Meet Leigh Ann from @mydiaryofus

What inspired/prompted you to start @mydiaryofus?

I originally started my blog when my husband got a new job and I had to start a new career because we moved in the middle of nowhere! I was cooking all the time and had a few friends encourage me to start a blog…so I did and had no idea that it would lead me to where I am today! Now my motivation is my son who I want to teach to live a healthy lifestyle as well as fall in love with the kitchen too! I also always want to inspire other families in their own kitchen and my hope is that they will feel more confident about feeding their family in a healthy way!

What is something you have learned from another #foodiemom and applied to your own cooking/meal strategy/etc.?

Oh wow, I learn so much from so many #foodiemoms on a daily basis! But I would say one thing that they all have in common is to not pressure your kids to eat something, just keep exposing them to healthy foods and they will come around! I have found this to be so true with my own son!

What is a food or nutrition related goal that you have for 2018 for yourself or your family?

My big food goal for 2018 is to take better care of myself nutritionally. As moms we tend to run ourselves thin and end up eating leftovers off of toddler plates instead of making ourselves a lunch that we can enjoy and that our bodies will benefit from! If we take care of ourselves, then we end up being better moms, better wives, and are happier too!

Meet Joy from @lunchesandlittles

What inspired/prompted you to start @lunchesandlittles?
I’ve always been a lover of color, good food and fun, and having children brought those side of me out even more. However, when I signed up and started using Instagram it was for personal reasons/ connections and I had no intention on growing it in any way, especially not in the direction it grew. One day, in addition to pics of our kids, I started posting fun food; toast shaped liked a fish, a stack of colorful pancakes, etc. I was simple sharing what was working for us with meal times in our home. All of a sudden, people started following along, and I guess the rest is history. Today my children are definitely the on-going inspiration for my feed. I want the foods that I make at home to be able to compete with the store-bought, commercial versions that routinely catch my family’s attention. I regularly challenge myself to make healthy treats and meals more fun, and in the process have taught myself that with the right ingredients, and a little extra time – even the healthiest meals could be appealing to children (and adults!). On my feed I try and share what I have learned (and am still learning!) with my audience, sharing family recipes, fun food and healthy treats, that are usually pretty coloful and easy too!

What is something you have learned from another #foodiemom and applied to your own cooking/meal strategy/etc.?
I get inspired by other women on Instagram every single day and could write so much about people who have taught, encouraged and even shaped me over the last couple years in this community. To name just a few: Kayla (@thefamilyfoodproject), Melanie (@cleanlittleplates) and Megan (@mamamakesfood) have each inspired me to eat more plant-based, which is something I really did not do that much a couple years ago. Heather (@heather_kidskitchen) is another Mama who has inspired me a lot. She has a vision and desire to make meals fun and colorful just like I do and I love that she works to help little ones outside of her home be hands on in the meal prep/ cooking process too. Ashley (@veggiesandvirtue) is another Mama who inspires me with her feed. She has kind of coined the phrase “loveitlikeitlearningit” in the insta-world and I love that she gave a term to something I have been trying to do with our own little ones. I also love her dietitian background, as I do not have the same head knowledge that she does when it comes to a lot of those details in the food space.

What is a food or nutrition related goal that you have for 2018 for yourself or your family?
For 2018, I really want to get back to basics. At times in 2017 I got a bit elaborate with recipes and got some feedback that my dishes and ideas were hard to replicate. I love making meals fun, and delicious, but I also want people who follow me to understand that feeding your family healthy, real food does not have to be hard. Sure, there are occasions I take more time to prep a meal than others, but I am also a mother of 3, all 4 and under, and definitely know what it is like to feel busy, overwhelmed, or just not want to cook. Ha! I hope in the next year to reach even more parents with the message that making healthy and good meals can be done on any schedule, and real food really can be fun.

