Tag Archives: Family Food Plan

30 Day Eating Challange

We are on day EIGHT of a 30-day eating challenge.

A week ago I made a deal with Big Brother.  If he would try a new food each day, for 30 days in a row, I would get him a reward.  I told him he could earn a 20 dollar reward, and Daddy upped it to $29.  It has to be 30 days in a row of trying a new food, the agreement (not sure he will want to hold to it, now that we are in it) is that if he misses a day, or refuses a day, he has to start over at Day One.

I have waited to blog about it, or really to talk about it, because I wasn’t sure how it was going to go.  But we have seven days under our belt and are on day eight!

I am so excited that Big Brother is finally getting to a place / stage / age where earning a reward works; for the longest time star charts (tracking behavior) and working towards a  reward just didn’t click with him, or at least not ‘long term’ enough for it to help us accomplish anything.  Now, however, he is starting to engage in ‘earning’ rewards be it money or legos or a new book (once, a mom can hope though, right).

With the prompt of earning a sticker, and working towards his reward Big Brother has tried BRISKET and STEAK (both of which he has discovered he loves) as well as Mac and Cheese (which he really did not like).  It comes as no surprise to me the boy that loves crab meant would love steak.

There have been a couple of nights when it was really a challenge for him and he got rather stressed about it; but for the most part he has been willing and cheerful about trying his new food.  Even asking me “Have I tried my food yet today”.  The foods he discovered he liked (not pizza) he has willingly eaten more of; eating an adult sized serving of steak to my surprise and joy.

I am hopeful we can make it though all 30 Days.  I don’t have grand expectations; and I am trying my best to help him.  Last night he did not want to try rice and chicken, so I let him try a fresh peach.  It WAS a new food, he has never (since being a baby eaten peaches but, as Daddy pointed out, it is not like the other foods he has tried.  Nevertheless we are trying to create success not failure so I am willing to be agreeable.  I really want us to make it all 30 Days so Big can earn his reward; I feel that will set the stage for future success, and I feel that is as important, or maybe even more important, than getting 30 new foods into him in 30 days.

If we make it though the 30 days; my next challenge to him is going to be 3 to 5 bites of a “not his standard” (non-preferred) food (something from the general family dinner).  It won’t have to be a totally new food (like this 30 Days) but it will have to be something he generally doesn’t eat.  But, I get ahead of myself; right now I am hoping to get though 30 days.


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revisiting chocolate syrup

In April 2010 I first posted about making, from scratch, chocolate syrup.  Wow 2010, it is not 2013 and I have been making chocolate syrup about weekly, or more often, ever since.  It is the only chocolate syrup my boys will accept now.

I have tried several varieties (like https://scribinglife.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/a-different-approach-to-chocolate-syrup/) .  I need to try more; I’d to prefect the addition of protein power to the mix.

Today I wanted to post just things I have learned.

The basic recipe:

  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

I generally make a double batch each time I make it.

Mix the cocoa powder and the water in a saucepan.  The cocoa power will not dissolve until the water warms up.   Next add the sugar, and stir to dissolve.

Boil for 3 minutes over medium heat. Be very careful.  After you remove from the heat, add vanilla.

The original recipe I used noted that in the refridator the syrup will last for a couple of months; but I sure would not know, as I said I make a batch at least once a week or more.

Things I Have Learned:

  • Use a much bigger pot than you think; this stuff boils up a lot
  • Do not let it boil over; if the syrup boils over on the stove while you are cooking it, you have a monumental mess, trust me
  • Be careful, the “popping” bubble will burn you (trust me)


  • You have to adjust boiling time based on weather and your location.  

The first batch I made here on the east coast; I boiled it 3 minutes like normal, poured it in our dispenser bottle, and it promptly turned to fudge.  So I learned that, while we are here on the cost, as opposed to living in Middle America, I need to boil the mix less.



