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7 Tips for Getting Kids to Try New Foods - $5 Dinners

7 Tips for Getting Kids to Try New Foods

Kids Try New Foods

Feeding young children can often feel like a battle. Especially on those days when you make a new dish, or cook a vegetable in a different way.

Here are 7 ideas for helping your children to try new foods:

1. Offer a Wide Variety

From the time your child starts eating, you should be offering a wide variety of shapes, colors and textures. This will help your child’s natural palate develop and will give you many options for when your toddler begins to feel empowered to make food choices of their own and begin to resist certain foods. This is a phase that toddlers go through and I encourage you to keep offering a wide variety as they work through this phase. My 15 month old will eat spicy beans, sweet mango chunks, as well as spaghetti and meatballs. I’ll be ready with other options when he starts to make these choices for himself and appears to be moving into the ‘picky’ phase, when in reality he is just learning to make his own food choices. It’s my job as his mother to continue to offer him a wide variety of options to chose from at meal time. I implore you to do that same!

2. Slow Down on the Snacks

Set a limit on the afternoon snack and don’t allow children to eat at least 1 hour before the time you plan to serve dinner. This can be difficult, especially once you get into the kitchen and the smell of dinner takes over the house and makes the hunger pangs increase. Hold tight to this ‘no snacks an hour before dinner’ guideline, as you want to make sure your children are good and hungry when the arrive at the table.

3. Involve Them in the Meal Planning Process

Ask them what they want to eat for dinner and work together to come up with a meal plan that works for you, and includes a number of foods that your child does like.

4. Teach Them How to Cook the New Foods

In addition to including children in the planning process, teach them how to cook their new foods. Talk them through the cooking process, show them when and how to season the meat, or how to saute some veggies to go with your dinner. Related, don’t try cooking with your kids when you’re highly stressed or had a bad day. Everyone will end up frustrated and your efforts will be in vain.

5. The One Bite Rule

At our dinner table, we have a ‘one bite rule’ in which everyone at the table has to try at least one bite of the new side dish or meat. For years, I’ve been serving all kinds of different foods to my boys (the joy of being a food blogger), and have learned that they often balk at how the food ‘looks’ without even giving it a chance to tantalize their taste buds. And because of this one bite rule, my oldest (and pickiest) son turns out to be a huge fan of zucchini. Huh.

6. Switch it up or Repurpose a Favorite

If you’re trying to get your kiddo to eat tomato soup, make their favorite grilled cheese sandwich and then cut it up into ‘croutons’ that you float into the soup. They’ll scoop them out of the soup, have a little taste of the soup and chances are they’ll enjoy the combination. Change up the flavorings on their favorite baked chicken, then cut the chicken into fun shapes and they might not notice the new flavor…or better yet, they might actually enjoy the new dish. If you don’t think that new shapes will work, try a new dipping sauce with the new chicken. Kids love to dip!

7. Keep offering, keep offering, keep offering

…and don’t just fall back on chicken nuggets – please, whatever you do keep offering a wide variety of colors and flavors. Please do not resort to chicken and french fries. Please. I beg of you.

Also, please note that if your child shows extreme eating behaviors, please speak with your physician about your options and getting help to make sure their nutritional needs are being met.

What tips do you have for helping your child try new foods?


Restaurant Coupons & Deals – 4/22

Restaurant.com Weekly Promo Offer 600 X 400

If you are looking for some coupons and freebies to to help you save on dinner on the town, date nights, and for when you need a break from cooking, then you’re in the right spot!

While we certainly know that eating out is more expensive than eating in, it is nice to treat yourself and your family every now and again to a meal out on the town. Our family eats out 2 or 3 times a month, and we’ve been able to do so for less than $60 for the month…in part because of all the great coupons, daily deals, and other offers from restaurants in our area.

Check out the latest coupons, deals and offers that will help you spend less on your next “out to dinner” night!

Restaurant Gift Cards

Don’t forget that you can earn “swagbucks” for searching online and redeem them for restaurant gift cards. Refer your friends and earn faster!

