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Nutrition for Mom

Vanessa T.
Pediatric Dietitian
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Don't let the holidays derail your healthy diet! Meal plans, quick kitchen fixes, and more are just a click away. Join the conversation!

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Portable snacks


I am always running from place to place and finding it hard to remember to bring healthy snacks with me which means I either don’t eat or eat something unhealthy that I find along the way. Any recommendations for selecting and storing healthy portable snacks?


Absolutely! Here’s a list of easy on-the-go snacks. I like to keep them in the glove box of my car, side pocket of my diaper bag and even in a stockpile by my keys at the front door so I remember to grab them on my way out of the house!

- trail mix (premade or homemade): try making your own by combining raw nuts, dried fruit, air popped popcorn, etc.
- protein bars: I like to choose one with simple ingredients like Lara bars or Rx bars
- individual serving nut butter packs: find these by the peanut butter at the grocery store. Grab a banana at the coffee shop when you’re out to pair with your nut butter. I’ve even been known to eat the peanut butter straight out of the packet in a pinch!
- Apples: take advantage of the colder weather and store a bag of fruit in your car! The temps will keep the fruit for awhile.
- Hummus packs: buy hummus+pretzel combo packs from the store or make your own to travel with using small Tupperware containers. Pair with a baggie of whole wheat pretzels or baby carrots. Leave yourself a note on the door to grab before you run out of the house.

Whatever you choose, remember that it is always better to have a small snack then skip when you’re feeling hungry. Even most gas stations now sell healthier options including yogurts, granola bars and fruit. Stick with the healthiest option to tide you over and eat a good meal when you get home!


Picky 21 month old eater


My daughter used to eat anything I put in front of her. Now we are down to 4 or 5 food options...macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets and squeeze packs. She refuses all fruits and vegetables unless they’re in a squeeze.

Any tips to get her back to her old vegetable loving self?


Hi Danielle,
Toddlers like to explore their independence and unfortunately, this often means a struggle at the table. Ellyn Satter is a dietitian and therapist who has a great philosophy on feeding kids called The Division of Responsibility. Basically, your child’s job is to decide how much to eat but your job is to decide what foods are offered. According to this theory, you should offer healthy, balanced meals for your child. If your daughter asks for chicken nuggets instead, explain that tonight’s dinner is different and allow her to choose how much to eat (If she eats at all). Hold firm and stay positive at the table. She may refuse initially, but most kids I’ve worked with will eventually give in and start eating what you offer once they realize you Aren’t going to provide substitutes. It’s also important for your child to feel heard. Let them help you plan the menu for the week and accept that some foods you offer they truly might not like- praise them for trying and move on. You can, of course, continue to offer some favorite foods in the lineup. Your child will feel better knowing that mac and cheese is sometimes an option- just not every night!

You can read more about the division of responsibility here:


Eating for lactating


Are their any recipes for lactation besides the oatmeal cookies? I’m looking for easy meals I can eat along with family


Hi Ruby,

While there are a lot of foods promoted as being ‘galactagogues’, or things to promote lactation, there is not a lot of solid scientific evidence on this. The best way to increase lactation is to breastfeed frequently, get enough calories from nutritious foods and stay hydrated with plenty of water.

That being said, many of these supposed galactagogues are healthy foods. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to try!

Fennel and garlic are two common foods to try. Fennel is a vegetable in the carrot family that can be sliced and roasted to top a salad or added to your favorite soup. Garlic is a delicious way to flavor vegetables- try adding to steamed or roasted veggies, rubbing on poultry before cooking, or adding minced to ground lean beef for meatballs or burger patties.

There is some evidence that suggests high iron foods are associated with higher milk supplies. Oatmeal, red meat, beans or chickpeas and dark leafy greens are all excellent sources. Here are some ideas to combine these foods:

Try making steamed spinach with garlic and olive oil and serve with lean beef burgers.

Make a big salad with dark greens. Add roasted fennel and chickpeas for your protein.

Use your crockpot to make a comforting winter chili using beef and beans:

Oatmeal also makes a good winter breakfast. If you’re pressed for time in the morning, try making overnight oats. Combine 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 tbsp peanut butter and your favorite berries in a jar or reusable container. Add milk until all ingredients are covered, then cover and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, enjoy cold straight from the fridge or heat if you prefer.