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sneaky mom

I freely admit I am envious of all the mothers out who worry about getting a few more veggies in their kids, while I struggle with getting food in mine.  I have always been jealous of the “I add cauliflower to mashed potatoes to get more veggies in my kids”.  Frankly, I’d be happy to get a full serving of mashed potatoes in mine.  So I have not really ever had success with the whole “sneaky chef” style of cooking to expand my son’s diet.  He generally refuses muffins, doesn’t dip food in anything, and won’t eat sauces and so on.

Now, however I have my “sneaky chef” moment to report and I am kind of excited about it.

I make the chocolate syrup that we use for the boys hot cocoa (and I am happy to report that Almond milk, with chocolate syrup is just as good).  I have been doing this since 2010.  Once before I tried to alter it to provide a few nutrients in addition to simply pleasure.   That attempted didn’t really work out.

Now, however, I have finally – though trial and error – gotten a recipe worked out that allows for me to ‘hide’ protein in their chocolate syrup. I have been using Peaceful Planet Inca Meal;  it is rice protein.  The reason I chose it?  I had it in the cabinet.   I am not sure it is the best, non-daily, non-soy protein powder out there; I need to do some more research.   I had, before this, a pea and bean power; I may look for that again.  The point is to provide, mainly Big Brother, no matter how small the amount, additional protein and also a different protein than he is getting otherwise.

Originally I started with this recipe.  I have grown from there.

The current recipe:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1.25 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup protein power
  • 5 cups of sugar (hey I did not claim this was exactly healthy I said I am working with what I have)

Dissolve the cocoa first then the protein power; add sugar and bring to a boil.  STIR CONSTANTLY.  For some reason, adding the portioned power makes it much more likely to burn to the bottom and that is a mess like you have never seen before.  The additional sugar is necessary, in my opinion, to cover an after taste; I did the first (smaller) batch with out increasing the sugar – just adding the protein power to the regular proportioned recipe and the boys said it tasted funny, I agreed it was a bit tart.  Other’s might now feel that way and could cut the sugar back to 4 cups.

My boys have accepted it without noting any difference.  We are ½ though our 2nd batch and I have not had them say a thing about it being different.




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Supplements for ADD and depression (and normal brain support too)

Big Brother’s supplement list is growing as we expand to try to address reduced appetite, ADD / agitation, mood support, as well as support health child and brain growth.  This will have to be redone in a fw weeks as i talk to a few more professionals and do some more research; nevertheless here is what i have for now:

As of 8.22.12

  • Zinc (3 tabs) = 24 mg = insomnia / agitation and appetite
  • “Green foods” (2 tabs) (veggie complex)
  • Immune C (L’il Critters)  (2 chewies) = 126 mg Vit C, 3 mg Zinc = immune support
  • Fruit and Veggies (L’it Critters) (2 chewies)
  • Calcium / Vit (3 chewies) = 600 mg Calcium, 600 IU Vit D
  • Children’s Multi-vitamin (3 chewies)
  • Omega 3 Chewies (3 chewis) = apx 420 mg = for brain and mood
  • Magnesium (3 pills) = 750 mg = for mood, agitation and sleep
  • L-theanies (4 chews) = 400 mg = mood, agitation and sleep

On order

  • Vitamin B-6, B-12 & Folic Acid -Chewable

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Step one: food pantries

Ok so I have plowed though the food pantries; not as hard as i expected.  i did it while the kids werew outside and ended up with 4.5 boxes of food to share with another family.  Less “from the box” food for us.  (see here, if you wonder what is going on).  here are a few photos of my “finished work”.  Now the challenge to keep them neat and clean and junk free.

First a  glimpse of what all the pantries looks like before i got started this morning.

and…what they look like now..

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Gutting the Kitchen

This week I will be gutting the kitchen.  Two fold process.  First of all to get the “stuff” dealt with: at least 1/3 to give away, at least 1/3 to store and less than 1/3 back into freshly washed cabinets.  Neat and cleanly and orderly.  Secondly to go through all the food and cull out a lot of it.

