A Fancy Schmancy Dinner

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Honestly, I didn’t have a very good day, but we went out to a fancy schmancy dinner in Winter Park, Florida with Mike, Katie, and little Konner.  That lifted my spirits so much.   🙂


We’re trying to go to all of our favorite places before we leave, so we went to place called Park Plaza Gardens tonight.  It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL inside!  We’ve been once before – years ago – and knew it was a perfect place to take our friend (and their well-behaved child).


The group:

IMG_6689 IMG_6681

We started off with a great glass of Malbec from Argentina!  If you’re ever at a loss for what to order off a wine menu and like spicy reds, pick a Malbec from Argentina.  You can’t go wrong, I promise.


And then the MOST AWESOME BREAD BASKET EVER came out.  I eyed it up very carefully and picked the most appetizing pieces out.  I had about 2 rolls.


Especially when I dipped it in the olive oil and garlic!  The rolls were hot and fresh and melt-in-your-mouth.


I pulled my favorite restaurant trick by ordering two appetizers instead of an entree.  This is the surest way to create an awesome vegetarian meal at any restaurant.


I had a melty piece of French bread topped with bruschetta with cheese and balsamic reduction.


And a wonderful spinach, candied pecans, gorgonzola, pear, and radish salad.


Konner had the mussels and declared them “very good.”


A wonderful night out.  🙂


Afternoon snacks included a Vega Smoothie shake with 1 cup rice milk, 1/2 banana, Vega Smoothie mix, 1 cup spinach, and 15 frozen cherries.


And Katie and I split Gummi Bears while we ran errands.  :) 


No workout today because it was a REST day – yay!  But I enjoyed reading your suggestions for my next fitness challenge and will announce the new challenge soon!


I have a question for all the mommies and daddies out there:  What do you think is the key to getting a child to try new foods and be adventurous at the dinner table?  I don’t want a picky eater!



  • Kaz June 14, 2010, 10:27 pm

    I’m glad your day got better. =) Good food always cheers me up.

    I do the same thing for dining out! Especially with so many food intolerances, some times the best hidden gems are on the appetizer menu.

    Looks like you chose well. Your dinner looks like it was delicious! 😀

  • Carly @ The Road To Health June 14, 2010, 10:27 pm

    Holy Toledo that salad looks amazing! 🙂

  • Sammi June 14, 2010, 10:28 pm

    I’m not a parent but I have read that children develop their taste-buds before they are 3 years old (not sure that is the exact age) so if you feed them what you want them to like from the start they should continue to eat that way. Unless they spit it out I guess!!

  • Janelle June 14, 2010, 10:30 pm

    Wow – he must be well behaved if you took him to such a nice joint and were able to declare it a pleasant experience!

    My little guy (not quite two yet) will eat pretty much anything – but were have been diligent about feeding him a varied diet from the start. He gets pretty much the same thing as we eat for dinner. He hasn’t had chicken nuggets or boxed mac and cheese yet – not that he won’t ever, but by feeding him real and varied foods from the start we haven’t fallen into the “kid foods” trap.

    I also don’t make a big deal out of food – if he likes it, great, but if not, no biggie. I just try it again later.

    So far, this has worked for us – but we could also just be lucky!

  • Jenny June 14, 2010, 10:32 pm

    That’s a great tip for eating out! I don’t have kids, so I can’t imagine how hard it must be to get them to eat healthy… I would probably play some game that says more colors on your plate is more fun or some nonsense like that:)

  • Mel June 14, 2010, 10:33 pm

    Katie’s shoes are sick!

  • Wei-Wei June 14, 2010, 10:37 pm

    You look gorgeous! I love your 2-appetizer trick – that way you can taste two different flavours, too! 🙂

    I think that the key is to “train” them to like a variety of foods from an early age. Once they start to eat solids, you can introduce them to a wild range of foods, and give them something new frequently!


  • Wendy June 14, 2010, 10:39 pm

    I am a mommy to two – one thing to keep in mind is that kids sometimes have to be exposed to new foods MANY times before they will eat it. So if they don’t like something the first time, keep trying!

    • Crystal June 15, 2010, 12:53 am

      This is what we do. If I know she doesn’t like something she still has to taste it, but I don’t force the issue. It took ~20 tries before she realized that cottage cheese is awesome. We also don’t shy away from foods that are typically not baby foods. DD loves spicy food (ie chili with hot peppers) and a few other things that aren’t typically given to young kids.

