Our eldest son is a picky eater. It is bothersome and exhausting and frankly drives me crazy. I’ve researched all sorts of ideas and solutions, polled social media moms, listened to lifetime preschool educators, and have brought the subject up with painstaking regularity with our pediatrician. Basically, we’re going to let it slide. We have a few non-negotiable rules within our family dynamics, but for now I think we’re done with the fight.

Here’s the breakdown of our rules: 1) When we are home together we eat at the dinner table; everyone must be present and seated. You’d think this would be a simple rule to enforce, but sometimes it’s Jeb and me who suffer the consequences of making this a priority! Because of late night board meetings and other obligations, this isn’t a nightly norm, but when it happens, we place high value on its importance.

2) In regards to food (and just life) you must be polite in refusing and responding. Because of the many methods we’ve tried, Cade can become incensed and aggravated at the drop of a hat in the kitchen. It’s like we’re all wound way too tight around the subject of food – namely proteins, vegetables, and a balanced diet. Geesch. So, if we present him a plate of food with the majority of things he doesn’t like, he isn’t allowed to throw a fit, throw the food, dismiss the plate, or yell at me the messenger! Again, pretty basic, but these are easily enforced and center around respect and honor.

That’s basically it. We try to keep the expectations low so that my time isn’t spent in a constant debate of maintaining rules. The things Cade will eat. Well, I dress those things up in a lot of different ways. Probably for my own benefit and to negate any mom-guilt for his LOVE of snacks and all things processed.

Onto this recipe for Healthy Chocolate Applesauce Zucchini Muffins. Everyone gobbles these up! Cade loves them and requests them on the regular. I’ve added shredded carrots, smashed banana (reducing the added sugar), and he’s none-the-wiser. I will say, Cade is an excellent help in the kitchen. He loves to bake, measure, chop, etc. But, when I’m making these, I kick him out of the kitchen. No need to argue over the “green stuff” that I’m incorporating!

Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction

Healthy Chocolate Applesauce Zucchini Muffins

Yields 24 muffins  Prep time: 20 minutes  Bake time: 20 minutes

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (Whole wheat flour, or almond flour)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups finely grated zucchini, patted dry with paper towels
  • Mini chocolate chips (to top muffins)


  • Preheat oven to 350°F, line muffin tin with paper liners
  • In a standing mixer, combine and beat together: sugar, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining dry ingredients
  • Add dry mixture to wet mixture until completely combined
  • Gently fold in zucchini
  • Scoop batter evenly in the muffin tins
  • Add mini chocolate chips to tops of muffins
  • Bake for 20 minutes

What do you think? Have you had a troublesome eater? Know of any tricks I need to try?! I’m all ears, please fill me in on your successes, secrets, or just plain out solidarity for walking this path alongside me!

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