boy and cooked vegetables

Why are Kids Such Picky Eaters?

boy and cooked vegetables

 

So you’ve got your­self a picky eater?  You’re not alone. In fact, this strug­gle is all too com­mon. If you’re like most par­ents, at some point you find it’s just eas­ier to suc­cumb to the doe-eyed demands for junk food rather than ruin­ing another din­ner over the bat­tle of the broccoli.

 

We get it.

 

Chil­dren are nat­u­rally born picky eaters with a fear of unfa­mil­iar foods.  Accord­ing to Dr. David Lud­wig, Head of Obe­sity Pre­ven­tion at Boston’s Children’s Hos­pi­tal, being picky “pro­tects chil­dren from eat­ing some­thing toxic and harm­ful. But they’re also pro­grammed to develop an increas­ingly broad set of taste pref­er­ences. If not, chil­dren would die of star­va­tion after weaning.”

 

His­tor­i­cally, this nat­ural objec­tion to foods that are bit­ter often helped to keep young ones from wan­der­ing away from parental super­vi­sion to eat poi­so­nous plants, which are also often bit­ter. Even­tu­ally, chil­dren would learn what was good to eat and develop a taste for a vari­ety of foods to suit their dietary needs. Today, how­ever, it’s not so easy to deter­mine what’s good for us and what’s not due to the heavy use of sug­ars, fats, and salt in our food sup­ply. And let’s face it, if your child’s taste buds grow up think­ing that fast food and french fries are the way food tastes, veg­eta­bles sud­denly fall into that bit­ter and unsafe cat­e­gory along­side pot­ted plants and pesticides.

 

Unfor­tu­nately in today’s world, even with the best inten­tions, highly processed foods are intro­duced into children’s diets from a very early age in the form of sweet­ened yogurts, pack­aged kids’ snacks, over con­sump­tion of fruit juices, and even pedi­a­tri­cian rec­om­mended Chee­rios that are used to develop the pin­cer grasp. So what’s a con­sci­en­tious par­ent to do?

 

We can help.  Here are the Top 5 ways to get your picky eater back on track to a life­time of good eating:

 

  1. Don’t force kids to eat foods they don’t want. When a child refuses a food, forc­ing them to eat it will only cause the body to cre­ate a stress response that will be asso­ci­ated with that par­tic­u­lar food for lifetime.
  2. Offer new foods sev­eral times. It will often take approx­i­mately 10–15 attempts to get a kid to enjoy cer­tain foods. Be patient and gen­tle in your attempts.
  3.  Allow kids to play with food. Young chil­dren usu­ally enjoy touch­ing, smelling, and assem­bling their food. Give them the oppor­tu­nity to have fun dur­ing din­ner time!
  4. Offer a vari­ety of healthy choices.  The key to get­ting kids to eat nutri­tious food is to offer vari­ety. Chil­dren like to be in con­trol of what they eat. Nat­u­rally, offer­ing them a “bar” style or “build-your-own” din­ing expe­ri­ence can often encour­age them to pick from a vari­ety of health­ier options with­out feel­ing like they are forced to eat a spe­cific food.
  5. Let kids be the chef!  Feed­ing your fam­ily is an excit­ing prospect for chil­dren. Tak­ing them to the mar­ket so they can pick out fresh foods teaches chil­dren where our foods come from. Allow­ing them to help stir food or clean veg­gies and fruits will also make them feel included and hands on!

 

When you order from WT Café, your child is exposed to a vari­ety of foods dur­ing their school day.  Let us help you con­tinue your efforts to indoc­tri­nate healthy habits in your child. We know it takes a vil­lage to raise chil­dren, and WT Café is on your side.

Meatball Dippers

NEW for September!

Meatball Dippers

Research shows that offer­ing a vari­ety of healthy foods gets kids the nutri­tion they need to be healthy and strong.  At WT Café, we take this as a com­pany chal­lenge and set out to cre­ate the fresh­est, most nutri­tious, and most excit­ing school lunch menu avail­able anywhere!

 

This month, we are excited to show­case NEW menu items guar­an­teed to make lunch time the high­light of your child’s school day. We know it’s not nutri­tion unless they eat it.  That’s why the WT Café school lunch menu con­sists of kid favorites made health­ier. Lunch belongs in their bel­lies, not the trash can!