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople June 14, 2010, 10:39 pm

    I don’t have kids yet, but I let my 6-year-old niece pick out what new fruit or veggie she wants to try when we are at the grocery store. She doesn’t always like what we make, but she LOVES getting to choose the produce and what to do with it.

  • Krystina June 14, 2010, 10:42 pm

    I love Winter Park, it’s so beautiful. You should check out Cafe 118 if you haven’t yet!

  • Amara June 14, 2010, 10:43 pm

    With my kids, I always say they need to have a small serving of everything good for them, and then if they don’t want to eat it, it’s no big deal, but no treats after dinner. Otherwise it’s easy for them to fill up on junk. We also try to have a sit down dinner every night together, and I think this is HUGE. If everyone just snacks, they never get exposed to new foods (and usually the snacks aren’t as good for them).

  • Amy @ Amy Starts To Run June 14, 2010, 10:44 pm

    That place looks beautiful! I’m not sure I’m well-behaved enough for a place like that ;). Salad looks delicious!

  • Mary @ What's Cookin' with Mary June 14, 2010, 10:56 pm

    I think the key is making it look fun ;D

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee) June 14, 2010, 11:04 pm

    That place sounds super delish!

    I am not a parent, but I remember growing up not being a picky child – I’m not sure what my parents did. I loved eating broccoli “trees” (still do!), tofu, soy milk, sprouts, etc. There are some veggies that I didn’t like until I was older, like raw bell peppers (I didn’t like them raw til college, but loved them cooked!). Now, I like pretty much all veggies.

  • Lindsay @ Summit Sandwiches June 14, 2010, 11:05 pm

    Lie to them!

    That’s how my parents got me to eat sushi at age 3. Seriously. They had me eating the strangest stuff at a young age. My mom had tricked me into consuming tofu by calling it “protein”. For some strange reason, my four year old self excepted the explanation that the strange white blocks floating in my miso soup were called “protein”. Duh…lol.
    My mom called chinese mushrooms “beans” because I had a thing about not eating anything labeled with the word “mushroom”. I could go on and on….my dad had me eat escargot at age 10 by promising me he would tell me what it was after I tried it. Well, I tried it and liked it. Now I will try practically any exotic food you throw at me!

    My advice? Just start feeding them interesting foods at a young age, and lie to them once they can start questioning your choices. It worked for my parents! Lol.

  • Lauren (Clean Eats in the Dirty South) June 14, 2010, 11:13 pm

    that bruschetta looks amazing, and so do you!!
    i obviously dont have any kids just yet, but i work as a nanny. one trick is the “five bite” rule – they have to eat five bites of everything on their plate before they can say they don’t like it. that way, they can say they at least ate some of it as well as tried something new.
    another little trick for kids is to sneak veggies in EVERYWHERE! they can’t say they don’t like spinach if it’s in their green monster every day. smoothies, sauces, sammiches, wherever. they won’t even notice that they’re there.

  • Marilou @ Mostly Healthy June 14, 2010, 11:13 pm

    Can I just say that a kid fits very well in your husband’s arms … wink, wink 🙂

  • Jennifer June 14, 2010, 11:14 pm

    I have 3 girls ages 12, 13, and 15, and they all are fairly good eaters (2 are even veg like me!)! The secret is persistence, time, and patience!!! Just because they turn a food down once (or 10 times) doesn’t mean that one fine day they won’t! Don’t force it down their throats – they will then become even more reistant! Another thing that helps is to let them help you cook. If they have a hand in “creating” the meal, they will be more open to eating what they cooked! 🙂 And even if what they made is not the greatest, they will think it is!

    Good luck! You will do great! Just don’t sweat it too much!

    • Caitlin June 15, 2010, 9:53 am

      I think you’re right about the kids helping you cook! That’s a great idea.

  • Lisa June 14, 2010, 11:16 pm

    What a fancy looking restaurant!

  • Katheryn June 14, 2010, 11:16 pm

    I think every child is different, and for the most part the parent can’t do much about what they like to eat. I have two children. One is ultra picky and the other will eat anything. I didn’t do anything different with them. They just came out that way. A couple things I’ve always done though: I have never made two meals. I make one dinner for the entire family, and that is that. I buy what I want them to eat, so we don’t have many treats in the house. Whole wheat, hummus, fruits, and veggies have always been staples. Lastly I try new foods in front of them, as well as retrying things over and over again that I may not have liked. Taste buds change!

    • Runeatrepeat June 14, 2010, 11:32 pm

      I don’t have babies yet, but was hoping a mom would chime in with this – kids are different, even when you raise them the same. You cannot expect to get them to be like you or your other kids. Just expose them to healthy foods and lead by a good example.
      Keep up the good work!