Meet Megan from @mamamakesfood

What inspired/prompted you to start @mamamakesfood?
My passion for healthy eating and cooking took a new turn when our son became old enough to start eating solid foods. I’ve always enjoyed preparing food, but making it for our son was (and still is) so much fun. I decided to document our feeding journey and hopefully share some inspiration with other parents by starting my blog and Instagram feed. My son is nearly three now and it still brings me joy to prepare colorful and nutritious meals for all of us and continue to share pictures on Instagram. Not only is it truly satisfying to know I provide a little bit of healthy-feeding-inspo out there, but I’ve also forged friendships with countless like-minded foodie moms across the world.

What is something you have learned from another #foodiemom and applied to your own cooking/meal strategy/etc.?
My favorite foodie mom hack is definitely adding vegetables in unconventional places: spinach in muffins, cauliflower in smoothies, zucchini in pancakes, and so on. I’ve taken this technique and ran with it for a while now, developing my own recipes along the way. Getting my son in the kitchen to make these foods with me makes creating these veggie-loaded goodies even more special because he knows exactly what he’s eating.

What is a food or nutrition related goal that you have for 2018 for yourself or your family?
I want to meal plan more regularly. It’s so easy with our busy lifestyle to not take the time to plan our meals for the week, but when I do take the time, we eat better and cooking is more fun and less stressful (as it should be!). I also want to focus on offering more vegetables at snack time – especially raw veggies. My son doesn’t eat raw vegetables very well presently and I want to work on that this year. Finally, another goal I’m aiming for is to reduce the amount of dairy and processed grain products (breads, pastas, etc) my family eats. These products can be an easy choice when we are especially time-crunched, but they do not leave our bodies feeling nourished afterwards.

Meet Kanchan from @chiefspicemama

What inspired/prompted you to start @chiefspicemama?
Growing up in India, spices were everywhere. They elevated our food and served as natural remedies for various ailments from a sore throat to a tummy upset. I didn’t think anything of it until I was a PhD student in Cancer Biology at Harvard University a couple of decades later and my lab started studying curcumin, the active compound in turmeric for its cancer-fighting properties! I was stunned and amused that turmeric, which is such an integral part of the Indian kitchen and farm-acy, was finally being recognised by modern science for it’s health-boosting magic. When I became a mother, I started offering my son spices in his baby purees at 7 months of age – turmeric with avocado and lentils, cinnamon with sweet potato, cumin with carrots and peas, and so on. Many of my mom friends in New York City were skeptical. “Is that allowed”?! “Can you really give babies spices”?! I started my blog http://www.spicespicebaby.com and my instagram account @chiefspicemama to debunk these myths and misunderstandings and to bring healing spices and their amazing health benefits to kids and families everywhere. I have just published my first cookbook and feel so blessed to be working at the intersection of science, spices, and food – an absolute dream come true for me.

What is something you have learned from another #foodiemom and applied to your own cooking/meal strategy/etc.?
Kayla Mangione is the beautiful mama behind @thefamilyfoodproject and I have learned so much from her about the power of plants and how to eat a more balanced, plant-based diet, which I believe to be super important for the health of our families and the planet! Kayla introduced me to the iron-rich powers of blackstrap molasses, for example, which we now offer baby in her oatmeal on a regular basis. I also love how Kayla takes meat-heavy classics like beef bolognese and substitutes in lentils or beans to make a plant-powered dish that is truly delicious and nourishing. I definitely find myself eating

What is a food or nutrition related goal that you have for 2018 for yourself or your family?
I would like my family and myself to eat more plants and less meat in 2018. Meat can be a healthy and important part of a balanced diet and we will continue to be responsible omnivores but I would like to experiment with plant-based dishes more. I also want to expand my 5 year old’s palate (even if I consider him a reasonably good eater already!) and my goal is to be patient and compassionate as I continuously expose him to new and nourishing foods (he still dislikes raw peppers, for instance). Along these lines, I would love to add in veggies for breakfast for the whole family on a regular basis – chocolate, zucchini oatmeal, anyone?! 🙂

Meet Jen from @drjencohen

What inspired/prompted you to start @drjencohen?