 

We’re kick­ing Sep­tem­ber off with a NEW menu item that’s already a kid favorite: Cheesy “Fries and Loaded “Fries”. We take fresh Rus­set Pota­toes, hand cut them (skin on – that’s where all the fiber is!) in local WT Café kitchens to con­serve fresh­ness, toss them with our house-made roast­ing sea­son­ing and some heart-healthy oil, and into the oven they go!  We bake them until they’re soft on the inside and crispy golden on the out­side. Our Loaded “Fries” are then smoth­ered in our tangy sloppy joe mix (made with ground turkey, not beef) and topped with shred­ded ched­dar. For a veg­e­tar­ian option, try our Cheesy “Fries” with our sig­na­ture Gluten Free Cheese sauce on the side!

 

School Lunch Was Never Like This!

 

Are pota­toes healthy, you ask?  Yes they are!  It’s a sur­prise for many to dis­cover one medium potato (5.3 oz) with the skin contains:

 

  • 45 per­cent of the daily value for vit­a­min C
  • More potas­sium (620 mg) than even bananas, spinach, or broccoli;
  • 10 per­cent of the daily value of B6;
  • Trace amounts of thi­amine, riboflavin, folate, mag­ne­sium, phos­pho­rous, iron, and zinc

 

…and all this for just 110 calo­ries and no fat, sodium or cho­les­terol.

 

This month, we are also intro­duc­ing a NEW line of fun and dip­pable entrees. Our tasty Turkey Meat­ball Dip­pers and antibi­otic and hormone-free Chicken Dip­pers are down­right awe­some. Served with a vari­ety of all-natural dip­ping sauces so your child can pick their favorite, includ­ing BBQ Sauce, Ketchup, Hot Sauce, and Honey Mus­tard. Kids go crazy for them!  Of course, our lunches are always accom­pa­nied by a rotat­ing vari­ety of fresh, house-made, and all-natural sides.

 

As the WT Café con­cept con­tin­ues to expand across the U.S., the vision of mak­ing fresh, deli­cious, and excit­ing foods avail­able to every child, every­where becomes more of a real­ity. We are 100% com­mit­ted to going all out to make sure your child’s school lunch is the very best it can be, and we can’t wait to deliver on that promise to you.  Make your child’s day — order from WT Café today!

blueberry-jam-photocredit

Blueberry Recipe: Blueberry Jam

blueberry-jam-photocredit

Now you can cap­ture the essence of sum­mer and share it with your fam­ily through­out the rest of the year with this sim­ple blue­berry jam recipe! And don’t worry about spe­cial can­ning pro­ce­dures or bulky equip­ment. This recipe can be stored in a sealed con­tainer in the refrig­er­a­tor for up to a month, and in the freezer for up to six months!

 

Ingre­di­ents:

 

  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar

 

Pro­ce­dure:

 

  • Pre­heat oven to 250 degrees.
  • Put a plate in the freezer.
  • With a potato masher or spoon, crush 1 cup berries in a medium heavy-bottom non­re­ac­tive saucepan.
  • Add remain­ing 3 cups berries and 1/2 cup water; bring to a sim­mer over medium heat.
  • Cook, stir­ring occa­sion­ally with a wooden spoon to break up berries, until berries are soft. About 6 minutes.
  • Mean­while, spread sugar out on a rimmed bak­ing sheet. Heat in oven until warm. About 5 minutes.
  • Slowly stir sugar into saucepan; return mix­ture to a sim­mer, stir­ring constantly.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low; cook at a slow boil until thick­ened, 45 min­utes to 1 hour.
  • To test for done­ness, drop a small amount of jam onto the chilled plate; it should wrin­kle when pressed with your finger.
  • Enjoy with Whole Wheat toast!
grand-haven-blueberry-picking

Super Food of the Month — Blueberries

grand-haven-blueberry-picking

The warmth of the sum­mer­time air evokes thoughts of lazy after­noons by the lake and an abun­dance of berries! Blue­ber­ries are one of the most pop­u­lar of all berries dur­ing the sum­mer because they are at peak sea­son and they are native to the Amer­i­cas. Although they are a deli­cious addi­tion to sal­ads, pies, and sim­ply eaten fresh, blue­ber­ries are vis­i­bly rec­og­nized for their nutri­tional value.  Many years of research have demon­strated time and again the great ben­e­fits that blue­ber­ries have on mem­ory, antiox­i­dant health, and car­dio­vas­cu­lar benefits.