    • Caitlin June 15, 2010, 9:55 am

      That’s interesting that two kids end up so different… I guess that proves that it’s more about the child than anything else.

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) June 14, 2010, 11:17 pm

    ooooh yum – I think that bread + balsamic combination looks absolutely wonderful 🙂 Must try to recreate it at home asap!!!

  • Allison June 14, 2010, 11:17 pm

    YUM! Your meal looks incredible.

  • Amanda @ Eat to Live, Live to Run June 14, 2010, 11:19 pm

    I can’t give you a whole lot of help in the getting kids to be adventurous in eating topic because I have the pickiest 2 year old eater ever. I would have never thought my husband and I would create a picky eater, but honestly I think if a kid is going to be picky thats just how they are going to be. You can say all day long things like … I’m only going to cook one meal. My kid will eat whatever I make and if he/she doesn’t he’ll go to bed hungry, etc. But when it comes down to it and its your actual child you are talking about you know there will never be a day that you would let your child go to bed hungry and you will do whatever you have to do to make sure your kid is happy and healthy.

    I think the only 1 thing a parent can do is to eat healthy themselves with a variety of foods and set the example for their child. What they see you do, they will want to do. (We aren’t there yet, but I know I’m setting the example).

  • Astrid June 14, 2010, 11:19 pm

    I love the idea of ordering 2 appetizers for a meal. Especially when one of them involves a delicious salad. I am not a vegetarian, but I can get a bit picky and indecisive at restaurants.
    As a kid I was so picky! But I wasn’t really introduced to a big variety of food. I think that’s the key. Lots of variety and options even when they are very little. Make sure they love fruits and veggies (as long as they are not allergic!) and know that they always have a say in what they eat.
    You look so beautiful in picture of you and your husband.

  • Dynamics June 14, 2010, 11:24 pm

    You have to give them a variety at a young age and YOU have to eat the same foods. My daughter loved eating her “trees and flowers” but hated broccoli and cauliflower. Oh to be young again. Raw was better than cooked of most veggies. Having a garden helped tremendously. You have to eat what you grow.

  • Melissa @ For the Love of Health June 14, 2010, 11:43 pm

    That’s great you had a nice dinner with your friends- the food and wine look amazing!

  • Emily Eats and Exercises June 14, 2010, 11:48 pm

    No kids yet, but my brother went through a two year phase when he was little of only pasta (with butter) and french bread (with butter) and plain cherrios (no milk.) My parent’s mostly left him alone about it and then he became the best eater ever – there’s nothing he won’t eat and he’s super healthy.

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance....after a 100+ Pound Weight Loss!!! June 14, 2010, 11:48 pm

    Unfortunatelly, even if you give them a “variety” of foods from a young age (as I did with my daughter) you may still end up with a Very Picky Eater, just as I did! However, I will add that my daughter does love almost every FRUIT there is and eats them all the time and often will chose them over chocolate or candy if you can believe that. She also loves tons of VEGGIES and all kinds of rice, even brown. But she isn’t a huge meat eater except for chicken. She likes hamburger in spagetti and steak. She isn’t much of a sandwhich eater either, never has been and only recently started to like cereal. She used to love milk as a toddler but now not so much but luckily she loves yogurt.

    Just start out with a HUGE variety from a young age and hope for the best! Have them eat what you eat from a young age and you should be ok. =)

  • Kristina June 14, 2010, 11:58 pm

    wow, your dinner looked amazing, I hope it cheered you a bit 🙂

    that is fabulous that a small child ate mussels. I would not have done that!!

    I don’t have children, but… I was a very picky eater, in a very healthy household… so I still ate well… I have seen friend’s children be picky, I think tastes when you are young cannot be forced (I once tried to flush a hot dog down a toilet – I was a vegetarian at age 5!!) but if you expose them to healthy foods they will like some of them!

    …I’ve seen how you eat, it is all healthy and balanced – your kiddos will be fine!! 🙂

  • zoe June 15, 2010, 12:33 am


    ordering two appetizers is the best. you get two perfect portions of delicious food…basically awesome.

    quick question though regarding the gummi bears! i know you’re vegetarian (me too!) but do you not count them as a food with animal product in it? most have gelatin which took me forever to realize and i went back and forth as to whether i should give them up. eventually i just decided to do it because i didn’t eat gummies very often anyway. but i do miss my favorite gummies from time to time though 🙁 i haven’t found many that are “vegetarian”. anywho, just wondering what you do about that!!!

    also, the picture of you and your husband is so cute! you guys are adorable 🙂

    • Caitlin June 15, 2010, 9:58 am

      i just don’t get worked up over gummi bears and gelatin to be honest… it’s just in the ‘gray’ area of vegetarianism for me and i usually eat it. 🙂 it’s up to you to make that decision though!

