Creating Meals and Snacks You Love with the Help of Wise Apple

Wise Apple

Thanks Wise Apple for sending me a complimentary week of meals for my family and me to try!

Wise Apple

Now that we’re back into the school routine, you, like me, may be ready to mix up your kids’ school lunch and snack options. How to do that you ask? Well…

How to mix up your kids’ school lunch and snack routine: 

  1. Do an internet search for kid-friendly recipes or school lunch ideas
  2. Switch to hot lunch for a week if your kids regularly take a packed lunch or vice versa
  3. Take your kids with you to the grocery store to pick out a few new foods they would like to try
  4. Consider signing up for a meal delivery service like Wise Apple

My family and I got the opportunity to try Wise Apple recently and we loved it. Not only did it give my kids some new food options to try, but I loved that it kept meal prepping in the morning super easy.

Fast Facts about Wise Apple 

  • You can select 5, 8, or 12 meals to be delivered at a time
  • Meals are all pre-approved by the Wise Apple registered dietitian and include a protein, vegetable, fruit and a sweet treat.
  • Lunches are designed with children ages 4-8 in mind
  • All food options are ready-to-eat; no microwave required!
  • The packaging is recyclable (you can learn more about how to recycle it here)
  • You can mix and match your meals OR re-purpose parts of the meals for school snacks as well
  • The Wise Apple team is passionate about offering locally sourced and organic options as much as possible if this is a food value that matters to you and your family
  • Cost ranges between $6.50 to $6.99 per meal

Our family appreciated mixing up our routine with Wise Apple and found that it fit well into our approach towards making meals and snacks work for all members of our family. You see, we’re dedicated to creating meals we love, that support the everyday function of our bodies, and allow each of us to become more confident eaters at the table.

Wise Apple Set of 5 Meals
Our 5 Wise Apple Meals included familiar and new foods for my kids to try. From baby carrots with yogurt ranch to crispy green pea fries, my kids enjoyed trying it all.

If you’re looking to embrace a similar approach towards meals and snacks, here are a few practical steps to make the most of each eating opportunity for you and your family:

Build up from your food group basics. Each meal or snack opportunity you have will come with food choices -what foods you choose to incorporate is up to you. I always like to encourage people to get started with their basic food groups – grains and starches, protein, fruits, vegetables and dairy. These foods tend to compliment each other well, providing both energy and a variety of nutrients needed for bodies to function properly.

Related: 3 Ingredient Bell Pepper and Hummus Flatbread

Plus, mixing and matching foods from your basic food categories can help keep things interesting without things getting overly complicated. Don’t forget to leave some room for some flavor enhancing fats and oils and fun foods too to maximize the fun and enjoyment of each eating experience.

Keep things familiar, but leave some room to grow. One of the greatest ways to support positive eating is to let new foods in from time to time. Not only does this help expand your family’s collective palate, but will give you additional foods and food combinations to work with so that you are continuously creating more dishes you and your family loves.

For kids in-particular, it may take some time to warm up to new food options. This is normal and it’s OK to ease into it. As you look to make the most of each eating opportunity, consider introducing new foods gradually, encouraging your kids be curious. And if they don’t try it on the first go around, you can rest easy knowing that they will at least eat the foods they are familiar with.

Allow for personal preference. Did you know that we all have innate hunger and fullness cues within us? It’s true BUT it’s rather easy to override these signals.  Luckily, it is possible to reinforce them through the regular meals and snacks we have and provide. Although there are many ways we could go about this, recognizing that everyone at the table is in charge of what and how much they eat is an important first step.

Related: Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding

This might mean not finishing one food before moving on to the next or letting kids eat as much or as little of something as they want. Again, providing a diverse array of food options can help ensure that kids not only get a variety of nutrients at each eating opportunity as they jump from food to food, but can also allow nurture confidence at the table.

Although Wise Apple may be a little more costly than a traditional school lunch, I really do appreciate that their meals easily allow for families to support positive eating experiences. Food groups are easily identified, familiar foods are next to new foods to try, and they are easy to mix and match based on personal preferences that can change from day to day.

And bonus: the meals are all nut- and allergy-free, making them a safe option for other students who are enjoying their meals alongside my sons.

Want to give Wise Apple a try? Get started here and get $20 off your first order!  or use code “katimora” at checkout.