I have worked with families, specifically families with kids of fussy eaters in the one-on-one setting for a long. I found that I never had enough time in the sessions to really help a family and I really wanted to do more. By starting my blog and instagram feed I found this was the best way to really help families out their who are struggling to know how to help their fussy eaters as well as the best foods to give their kids. I have also designed courses that families can do online to help their fussy eaters to want to try new foods. I had not planned on being on instagram but went on there one day and I was amazed at the community of other mum’s I found being part of instragram. I now get to help families and have friends all over the world.

What is something you have learned from another #foodiemom and applied to your own cooking/meal strategy/etc.?
love to cook but recipe development is not something that is a strength of mine. I have found so many new recipes and meal ideas to feed my family and kids. I am all about making veggies fun for kids and I love the amount of veggie recipes I have found from other #foodiemoms. I especially love how other mums are adding veggies to breakfast and other snacks. Before instagram I had never thought about adding cauliflower to smoothies or zucchini and carrot to oats!

What is a food or nutrition related goal that you have for 2018 for yourself or your family?

I love this question. My goal is to continue to expose my kid’s to different foods and different flavours. I want to keep using different spices, herbs, flavours and textures and make different cusines so that my kid’s really learn to appreciate all types of food when they are older. My personal goal for 2018 is to get my fitness back!

Meet Ashley from @veggiesandvirtue

What inspired/prompted you to start @veggiesandvirtue?
Being a pediatric dietitian mom who struggled to feed my own child. I always assumed my kids would be adventurous eaters and feeding them would be fun. But after one and then later two picky eaters, I realized feeding them what and how I wanted was worlds harder than I ever imagined. It shifted everything I knew in my head as a dietitian and gave me a whole new depth of understanding and empathy towards what so many parents of picky eaters go through. I wanted to share both my struggles and my successes with fellow moms as a relatable look at how to establish a healthy feeding foundation for our families, ESPECIALLY when it isn’t easy or intuitive.

What is something you have learned from another #foodiemom and applied to your own cooking/meal strategy/etc.?
SO MANY VEGGIES. I thought I ate a pretty solid diet with plenty of fruits and veggies but so many foodie moms I follow and have gotten to know constantly inspire and challenge me to eat and to offer MORE veggies! It is awesome to see how many ways other foodie moms offer up veggies in both traditional and non-traditional ways and definitely keeps pushing my own family and me to keep aiming for more in our everyday (as I can get my girls to eat and enjoy them!)

What is a food or nutrition related goal that you have for 2018 for yourself or your family?
Similar to the above, I want to start emphasizing a more plant-based diet at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Although my aim is not to become vegan or even vegetarian, I rarely ever think to plan meatless meals. So I am eager to start experimenting and expanding my family’s meal rotations to include more plant-based options at each meal of the day. My goal is that we will eat more vegetables, make plant-based foods the star of the show at a meal, and thus find satisfaction in being fueled by sources of nutrition outside of meat.

Meet Vivian from @dr.vivian

What inspired/prompted you to start @dr.vivian?

I started my blog initially to share knowledge I had about Food allergies, our health journey, and how I healed my daughter of her four food allergies. Over time, I broadened to sharing general health tips and plant-based recipes because I also ‘treated’ my husband’s hypertension and my own fatigue/brain fog successfully with lifestyle changes. As a doctor who was frustrated with the limitations of western medicine at treating chronic diseases, I wanted to share my passion for lifestyle medicine and spread the knowledge. I fully believe ‘Food is medicine’ and that wellness begins with what we put in our mouths. I wanted to show my followers what we ate and that healthier choices can still be tasty.

What is something you have learned from another #foodiemom and applied to your own cooking/meal strategy/etc.?

I have learnt so much from ALL the fabulous foodiemoms I’ve met on IG, I’m extremely grateful for the community who have supported and taught me so much. Your(motherhoodandmeals) #happytoddlertuesday videos are so educational and I love them – even though my kids are not toddlers anymore I still have implemented many tips from your videos.

What is a food or nutrition related goal that you have for 2018 for yourself or your family?

A food goal for 2018 for us is to introduce more spices into my kids meals. Spices are so nutritious but my kids can’t eat very spicy or strongly flavored foods e.g cayenne and raw garlic. I’ve always just added in the extra spices after I’ve taken out their portions but a goal for us is to gradually introduce more of these into their meals so I won’t have to.

Meet Kristy from @onmykidsplate

What inspired/prompted you to start your @onmykidsplate?

I had struggled a bit with picky eating with my child when she was a young toddler. At the time I started my account we had just moved back to the US and found we were grabbing convenient food all the time, and in turn my kid was beginning to get pickier again. On My Kids Plate started as a food diary for my child, and helped me visually see that I was offering her balanced meals and just as importantly- variety. When I can offer her more variety at home, it helps me to not only feel like I am doing my best as a mom to introduce her to new foods and to also find alternatives we love. It also helps me to relax as a parent when we do offer treats or convenience food. I’ve found that fun food is also a great way to surprise my daughter so that she gets more excited about trying new things. I hope that my recipes and ideas help other parents who are struggling with trying to add variety to their kid’s diets.

What is something you have learned from another #foodiemom and applied to your own cooking/meal strategy/etc.?

I think I’ve learned a lot more about food allergies and alternative options. Food is meant to be shared, and I feel like through meeting more people with food allergies and intolerances I think about the alternatives more. All kids, whether they have an allergy or not, should be able to have fun food sometimes. So even though my child doesn’t currently have dietary restrictions, I think more consciously about food when I’m creating for more then just our family.

What is a food or nutrition related goal that you have for 2018 for yourself or your family?

My goal this year is to get more of my recipes on my website so that other parents can try them too! On Instagram this past year I’ve focused a lot on simple ideas parents could create from an image, but I’ve been asked more and more for recipes- and for video tutorials. I have a hidden zucchini meatball recipe for example that I owe to a lot of people. (sorry guys!) In all seriousness, I hope I can help more people offer great meals and snacks to their kids, and maybe make them laugh along the way. I also always hope to expose my kid and family to more and more variety in our meals.

Meet Heather from @heather_kidskitchen

What inspired/prompted you to start @heather_kidskitchen?

As a cooking instructor, I have been working with kids in kitchens for years, but it wasn’t until having my own children that I realized how important (and difficult!) it is to feed our children healthy meals everyday. As my boys grew, I started developing recipes that they enjoyed and finding ways to have them help me in the kitchen. Friends were asking for tips on how to get their own kids cooking with them, so I thought it would be fun to document what my boys and I cooked and ate through an IG page.

What is something you have learned from another #foodiemom and applied to your own cooking/meal strategy/etc.?

I’ve learned so much from other moms on IG! Mostly I’ve learned to really take charge of what food we eat daily–to read food labels, that if you don’t want your family to not eat a certain food, don’t buy it, and that vegetables should be made a regular part of every meal. Also, that we all eat differently and parent differently, and that is not only okay but beautiful.

What is a food or nutrition related goal that you have for 2018 for yourself or your family?

I don’t really have a specific goal…but I’d like to plan lunches and dinners ahead more so that I am more calm trying to get out the door in the morning. However, I’m a chronic procrastinator so that goal is not going so well.

Meet Alyssa from @babyfoodideas

What inspired/prompted you to start @babyfoodideas?
Years ago I began posting photos of food I fed our first born. Initially it was more for me to keep track of what he had eaten. It started to catch on and gain attention. After the account grew a bit, I deleted the posts and started @BabyFoodIdeas, where I could post all the baby food posts I wanted. The rest is history!

What is something you have learned from another #foodiemom and applied to your own cooking/meal strategy/etc.?
I love seeing fruits and veggies on a plate. I started off feeding our firstborn lots of rice cereal, because our pediatrician recommended it. Through fellow mommy bloggers, I soon realized the importance of fresh produce, and shifted my focus towards that.

What is a food or nutrition related goal that you have for 2018 for yourself or your family?
We made a few changed in 2017, and I am happy at the results we are all seeing. I think the kids are doing well so far with regards to their nutritional choices. One thing I would like to see is all of us drinking more water. We do drink it on a daily basis, but not as much as we should, and proper hydration is so important.