Tricks to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables

fruits that you need to try

As a parent, sometimes getting your toddler to eat anything, let alone eat healthy can be very stressful! There are sick days, moody days, fussy days, some really happy and hungry days and this list could go on and on.

For me it is all about teaching my kid to love healthy foods especially fruits and vegetables, and some days we all need to have a backup plan. On my Instagram stories you will see regular updates of my morning latte cups and some days meals, recipes and food pictures of what I am offering my son.

I have been getting several questions from moms on my email and DMs on what I am cooking for Vir requesting for recipes of my favorite spinach and veggie loaded toddler meals. So in this post I am listing out few of my recipes that have worked for us and some great ideas for back up plans on feeding your picky eater.

Also you can check out my previous post that has a list of food items I offered my child as he started solids and a Free Printable with all nutrient information for different food types with nutrients information. Click Here 

My son is 18 months old, and is still figuring out his taste buds, so I try to provide a balanced meal while including veggies in his favorite Pancakes, Pasta, Muffin , Stuffed tortilla and Soup. My tip if your toddler refuses to eat any veggies – SNEAK THEM IN !!! Some might think it’s sending a wrong message, but for us it’s a work in progress. There is ample time to develop my kid’s understanding of his food and I will like take as it goes. However, I am doing this to make sure he has a balance diet.

To sneak in veggies especially on those fussy days :  Boil Spinach, carrot, some kale and blend it. (You can add veggies of your choice depending on how you plan to use them.) Replace water with this mix in all the dishes like Pancakes, Pasta, Muffin , Stuffed tortilla and Soup

Toddler Approved Recipes!

Spinach And Banana Pancakes– Add boiled and blended spinach and carrot mix with Banana, oat flour and 1 egg to make healthy Spinach breakfast.

Veggies loaded Mac and Cheese/ Pasta– Sauté diced pieces of carrot, peas with onion and spinach in butter or olive oil. Add boiled pasta with desired pasta sauce. I add cheese slices in the pasta too, it never hurts to add more. Offering really small pieces of veggies is a good start and later moving to bigger pieces.

Veggie mix Roti/Tortilla-  My son is not a big fan of stuffed breads , so I have started mixing the boiled veggies directly to the flour or you can use the blended mix as an alternative to water while making the dough. I recommend including beets and sweet potatoes too as they look colorful and are nutrient dense.

Veggie and Fruit Muffins- Fruit and veggie muffins have all of the elements to basically be a complete meal!  I recently came across this great recipe on Pinterest and it has been a great success. It is loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals and fiber . Click here for Power Packed Fruit Muffin Recipe from Super Healthy

Make a Dip Bar

veggie dip tray

In Dr Sears’ book, The Portable Pediatrician, he suggests serving all types of chopped vegetables and foods in an ice tray, with some yummy dipping sauces on the ends. Making it fun, colorful and full of variety can encourage little ones to eat more vegetables. Marinara sauce, ranch, Parmesan cheese, Coriander chutney are great to start with. I am currently offering steamed carrots , broccoli with Marinara sauce to Vir


Cook Veggies in different ways

Raw, Roasted, or Steamed has been a hit in our house.  We all vote for baked and boiled as my son loves grabbing small pieces of sweet potatoes, carrots and peas. Seasoning the veggies is a winner in my friend’s house and I will be starting that soon too. Let me know what seasoning you use.

Beat the Veggies (Smoothies for the WIN )

smoothieSmoothies are a great (and easy) way to get nutrient dense fruits and vegetables into your kids without them really knowing it! Spinach, Kale, Beets and Fruit of course! The best part is that toddlers and kids think that smoothies are the equivalent of having a milkshake.We love the Banana+ Peanut butter+ Spinach+ Kale+ Milk smoothie. Tip : Start adding veggies slowly in the smoothie and get to the right amount of sweetness and taste. I started with small quantities of spinach and kale at first and once my son got used to the taste we added more.Check out this Toddler Approved Smoothie from one of my favorite blogger mom Ashley. I love the Jamba juice cup idea.

Butter them up

Young tongues are particularly sensitive to bitterness, and kids may instinctively repel from bitter foods. Masking the bitterness with butter especially for broccoli is working for us so far . “Everything tastes better with butter, especially vegetables. Try adding 1 tablespoon of butter per half cup of mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, and cooked spinach to temper the bitterness.


