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2 Ingredient Fruit Dip

Our family LOVES fruit! We eat between 15-20 pounds of apples each week, if that tells you anything. We don’t just eat apples, we eat bananas, blueberries, strawberries — basically whatever is in season.

I have readers tell me their kids won’t eat fruit. Although that isn’t something I deal with I have an easy solution, ready for this. Add a dip.

Kids will eat almost anything with a dip.

You may be thinking, I want my kids to be healthy, how is adding a fruit dip going to help? You can use a healthy dip and I’ve got a super easy dip recipe for you. It’s only 2 ingredients so even your kids can “help” you make it.

Chocolate Fruit Dip

Chocolate Fruit Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 6 oz Vanilla So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk  (non-dairy yogurt)

Do

No steps required, just stir the cocoa powder into the non-dairy yogurt. DONE.

This makes an incredible fruit dip to dip for cookies or graham crackers. I haven’t tried it yet on a fruit pizza but I really want to. One day I’ll try it as a frosting or filling for cupcakes but I don’t know how well it will work. It makes a pretty fabulous parfait as well.

Chocolate  Fruit Dip

I chose this type of yogurt because it’s made from coconut milk and safe for people with dairy, soy and tree nut allergies.

My boys loved it and they are picky about their yogurt.

On a side note, So Delicious just calls this cultured coconut milk, they don’t use the word yogurt because technically it isn’t. I use it because we always buy non-dairy versions of yogurt and it is just the word we are used to using.

You can make this with other flavors. Our store only carries plain, vanilla and blueberry but raspberry would be delightful.

If your kids get used to eating fruit with dip they will be more likely to eat it without dip too.

For us, this dip is like a special dessert treat. I don’t make it all the time but they love it. It also works great in a lunch box.

Snackable-Recipe-Contest-BadgeThis recipe is an entry in the So Delicious and Go Dairy Free Snackable Recipe Contest.

You can connect with So Delicious on their Facebook page.

Teaching Kids to Eat Safe Foods

Today we continue out series, Teaching Kids to be Food Allergy Advocates. Last week we heard from Kathy at Food Allergy Jams. She told us about a Preschool Food Allergy Game.

This week, I’m excited to have Cindy Gordon from Vegetarian Mamma join us today. She is discussing different methods to teach kids to eat safe foods. When I first discovered Cindy’s site I was thrilled because her focus is on meat-free, gluten-free and nut-free recipes. It’s easy to find recipes that work for our family. She also has a weekly link up called Gluten-Free Friday’s.

Another reason I’m excited to have Cindy here is that I met her at the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference last year! Ever since we met I regularly send her random questions and she is always so gracious to answer them. Without further ado, here’s Cindy.

Teaching Kids About Their Food Allergies

Living with food allergies can be overwhelming for anybody, let alone our little ones. As we head back to school, whether it be preschool, elementary and beyond, we need to teach our children about their food allergies. Learning about their food allergies, includes learning what is safe to eat.

Green Means GO

When my youngest was finally diagnosed at 18 months old, we began teaching him about safe foods. Being so young, he was not able to fully communicate in sentences and read labels. He was however very fluent with his colors. We were able to teach our children, green means GO and red means STOP! We headed to the dollar store and bought all kinds of green and red bins. Within all the green bins, we placed food items that my youngest could eat. He was able to immediately identify with the color of the bin that the food inside was safe. In the red bins, we had foods that were not safe for him. Since he was a toddler those red bins were on very high shelves.

This color coding system worked well for any visiting family members that came to our house. Grandma and Grandpa didn’t have to question an item when it was on the green bin.

As the kids have grown older and are beginning to read, we still have our color coding system in place, but in a different way. We have two sets of utensils, toasters, etc. The allergy friendly utensils and toaster are green. This is a clear reminder for the children so they do not cross contaminate their foods with unsafe foods.

Focus On What You Can Eat

From the initial allergy diagnosis, our children wore Allerbling medical bracelets. On the bracelets, it indicated with words and pictures what their allergies were. People would often ask about their bracelets. This was the perfect learning opportunity for my children. We would point to each picture and say what the allergen is and explain that it is not safe to eat. We would always end on a positive note and say a few food items that were safe to eat. We always tried to focus on what we could eat, not what we can’t eat.

Look for Teachable Moments

As additional reinforcement, often times when we would see an allergen in our environment (grocery store, etc) we would point it out and discuss the allergen. We would discuss that it is not safe to eat.