 

Buy­ing the best blueberries:

 

The best time of the year to find per­fect blue­ber­ries is dur­ing the sum­mer. And the per­fect way to find them is to pick them your­self at a “pick-your-own” farm where fam­i­lies can spend a fun after­noon pick­ing the biggest, fresh­est, in-season blue­ber­ries they can find. They are usu­ally sold by the pound at very afford­able prices and can be used for mak­ing jam and stor­ing through­out the year. Blue­berry pick­ing is a great edu­ca­tional activ­ity that teaches chil­dren where their food comes from. In a time when most of the coun­try has become far removed from the ori­gins of its food, fruit pick­ing is the per­fect way to instill a sense of appre­ci­a­tion for the nutri­tion that fresh pro­duce brings into our daily lives.

 

You can find the blue­berry pick­ing farm clos­est to you by fol­low­ing the link below. Now is the per­fect time to take advan­tage of this great sum­mer experience!

 

The North Amer­i­can Blue­berry Coun­cil : http://www.nabcblues.org/upick.htm

 

If you live in an area that does not have a blue­berry farm nearby or is out of fresh berries, no need to panic. Blue­ber­ries are an abun­dant fruit in the frozen sec­tion of any local super­mar­ket. Frozen blue­ber­ries are a great option because numer­ous stud­ies have found that freez­ing blue­ber­ries does not destroy their antiox­i­dant com­po­si­tion. They remain just as nutri­tious as long as they are frozen. Berries, like many fruits, are frozen fresh, mean­ing, they are frozen imme­di­ately after being picked. This max­i­mizes their nutri­tional con­tent. Frozen blue­ber­ries are the per­fect snack for any hot sum­mer day!

SSWF-StrawberryJam1

Fresh Out of The Test Kitchen

Over the sum­mer, we held one of our most excit­ing projects to date: our first ever WT Café Test Kitchen. We cre­ated our test kitchen in order to rein­force our com­mit­ment to serv­ing fresh, nutri­tious, and excit­ing food to every child, every­where! We exper­i­mented with our recipes every day in an effort to make them health­ier AND tastier. Our panel of kid testers were fun to work with and they enjoyed tast­ing our recipes. Now, after sep­a­rat­ing the best from the rest, we’re ready to share these new menu items with you too!  Hop online to check out your school’s fall menu. You won’t believe all the new items we’ve cooked up to make lunchtime excit­ing again!

 

SSWF-StrawberryJam1

Through the years, we’ve become clas­sic DIY­ers. If the prod­uct our cus­tomers want can­not be sourced, we make it our­selves!  In our case, that means craft­ing our own sauces, dress­ings, and mari­nades in order to avoid the chem­i­cals so com­mon in food today. As a result, we have an extra­or­di­nary col­lec­tion of tasty recipes made with real, health­ful ingredients.

 

We don’t stop at sauces. Now, we’re intro­duc­ing our very own house-made Straw­berry Jam! So when you order our Sun­but­ter & Jelly Sand­wich, you know that your child is eat­ing the fresh­est and purest jam avail­able! Pretty sweet!

 

How about pick­les? We’re now mak­ing our very own pickle chips too! Most pick­les out there are col­ored with an array of arti­fi­cial food col­or­ing chem­i­cals. YUCK! We do not want that junk any­where near our kitchens! When your kids eat WT Café, they will be eat­ing pick­les that were made in a local kitchen with 100% nat­ural ingre­di­ents. They will taste the difference!

 

Day after day, year after year, we con­tinue to make our food as healthy and deli­cious as we can so that you don’t have to worry about what your chil­dren are eat­ing. WT Café has the food kids love from the name par­ents trust.  That’s our Brand Promise to you!

herb-garden

The Edible Summer Garden

herb-garden

There is no bet­ter way to encour­age healthy eat­ing habits than with an edi­ble gar­den. There is some­thing beau­ti­ful about reap­ing the deli­cious ben­e­fits that grow from weeks of hard work nec­es­sary to main­tain a gar­den. And the best time of the year to start an edi­ble gar­den is the early sum­mer.  Right now!

 

As kids wrap up the school year, it’s impor­tant to keep them engaged in activ­i­ties that will con­tinue to chal­lenge them men­tally. The edi­ble gar­den is the per­fect oppor­tu­nity to teach lessons on sci­ence, team work, exer­cise, and most impor­tantly, nutri­tion – all impor­tant lessons that will con­tinue to impact a child’s life far past har­vest season.

