health · kids · parenting · Uncategorized

10 Aldi Upgrades for Picky Eaters

Picky eaters are not only tough customers, but it seems like the foods they will eat aren’t always the healthiest. This has been true of my six-year-old little girl.

There is a short list of foods she is willing to eat, and we have tried all kinds of strategies to encourage her to lengthen that list and try new things, often to no avail.

What has been successful is taking a look at the foods she will eat, and trying “upgrade” her the highest quality we can of those foods.

What I’m finding, and I really believe this, is that as we ramp up the nutritional value of the foods she will eat, and we have found a good pre/probiotic for her, she is now more open to trying new foods because our body craves what we feed it. When we feed it junk it craves junk. Now that she is taking in more nutrition she is craving more nutrition!

Here are 10 of our Aldi favorites that meet her seal of approval for taste, and mine for nutrition:


  1. Whole pineapple. This is a big-time upgrade from canned pineapple since there are no preservatives and it’s not stored in an aluminum can, which is a concern in and of itself. Fresh pineapple tastes better and it will save you money. Pro-tip: You can test to see if a pineapple is ripe by pulling one of the inner-most leaves. If it comes out easily, it’s ripe. And don’t be intimidated by its spiny exterior. Watch a video or two on youtube of how to break down a pineapple. It’s easier than you think!
  2. String cheese. This is a step-up from American “cheese” which actually isn’t a cheese at all. My kiddo loves the mozzarella and Colby spiral.
  3. Ancient Grain bread. This is real bread with actual nutrition! Did you know the most popular brands of bread on the market, aka white bread, are white because the flour has been bleached? Bread should be brown, through and through. Also our wheat supply has been tampered with so even whole wheat sandwich bread can upset your tummy. They are processed to remove bran and natural oils so they will have a longer shelf life. I will be honest that we did use whole wheat sandwich bread as a transition bread and eased her into the Ancient Grain.
  4. Mandies. My daughter loves these little mandarin oranges. There are an upgrade from the fruit cups that are often packed in syrup and definitely have preservatives added. Pro-tip: When shopping for healthier food for your family, a good rule of thumb is to shop the perimeter. The greater majority of junk food and foods containing preservatives are found on the aisles. By avoiding the aisles and shopping the outermost parts of the store (dairy, meat, breads, fruits, vegetables) you are much more likely to be putting healthy items in your shopping cart.
  5. Simply Nature Unsweetened Apple Squeezes. These applesauce squeezes are not only missing the added sugar of the name brand Go-Go Squeeze, my kiddos prefer them.
  6. Rainier cherries. This is a new fruit for our picky eater. There is only a short window that you can find them available (typically June-July). She loves these as well as any other raw cherry. These are an upgrade from the bright red cherries that come in a jar and no doubt have sugar and food coloring added – two things that will ramp her hyperactivity up at lightning speed. If your child is hyperactive, try cutting back food coloring (especially red) and sugar for one week and watch the difference it makes.
  7. Edamame.  My little girl likes very few vegetables. I could definitely count on my fingers how many she will eat. Edamame is one she loves, maybe just for the novelty of shelling them. I mean really, eating them is a fun experience. Aldi doesn’t always carry them, but when they do, they are going in the cart.
  8. Simply Nature Lemonade. No GMOs and Organic. We add her prebiotic/probiotic to this lemonade, and it is delicious when combined. If your child doesn’t take one, Young Living makes an amazing one. It will help him/her to digest sugars and junk foods the body doesn’t normally or quickly break down. You can find them here and my referral number is 2183425 if you are asked for one. You’re welcome!
  9. Simply Nature White Cheddar Puffs. Not only are these non-GMO and organic, but they also are an upgrade from their bright orange name brand counterpart.
  10. Oven Roasted Turkey. This a premium one-pound pack and a step up from the name brand pack we bought previously. She loves a wrap with this turkey. In fact, she discovered today that she likes them with her mozzarella string cheese added.

These ten products are just a few ways that we have upgraded our picky eater’s diet by increasing the quality. I would love to know any of your favorites in the comments, or to know what products from this list you are excited to try.

If you would like to see more Aldi product recommendations, I have a more extensive list for picky eaters and a post for big kids as well.

foodie · health · quarantine · Uncategorized

Changing Your Perspective on Food

What is your relationship with food? Do you eat to nourish your body? To bring you joy? To comfort you? To satisfy your hunger? If you’re like most people, you probably answered “yes” to all of the above. Me too!

However, as I’ve gotten older and cared more about my health and feeling good, over time I can honestly say I have shifted to eating more for these two reasons: to satisfy hunger and to nourish my body.

I think part of the reason we struggle as a culture with our food relationship, is that during phases of our life, we have placed too much focus on the other two reasons: we reach for food to bring us joy and to comfort us.

The greatest shift can happen for you when you stop (and this is the magic sentence, hence the boldface) stop choosing the foods you eat for the taste factor and choose them for how you know they will make you feel.

Those who are around me for much time at all are surprised at how easily I can say “no thanks” to a big bowl of ice cream or to donuts. It’s because I’ve learned I’m lactose intolerant and I’ve spent many a day doubled over in a ball on my bed, with the sharpest imaginable pain in my gut due to eating dairy. Same can be said for gluten. I have slowly evolved to the place where I care more able how I will feel for the rest of the day than a few brief moments of “yummy.”

When I have weak moments and give in to either my own cravings or into peer pressure of what those around me would prefer to eat, I always regret it. Physically, and sometimes also emotionally. Our physical health as you know impacts our emotional health, and vice versa. So before I choose what I want to put in my body, I try to always ask: is this the best thing I could be eating right now? Am I eating it because it is yummy? Is that the only reason? How will I feel after I eat this?