As the boys started to get older, we would point out the allergens words, such as: peanut, gluten, dairy on ingredient labels. These words were some of the first ‘sight words’ that my children could read. That is a life saving skill!

Over the course of several years, we have worked to adapt our food allergy learning to the ages of the boys. When they were little we were visual and concrete with colors, as they grew older we used pictures and as they matured we began reading labels.  No matter what age or stage your child is in, it is important for you to teach them about their allergies and to know what is safe to eat. In our food allergy world, just one little bit could change everything.

Bio:
Cindy HeadshotCindy Gordon is the owner and author of Vegetarian Mamma and is a foodie who loves to blog about gluten free vegetarian/vegan recipes. Her family also focuses on foods that are peanut, tree nut, dairy and gluten free. Cindy’s family is dedicated to finding/creating recipes and products that fit their families allergy needs. Cindy resides in Ohio with her husband and two boys (born ’07 & ’10). She enjoys spending time with her family, the outdoors, gardening, wine and cooking! Connect with Cindy on VegetarianMamma.com, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Check out her latest books: Gluten Free Fork and The Dessert Fork. Both books are completely gluten and nut-free.

Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway

I haven’t talked much about Plant-Based breakfasts ideas since I started all of this Back to School excitement. Today I’m excited to share the latest giveaway! It’s perfect for all of you in a breakfast rut, but we will get to that in a minute!

On Monday’s Meal Plan I admitted that I have a bad habit of skipping breakfast. I know I need to eat but I get busy and half way through my morning I start feeling it. You know the feeling, the “I’m completely depleted and I can’t go on” feeling. Please tell me I’m not the only one!

I’ve found an easy solution. On the weekend I’ll cook a large pot of oatmeal, usually in the Instant Pot and we will eat it for several days. I cook it up plain, without any seasonings then each morning everyone can choose their own toppings to mix in.

Take a look at a few of our favorites.

Oatmeal Giveaway

All three of these are made with steel-cut oats. The first is apple and raisin oatmeal with cinnamon and hemp seeds. The second has blueberries and raw pepitas. The third is simply banana slices and chia seeds.

You know I’m partial to Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats. We use them every week. I cook steel-cut oats in my Instant Pot or if I’m in a bigger hurry I’ll use Quick Cooking Oats and cook them in the microwave.

Of course you don’t have to stick to breakfasts, oats are great in desserts too. I’ll let you in  on a little secret, we eat oatmeal for dinner too! It’s so easy and my family loves it.

Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway

Today you get a chance to try some of my favorite oats for FREE! One lucky winner will win this prize pack from Bob’s Red Mill plus a $25 gift card to be used on the Bob’s Red Mill website!

Bobs Red Mill giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hurry and enter this giveaway won’t last long!

This post contains affiliate links.

August 24, 2015 Meal Plan (that brings back the comfort foods)

It’s not quite fall weather but with school and football starting I’m getting in a comfort food frame of mind. I still enjoy the fresh melon and pineapples that are typical summer staples for us but soups and casseroles are calling me.

My friends in Michigan are having a chilly, rainy day so I think they will appreciate some of the meals on this weeks meal plan.

Before we jump into meal planning take a moment to enter my giveaway for Enjoy Life Foods Soft Baked Cookies (ends Tuesday).

Weekly Meal Plan

Meal Plan

Breakfast

We found gluten-free Cheerios last week and my kids love them. I think it is mostly because we haven’t had that type of cereal in the house for the last few years because of food allergies. We will also have:

I’ve also been trying my hand at Smoothies again. It takes me forever to drink them but it works perfectly when I have to drive to the office. Of course, having my Blendtec makes a huge difference.

Lunch

I admit that I have a bad habit of skipping lunch. I’m trying to get better. Having food ready to grab, heat if necessary then eat makes it easier.

My first grader will have a packed lunch everyday. It will be composed of SoyNut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, apple slices, carrot sticks, hummus, rice cakes, raisins, Plentils, pretzel sticks and Chocolate SoyNut Butter and more. I usually only put 3 things in his lunch, 1 main dish, 1 fruit or veggie and one snack/filler/dessert type item.

Dinner

This is where I’m incorporating my comfort foods.

If the weather is too warm for you to be considering comfort foods I’ve got a few ideas. Grilled Veggies with Pasta Salad or Potato Salad make a great meal, or go with something like this Quinoa-Lentil Salad or this Lemony Quinoa Salad/Wrap.

This page contains affiliate links.