 

Today we want to con­cen­trate on nutri­tion, an area where we fall behind as a nation. We all know the per­ilous con­se­quences that unhealthy eat­ing habits can have on our chil­dren.  Con­se­quences like dis­ease and obe­sity. In many instances, chil­dren do not know where their foods come from and often fail to cor­rectly iden­tify fruits and veg­eta­bles. The preva­lence of pack­aged processed foods often adds to this dis­con­nect with fresh and nat­ural foods. By plant­ing an edi­ble gar­den with the fam­ily, par­ents plant a seed of curios­ity that evolves as the gar­den grows and becomes the source of healthy fam­ily meals.

 

The eas­i­est way to start a home gar­den is to plant herbs. Herbs add fresh­ness and intense fla­vor to foods with­out adding sodium and fat. They con­tain many antiox­i­dants and anti-inflammatory prop­er­ties that can keep dis­ease away now and later in life. Herbs are easy to grow and can thrive in pot­ting con­tain­ers and win­dow sills. Below is a list of herbs that thrive dur­ing the sum­mer months and what makes them so great. (Source: WHFoods.com)

 

Basil — Basil con­tains antibac­te­r­ial prop­er­ties and helps pre­vent bac­te­ria growth. It’s also a good source of vit­a­min C and cal­cium. Pair with tomato and moz­zarella cheese for a great sum­mer salad.

 

Chives — Chives also con­tains antibac­te­r­ial prop­er­ties and have been known to aid in the fight against can­cer­ous cells. They also con­tain dietary fiber that aids in diges­tion. Sprin­kle finely minced chives over pasta or potato dishes for a savory and tangy kick!.

 

Dill — A good source of cal­cium to help pre­vent bone loss, dill tastes great with pick­les.  If you’re lucky enough to grow cucum­bers in your edi­ble gar­den, you’ve got all the ingre­di­ents for home-made pickles!

 

Fen­nel -  Fen­nel helps pro­tect the immune sys­tem with its abun­dance in vit­a­min C. An impor­tant part of the mediter­ranean diet, fen­nel helps reduce high cho­les­terol lev­els. It’s great paired with cit­rus and fresh seafood.

 

Pars­ley -  More than just a table gar­nish, pars­ley is rich in fiber and aids in the diges­tion of food. It has been dis­cov­ered to be a great source of folic acid and the per­fect weapon to help keep car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease away. Use as a gar­nish in soups or dips and as a green in Tabbouleh!

 

Sage — The oil in sage is absorbed by the body to reduce inflam­ma­tion. These oils also act as antiox­i­dants. Sage helps pro­tect against oxi­da­tion which is why food com­pa­nies have exper­i­mented with ways in which sage can extend the shelf life of cook­ing oils. Enjoy with beans or roasted root vegetables.

 

Thyme — Like many other herbs, thyme has antimi­cro­bial prop­er­ties. This hum­ble lit­tle herb also helps increase the pres­ence of healthy fats around cell mem­branes. Its strong aroma makes it a per­fect addi­tion to egg dishes or creamy sauces.

 

These herbs will con­tinue to grow through­out the sum­mer and can eas­ily be har­vested with a sim­ple trim­ming. To pre­serve the herbs and use them in the kitchen, lay them in a sin­gle layer on a flat sur­face and allow them to dry for about a week. Once the leaves are dry, store each herb in an air­tight con­tainer and use as you would store bought herbs. Don’t be afraid to sprin­kle herbs into every meal too add loads of fla­vor with­out added sodium!

WatermelonPops

Frozen Watermelon Pops

WatermelonPops

Stay fresh this sum­mer with these healthy and refresh­ing frozen water­melon pops.

Ingre­di­ents:

  • ⅛ large fresh watermelon
  • 4 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBS honey

Cut flesh from water­melon rind and remove seeds. Blend flesh until liq­uid (you should have approx­i­mately 4 cups of liq­uid). Stir in lemon juice and sugar.

Pour into 5 fluid ounce paper cups, leav­ing space at the top so they don’t over­flow. Stick a wooden pop­si­cle stick into each cup. Freeze for sev­eral hours. To eat, just peel off the paper cup and enjoy!

watermelon

Summer is Here!

watermelon

School may be over soon, but that doesn’t mean your kids can’t enjoy our deli­cious lunches. Viva sum­mer camps!  Our camp lunch menu fea­tures sum­mer­time kid-favorites made health­ier, such as our 100% beef burg­ers and freshly made subs. If we’re not serv­ing your child’s sum­mer camp, let us know!

 

Of course, we could not serve camp lunch with­out another sum­mer­time sta­ple: water­melon! A sum­mer pic­nic is not com­plete  with­out an old-fashioned water­melon eat­ing con­test? The refresh­ing fruit is sweet­est, juici­est, and at the peak of its sea­son dur­ing the months of June, July, and August.