The first task is simply enough and obvious; we are moving before the end of 2012 and stuff simply needs to get gotten rid of, or packed up.  We need the house less cluttered and face it, it is all gonna have to be packed at some point, why not now rather than more work later?  We are also starting the process of getting rid of all plastic for food and drink (I will, for now, be keeping it for in fridge storage, but not for heating food or eating food out of).  So there are some things that I will simply be getting rid of.  Things not gotten rid of need to be organized and packed.

With regard to the food.  We are knuckling down and getting rid of all the “cheats” that have wormed their way back in to acceptable food.  Momma has gotten tired of the fights, she has been choosing to fight other battles and we have not been as dedicated to our family eating plan as we need to be.  Food, and keeping to the diet Daddy and I want the family on, means a lot of constant battles.  It is time to get back to fighting them.  It is my fault and I know it, but we have got to boost ourselves (and drag the boys screaming along) on to the wagon.   The big three (artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives) and being re-brandish; and with much gusto this time.  I am determined to make this STICK, somehow, not sure how, but I am going to have to find a way.  I know it all hinges on me not allowing us to cheat, and me not being lazy.   Now we are also going a further step to seriously cut back our processed / boxed / ready made foods.  This time HFCS is getting the ax.   This is going to be hard.  Even after all this time the boys have no learned to “choose for themselves” not to have the artificial stuff.  They hear it over and over (and over and over) again “that has artificial colors, no” but they never stop asking.  This cracks down, and removal of more ‘easy to eat’ / ‘fun’ food is going to be a trial.  For a while I am going to have to accept food as one of the battles I choose to fight constantly with the boys; this needs to be done.

Stay tuned as the kitchen gets cleaned out…

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The one going Evolution of a family’s eating

It started in April of 2010 when Daddy and I decided to try the Feingold diet  with the boys (see blog post here).  Big Brother was the main motivator, but the Big Three aren’t good for either boy (Artificial Colors, Artificial Sweeteners and Preservatives.).  We have been more so less strict about this; adding items and removing other items that we see a reaction (behavior) from.  As it stands now we avoid The Big Three; but we have added some “not allowed foods” back into his diet.  Almonds and oranges are two of the big ones we have allowed back in; he loves them both and I do not see any behavior reaction from them.  With the new limits we are planning and starting to “impose” having been able to add back in to his diet some real foods that we avoided at first is a real help – gives us more real food options.  However, there are still some 100% real foods that we avoid, apples being the biggest (and you’d be surprised how many things have APPLE JUICE in them).  Here is a full list of other posts about eating and our family.

A few months ago we removed all dairy from Big Brother’s diet.  This is a work in progress as I suspect he is still getting some hidden Dairy but Momma is learning.  We did this after medical tests revealed he has a milk allergy.  We are luck we have been able to add almonds back to his diet (over a year ago) with no reaction; because I am able to use almond milk for his bedtime hot cocoa.  That has made the transition easier.  There has been no behavior change, sadly momma was hoping for a little calming, but we know he has an allergy so the removal was necessary, even without any perceivable change in him.  He never ate cheese; but he is still missing yogurt.  In fact, we have not explicitly told him he can’t have dairy – you tell him that and all you are going to have are fights; he is just now getting good at accepting NO to the Big Three and still complains about THAT.  We have simply removed it without discussing it.

Now in 2012 Daddy and I have again had a meeting of the minds and decided we want to evolve our food choices even further for the family.  This is currently “in process”.  We plan to remove all HFCS from our diet (yes should done it long ago); eat only whole grain (Momma is now GF); and try to eat as whole food as possible.  Real food, whole foods.  We are doing this by attrition; as the more processed foods (crackers for example) are eaten up they are not being replaces.  We have decided we simply should not be eating things made of chemicals.  Pretty simple.  We want the boys to grow up with good eating habits.  It is hard; a lot of the junk (like pop tarts, which Big hasn’t had in years) is really yummy.   Momma struggles with this too – no more Mac and Cheese??  We are going to push veggies and fruit as snacks and simply stop buying things if we can’t read the ingredients out loud.  I know I am behind some of my friends in this, but I have resisted allowing diet and food to take up THAT much of my active thought (not like I don’t have anything else to occupy my mind); but it is time to bite the bullet; clean up their diet (our diets) and get them on a path to good eating as adults.  This time I do not have any hope of behavior changes or improvements this time, but it just needs to be done.  (I do admit, as I change our diet again and again, I’d love to see a ‘miracle’ change in the over-the-top energy and silliness levels around here – it happens for others, so why not us?).

I have found a source for safe candy that the boys like.  I will be more diligent about carrying safe candy and gummies  so that the boys are less tempted by vending machines and “treats” on long days of travel or errands.  We now have a Trader Joe’s; so that helps a little one the few special items we’ll need to buy (got safe jelly beans there last year).  In reality the biggest “need” is for momma to stop being lazy and to actually cook and tow a hard line about what she will and won’t allow.  I have always has a hard time with this due to Big Brother self limiting regarding food – both in items eaten and amount.  Nevertheless this needs to be done.  There is a chance, if his eating does not improve, I might go back to our Pediatrician once our diet adjustment is done.  Also when we move this summer any food not fitting the bill will be trashed.  The biggest thing is momma has to tow a harder line about treats and buying food when we are out.


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The boys supplements list

ok I have had a couple of requests for this – a list of the supplements the boys are on (especially Big given his self limited diet and intake).

I Have to say, I am hardly a good person to be discussing this – this is a list of the supplements I have the boys on (and why) but I know I should have them on more, again especially Big Brother.  Nutrition is not my strong point, not by a long shot.

Melatonin – this alone is a life saver for us.  Started it on advice of a Dev ped that saw him at 2.  Bedtime used to be hours of struggle – he’d be so tired, and cry and hold me, we’d rock, he’d lay and stare – he was not (generally LOL) fighting having to go to bed, he just could not go to sleep.  I felt so bad for him (and me).  Two things really helped a much earlier bedtime so he is not over tired and Melatonin.  He simply needs it to sleep.  I dislove his in his night time milk, but L:ittl Brother is ok with chewing one. 

L’il Critters Fruit & Veggie Gummy Bears, Sour.  Two have as much antioxidant power as one full serving of fruits and vegetables.  My boys get 2 doses a day. 

Note:  I use a lot of L’il Critters.   I do this for a good reason.  They are allergen free (no soy, no egg, no …) and they contain no artificial colors and stuff.  They DO have berry extract so they are not, technically, Feingold safe but since I have never seen a reaction to them, and since they are not artificial, I choose to use them anyway.

L’il Critters Gummy Vites Multi-Vitamin

L’il Critters Immune C Plus Zinc and Echinacea, Gummy Bears

L’il Critters Omega-3 Gummy Fish.  Contains 32 mg of DHA per serving (which is 20% of the 160 mg suggested daily intake).  My boys take 2 ‘doses’ a day.  They need a better Omega -3 / DHA supplement but as I said this is such a challenging subject for me.  They also likely should be taking more than they are also. 

L’il Critters Vitamin D Gummy Bears.  In the dead of winter when I can’t take them out, Little gets 2 doses a day as he drinks very little vit D milk; brother gets one.  Summer time Little gets only one and Big none.   TheAmericanAcademy of Pediatrics now recommends kids receive 400 IU of vitamin D a day.  These have 800 IUD as Cholecalciferol. 

Yummi Bears Fiber.  when these are gone I am not going to buy any more.  The GI specialist suggested them for Little Brother (so he has been taking a full does and Big a ½ if he notices Little getting his).  Really, though, I have not seen a reason for it, so I plan to stop after this bottle is gone. 

I have but they do not take:

L’il Critters Probiotic Acidophilus  More Live Active Cultures Than 10 Servings of Yogurt 2300 mg blend.  I DESIRE them to take Probiotics – but they both flat out refuse these.  Odd I think they taste like strawberry wafer candy.  Better than a lot of the medications that Little eats up with glee.  No clue.  I need to find a different Probiotic I can get in them.