Another catalyst that helped me make the shift, was learning that the “food on the aisles” are loaded with preservatives and some of those include additives that make you crave more of that food. Some of you reading this may feel betrayed by the food industry and angry to learn this – I know I did. These are the packaged foods: boxed, canned, frozen. A good rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t eat it.

This is why I suggest to folks to shop the perimeter of the grocery store: meats, seafood, dairy (we do lactose free), fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts. The good stuff, the healthy stuff, is always on the perimeter, not in the aisles (this is generally true, though there are some good foods to find in the aisles.) You need to eat real food.

What I wasn’t expecting, is that once I cut out the junk food, I stopped craving it. Now I pretty much crave real fresh food. Then I read a quote that pretty much summarizes this idea: “what you eat you crave more of. ”

So if you eat junk, you crave more junk. When you eat real food, you crave that. The hard part is making the shift. When I cut out junk food, it wasn’t easy. It helped that I was pregnant, and my primary goal in life was to provide the healthiest possible environment for my baby to inhabit. I had a greater motivation and something outside myself that helped me have the willpower to make the change.

It also helped that my mom had been diagnosed with Alzheimers and my research to help her benefited my whole outlook. It was then that I learned about the terrible effects of artificial sweeteners.

And later still, when my oldest child was diagnosed with migraine headaches, my research to help her led me to my knowledge of food coloring and sugar. Both of these are migraine triggers and I would recommend cutting these two out to anyone who suffers from them. Even further research of food coloring led me to how  it effects those with ADD, and I learned sugar consumption lowers the immune system.

I realize these aren’t popular schools of thought and may even be unwanted because they don’t line up with how you would like to eat, but if you are aware, I promise your outlook on how you eat with shift and YOU WILL FEEL BETTER.

And in the face of a worldwide pandemic, as we are right now, you need to be reaching for every possible advantage that you can to increase your wellness and immune system so that you are resistant. Eat for your health, friends. You are what you eat.




Healthy Snacks for Kids (even picky eaters)


Since the day I found out we were expecting our first child, my view of food and nutrition shifted, and my perspective on food that we brought into our home became this:

“Is this the best thing that we can provide for our family and the best for their growth and development?”

I researched brain growth and development of babies and children extensively, and the foods that supported these the most.

It’s why I tackled the physical hurdle of breastfeeding, some of the most trying months of my life, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I”m a teacher and many, many days I spent my lunch time and planning time pumping. I was determined to do it no matter what. I realize some aren’t able to despite their best efforts and I truly sympathize with that. I am very thankful that it was something I could provide both of my children the first two years of their lives.

We do our best do buy non-GMO, organic and gluten free when we can. We also try to seek out wild-caught seafood and cage-free chicken and eggs as much as possible.

I felt led to share a very clear list of healthy toddler snacks. I know many who feed their children name brand chips, cookies, cakes, candies and they thrive as adults and turn out just fine! So I am in no way condemning anyone’s choices in writing this.

However, I also know that 80% of the immune system is located in the gut and the foods we choose to eat greatly impact our digestion, and therefore our immune system function and overall health.  If you share my goal of avoiding the doctor’s office and pharmacy line as much as possible, this shift to eating for wellness has served our family well. My girls have only been to the doctor for well checkups, a broken bone and for my oldest’s migraines which we are now getting a handle on by limiting her sugar and food coloring intake and preventing anxiety.

It may feel like an impossibility at first because may of the companies who produce the popular name brand package foods are a) so heavily advertised and geared toward children and b) have chemicals added to them that not only are harmful to the body, but cause you to crave more of them! You can google search this and find a wealth of evidence to support this. I so wish I was wrong about it.

The good news: You crave whatever you are given. If you are fed healthy food, your body will crave healthy food. The more water you drink, the more water you crave. As your children shift to eating REAL food, they will begin to PREFER IT. Real foods don’t have ingredients, they actually ARE ingredients. Or the ingredients they do have are only real foods. Jamie Oliver, the famous chef, is a huge proponent of this movement. He has done a great deal in his home country to make people more aware of this and to encourage it.


Fruits :

Honeycrisp apples






Prunes (my kids actually ask for them!)



Cherries (fresh)


Applesauce (Organic squeeze from Aldi – lots of flavors!)

Honest Kids Juice

Organic fruit snacks from Aldi



Cherry tomatoes



Kettle Chips (love the sea salt ones cooked in avocado oil)


Seaweed snacks





String cheese

Stonyfield organic yogurt squeezers

Blue cheese crumbles

Chobani yogurt

Dark chocolate


Bagels + cream cheese

Whole grain Cheerios

Cascadian Farms organic cereal

Popcorn (Newman’s own)


Whole grain toast and butter

Kind bars


Virginia ham

Hard-boiled eggs


Beef jerky

Scrambled eggs

Some of our favorite snacks right now:

banana + peanut butter wraps

salami and cheese roll-ups

carrots and hummus

tortilla chips + guacamole

gluten-free pretzel sticks (Snyder’s of Hanover)

Whole grain cheerios

Lindt  – Sea Salt Dark Chocolate (one square) + dried mixed berries


Kids puffs from Aldi (no artificial colors/flavors)

Mozzarella + basil + tomatoes + balsalmic/olive oil (caprese salad)

Disclaimer: You you follow me on any social media, you WILL see that I post pics of my girls eating ice cream, donuts, and enjoying Icees. This is because I also believe in moderation. I believe that if I completely deprive them of all of what they perceive to be “life’s pleasures” based on what they see others consuming in their real life and advertised, that they will resent our lifestyle. They are great kids and I see the joy that occasionally allowing these foods brings them. But rest assured, this will always be followed by a detox bath and days of healthy foods before we have them again. 🙂