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Karell Roxas

This morning, my daughter had an epic meltdown because we were out of Trader Joe's "Fig Walks Into a Bar" bars. I acknowledge that I had a pantry full of other choices and I should not give in to the tantrums of a threenager.

However, on this particular morning, my patience was already thin, and I just needed her freak-out to stop. I buckled her in the car and took her to the local TJs (that is 30 minutes away from our home BTW) and told her to tell me what she would eat. Our home has been through almost every food item in that store, so she is basically a TJ's connoisseur at this point.

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Here is what she came up with. Everything is mom and dietitian-approved, and for the record, most choices are the only vegetable that enters her body without being immediately spat out.

1. This Fig Walks Into a Bar bars.


This is number one on the list. No other brand would do, and I am not that upset about that. Although I don't tend to LOVE cereal bars, this one is trans-fat free, and that is surprisingly hard to find.

2. Freeze-dried Strawberries.

These berries are freeze-dried with no added sugar. I love these because I can keep them in my mom-bag and don't have to worry about then getting rotten. My daughter loves them because they are crunchy…and to a 3-year-old crunchy is hilarious.

3. Cauliflower pizza crust.

As a dietitian, I see many clients overindulge on cauliflower pizza crust because they think it is a vegetable and don't realize it also contains cornstarch and potato starch (and it isn't calorie free!). For a 3-year-old who refuses to eat vegetables, using this crust sneaks in some cauliflower without a protest. I also love how she can help make her own pizza and choose which toppings she wants. The crust is also trans-fat free which is a definite plus

4. Contemplates Inner Peas.

Girlfriend can go to town on these, and I am totally okay with that. They are super-cheap and provide 5 gm plant-based protein and 4 gm fiber per serving. I am always looking for snacks that contain protein to help keep everyone more satisfied.

5. Crispy Crunchy Okra.

For me, I am not a lover of these snacks. At 14 gm fat per bag (3 gm being saturated) I think that is a hefty price for a vegetable. Considering that this is likely the only thing that is naturally green that my daughter will consume, I'll give this a hall pass for her. She gets 11 gm fiber and a ton of vitamins and minerals per serving, so it is definitely better than a bag of Oreos!

6. Pistachio nutmeats.

I love pistachios for the magnesium, manganese, and other nutrients, but don't enjoy the process of shelling. Shelling under the pressure of having a hangry 3-year-old hover over you makes the process even more undesirable. Cue the pistachio nutmeats to the rescue. They are shelled pistachios! Genius!

7. Fish sticks.

I'm not sure why this is the only brand of fish sticks that my daughter will eat. I don't question it…I just buy it.

8. Uncured turkey bacon.

This is such an easy protein source that isn't fried fast-food chicken nuggets. I love how it is uncured and nitrate free. It is super easy to make, and my daughter is happy to eat it!

9. Cage-free, hard-cooked, peeled eggs.


I know I know…how hard is it to boil an egg, right? Sometimes mama needs to take some shortcuts, and if that means paying a premium for eggs that are already boiled and peeled so be it.

10. Apple and carrot fruit sauce crusher.

It has the word "carrot" in there, and my daughter doesn't gag when she eats this. That is good enough for me!

11. Mac and Cheese.


Need I say more?

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