Hope this post helps you get some veggies in your fussy toddler’s meal !! Please do share your tips and tricks and any great recipe .

Now, go get some broccoli and LOVE it

Arushi (2)

Get Your KIDSto LOVE Veggies (1)


How I Prepared For My Boy’s Cake Smash Photo Shoot



oatmeal cookies (2)I can’t believe my son is already a year old ! How did this happen? Where did all the time go ? It was only yesterday when we brought our tiny guy home and now all of a sudden he is a toddler. Time flew by so fast and I guess it was also because the first year is full of trails and treasures.

If I could just freeze time, I would continue to gaze in his eyes , nibble his toes, kiss his chubby cheeks and just keep listening him giggle. My heart melts thinking how fast time will slip and my child will outgrow my arms and lap in the coming years.

First birthday is a momentous occasion in any child and parent’s life. This is such a huge milestone for our family too and it warranted for a special photo shoot, so that we can savor it now and reminisce about later (like during the tumultuous teenage years)


One my favorite captures by Brianne Hardcastle Photography 

Nothing quite says beautiful mess like first birthday cake smash photography. But when you decide to go the DIY route, the results tend to be less beautiful and more mess. I am sharing on the blog few tips on how I prepared for my son’s outdoor cake smash photo shoot. I am not sure who was more excited for the cake smash session me or my son. That excitement make its pretty easy to go overboard with props, but i wanted to keep it simple.

Photography: Hiring a good photographer ensures great results.It may not always be the most ideal option to spend money on a professional, but really and truly, paying for a service makes SUCH a huge difference. I am so glad our pictures from the cake smash session have come out so beautiful. Thanks to the talented Brianne Hardcastle who was committed to capture the best moments. Check out her FB Page for more details.

Location: We wanted to shoot outdoors as it was in tune with our theme and also excellent for good lighting and for that we choose the Bayou Bend Park in Houston.

Keeping Props Simple: An outdoor shoot saved us from all the expensive background decorations and detailing. I used item that were available at my home.

  • The Teepee was the main prop that was central to the entire theme. My son’s lovely Teepee is from – Tnees Teepees. They have a wonderful collection of modern and stylish teepees for boys and girls that look great in any room. I also used a white rug and a cushion under it .
  • Cake: Of Course a cake is the highlight of the cake smash photo shoot, you can use different colors according to your theme. I didn’t want to spend too much on it either, so I went for a simple white butter cream chocolate cake.
  • DIY Cake Topper: Since the cake was very plain and simple , I added some fun to it by making a cake topper with paper straws. I used a craft thread and cut paper triangles and wrote ONE with a sharpie on it and glued them. You can also buy some really nice cake toppers online.
  • DIY Chalkboard first birthday sign– The details of your child’s first year can be forgotten over time, but with a stunning Chalkboard First Birthday sign, you can cherish them forever! I made this chalkboard with some inspiration from Pinterest. Took me an hour to work on it. You can also get one professionally down from etsy and print it .
  • A huge Balloon can cover a lot of space for pictures and also add a pop of color. I used a white one as it went with our theme. This is a 36 inch balloon.
  • Fabric banner: The only main decorative piece I really splurged on was the fabric banner that I got from Etsy (displayed on the teepee). It can also be used as a garland or even a high chair decorative piece. I also used it for decorating Vir’s high chair at his birthday party at our home.
  • Outfit: My sister got Vir his cake smash outfit , she bought it from amazon . There are some great shops on etsy to you can buy cute cake smash outfits . Note its really hard to get something unique for boys.

Color coordinate:  I stuck to a low a key background with white , black and natural green for keeping the pictures neat and bright. Start with one item that you would like to coordinate in the session then, add in colours that coordinate or complement that item.




All these beautiful moments are captured by Houston Based Photographer Brianne Hardcastle. Click here more info

Timings for the cake session is very essential : You want it to be stress and fuss free. I planned the session in the evening after my son’s nap time. The weather was great too. (And yes, it’s perfectly fine if the cake smash photos aren’t done on their actual birthday.)

Get the baby to dig in: Our son was shy to dig in the cake after he touched the frosting. He was weirded out by the sticky texture. I got our dog to join the party and also put my finger in the cake to excite him about the process.


