By Melanie Potock

Put two girlfriends in the kitchen together, hand them each a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and it’s a recipe for fun!  One of my best SLPeeps, Dawn Winkelmann, got together with me in my kitchen for my weekly Monday’s with Coach Mel episode on Facebook Live.  If you missed that episode, no worries!  You can view it on my YouTube channel here.

(Be sure to subscribe to my channel by clicking  here  and each week you’ll get the latest video in your inbox. I had over 250 new subscribers just this week and would love to have you subscribe too!)

Back to Dawn – and the video.  We chatted about the importance of food exploration and how simple food art activities can help hesitant eaters keep their anxiety at bay while creating Happy Mat masterpieces – that is until they gobble them up. Ms. Dawn is the co-author of my favorite book on food art: Making Mealtime ezpz: Fun Ways to Fill the Happy Mat.  The 67 pages of happy mats creatively shaped into silly faces and all sorts of animals will do more than make you smile. The book will give you endless ideas on how to make mealtimes fun! Dawn offers tips for parents and professionals to support kids on their feeding journey and with over 20 years of experience as a feeding specialist, she’s got lots of strategies. Order a book and the original all-in-one placemat and plate, the Happy Mat, and save $5 here!

Dawn always has inspiring tips for parents of hesitant eaters on her blog, so be sure to check it out.  She’s a great cook, but also knows the importance of a simple, quick, and delicious recipe.  I asked her to share her favorite protein dip from Making Mealtime ezpz with all of you: Just take 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon of fresh dill, ¼ cup of olive oil and whip it into frenzy in the blender.  Season with salt and pepper to taste – and presto! A quick and easy dip for crackers or crudité.  But, a finger dipped in this nutritious puree and popped into a little mouth is always a success too!

Speaking of little kids, have you seen the new self-help picture book for young children  called Picky Patty Learns Not to Be So Picky, written by SLP Lori Nachtigal Rothschild? Lori notes that many selective eaters, like the main character in the story, refuse to try new foods, especially proteins. As a result, they get stuck in carbohydrate overload.” Sound familiar?  It is to Lori, who knew a book that offered simple tips and a cute story line would be helpful for both parents and kids. You can find Lori’s new book on Amazon here. I asked Lori what her go-to recipe is for fussy eaters, and she told me without hesitation, “Broccoli cheese trees. We melt cheese, milk and flour on the stove top. You make roux and we dip and lick.”  So easy and so delicious! Follow Lori on Instagram here.

Since you’re on Amazon, check out this heartwarming book by occupational therapist Marget Wincent :What are your Superpowers?  I was watching the movie “Wonder” a few nights ago (translation – crying through the movie nonstop – but happy tears!) and I thought of Marget’s book.  Marget communicates so beautifully how to teach children to be empathetic and see the superpowers in every child.  It might come from her experience as a pediatric OT or as a mom of a young man with Down syndrome.  As noted on her Amazon page, “This book was written to share with families, counselors, and elementary classrooms to promote the idea that awareness of one’s unique abilities develops a community of pride, acceptance and inclusion…. a wonderful gift for children, educators, church libraries, Child Life departments in hospitals and clinic waiting rooms.” I guarantee you’ll love it.

When I asked Marget for her favorite activity for older kids who are hesitant about eating a variety of foods, she shared this terrific idea: “I print and use the visual from and use small pictures of food I cut out from the newspaper grocery ads. The food cards are laminated, and my food scientists place the food pictures onto the poster, learning about food groups. We talk about building their plate and then select pictures of foods they want to try. Walmart even sells this visual as a placemat!”  You can learn more about Marget and her work at

Thank you to all of you who have written such kind reviews about Adventures in Veggieland: Help Your Kids Learn to Love Vegetables with 100 Easy Activities and Recipes!  Those reviews make a HUGE difference for authors, so please consider leaving a reviews for the cooks with books above (Dawn, Lori, Marget – and  me too if you’re on a roll!) on their Amazon pages. Also, be sure you’ve joined my new Facebook Group by the same name – we have over 1,000 members already!  It’s fun, it’s always positive, and it’s for both parents and professionals and focused on what else?  Vegetables! Click here to join!

Happy Eating!

Coach Mel