Food Allergy Game for Preschoolers

kathy and son 1

Join me in welcoming Kathy Thornburg from Food Allergy Jams. Kathy has one of my favorite Instagram accounts and also did the design work on my logo! Today she is presenting a Food Allergy Game for Preschoolers in our Teaching Kids to Be a Food Allergy Advocates Series. Check out her Food Allergy Printable Pack too!

My son was 15 months old when he had his first bite of peanut butter and his first allergic reaction. At such a young age and still staying at home with me, I felt like we had plenty of time to learn about food allergies and teach him everything he would need to know before he was old enough for school.

The years have flown by and now we are faced with the reality that preschool is less than a month away. I feel confident that in our years living with food allergies, our family is very knowledgeable about our son’s allergies, how to keep him safe, and what to do if a reaction happens. Still the thought of dropping him off at preschool and leaving him there for a few hours makes me nervous. Have we taught our son well? Does he understand why he needs to say no to foods that might not be safe? Will I get the dreaded call sometime this year that something went wrong and he is headed to the hospital?

Now is the time to quiz my little one and see how we’ve done. I need to take this time before school starts to refresh him on all he needs to know, and I need to find a way to make learning fun.

Food Allergies and Preschoolers

10 things I want him to know…

I am allergic to peanuts, walnuts, and dogs.

I should not eat foods containing my allergens (or pet furry animals).

If I accidentally eat my allergens, I will get sick (if I pet animals with fur, my eyes will get itchy, water, and start to swell).

If I feel sick, I need to tell an adult right away.

I need to always have my injector near.

If my mom or dad haven’t approved a snack, I need to say, “No thank you”.

I wear my allergy bracelet to help others remember my needs.

I should wash my hands with soap and water before eating.

I should not eat food from anyone else’s plate, even if they offer it to me.

Mom will always pack me a safe snack in case I need it.

Food Allergy Game

After thinking through what I wanted him to know about his allergies, I needed to find a way to make teaching him fun. Here’s how I tackled preschool prep.

Food Allergy Game for Preschoolers

When I told my little guy we were going to play a game to get him ready for preschool, he was very excited to get started. I told him he could invite one of his stuffed animals to join us, and he quickly ran to find Curious George. I already had my questions typed, printed, cut apart, and waiting in a little treasure box (you can “laminate” with packing tape and use dry erase markers to make your cards last longer). I also had his allergy bracelet and his AuviQ training injector nearby to help during times of discussion. Half of the questions in the treasure box where about food allergies and covered each of the areas listed above and the other half were just silly, light questions.

Food Allergy GameMy son and his stuffed animal took turns picking questions out of the box and answering them. After each question, I wrote a little note of his answer on the question card so I could look through his responses again later when I had time to myself to process the game and compare his answers to his previous answers. Over time, this helps you see how your child has grown in their understanding of food allergies.

It’s best if your child doesn’t sense they are being tested, but that you truly are playing a game and enjoying time together. You might find that only tackling half of your questions in one sitting works best so you don’t feel rushed and stressed to get through them all quickly. If at any point, your child gets frustrated or upset, end the game and tell them how proud you are of all they have learned. You can pick it up again later when the mood is better.

Sometimes, a child may not feel comfortable giving an answer, and you may need to step in and say that you want to help the stuffed animal answer the question. Then, they have the opportunity to hear your great answer and the next time you play, they may feel like they are ready to give an answer on their own. I’ve learned from experience that games like this are best done when you can be one on one. Having a lot of commotion going on in the background or a little sibling trying to swipe the game cards, can make the game more difficult.

If it starts to feel a little stale after a while, but you still don’t think your child is ready, take a different approach and consider acting out scenarios together. Have them practice packing a bag for school, sitting down for snack time, using an injector (with the trainer!) during a reaction, and saying, “No thank you”, when a friend offers food.

Hopefully, this simple game will help spark great discussions between you and your child before the new school year starts. Don’t forget…you also need to be sure your child’s teachers understand all of these same things and more (although you probably need to teach it in a slightly different way to an adult). Have fun learning and stay safe starting a new school year!

Bio

kathy and family 1I am Kathy Thornburg, stay at home mom, food allergy blogger, and freelance graphic designer. I live in Ohio with my husband and my two littles (ages 3 1/2 and 1 1/2). It is my passion to stay current in the world of food allergies, teach my family what they need to know to stay safe, and to encourage others living the food allergy life along the way. Both of my children have eczema. My son also has asthma and allergies to peanuts, walnuts, and dogs. He has outgrown allergies to wheat and eggs. We hope you will follow our food allergy journey on ourblog and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. We love to post recipes, reviews, giveaways, and pictures of our fun meals and crafts.

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