I had to frame this !! He won’t stay so little anymore

Post session Clean up : This is one thing I completely forgot about, while rushing for the shoot from our home. You need to have paper towels handy, plastic/paper bags to throw away the mess. And a spare change of clothes for the kid after the session is over.

The first birthday cake of our child was a huge milestone for us. And so for that reason I took a break from taking a few cell phone photos and completely avoided the plastic highchair cake smash experience. This was truly a momentous celebration and I hope these tips can help you prepare for your big occasion.

You can see his birthday party video at our home on my Instagram page




My Body Reality 9 Months Post Pregnancy! 


Processed with Snapseed.

I love to jog especially when Vir can accompany me in the jogger!


Am I where I was before baby? In some ways yes, in other ways not at all.

If you read my previous post on my post baby weight loss journey, you know I had lost 30 pounds out of the 43 pounds I gained within the first 3 months. To continue with my progress I had set 2 goals for the next 6 months.

1) To get rid of those 13 pounds 2) To gain my fitness and endurance levels back. I believe that 9 months is a fair enough time frame to work on my postpartum body and fitness and that is exactly the time I wanted to bounce back in shape.

To accomplish these 2 goals I started with running because not only was it a great way to get out of home daily and get some fresh air but also because I had set myself up for a CHALLENGE.

The challenge was to participate in a 10k run, 4 months after my delivery! I wasn’t sure if I could complete it, but I was definitely preparing myself to do my best. On 16th Sept 2016, 4 month post my pregnancy, I ran and finished my first 10k race in 1 hour and 19 minutes. Completing this challenge I set for myself gave me a lot of confidence and appreciation towards my body.

Post race, I figured out I was ready to take my endurance levels up a notch. So I started doing more strength training routines for some muscle definition and toning. Daily cardio sessions felt great but when it came to strength training at the gym, I wasn’t feeling so good or enjoying it. After a month I stepped back and returned back to jogging.

I started to fit in my regular jeans after 6 months post partum. I was so glad to ditch those maternity jeans! Although, I still have a few inches to loose on my thighs. Losing weight on the lower half of my body has been a constant struggle since I was a teenager and it continues to this day. (I often blame it on my genes J )

My stomach was smushy after giving birth and still is. I have ways to go to get my lower stomach back in shape, and that’s OK. Despite using stretch oils and cream rigorously I still have stretch marks.  They have faded but will probably be there, and I am proud to have them as I was blessed to carry and deliver a healthy baby.

So far I have lost a total of 39 pounds in 9 months. Still 4 pounds shy from my pre pregnancy weight. Honestly, I have stopped looking at the scale now. I am trying to maintain my weight while exercising and enjoying my treats on regular basis. I can’t diet and restrict myself of certain food groups as I don’t want to live like that. I like food (and chocolate) too much.

As far as my boobs are concerned, they are not normal yet. They are neither perky nor saggy, just somewhere in between. I am still breast feeding in morning and nights so I think I will have to wait out on this.

img_2719Once Vir turned 6 months, maintaining a workout schedule has become a struggle. Between caring for Vir, work demands, home chores, and all the rest there is precious little time life for me to sweat and so workouts are the first to be scratched off the To Do list. Honestly few months back I was struggling to even keep up to my 4 days of staying active. It is hard now to find dedicated alone time as a parent, and I have learned it isn’t always possible to find some.

Yet in January I enrolled myself in Kayla Fitness. The SWEAT app has short 28 minutes of Resistance sets that I do from home as per my convenience. I plan to stick with my 2017 goals of staying active daily and not losing steam. If I don’t find the time or energy to workout, I make sure to walk my dog “Rio” an extra mile.  You can catch me on Instagram with my daily updates.

At the end I just want to say we are all aware that our life will never be the same once we have a baby, yet we expect our bodies to be. I could have never imagined that our bodies can do amazing things like – never failing to wake up for the fourth time in the night to feed a hungry baby or to hold an 18 pound baby for a ridiculously long periods of time or to even function the entire day with just an hour of sleep. There are truths of post baby body that I am trying to accept and realistically I still struggle over accepting the body I am in. But I won’t waste my time feeling bad about it. I plan to work towards what I can accomplish with it while not giving up on chocolate!