4 Strategies to Head Back to School with Food Confidence

Back to School with Food Confidence

I always look forward to the beginning of each school year, but admittedly, I often forget just how busy the season can be. Whether you are headed back to school this fall, have kids who are, or are watching safely from a distance, the start of a new school year may require us to change up our strategy to maintain positive eating behaviors.

Back to School with Food Confidence

If change seems scary, take a deep breath, and read on because one thing that can remain steady in times of flux is your commitment to taking care of yourself.

Make meals and snacks a priority. Your schedule may change the exact times you eat, but it won’t change the fact that you still need to eat. This means you may need to look for different pockets of time where eating is possible for you. This will allow you to plan ahead and incorporate foods throughout the day that will help support your body.

Be food flexible. When life gets busy, our options for what we eat may not always seem “perfect.” But don’t let perfection stop you from eating. Instead, be food flexible.  By adjusting your food expectations, you may find that you stress less about what you eat. Not to mention, a food flexible approach can expand your food options, actually increasing your likelihood of better meeting both your energy needs and nutrient needs consistently.

Keep it interesting. Once you create space for meals and snacks and make eating a priority, it’s then possible to make the most of each eating experience. Whether you are eating in a college dining hall, packing lunches for you or your kids, or packing options to get you through a busy day at work, look for new foods and food combinations to try. Not only will this help keep meals and snacks more interesting, but it will also allow you to get more comfortable putting foods and flavors together.

Remember you’re not in this alone. If you find yourself struggling to make time to eat, find yourself stressing out or feeling bad about your food choices, or need fresh ideas to keep meals nourishing and enjoyable, I’m here to provide support. Whether you schedule a one-on-one session with me or want virtual support by connecting with me through the Healthie app, I’d love to be apart of your wellness team. To learn more about how we can work together, give me a call at 989-400-1478 or book your appointment online.


5 Reasons Snacking Can Benefit Your Child’s Eating Plan

5 Benefits of Snacking for Kids

We have lots of words we use to describe the types of eating activities that take place in my home. The three most common though are meals, snacks, and treats.

5 Benefits of Snacks

Each are a bit different and help younger family members understand how different types of foods fit without labeling what we eat as “good” or “bad” – two words that make me cringe when it comes to the foods we eat! You see, food is just food  – it isn’t good or bad.

In our home, foods tend to be offered up in the following ways:

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Three staple opportunities to provide your body with the nutrients you need to have enough energy, stamina, and good health to tackle each day.

Snacks: In-between meal opportunities that allow you to respond to hunger accordingly. Snacks, like meals, should consist of basic foods. I like to pair foods from two different basic food groups together for a balanced option.

Treats: These are the types of foods that tend to offer more enjoyment than nutrition to your plate. Although these foods may not be necessary for nourishment, they can be important elements of a healthy diet. After all, a meal plan without brownies? No thank you. Treats in our home are often offered right along with meals.

Although meals serve as our primary mode for eating, snacks can serve as an important opportunity for kids to get the nutrients they need throughout the day. This is especially the case if you are following the wise wisdom of Ellyn Satter, setting up division of responsibility every time food is offered.

Division of Responsibility 

If you aren’t familiar with division of responsibility at the table, essentially it establishes ground rules for parents and children when they come together to eat. Parents are responsible for providing the food while kids are responsible for choosing what they eat.

Related: Why Establishing Table Rules Matter

At our home, we serve one meal, letting everyone choose which foods they want eat. When trying new foods or new combinations, my younger eaters tend to stick with the foods they are more familiar with. In many cases, this means that they eat less at mealtime overall, resulting in a hungry tummy a few hours later.

The Benefits of Snacking

Snacks can offer up more nutrition. Since snack times offer up an additional opportunity to incorporate more foods into your day, why not make the options you serve up nutritious? Pairing up one basic food group with another is an easy way to ensure a snack is nutrient-packed and satisfying. Apple slices with peanut butter, blueberries with yogurt, carrots with hummus – the possibilities are fun and endless!

Snacks can give your kids additional opportunity to try additional nutrient-rich foods. It takes awhile for kids to decide whether or not they like something. That means every opportunity offers a window to normalize new nutrient-rich foods.

Snacks can take the pressure off. As a parent, it can be nerve-wracking when you serve your child a plate of food at meal time, only to discover they have only eaten a few nibbles of the food you have provided. Snacks can help you rest easy because you know they will have another opportunity to eat in just a few short hours.