I am considering:

ADDING:  L-Theanine in some form.  L-Theanine, a unique amino acid found in green tea that is emerging as the premier natural product to support mental calmness and relaxation.  I really want to try Big Brother on this.  I am looking at this one Natural Factors Suntheanine L-Theanine, Chewable Tablets but I am concerned about Big actually being willing to chew the tablets.  As of yet, he has never chewed anything but a gummy medication.

EXCHANGEING the L’il Critter Fruit and Veggie bears for Yummi Bears Wholefood Fruits & Vegetables.  Not, sure it is so challenging to make the best choices for them.

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 Photo by Little Brother

In Math today we finished the 10th lesson in the Receptive year of MEP.  None of these lessons have been a challenge for him (today for example one part of the lesson he drew a picture of his family, counted the members, divided adults from children and considered the age difference in the kids) but I am looking at it more as ‘following directions’ practice (another part of today’s lesson had 5 lines and he was asked to draw different things on different lines). Also practice ‘doing and accomplishing’ and staying at a task till a realistic stopping point (as opposed to just walking off and being done). I am hopeing / planning to have all the Receptive year done by fall (since there really is nothing new to him in it as far as I can see looking even at the end of the year).

I am all excited. We ventured into Trader Joes for the first time this week. I found affordable candy the boys can have on their diet. Gummie bears with no artificial colors or ingredients; also gummie penguins (and since Little is all about penguins, this was a big hit)!! We found safe gum drops!! I also was able to get safe jelly beans for them for the Easter Bunny to hide (in addition to the toys). Momma was as excited as the boys.

Worms worms worms!! Today the boys each got their own worm (and Momma is calling it Science). We took jars, momma put holes in the lids then the boys got to put in the dirt. Molly got to hang out in her play-pen the back of the truck, because she will not allow anyone to sit on the ground without jumping on top of them. It was impossible to sit and dig, and talk with her help. After the dirt, each boy got to pick a worm from the night crawlers I bought. Big was willing to touch them and actually grabbed his own; Little pointed, and seemed very excited, but let momma actually pick his up for him. Both worms toured on the big wheel and then got to watch GhostBusters with the boys.


then at the end of the day — Little Brother helped make snack….


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PROUD MOMMA MOMENT:  Big just wrote a note “OIE EOU” if you sound it out is is I LOVE YOU. “I of oo” more correctly — i am soooooooooooooo proud of him — he sounded it out and wrote it 100% alone!!!!!

Momma has some good ideas, if I say so myself.  I have been getting a ton of push back from the boys on the “food plan”.  It is a constant battle, artificial colors and flavors are in everything.  I searched “natural and organic” candy on amazon.com and got many hits for candy by Harib.  Uhhhh let’s READ

Sugar, Corn Syrup, Gelatin, Citric Acid, Fumaric Acid, Starch, Artificial and Natural Flavors, Artificial Colors: FD&C Yellow No. 5, Red No. 40, Blue No. 1.

 in what figging reality is Red No 40 “natural” ?????????

So I am going to look at some truly natural, free of artificial colors and junk, gummies at Trader Joe’s I also, finally, found some on amazon.com that I can order if they are not at the local store (yummy earth brand).  I have to find/ get something; I am allowing the boys too cheat way too much, because it is just a constant battle.  It wears on me and affects the joy of our time together; I am on guard constantly and feel like we bounce from one food fight to another food fight.  At therapy they have a vending machine, the boys LUST after the fruit chewies.  At therapy there is a bowl of DUM-DUMs that leaving kids can have one from (really really annoyed by that one, let me tell you, and plan to address it).  It is a CONSTANT battle.  So I am going to get some ‘fruit chewies’ / gummies they can have.  Nevertheless for EASTER I have a great (or I think) idea.  Each year they each get a book, a toy and then they get to find eggs.  Instead of filling the eggs with candy, I am going to capitalize on the SUPERHERO obsession in this house.  I found 2 items, party favors actually, that I am getting to fill most eggs with; ‘power rings’  (and these too) and figures  .  I let them have chocolate so I’ll put some kisses in a couple eggs, and maybe some other small candy in one or two; but the majority of the eggs are going to be fun little treasures not candy!!

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