Restaurant Coupons

  • Blimpie Coupon – Buy 1 Get 1 Free Regular Sub WYB Drink (exp: 4/30/2014)
  • Carrows Coupon – Buy 1 Entree Get 1 50% Off WYB 2 Drinks (exp: 5/8/2014)
  • Cinnabon Coupon – Sign up for for free email club and get a FREE Minibon Cinnamon Roll
  • Del Taco Coupon – 2 FREE Grilled Chicken Tacos when you sign up for emails
  • HoneyBaked Coupon – FREE Classic Ham Sandwich when you sign up for email club; select zip codes only
  • Jamba Juice Coupon- 1 FREE Small Smoothie or 12 oz Juice Every Day When You Pay With Isis Mobile Wallet (exp: 4/30/2014)
  • Jamba Juice – $2.99 Small Peach Pleasure or Banana Berry Smoothies (exp: 4/30/2014)
  • Sonic Coupon – Buy 1 Get 1 Free Asiago Chicken Sandwich (login required) (exp: 4/30/2014)
  • Steak Escape Coupon – FREE Kids Meal with Purchase of Sandwich, Fries, and Beverage (exp: 4/30/2014)
  • Stevie B’s Coupon – FREE Margherita Thin Crust Pizza (valid 4/27/2014 only at select locations)
  • Subway – April $5 Footlongs and $3 select 6″
  • Wing Stop Coupon – Free 5 Chili Lime Boneless Wings with Any Wing Purchase (exp: 4/25/2014)

Restaurant Freebies

  • Cinnabon Coupon – Sign up for for free email club and get a FREE Minibon Cinnamon Roll
  • Del Taco Coupon – 2 FREE Grilled Chicken Tacos when you sign up for emails
  • Stevie B’s Coupon – FREE Margherita Thin Crust Pizza (valid 4/27/2014 only at select locations)

Kids Eat Free

  • Bob Evans – Kids eat free on Tuesdays with adult entree purchase
  • Earth Fare – Thursdays from 4 – 8 pm, with $5 adult purchase
  • Steak Escape Coupon – FREE Kids Meal with Purchase of Sandwich, Fries, and Beverage (exp: 4/30/2014)

Thanks to Surviving the Stores and Savings Lifestyle for helping us compile this list!


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Best 100 Juices for Kids Book

best 100 juices for kids

We absolutely love fresh homemade juice made in our juicer!  If you are a fellow-juicer or would love to increase the consumption of healthy, yummy, naturally sweetened juice instead of sodas, sports drinks, and expensive juices, then you need to check out my friend Jessica’s new book, Best 100 Juices for Kids: Totally Yummy, Awesomely Healthy, & Naturally Sweetened Homemade Alternatives to Soda Pop, Sports Drinks, and Expensive Bottled Juices!

This 192 page book covers 100 recipes including

  • fruit and vegetable-based juice
  • smoothies (including several dairy-free vegan options)
  • “sparklies” (club soda-based carbonated drinks)
  • icy slushies
  • juice-based ice pops

You don’t have to own a juicer to benefit from this book as about 25% of the recipes can be made without a juicer.  However, to truly get the most out of it, you will want to have a juicer of some sort.  I personally own the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro Juice Extractor and love it!

Currently, Best 100 Juices for Kids is 34% off on Amazon right now priced at only $11.14 with free shipping through Prime or on any $35+ order.  Buy it today and get ready for delicious refreshment just in time for the heat of summer!


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Cream Cheese, Mac & Cheese, Starbucks, Vegetable Oil + More Printable Coupons

Here are some of the latest and hottest printable coupons to help you save this week at the grocery store!


$0.55 off Bridgford Frozen Rolls or Bread

$0.50 off any 2 Campbell's Chunky soups or chilis

$1.00 off any Three (3) Horizon™ Mac & Cheese

$0.55 off any two HORMEL Chili products


$1.00 off any four Minute Maid 59 fl oz cartons

$0.75 off 1 PHILADELPHIA Soft Cream Cheese Spread

$3.00 off Starbucks Macchiato and PEOPLE magazine

$0.75 off any ONE (1) Wesson Cooking Oil


$1.50 off any one ARMSTRONG Floor Care product

$2.00 off Beggin' Party Poppers Canister or Pouch

$0.50 off any Clorox Smart Seek™ Bleach

$0.55 off any Glade Premium Room Spray 9.7 oz

$1.00 off OxiClean Liquid Laundry Booster

Personal Care

$2.00 off any Colgate twin pack toothpaste

$3.00 off two (2) Coppertone Sunscreen Products

$2.00 off any one (1) Excedrin product

$0.75 off any one (1) JOHNSON'S Baby product

$0.75 off ONE Pantene Styler or Treatment Product

$1.00 off REACH Total Care, Dentotape or Flosser

$1.10 off Secret Antiperspirant/Deodorant

$2.00 off any ONE (1) TRESemme Treatment

Be sure to check out all the printable coupons available at Red Plum, Smart Source, Coupon Network and Coupons.com!