Snacks can serve as mini-meals. Snacks, like meals, provide an additional opportunity for your kids to meet their nutritional needs; however, what you serve matters. Although snacking may seem like a fine opportunity to indulge in treats, you’ll get more bang for your buck if you serve up nutrient-rich foods instead. Keep in mind, if we’re building healthy eaters, we should use every opportunity we have to provide them with food to benefit their health. There is room for treats, but they shouldn’t replace snacks that can help fill nutrient gaps.

Snacks can give you new opportunities to have fun in the kitchen with your kids. If you’re looking to spend time in the kitchen with your kids, snacks may be the perfect starting point for you. Unlike meals, snacks are often less time-consuming to put together. They also tend to require less cooking skill, which in many instances, makes them much more kid-friendly.

As you look to incorporate healthy meals and healthy snacks into your daily routine, remember how you talk about the foods you serve also matters. Research shows kids are less likely to eat nutrient-rich foods when you focus on their healthiness. That’s probably not all that surprising – even as adults, the nutritional value of our food isn’t very alluring. Taste and flavor on the other hand – well, those are characteristics of our food that do resonate – both with kids and adults.

As you approach foods at the table, whether at meal time, snack time, or even when sharing treats, keep the focus on the foods qualities everyone can get excited about. This way, you normalize food across the categories and increase the likelihood that when nutrient-rich foods are offered, they may be enjoyed for what they are – delicious foods meant to support your lifestyle.

Why Establishing Table Rules Matters

Why Establishing Table Rules Matters

Bringing everyone to the table can either be a whole lot of fun or a whole lot of disaster. Whether you are struggling to make better food decisions or simply want to calm the chaos your family may bring with them when they sit down to their plate, establishing meal time boundaries can be incredibly beneficial in creating a stress-free, supportive meal time routine.

Why Establishing Table Rules Matters

Table Rules in our Household

At the Mora household, we have clear expectations set for meal time. Not only do these table rules help minimize stress, they also help everyone at the table approach it with familiarity and confidence. 

Now if you know me well, you know that I’m not a big fan of rigid, burdensome rules. That’s because “following the rules” isn’t really the point. But sometimes guidelines are incredibly helpful tools that can help you better achieve the outcome that you want.

When it comes to meals, my primary objectives are for them to be nourishing and enjoyable. Our family table rules reflect that and set the stage. They also help build a consistent and safe routine for our kids and our foster kids. Something incredibly important to ensuring meals work for everyone.

Meals are eaten at the table. In our house, whenever food is eaten, it’s happening at the table. This sets the stage and minimizes distraction. Breakfast and snacks are eaten at the table in our breakfast nook while dinners are served in the dining room. 

One meal is served. Each meal I serve has great potential for promoting positive eating in my children. Because of this, I don’t cater. Instead, I serve one meal with and supplement it as needed with foods that are more familiar or safe for everyone around the table. For example, the photo below is an example of a pretty typical dinner at my house. My husband grilled burgers and vegetable kabobs with a Balsamic reduction glaze. We also served up cherries… oh yeah, and goldfish crackers.

This method ensures everyone’s preferences are accounted for, but still provides opportunity to explore new options if the night calls for it.

Food exploration is encouraged. So I’m just going to let you know this up front – most of the time when my kids try something new I’ve created, they aren’t big fans. These zucchini noodles were pretty much the one exception! But that’s okay, because it takes a long LONG time for kids to get to a point of enjoying a food. In fact, a child may need to be exposed to a new food with no expectation to like it upwards of 15-20 times! So just relax, establish an open-minded approach to meal time, and let your kids do the rest.

It’s okay to not eat everything, but manners matter. When food exploration is encouraged, you can expect a fair share of negative reviews. Unfortunately, when one of our children bellows out an “Ew!” or “Disgusting” group think takes over and no one will touch that poor defenseless food (by the way – it’s usually a vegetable in case you were wondering). To keep an open-minded approach, we make sure all our kids know they don’t have to like everything BUT that they should keep negative comments to themselves because others may actually find it appealing. We’re still working on this one, but its important table etiquette we’re working on.

How to Create Your Own Table Rules

Although these table rules might work for you and your family like they do for mine,  don’t be afraid to create your own guidelines. Keep them simple and easy to reinforce at each mealtime and never forget why you set them in the first place. Hopefully, these table rules will help establish an environment that everyone feels safe to join.

In need of more inspirational ground rules to get you started? I love the approach fellow registered dietitian Paige Smathers takes in her article “Secrets of Successful Meals with Young Kids.” According to Paige, even giving your kids the opportunity to say no can be a good thing.