  • Crystal June 15, 2010, 12:57 am

    The best food advice I ever got in regard to children is “It’s your job as a parent to buy and serve a variety of healthy foods every day. Beyond that it’s up to the kid”. When my 20 month old is going through a week where she wants nothing but crackers and cheese it helps to remind me that I can’t make her eat, all I can do is offer a ton of healthy food and if she gets hungry enough she’ll eat it.

  • kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com June 15, 2010, 1:00 am

    SUCH A GORGEOUS place and atmosphere! wow <3

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) June 15, 2010, 1:20 am

    That is so cute that the little boy eats mussels!!

    I don’t want a picky eater either … I think the trick is to expose them to the foods early on in life, and always serve a variety of flavours when they are children. Don’t make special “kid” food like chicken fingers, etc.. everyone just eats the same food.

    There is actually a book about this that I have been meaning to read … it is called “Hungry Monkey: A Food Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater.” It is by Matthew Amster-Burton.

  • GirlonRaw June 15, 2010, 2:04 am

    Wow a kid that eats and like mussels? That’s gotta be a first in my books!

    • Caitlin June 15, 2010, 9:59 am

      He also ate a mini octopus and let the tentacles dangle out of his mouth. LOL

  • Laura June 15, 2010, 2:05 am

    Your friend has killer shoes! 🙂 (And you look beautiful too, but you always do!)

    As far as raising a picky kid goes, I think in some ways it’s just going to be based on your child’s personality – but you also have to remember that most people, not just children, have distinct likes and dislikes, and most children go through at least a period of being picky. Also, as much as I’m obviously going to try to raise my children to be healthy eaters, there’s no way that I would deny them all sweets and junk food. I grew up with a mother who was a fantastic cook and baker, who designated certain nights of the week as being “ice cream while we watch our favourite TV show together night” and who was always willing to buy my brother and I a 50 cent lolly mixture at the store. We turned out fine, and I think a certain amount of sweets and treats is what childhood is all about! I have to admit I feel horribly sorry for all of the children of healthy living bloggers who aren’t even allowed a chocolate egg at Easter!

    • Caitlin June 15, 2010, 9:59 am

      thank you for the sweet compliment 🙂

  • jenny (green food diaries) June 15, 2010, 2:44 am

    mmm, gummy bears!!! i totally forgot about their existence. i like to make the child believe that the new food will give him/her superpowers, when i am babysitting one.

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 15, 2010, 3:05 am

    Haha, Konner sounds like a man with taste!
    I was a total fussy eater, I think my mum tried every trick in the book 🙁 sometimes I think you just have to let a kid be a fussy, and they’ll grow out of it. That’s what happene with me anyway :s

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing June 15, 2010, 3:20 am

    YUM!! what a delicious dinner!and I LOVE that he ate mussels!! I don’t think kids will be picky eaters if you raise them eating adventurous things.

  • claire June 15, 2010, 4:43 am

    Malbec is delicious…I had a great one at a place called Malbec in LA in January. You look wonderful too lady!

    I was a nanny for a while and got the kids eating my food cause they thought it looked good. Of course it took some time for them to really notice it or care to try but they eventually did. They were 3 and 5 and loved most fruit and veg.

  • peony June 15, 2010, 5:16 am

    I like to try cutting the veg e.c.t into fun shapes, or bento style!
    in the uk they have this sweet kiddie food making show, love the recipes on there though and make them 🙂

  • Brooke June 15, 2010, 5:32 am

    I don’t think you can force healthy food you just have to offer it all the time and not have unhealthy options. But I think the best advice is grow a garden and get kids in the kitchen early!!!!!!!! Mine were doing something with food at 1-2. I have an edible garden theme so all are garden borders are filled with fruits and veggies instead of shrubs. We have strawberries and blueberry plants lining the driveway. I have big planters filled with edible flowers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas and much more. Raspberries, grapes, and sunflowers line the front of the house. I also made a blackberry bramble that is taking off. Kids spend the summer picking and eating. They get to learn where there food comes from and also be a part of it. Sometimes I think of them as little bears building up for winter because they eat so much better during summer and it is so much easier since it is built into there natural tendency to play and be expermental.