Looking for a coupon for an item on your shopping list? Or a coupon for your favorite product? Be sure to check for it in my coupon database!

Never miss a coupon! Get the latest and greatest coupons delivered straight to your inbox, just moments after they are posted!


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Free Weekly Meal Plan with Printable Grocery List – 4/21

Weekly Meal Plan with Printable List

The $5 Dinners Weekly Meal Plan with Printable Grocery List

Every week I will post 5 links to archived recipes, plus an additional 1 or 2 recipes for breakfast, snacks or batch cooking recipes.  You can click through to see the original recipe and print that recipe if you like. (Or go green and just come back to this post to get to the recipe.)

I hope and trust that everyone had a blessed Easter! Our family enjoyed a morning of worship, followed by a lovely and simple Easter lunch at our house with family and friends. Followed by a visit (with a plate full of Easter dinner food and cupcakes!) to our newest soldier friend stationed here in San Antonio. It was a lovely, restful and rejuvenating day!

Our Easter supper menu: Ham with Sherry Glaze, Scalloped Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus, Mixed Greens with Strawberries and Almonds, Garlic Bread & my mom picked up some adorable and scrumptious cupcakes for dessert.

So our menu this week is very erratic, as I’m out of town in Florida for 2 nights and we have several Fiesta events to attend as well this week. AND to top it all off, I’m hosting a shower for our church this weekend. Busy, busy, busy.

But I’ve got a plan for the night’s that I need a plan. :)

Yay for plans. Plans, plans, plans.

The Recipes

And feel free to check out all the previous weekly meal plans with printable grocery list for other options!

Scroll down and you’ll see a list of ingredients for each of the recipes included, in the order they are listed above. I’ll include ALL ingredients, including many that you already have in your pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. If you have those ingredients, just don’t click them!

Put a check mark by each of the ingredients, and then print your grocery list and be on your way to the grocery store!

Slow Cooker Mango Chicken

6 small boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/3 lb.)
Olive oil, drizzles
Red wine vinegar, drizzles
Garlic powder, sprinkles
1 small red onion
1 medium zucchini
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained (or 2 medium garden tomatoes)
1 mango

Beef Fajita Skillet Dinner

1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb. beef for stir-fry
1 Tbsp homemade taco seasoning
1 12 oz. frozen pepper and onion blend
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with garlic (or without will work too!)
6 corn tortillas
Cantaloupe, watermelon or other refreshing fruit for side dish

Ham & Cheese Breakfast Egg Tacos

8 eggs
1/4 cup milk or rice milk
8 cheese slices or about 2 cups shredded cheese
8 sliced ham
Optional – sauteed veggies, peppers/spinach/onion
Serve with fresh fruit

Salsa Verde Beef Street Tacos with Cilantro Slaw

2-ish lb. chuck roast
1 tsp ground cumin
1 to 1 1/2 cups salsa verde
12 oz. bag shredded cabbage or cole slaw mix
Small bunch of cilantro leaves
3-4 Tbsp homemade or store bought vinaigrette
Goat cheese or cotija cheese, for topping
Other topping idea: sliced or diced avocado

Cheddar Chicken BLT

2 chicken breasts
1 Cheddar Bacon Fresh Take bag
4 bolillo rolls
1 large tomato

Loaded Potato Frittata

6 slices turkey bacon (optional)
4 medium Russet potatoes
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 bunch green onions
Serve with fresh fruit

Salted Caramel Mocha Fudge

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 13 oz. can Dulce de Leche flavored caramel sauce
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp coarse sea salt
about 1 Tbsp coarse sea salt for topping

If you are seeing this in an email or in your reader and you’d like to print your grocery list, then click here to access the list feature, which is only available on the website.

Find this useful and want to get a FREE $5 Dinners Weekly Meal Plan, complete with printable grocery list options, delivered to your inbox every Sunday evening…just in time to make the week’s meal plan!?


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