How a Plate Solved Mealtime Woes for a Mom and Her Autistic Son — Dinner with Kids

Mealtime used to come with massive amounts of stress and anxiety for Jen Anderson, of Kirkland, Washington. "I dreaded meals to the point where I felt sick to my stomach in anticipation," she says. Her son Levi was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 1/2 years old, and getting him to eat was nearly impossible. "Levi couldn't stay seated for more than 10 seconds at a time," she says. "He didn't recognize the feeling of hunger. And only ate foods that were starchy and unhealthy." Some days, he'd barely eat anything at all.

Of course, Jen and her husband tried everything. They spent thousands of dollars on a board-certified behavioral analyst who would make house calls to work with Levi. "Even she couldn't get him to eat." They'd make a blanket fort under the table, give him toothpicks instead of a fork, let him eat in front of the television, and anything else they could think of.

It was a painful situation for many reasons. For starters, they worried their son wasn't getting the nutrients he needed. They also got disapproving comments and looks from people (including friends and family!). They couldn't go out to eat as a family and Jen even started avoiding other moms and play dates. Jen was at the end of her rope and didn't know what to do.

But then, nearly two years ago when Levi was 5 1/2, she found something that changed their lives: a plate.


Our Favorite Lunch Box That You Won’t Forget on Hectic Mornings — Shopping

It's happened to the best of us: You stay up late or wake up early to make the most amazing lunch. You get super excited about it and pat yourself on the back. You're saving money and eating something delicious! And then you get halfway to work and realize that, in the morning chaos, you left said delicious meal in the fridge — or worse, on the counter where it's sure to spoil before you can get home to rescue it.

Fun fact: Packing your lunch is only successful if you actually take it with you. If this happens to you again and again, you're wasting money (on the food you didn't get to eat and the lunch you now have to buy in the afternoon). You'd be better off spending a little bit of money now ($40, to be exact) to invest in a lunch box situation that you're sure to remember to grab on your way out the door.


We Tried 3 Spiralizers and Here’s What We Thought — It’s a Spiralized Life

Zoodles, swoodles, and other noodle-fied vegetables are pretty trendy these days. And for good reason! Not just a clever name, spiralized vegetables are a healthier alternative to noodles and just a fun new way to eat more veggies. Sure, you can turn produce into noodles with a chef's knife or a julienne peeler, but that will take some time — so it does help to have a spiralizer.

Which one should you get? We put three different gadgets through the wringer and here's what we thought.


An Honest Look at the Pros & Cons of Bee’s Wrap — Storage Smarts

Have you heard the buzz about Bee's Wrap? Touted as a sustainable, reusable alternative to plastic wrap, there's a whole lot to like. And if you watch this video of Sarah Kaeck, the woman behind Bee's Wrap, who started waxing her own cloth in her own kitchen, you will absolutely fall in love with it too. In another life, I would totally live on her sun-dappled farm growing vegetables and reviving traditional food storage techniques while my beautiful children feed goats.

Alas, it's cloudy today and my window looks into the apartment building across the street. So let's talk about the pros and cons of Bee's Wrap for the rest of us.


What’s the Difference Between Regular and Heavy-Duty Aluminum Foil? — What’s the Difference

Aluminum foil is a kitchen essential. If you're like us, you use this workhorse for wrapping up leftovers, packaging food for the freezer, and lining baking sheets and grill grates. It can even be a cooking vessel all on its own, which is especially handy if you're short on pots and pans (or just don't feel like cleaning).

So the question when it comes to buying a roll of foil is not if you'll buy a roll, but which kind you'll buy: regular or heavy-duty?


Our Favorite Grocery Store Olive Oil — Shopping

Olive oil is not something that gets used in my kitchen lightly: I use it in practically everything I cook, and I cook a lot. Still, I'm always shocked just how quickly I can get through a bottle — and by how expensive my olive oil habit can be.

I've long been on the hunt for a bottle from the grocery store that I can use every day without fail — one that delivers a mild, peppery flavor and won't destroy my grocery store bill. After much searching, I finally found the bottle that delivers all of this and more.


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