    I think Momma Pea does a wonderful job because she only has healthy options and so if the kids are truly hungry they will eat and get used to the tastes they are presented with. She also bakes with them and slips in new flavors and healthy nutrients by giving them green smoothies in a non clear cup so they are not turned off by the color.

    Be creative and make it fun is most important.

  • Cassie @ Tasteful Tales June 15, 2010, 6:16 am

    Haha I love the comments that say “lie to them”… my mom lied to me my whole childhood telling me that calamari was small onion rings.. and well it worked! I ate calamari from the age of 3 to 14. At age 14 I figured out what it really was and stopped eating it… I haven’t ate calamari ever since! haha

    P.S. Caitlin that french bread brushetta looks great! I actually might try and recreate that at home.

  • Kelli June 15, 2010, 6:22 am

    I have a 5 year old and a 4 year old I just tell them they have to try it if they don’t like it I understand but my 5 year old daughter is a stinker she is on a limited diet only carbs!

  • Lauren June 15, 2010, 6:49 am

    Great night out and great question!!

    I think the key to getting your child to enjoy all kinds of food is to start early!!!! Don’t give them chips and french fries in their toddler years and expect them to only eat carrots and peas when they get older. It’s all about variety!! Make food appealing! Kids will be drawn to trying new things if it looks like it would be fun to eat. 🙂 Carrot fingers and ants on a log are genius ideas!

  • Alison June 15, 2010, 6:59 am

    Ugh, kids and eating. I think some kids are just made to be picky eaters, despite their parent’s fervent attempts to avoid it. The good news is that MOST picky eaters grow out of it. That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway. Before my daughter turned 2, she ate just about anything…then things all began to change. I consider her a *reverse* picky eater, so I’m not terribly bothered by it. She LOVES fruits and veggies and generally does not like typical “kid food” with the exception of a few things. She would happily live on broccoli, cheese and pasta. I have her try new things, encourage her to give them a chance and let her try them a few times. Sometimes she’ll end up liking them, sometimes she won’t. I never wanted to make food a big struggle, so I don’t make her eat things she truly doesn’t like. To me, there are other areas of her life (behavior wise) where I’d prefer she be more compliant at this time. We’ve taken a very slow approach and I remain hopeful that her tastes will change and her palate will mature as she gets older. My fingers are seriously crossed.

    • Emily June 15, 2010, 7:36 am

      I am hoping my 5 year old outgrows her pickiness as well! (Knock on wood!) My husband and I always swore we would never have a picky eater and that we would expose our kids to a wide variety of healthy foods, etc., etc. Yep, our 5 year old is a VERY picky eater. Luckily, she loves all kinds of fruits and veggies. But she doesn’t like bread, dairy, most meat….
      We have a 3 year old son, too. He was raised by the same parents, obviously, and yet he will eat pretty much anything. You just never know!

      • Caitlin June 15, 2010, 10:01 am

        I feel like I’m destined to have a kid that hates sports, hates vegetables, and likes drama class (my fantasy kid loves sports, loves vegetables, and likes physics). Don’t you always get the opposite of what you think you ‘want’? 🙂

  • Kelly June 15, 2010, 7:12 am

    I’m not a mom, but I am a teacher so I’ll do the best I can 🙂 I think some kids are just honestly picky eaters and there is truthfully nothing you can do about it. My sister was like this and my mom tried everything. But assuming that doesn’t happen to you, I think there are 2 major keys #1- modeling good healthy and diverse eating. I have a girl in my class who eats so much awesome stuff and her favorite restaurant is Japanese! Her mom says its because she’s an only child so they don’t make specific “kid friendly” food in the house, it’s just 1 dinner for everyone, same with nights out. Why serve your kid chicken fingers and fries when they will eat what you are having? Hmm actually that was #1 and 2, because 2 would be exposing your kid to a lot of foods and giving them opportunities to like them. Maybe even letting them help you could. I really don’t think this is going to be a problem for you guys haha

  • Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind June 15, 2010, 7:25 am

    Sorry you had a bad day. 🙁 Kudos for still blogging. Sometimes, I just can’t bring myself to blog after a doozy of a day.

    Hope today is better!

  • Courtney June 15, 2010, 7:45 am

    My kids eat everything – because it’s all they know. I’ve never made special “kid food”. They eat what we eat and they eat because they are hungry. If they don’t eat, I assume they aren’t hungry. I don’t make them anything special or offer them alternatives. I always think it’s funny that people are “impressed” with what my kids eat. I always respond with, “what else would they be eating?” 🙂

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman June 15, 2010, 7:48 am

    I really can’t believe your friend’s son ate mussels! That’s so adult of him. I was a major picky eater. (And I kinda still am.) I wish there was an easy way to make kids snap out of it.

