Dinner Rotation: August-September

by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on August 28, 2015

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School has started for us and it’s time to tighten up the meal routine. I only made some minor changes to my dinner rotation this time around. In San Diego where I live, it stays hot well into fall. I will add some cold weather food the next time around. Some new faves include pollo asado and  pasta primavera with garlic and roasted summer veggies.

And I’m not sure why it has took me so long, but I’m making my own pico de gallo. It’s so easy to make and awesome for Mexican night. It’s even better the next day with some eggs and beans! See my Facebook post for easy recipe.

A New Take on Getting Organized

Growing up in a big family with a small-ish space, a cluttered household just kind of came with the territory. What’s interesting is both my older sisters went through a “clean and cook” phase but somehow I skipped that. As the youngest, everyone seemed eager to do things for me. As a result, I’m kind of, well, domestically challenged. Big A has caught onto this.

Her: You’re not like other moms.

Me: What do you mean?

Her: You know, prepared.

I’ve done well with the cooking part, but keeping everything else in the house organized — not so much. It’s been one of my greatest challenges. Actually, before kids I got better at it, but all the stuff that comes with parenting has made it an issue again.

I’ve been a sidelines observer of the minimalist movement. I get that having less stuff can be liberating and takes less energy to maintain. This is the reason I’ve simplified dinner and it’s made a huge difference. I’ve had periods of clarity where I get rid of a good amount of stuff and feel better. But eventually I rebound.

One day while searching Amazon I noticed the #1 selling book– The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up – was about this very subject.  I eventually bought it and am almost done reading it. What I love about the book is it’s not just about organizing, but changing your relationship with your stuff. In other words, it’s thinking about your stuff in a whole new way.


There are two key points I’ve taken from it. First, is many of the things we keep have outlived their purpose. Like that little bag of goodies your child got at a birthday party that was meant to be fun to open, but not kept for years at the bottom of a toy bin. Second, is we really should surround ourselves only with the things that bring us joy. So when you go through your stuff Marie Kondo (the author) recommends sorting through each piece asking one simple question: “does this spark joy?”

Her organizing strategies are different too. Instead of organizing by room she recommends organizing by category — clothes, books, paper etc. This makes a lot of sense and feels more doable. And instead of buying a bunch of organizing gadgets, she recommends using what you already have. For example, used shoe boxes work great to organize things in drawers. I tried this in the kitchen and it worked amazingly well! How cool to use something that would otherwise be taking up space in your closet (be honest, how many shoe boxes do you have?).


So with this new outlook — and the kids in school — I’m going to tackle my home category by category. Anyone read the book?

Links & News

I was interviewed for this article on Outside Magazine about The Do’s and Don’ts of Kid Snacking.

Over at Mind Body Green I share 5 Health Lessons Your Child is Trying to Teach You.

Sally at Real Mom Nutrition explains the why behind letting her children eat junk food.

Jill Castle dishes about the 7 Eating Rules for Children She Wish Would Go Away.

The American Academy just announced its new recommendations on peanut allergies.

A recent study reveals that those who see themselves as overweight are more likely to gain weight in the future. The researchers aren’t sure why but it likely has something to do with the restrict-binge cycle that happens when people try to lose weight. See this article for more about the study.

You may have seen the headlines about how picky eaters are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and ADHD. It’s important to note that this study showed an association, not cause and effect. The study also showed that symptoms worsened as picky eating became more severe, which often extended to other non-food sensitivities. Bottom line: more studies are needed to comform a relationship.

An interesting new study in Pediatrics revealed that parents are more likely to pressure their kids to eat when neither them or their children are overweight. But when both parent and child are overweight, parents are the more likely to use restriction as a feeding practice. In a nutshell, weight status of both parents and kids may influence the way in which parents feed their kids. This article discusses more of the details.

Well, that’s it for this week. Let me know how you are doing in the comments. Have a great weekend!


The 5 “Hows” of Packing School Lunch for Picky Eaters

by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on August 20, 2015

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It’s the time of year for lunch-packing. Parents of picky eaters may dread the thought of coming up with a balanced lunch for their kids, day in and day out. If you serve the same thing, you feel guilty for the lack of variety. But if it’s something new, it comes home uneaten.

I can’t claim to know what your picky eater will want in terms of food ideas. But I can offer some ideas on how to go about packing your child’s lunch.

So here are the 5 hows that really can make packing lunch for the picky eater more rewarding, effective and full of variety. click to continue


5 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Independence in the Kitchen

August 14, 2015
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I’m reading How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims. The book details how parents today do way too much for their kids. There are various reasons for this, including nonstop extracurricular activities and school work. The problem is when kids leave home, they know how to get an A on a test and kick […]

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How to Make Grilled Vegetable Kabobs in 5 Easy Steps [Recipe Included]

August 6, 2015
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I love grilled vegetables. I have tried a few different vegetable kabob recipes but wanted to focus on a base recipe for my summer rotation. After doing some research, I found some secrets to grilling veggie skewers to perfection. Here are the top 5:

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The Side Strategy That Has Saved My Family’s Mealtime

July 30, 2015
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When Big A turned two, I realized that making two meals for dinner wasn’t working. But getting her to the table right as she was entering the picky stage was no easy task. What kept our family meals going in those early days was having something at the table she accepted. It helped her adapt […]

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7 Dinner Rules That Will Transform Your Family’s Mealtime

July 22, 2015
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I would love to have your key points summarized on a wee poster so I can remind myself and educate my husband also. Do you have such a thing available? This request came just as I was working on a chapter in my upcoming book on dinner rules. Having some very basic meal guidelines posted […]

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Eat Like a Champion (Review and Giveaway)

July 13, 2015
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There comes a time when kids enter the world of organized sports. And if they enjoy and stick with it, things begin to change. Appetites increase, schedules get out of whack and performance matters. One very overlooked aspect of how well a child performs in any sport is nutrition. Jill Castle, my coauthor of Fearless […]

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Dinner Rotation: July-August

July 7, 2015
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Now that I’m back from vacation, it’s time to tweak my rotation for summer. As you can see, I’m adding a grill night and opting for some more summer-type meals like pasta primavera. I’m also working on my summer sides, which was the driving force behind my recent post on BBQ sides. I just love […]

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An Unconventional Way to Educate Kids About Nutrition (and Why it Works)

July 2, 2015
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It was Sunday morning and Big A pointed out that she was going to have dessert three times that day. First was cake at church to celebrate her first communion, second was a birthday party and third was dinner at Granny’s. In a very serious tone she said, “Granny always has dessert.” I could have […]

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10 Healthy BBQ Side Dish Recipes for Summer

June 29, 2015

Now that summer is here, grilling is here too. What that really means is my husband does all the work while I prepare a few easy side dishes. I reached out to my dietitian friends to get some BBQ food ideas. And boy did they deliver! So here are 10 side dish recipes to give […]

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