Watching Vir grow up and experiencing Motherhood is the most beautiful part of my life now. My smushy stomach and stretch marks are just reminders of what I endured for my son to be here.



A Pediatrican’s advice on caring for your child’s health while travelling to a new country

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As a new parent we have so many questions and fears about travelling with our children for the first time. After travelling with my son to India on a 30 hour one way journey for a 2 week vacation, I now know that vacation or travel plans are not as easy as they were pre baby.  And while there are tons of tips on how to get there, there is not much advice for how to manage once you arrive.

In my last post How I survived a Long Haul flight with a Lap Baby I discussed my inflight experience/nightmare and shared some tips. And now, in this post we will be discussing on concerns related to our children’s health once you arrive to your destination.

Infants are at high risk for many food related and waterborne illnesses. This is not because they are travelling to India or any other country. It is simply because their immune systems are not developed. This post discuses some of the practical issues faced by us on our trip to India. I reached out to Dr. Abha Sharma a General Pediatrician and an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) to talk more in details about precautions and measures parents can take while travelling to a new country with their child.

Dr. Abha practices and resides in Southern California with her Husband and 2 year old Daughter. I am very thankful that she was able to take out some time from her busy schedule to attend to this list of questions and give us advice on how to prepare ourselves and manage our kids while travelling overseas. Follow her journey on Instagram @healthymamadoc for some great tips and advice on healthy and nutritious meals.

My hope here is to help all my readers with vital information of caring for their child’s health while travelling abroad .

What is a good age to make a long distance travel?

Newborn babies and young infants have developing immune systems and are more susceptible to becoming ill from diseases spread by cough and sneeze.  I usually recommend that parents wait until their baby is at least 2 months old to travel – waiting till 6 months is ideal. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strictly cautions against travelling with a newborn younger than 48 hours old; most airlines prohibit babies younger than 2 weeks old to travel without a Physician’s clearance.

What medications do your recommend to carry, to avoid catching cold and flu in flight.

It has been thought that secondary to recirculated air and limited ventilation in a confined area over a long duration of time, airline passengers have a potentially higher risk of infectious diseases. But, the good news is that one study by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that because the spread of infection is usually by direct contact, the risk is no different than that if you were travelling by train or bus.

If you have an older infant or toddler and are travelling by plane, make sure you carry non toxic sanitizing wipes with you. Germ laden surfaces such as the tray table and arms rests should be wiped down frequently – your little one may want to lick and chew on these repeatedly!

Most OTC Cough and Cold Medications are labeled for use in children above age 6, secondary to the potential for serious side effects and overdose.  Sticking with your little one’s regular diet, keeping them hydrated, and nursing them if you breastfeed, will help prevent illness and help them cope should they come down with the sniffles inflight.

Three items that I would definitely recommend parents take with them when they travel is a Rectal Thermometer, Fever Reducing Medication, and Powdered Packets of Oral Rehydration Solution (i.e. Pedialyte).  For fever, stick with Acetaminophen (Tylenol) prior to 6 months of age, and after they cross 6 months you can use Ibuprofen (Motrin) as well. Consult with your child’s Physician regarding safe dosing of these medications.

Is giving Benadryl recommended to help the baby sleep?

It is not recommended to give Diphenhydramine (commonly marketed as Benadryl) to children for the purposes of the side effect of drowsiness.  Diphenhydramine has the potential to cause several side effects in children, the most serious being overdose and allergic reaction.

What precautions are a must when a child is taken to a different country for the first time? (Vir was on formula and even though we carried bottled formula and took good care of sanitizing bottles he caught a fever and had diarrhea. He lost weight and wasn’t eating properly.)

Strict attention should be paid to hand washing and cleaning bottles, pacifiers, teething rings, and toys that fall to the floor or are handled by others.  The water used to clean these items should be drinkable water.

Parents should be particularly careful to wash hands well after diaper changes, especially for infants with diarrhea, to avoid spreading infection to themselves and other family members. When  handwashing facilities are not easily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing ≥60% alcohol) can be used; hands should be then washed with warm water and soap for 15 seconds as soon as possible.  Hands that have visible soiling are preferably washed right away.



Dr. Abha Sharma with her beautiful family.

Is it important to get the child vaccinated for travel like for Malaria? At what age do you recommend it?