  • Katherine June 15, 2010, 7:53 am

    All dressed up and somewhere to go! Looking great. Way to still smile even after a rough day

    I babysit all the time and there is SUCH a difference between kids whose parents make them eat healthy or try new things and kids whose parents please them and feed them processed food coloring dipped in oil. I think the biggest thing is to not make it seem odd or different, but to pass it off as a normal food so that the child accepts it too. (Reverse psychology of ‘this is much too good for you’ always works, too)

  • rachael June 15, 2010, 7:54 am

    My son goes back and forth with his pickiness. I have found the less I get worked up about his picky phases, the quicker he snaps out of them. My general approach has been to offer him new foods regularly and to offer things even if he hasn’t eaten them in the past (what he refuses one day he gobbles up the next at times). Now that he is older I involve him in the whole process, he helps in the garden, makes smoothies with me in the morning, and cooks dinner with me at night. Last night he was cooking with me and just starting eating a piece of raw daikon, which he probably would have thrown on the ground if I offered it to him in another context.

    Your husband looks like a natural holding Konner:)

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) June 15, 2010, 8:01 am

    Wow, I’m impressed that Konner ordered the mussels! I think his parents have a future foodie on their hands. 😉

  • Susan June 15, 2010, 8:02 am

    I wish I had a magic answer for getting kids to eat. When my son started solids I made all of his food (it’s really not very hard) and felt so good that he was getting “the good stuff.” As he got older (he’s now 2), he’s gotten more and more picky. We are now down to only a few foods that he will consistently eat. It is extremely frustrating…I’ve tried making so many things I think he will like and, more often than not, they are refused without even tasting. He doesn’t even eat the classic kid foods like mac and cheese. But, we just keep offering him a variety of things to try and every now and then he’ll surprise us. We try not to make a huge issue of mealtimes. Otherwise, it becomes a huge power struggle and nothing gets eaten. I was extremely picky as a child and gradually expanded my palate so I’m assuming he’ll follow in my footsteps!

    • Caitlin June 15, 2010, 10:02 am

      That is frustrating 🙁 I’m sorry! I do think everyone else had great advice though… I bet you can find a few new tricks to try!

  • Heather (heather's dish) June 15, 2010, 8:38 am

    i’d definitely say encouragement and making a big deal about how cool something is would probably be a good start, but that’s coming from a girl with furbabies, not human babies 🙂

    that toast with bruschetta?! omg…

  • Helen June 15, 2010, 8:41 am

    Wow he chose mussels…..a very adventurous eater. He is definitely not picky at all! I think the trick is to introduce fruit, veggies and anything else exotic at a very young age. If needs be hide them in foods in cunning ways like breaded and lightly fried. Also I think encouraging kids to cook food helps them to like it and not be so fussy.

  • Coco June 15, 2010, 8:51 am

    I am not a parent, but growing up, my parents always fed my brother and I the same thing they ate. I know some parents who will make “special” meals for their kids, like a box of mac&cheese while the rest of the family has salmon, and I don’t think that’s good. My mom would make us whatever she was having, and we both ended up loving a wide range of foods

  • Sarah June 15, 2010, 8:56 am

    Your husband seems so fatherly in all the pictures you’ve shared from your friends’ visit. Super cute! Maybe Konnor’s visit is convincing him of the merits of having a child asap?!!

    • Caitlin June 15, 2010, 10:02 am

      we are working on it 🙂 oh, the convincing, not the actual baby making.

  • Angie June 15, 2010, 9:08 am

    This is such a timely question for me. My 10-month old has just gotten used to the idea of table food (we have been offering it to her for 2 months). She is really surprising me with what she will eat. This weekend she loved a caprese salad my friend made and last night we went out for Chinese food and she chowed down on some steamed chicken pot stickers and rice. I think she is content to eat what we eat and I fully plan on continuing to offer her as much variety as possible.

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly June 15, 2010, 9:17 am

    I work with kids (6 years old and up) and I find that the ones that are most willing to try new things are the kids that A) feel like they can help make it with mommy and daddy and B) When mom and dad make a big fuss over how yummy something is.

  • Emily June 15, 2010, 9:28 am

    Not a mom, but I know from studying pediatric nutrition that it may take 10-15 times before a toddler will accept a food. It’s important to introduce foods multiple times to let your child gain exposure, even if it just means taking the food and touching it for the first time. Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, and this is normal. Providing plenty of healthy snacks within easy access and adequate fluids is important when they go through the picky eating phase. Another thing you can do is to have meals at regular times as a family at the table without tv, computers, and other distractions.

  • Robyn @ Frugal 'n' Fit! June 15, 2010, 9:30 am

    I’ve heard that a baby’s taste buds are affected even in the womb, and they can taste what you eat through the amniotic fluid, so it starts right away! I am 19 weeks pregnant and try to eat a wide variety of foods for this very reason. I will continue to do so when nursing because they can taste the flavors through the milk! I am really hoping for an adventurous eater.

  • Paula June 15, 2010, 9:43 am

    They key to not having a picky eater is to keep trying. It takes kids up to 10 times to develop a taste for something. My son is 3 and turned is nose up at basically all fruits and vegetables forever but he always had to have one taste. Now he happily eats anything we put in front of him and delcares it, “The best dinner ever Mommy!” It can be frustrating but the key is to not let them see that you are frustrated and just keep trying.

  • kwithme June 15, 2010, 9:45 am

    I have two children (5 and 8) who are adventurous eaters. I agree that it is somewhat personality based though. Neither of my children are very particular in any area.

    My 5 year old likes lettuce and artichoke hearts on her sandwiches. My oldest’s favorite meal is shrimp risotto. Both like shrimp and fish (baked, grilled, fried). They will eat most anything. We require one bite chewed and swallowed. We took them to a Korean restaurant and ordered a variety, and they loved most anything and have been requesting a return visit.

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers June 15, 2010, 9:47 am

    Malbec is my favorite 🙂 Torrontes is a really good white from Argentina too 😉 I’ve always heard you need to let a kid try a new food up to 12 times before they decide if they like it or not, so if they don’t like it the first time, don’t force it. I don’t want picky eaters either! And I really want to know how you make sure you end up with one that’s well-behaved 😉

  • Olivia @ Blissful Runner June 15, 2010, 10:02 am

    I used to work as a behavior modification thearapist with children diagnosed with autism. Sounds strange yes, but we really helped them get a grasp on necessary life skills, like tieing shoes, socalizing, and yes, eating! I had one kid who would only eat foods that were white!! I leanred the best trick in the book working there: rewarding positive behaviors. For example, if his favorite food was mashed potatoes we would give him heaping spoonfuls every time he took a bite of peas (ok, we usually started with one pea … maybe even a half a pea). Over time you begin to reduce the reward and increase the greens! It’s a slow process (and, granted, it works a lot faster on kids without learning disabilities), but it’s a method that can be used in almost any teaching enviornment and it works!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) June 15, 2010, 10:16 am

    The key is start from the beginning with no traditional foods. And also eat them yourself. I your kid sees you eat it they are more likely to want to try it. That is what we do when my cousins are visiting and they eat things like hummus and edamame and sushi.

  • Marissa June 15, 2010, 10:35 am

    You got lucky with that kid; I don’t know any that would actually sit there and be civil in a fancy restaurant!

  • jassy June 15, 2010, 11:04 am

    you’re planning to have a child? that’s great!

    i’m not yet a mom but i guess, they should start young for them to appreciate healthy foods:)

  • Kelly June 15, 2010, 11:32 am

    Malbec’s are by far my favorite, favorite type of red wine. It’s all I buy at the liquor store these days!

  • Kim June 15, 2010, 12:18 pm

    I had to jump in on your picky eater question. My sister and I were so, so picky as kids. It drove my mom nuts. She tried a variety of tactics, but I think the one that worked the best was pure deception. She used to sneak tofu into our mac and cheese (which was homemade… we didn’t know what the box stuff tasted like, and ignorance is bliss). I think some kids are just picky by nature. All you can do is expose them to things. If they turn their nose up at it, repeatedly, go for deception 😉

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter June 15, 2010, 12:31 pm

    That restaurant is sooo gorgeous! I love the idea of dining under twinkling lights and trees 🙂

  • Ellen June 15, 2010, 12:39 pm

    Ohh that IS a fancy dinner! Your dress is too cute, where’d you get it? That salad looks just as good as those gummy bears right now! 🙂


    • Caitlin June 15, 2010, 12:50 pm

      marshalls! best place ever.

  • Corinne (breathe and savor) June 15, 2010, 1:22 pm

    i am VERY impressed with little konner’s eating habits! mussels, what an adventurist! i JUST got my 27 yr old bf to try mussels for the first time. ha. what is katie’s trick for getting konner to eat all different kinds of foods??

    • Caitlin June 15, 2010, 1:23 pm

      i think her secret is just making him try it a few times. seems to work.

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing June 15, 2010, 1:52 pm

    I don’t have kids, but I think it’s important to feed children healthy food from the very beginning and make that what they are “used to.” My theory is the longer it is before they have “junk” they les likely they are to enjoy it.

  • Charise June 15, 2010, 2:18 pm

    No kids here, either, but I think there is a distinction to be made between “picky” and “will only eat crap food”. If your children are only exposed to a wide variety of delicious healthy foods instead of packaged/processed stuff, even the few things picky eaters like will be healthy, no?

    I love all the advice to require small tastes, not making a big deal if they don’t like it, then offering it many more times. Something to keep in mind for a few years from now!

    I am also of the mindset that involving the kids in the process is helpful. I see my little cousins helping pick out food at the store/farm market, cooking, and all eating together as a family, and it seems to make a difference in how they approach food.

  • Meredith @ An Epic Change June 15, 2010, 5:01 pm

    having lived in argentina for a summer (winter there) I completely and wholeheartedly agree with your wine choice!! but if you want a really good malbec, try to find one that isn’t from mendoza in argentina. in my opinion the ones from la rioja and salta are SO much better but hard to find outside a wine store.

    and if you want a truly argentine (white) wine, try a torrontes. the grape only grows in argentina, it has never been successful anywhere else. it is very fruity and good on a hot summer day!

  • Ruth June 15, 2010, 6:30 pm

    We set an example for our kids. Even if I don’t like something, I will try it again and again to show them to always keep an open mind and try new things! Also, introduce a food more than once, and make it fun! We have “muscle competitions” after we all eat our salads to see whose muscles grew the most! Treats are also very important, of course! 🙂

  • Kelly (the Running Phoodie) June 15, 2010, 10:41 pm

    I have a question about your gummy bears- do you consider them part of a vegetarian diet? I don’t mean for this to sound critical at all. I just got from a trip to Germany which is land of the gummies. I ate a lot of them while over there but it bothers me that they contain gelatin. I have a hard time reconciling the fact that I’ll eat them but yet won’t eat beef, etc. I am slowly trying to transition to a vegan lifestyle and hope to only eat gelatin-free products in the future. Just wondering what your thoughts on this are.

    • Caitlin June 15, 2010, 11:00 pm

      see question 30 🙂 i hope that explains it!

  • Erin June 16, 2010, 10:47 am

    When it comes to kids, they really do learn most by example. I do not prepare separate meals for my 17 month old daughter. She eats what we eat most days. This has meant that my husband and I have had to eliminate a few things from our diet temporarily because she either can’t have them, is incapable of eating them, or it’s an allergen that shouldn’t be introduced yet. By the time kids are 3, they are allowed to eat all foods (as a general statement, and only if they haven’t shown signs of an allergy). Keep offering new foods, it can take dozens of times of offering before they accept it as edible.

    About the physics part… If you talk physics and its coolness to the kid, they will like physics, even if it doesn’t become their true love.

    So… does all this conversation about babies mean there might be a baby in your future??? 😉

    • Caitlin June 16, 2010, 3:10 pm

      hehe no babies anytime soon!

  • Bobbie (mymamaruns) June 16, 2010, 2:08 pm

    From the time my 3 girls could eat table food I have always loaded them up with fruits and veggies of all types. Of course they would favor some things over others but they never scoffed at anything. Now the older two, as they get older, have become a little more picky but are still usually willing to try things. They have never had soda, or eaten white bread and they don’t know the difference at this point. I think the key is to just not give them the things that you don’t really want them to have. Once they’ve had the junk they are always going to ask for it and it’s hard to go back. What is hard is when they start getting invited for play dates and then they are exposed to what other kids are eating. That’s when they first realize that the “junk” is out there.

  • Kelly June 17, 2010, 4:19 pm

    I’m not a mommy but I’ve noticed something about children that I’ve been thinking about because I have the same concerns. Babies eat plenty of fruits and vegetables usually, if they are eating baby food. Then somewhere along the way they stop and when you reintroduce the veggies and fruit in whole form they don’t like it. I wonder if it’s because a lot of parents don’t help them during that transitional stage by mashing up part of the veggies so it’s still somewhat familiar to them, but helping them to chew whole pieces as well. Just an observation and a hypothesis.

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