 

Like toma­toes, water­melon is rich in lycopene, which con­tributes to good car­dio­vas­cu­lar health. Water­melon is also rich in antiox­i­dants and has great rehy­dra­tion prop­er­ties.  Did you know that one cup of diced water­melon is about 92% water?  It also con­tains sub­stan­tial amounts of potas­sium. Potas­sium is what keeps elec­trolyte lev­els on check in the body. It is no coin­ci­dence that nature has given us this jewel dur­ing the hot sum­mer months, so ditch the arti­fi­cially col­ored sport drinks and have a big slice of nat­u­rally red water­melon instead. Your body will love you for it!

Broccoli_Cheddar_Soup

Superfood of the month: Broccoli

Broccoli_Cheddar_Soup

This month we are fea­tur­ing the super pow­ers of a veg­gie that is com­monly used in our menu! Broc­coli is begin­ning to make a sea­sonal appear­ance in mar­kets nation­wide as we spring into warmer weather. It’s one of our favorite super­food because:

  • It has a large con­cen­tra­tion of antioxidants
  • It has anti-inflammatory prop­er­ties that also help to fight cancer!
  • It’s a great source of fiber
  • Just one cup of cooked broc­coli con­tains 134% of the daily rec­om­mended intake of vit­a­min C. That’s as much as an orange!

But, where did this super veg­gie come from and when did we begin to eat it? We know that Thomas Jef­fer­son, an avid gar­dener, planted the veg­etable in his gar­den in Mon­ti­cello. Broc­coli was then con­sid­ered an exotic veg­etable in Amer­ica and seeds were obtained by trad­ing in tomato seeds with Euro­peans. How­ever, before broc­coli jumped its way across the pond it was orig­i­nally eaten in Italy as early as 2,000 years ago and known as as “Ital­ian aspara­gus”. It is related to kale, cau­li­flower, and cabbage.

 

Broc­coli is health­i­est when picked fresh and eaten raw! To pick deli­cious broc­coli, select fresh, bright-green heads which have com­pact clus­ters of tightly closed flo­rets and avoid any with yel­low­ing flo­rets and thick, woody stems. To eat, sim­ply break the broc­coli head into small bite size flo­rets and enjoy with a vari­ety of dips and dress­ings or in the ulti­mate WT favorite: a clas­sic broc­coli and ched­dar cheese soup!

GF-Blueberry-Muffins2

A Handy Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffin Recipe

GF-Blueberry-Muffins2

Hav­ing a sta­ple gluten-free recipe up your sleeve is always a great idea. This deli­cious blue­berry muf­fin recipe can be pre­pared at a moment’s notice for guests, a week­end break­fast, or even your school bake sales. And you won’t believe they’re gluten-free!

Ingre­di­ents

  • 11 ounces (1 3/4 cups plus 2/3 cups All Pur­pose, Gluten-Free Flour Blend) — Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur AP Gluten-Free Flour blends are usu­ally read­ily avail­able in super­mar­kets.
  • 1 table­spoon bak­ing powder
  • 1/2 tea­spoon salt
  • 1/4 tea­spoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup) gran­u­lated sugar
  • 8 table­spoons unsalted but­ter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tea­spoon vanilla extract
  • 7 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) blueberries
  • 2 table­spoons turbinado sugar

Instruc­tions

Whisk flour blend, bak­ing pow­der, salt, and cin­na­mon together in a large bowl. In a sep­a­rate bowl, whisk gran­u­lated sugar, melted but­ter, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla together until well com­bined. Using a rub­ber spat­ula, stir egg mix­ture into flour mix­ture until it is fully com­bined. Fold in blue­ber­ries until evenly dis­trib­uted (bat­ter will be thick and stiff). Cover bowl with plas­tic wrap and let bat­ter rest at room tem­per­a­ture for 30 minutes.

 

Adjust oven rack to mid­dle posi­tion and heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12-cup muf­fin tin with pan spray. Using an ice cream scoop, por­tion bat­ter evenly into pre­pared muf­fin tin. Sprin­kle turbinado sugar over top.

 

Bake until muffins are golden and tooth­pick inserted in cen­ter comes out clean – approx­i­mately 16–20 min­utes. Rotate the muf­fin pan halfway through baking.

 

Let muffins cool in muf­fin tin on wire rack for 10 min­utes. Remove muffins from tin and let cool for 10 more min­utes before serv­ing. Muffins may be kept frozen for up to 2 weeks.