Malaria is a disease contracted from mosquito bite in an area endemic to this disease. To prevent transmission, the first step is to identify if you are travelling to an area with a recent outbreak. The website and your Pediatrician or Family Physician are great resources to assist you in this. Your Physician will determine if it is recommended for your child to take medication to prevent transmission of this disease.

General preventive measures include:

  • Wearing lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and wearing socks.
  • Mosquito repellents used on skin can also be applied to clothing; it must be reapplied after laundering.
  • Apply lotion, liquid, or spray repellent to all exposed areas of skin; reapply frequently.
  • Avoid the outdoors from dusk till dawn, as this is the peak time for mosquitos to bite

Which fruits or vegetables should be avoided in a new country? Do your recommend and food we should carry? ( I carried liquid formula bottle, cereal and snacks but ran out of it and switched to Indian Nan Pro formula which I mixed with bottled water)

Don’t offer your child food from street vendors, and stay away from food prepared and served in unclean conditions. Raw or under cooked meat should be avoided. All raw fruit and vegetables should be washed, peeled and cut by you before offering it to your child.

Safe beverages include bottled carbonated water, boiled water, and water treated with chlorine or iodine.

If your infant or toddler is formula fed, I do recommend packing more powdered formula than you anticipate you will need. The constitution of formulas abroad may not be the same as the one you regularly use. Additionally, pack plenty of dry snacks that you normally keep at home; if your child is picky they may not like what is available locally.

How to handle breast feeding strikes while travelling? My son stopped breast feeding completely in India. I tried to feed him in the night. Once we were back in US, it took him over 2 weeks to get back to his normal feeding schedule.

A nursing strike during or after travel is not an uncommon issue – you can maintain your milk supply AND eventually get your baby back to the breast. During the strike, pump or hand express the milk at the same frequency as you would breastfeed. This helps maintain the supply and prevent infection; this expressed milk can be fed to your baby.

To help get your baby back on the breast:

  • Nurse the baby during the night or while napping –  babies who refuse to nurse when they are awake will most often nurse when they are sleepy.
  • Switch up the position you use to nurse.
  • Rock your baby or walk around while nursing.
  • Nurse in a quiet, darkened room.
  • Maintain skin to skin contact when nursing
  • Keep the baby close to you in a sling or carrier in between nursing attempts.

How long do infants, toddlers generally take to get over jet lag? What is the best way to help overcome jet lag? Vir took over 10 days to get over jet lag .

 In general, count one day for each time zone crossed to give you a rough estimate of how long it may take your little one to recover from jet lag.  Of course, direction of travel impacts recovery time – eastbound travel, i.e. from the New York to London, may be prolonged in comparison to your westbound return trip.  In order to reduce jet lag, adjust your child’s sleep schedule 2-3 days before departure (Some sleep medicine experts recommend doing this upto 4 weeks prior to the trip).  After arrival, encourage your child to be active outside or in brightly lit areas during daylight hours to promote adjustment.  When returning back from a trip, the same applies – make a trip to the park as soon as you can after reaching back home.

Any other recommendations you will like to give to new parents travelling long distances with babies for the first time ?

Discuss your travel plans with your doctor at least 4-6 weeks prior to your trip, so as to allow any preventive medications that are prescribed to be effective.

Review your child’s immunizations with your doctor, and make sure he/she is up to date with the recommended immunizations necessary for their age.  Other immunizations, including those providing protection against Typhoid fever, Bacterial Meningitis, and Japanese Encephalitis, may be recommended depending on your destination.

Ear pain can be an issue for infants and children during the plane’s descent and landing Pressure in the middle ear can be equalized by swallowing or chewing.  You can nurse your little one, offer them a bottle to drink from, or for your toddler, a chewy snack.

Lastly, if you plan on using your child’s car seat on the plane, make sure it is approved for use. Children weighing between 22 lbs and 44 lbs can use an approved restraint system called the CARES Child Safety Device.

I definitely learnt a lot from this interview with Dr Abha. I am SO glad that she was kind enough to accept my email and request to collaborate on this post. Thank you once again Dr Abha for your advice!!!

We both hope that this post truly helps all the new parents and parents to be, who are excited to travel with their new born babies. Good luck and safe travels!!

You can also follow Dr Abha at her social media accounts on other Twitter and Pinterest.

Check out the  Healthy Travel Packing List by CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention)