts! 

Veggie Lovers Healthy Donuts
Print Recipe
6 donuts
6 donuts
Veggie Lovers Healthy Donuts
Print Recipe
6 donuts
6 donuts
Servings: donuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray donut pan.
  2. In a mini food processor, or blender mix egg, milk, spinach or kale and banana until greens are finely shredded.
  3. Pour into remaining ingredients, except chocolate chips. Mix until incorporated, but do not over mix. Stir through chocolate chips.
  4. Pour batter into prepared donut pan. Bake 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from pan.
Recipe Notes

Prepare the Healthy Chocolate Frosting and dip the cooled donuts in it.

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Mug Cake

If you don’t want to turn on your oven, try this mug cake variation of the healthy donuts. Your veggie-filled donuts are ready in less than 5 minutes for breakfast or a snack.  One recipe includes a full delicious serving of veggies.

Yields 1 mug cake, 2-3 donuts

Veggie-Lovers' Donut or Mug Cake
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  • 1 cup fresh spinach or kale, or 1/2 cup frozen spinach or kale
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flour (If using whole wheat flour use 3 Tablespoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of vanilla
  • Optional: 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey*, mini chocolate chips, nuts
  • *highly recommend adding something sweet if you are using kale.


  1. Place the spinach or kale in a small microwave safe bowl with 1 tablespoon water. Microwave for 30-60 seconds. If you are using frozen spinach or kale it should be thawed, if you are using fresh it should be slightly wilted.
  2. In a mini food processor, or blender mix eggs, milk, prepared spinach or kale (see step 1) and banana until greens are finely shredded.
  3. Pour into a medium bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix until incorporated, but do not over mix. The texture should be very thick.
  4. Spray microwave-safe mug, or donut tins. Pour batter into mug or tins. If you are using donut tins it should be spread over 3. Microwave 3-4 minutes. The "cake" should be very moist, but no longer runny. If you are using donut tins you will divide the mixture over 3 tins, so the cook time will be about 1 minute each.
  5. Serve warm. Drizzle or glaze with melted chocolate for an extra pinch of YUM!

The first time I post this recipe my daughter (photo on the left) was about 18 months, now my son, also 18 months is enjoying the same recipe. I’ve perfected my frosting a bit more though, so it’s a little messier. 

Out-of-the-Box Recipe Makeover: Superfood Muffins

Out-of-the-Box Recipe Makeover: Superfood Muffins

As part of our Mommy Nutrition series I decided to add in a mommy and dietitian approved recipe. Let me paint a picture for you, in the kingdom of “Mommydom” (or pregnancy aches and pains) lists are long and time is short. Eating healthy is a challenge. Often the easiest thing to do is reach for a box. This blog is what I call an out-of-the-box recipe makeover just in time for Easter brunch.
This muffin recipe uses Krusteaz® cranberry orange muffin mix. Keep in mind that most store-bought muffin mixes aren’t perfectly “clean,”  but I picked Krusteaz® because I thought it was one of the best (no hydrogenated oils and no weird ingredients for the most part, more about that later).
So, I set out to make the perfect muffin. This recipe is sure to be at hit at your Easter celebration. If you aren’t motivated to make these yet let me tell you what Superfoods you can find in these muffins: sweet potatoes, citrus, walnuts (optional), dark chocolate (optional, but highly recommended), and cranberries (optional).
I used mini muffin tins and it made about 4 dozen muffins. I recommend that you spray the muffin tins, I forgot to do this on my second batch and thank goodness for a really nice pan from Sur La Table®,  I didn’t have to spend hours scrubbing. 


Superfood 1: Sweet Potatoes

Pour the muffin mix into a large bowl and add 3 jars of sweet potato baby food. We are not at the baby food stage in our house yet, so I purchased these but if you are making your own you will need about 12 oz of pureed sweet potatoes. In my first attempt I used carrots; I preferred the subtle flavoring of the sweet potatoes, but you could use whatever veggie you want. 


Superfood 2: Pomegranate

Add 1/3 cup pomegranate juice. You can use any juice that you want but pomegranate juice added in the antioxidants that I wanted. If pomegranates were in season you better believe that the arils would have been the star of the show, but alas they are not, so we had to settle for juice.


Superfood 3: Citrus:

Add ¾ cup orange juice. I had planned to use the cranberry orange flavoring can that comes in the Krusteaz® box. As I was preparing to dump it in I noticed that it had high fructose corn syrup. Yes, we can talk about my opinions on that in a future post, but I decided to opt out and add my own orange juice for flavoring instead.


Superfoods 4,5,and 6: Walnuts, Cranberries, and Dark Chocolate

Since I decided not to use the flavorings that came with the mix I got to add my own flavorings. This is where I had the most fun. In my experiments I made them with mini dark chocolate chips,  mini dark chocolate chips and coconut, dried cranberries and coconut, and dried cranberries and walnuts. My two favorites were the mini dark chocolate chips and the cranberries and walnuts combo. The one with the chocolate chips seriously tastes like those chocolate oranges you get at Christmas only in muffin form. Go ahead and experiment with your favorite combinations and be sure to share them!IMG_2001IMG_1996_2  


You know what else is great about this recipe? Did you notice that it only uses one bowl? Super easy clean up!


Superfood Muffins


1 box fat-free cranberry orange muffin mix, Krusteaz® 3 jars (4 oz each) sweet potato baby food (pureed) 1/3 cup Pomegranate juice ¾ cup Orange Juice 6 oz mini dark chocolate chips (optional) ½ cup walnuts, chopped small (optional) ½ cup dried cranberries (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl stir together muffin mix, baby food, and juices until combined. Fold in add-ins (chocolate chips, walnuts, dried cranberries).
  3. Spoon into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 14 minutes (mini muffins) – 20 minutes (regular sized muffins) or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!
Eating for Two: The Truth About Pregnancy and Calories

Eating for Two: The Truth About Pregnancy and Calories

Part Two in our Mommy Nutrition Series:

 (part one)

Let’s start with a little Pop Quiz
 The saying goes when you are pregnant that you are “eating for two.” We use this to justify our 5th cookie or polishing off the bag of chips but what is the reality? How many EXTRA calories does a woman need in her first trimester?
  1. None
  2. 200-300 per day
  3. 400- 500 per day

 Truth. In the first trimester the baby is only 2 oz and does not require any additional calories. Pregnancy is NOT the time to start a low calorie or low carb diet, but you should practice self-monitoring to make sure that you are eating about the same as you were before you became pregnant.


 So how do we do this practically? I had horrific food aversions during my first trimester. I could not stand salads or quinoa (GASP!) I wondered if I would ever go back to normal. I secretly snuck my un-green lunches to the break room and hoped no one who question what I was eating.

My two tips for food aversions:

  1. Keep trying!

I tried veggies constantly. I am proud to say that I ate the first salad of my pregnancy somewhere in the middle of my second trimester. I still didn’t crave salads but I could happily eat them. Your hormones continue to change throughout your pregnancy and definitely play a role in your food cravings. You never know when your tastes may change. 


  1. Work within in the food groups.

The foods I couldn’t eat I would try to make up for with other nutrient-rich foods that I could stomach.  If I couldn’t eat a salad I tried cooked vegetables, if I couldn’t handle fresh strawberries I would make a smoothie. Pregnancy may not be a time that we need to drastically increase our calories but it is a time to make every food we put in our mouth count. Making healthy choices influences not only our health but also the health of our baby. 


After the first trimester you need about 300 extra calories per day. I DO NOT encourage pregnant women to count their calories.  The most important thing is making sure that most of the foods that you eat are nutrient rich. What I mean by this is that if you are like me and can’t eat a plain spinach salad during your pregnancy try a smoothie instead. Yes, this may have more calories but it is better than getting your calories from a snickers bar.
I love this picture. It is a breakdown of what pregnancy weight gain looks like. Pregnancy is one of the few times in life that you can rapidly gain weight and it can actually be healthy. We will revisit this picture when we talk about postpartum nutrition in one of our upcoming posts. In the meantime don’t forget about our contest! 

How do I win a cookbook?

  1. Like Fusion Wellness/theKCDietitian if you haven’t already on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram
  2. Share us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. You can share (retweet) one of our posts or write your own but be sure to tag you favorite mommy or mommy-to-be friend and use #KCdietitianTeachesNutrition . 
  3. We will make our selection on April Fool’s Day! So get busy sharing! Each share with a different mommy’s tag gets you another entry. 
Eating for Two: The Truth About Pregnancy and Calories

6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon

Have you ever heard of the game, “6 degrees of Kevin Bacon”? It is based on the idea that every actor can be linked to Kevin Bacon within 6 movie roles or less, (based on the theory of six degrees of separation). Ok hold that thought.
When Fusion Wellness was created it was based on the concept that it would be a fusion of all topics on wellness. With that being said, we tend to stick to what some may say is a narrow field. This week we are going to stray from our usual topics with a three part series (today plus two more) on “Mommy Nutrition”. The KC Dietitian was recently asked to give a presentation on pre-and post-natal nutrition, this series is a combination of what I have learned in my own experiences and what science says.
Back to the bacon. Maybe we should pick an actor with a less nutritionally controversial name: Eminem (M&M)? Nope. Coco(a) Channel? Nope. How about Halle Berry or Eve Plumb (Jan from The Brady Bunch)? As you know the KC Dietitian loves her fruits and veggies, and I don’t know too many people with the last name spinach or swiss chard so we will have to stick to the fruits. 
We are actually not that concerned if you are connected to Kevin Bacon or Eve Plumb but we think you are connected to some people that may find our series interesting. We think that everyone is connected by 6 degrees or less to someone who is expecting or a new mommy. This three part series may not really relate to you but it might to someone you know. We want you to share this and we are going to reward you for it with a chance to win a cookbook. 

How do I win a cookbook?

  1. Like Fusion Wellness/theKCDietitian if you haven’t already on Facebook and Twitter.
  2. Share us on Twitter or Facebook. You can share (retweet) one of our posts or write your own but be sure to tag you favorite mommy or mommy-to-be friend and use #KCdietitianTeachesNutrition . 
  3. We will make our selection on April Fool’s Day! So get busy sharing! Each share with a different mommy’s tag gets you another entry.