Amy Palanjian

Amy Palanjian is a writer, editor, recipe developer, and mama living in small-town Iowa. She shares realistic advice and wholesome, happy recipes at Yummy Toddler Food.
Christmas Kolaches
Kolaches taste like a much-less-sweet version of a classic breakfast pastry. They pair amazingly well with strong coffee and early holiday mornings.
Nov 26, 2022
Easy Banana Kiwi Smoothie
With a base of frozen banana and fresh kiwi, this playful smoothie — let's call it the Green Monster — is rich in fiber and flavor!
Sep 3, 2022
6 Ways to Save When Shopping at Whole Foods
After college I worked as a cashier at the small Whole Foods in Durham, NC, and ever since I’ve had a soft spot for the brand. In fact, wherever I’ve lived I’ve gone out of my way to shop at Whole Foods. When I lived in Harlem, for example, I would take the subway down to the mega store at Columbus Circle. And now I drive an hour each way to the store in Des Moines to stock up on staples that I can’t find — or can only find for more money — in my small town.
May 4, 2022
Cut Your Toddler’s Sugar Intake with This Simple Strategy
When my child turned 1, it suddenly seemed like the world was conspiring to up her sugar intake. There were lollipops at the supermarket (and the bank), bowls of candy at family nights in our town square, birthday cupcakes at daycare, and fruit snacks at the playground. I had so much sugar anxiety that I once seriously debated skipping a friend’s party when I learned there would be store-bought cupcakes piled high with bright-blue frosting.
Sep 30, 2020
Why I Won’t Call My Kid “Picky” (Even Though She Sometimes Is)
Lately, it seems like every parent I know, both in real life and online, says that they have a picky eater. And while I totally get the sentiment — my 3-year-old certainly doesn’t always eat everything I put onto her plate — I won’t call her picky. Here’s why. The word “picky” has become a catchall for every type of eater — from the tot who didn’t eat his broccoli that one time to the child with severe sensory issues.
Sep 30, 2020
Why the Grandparents Can Feed My Kid Anything They Want
My parents are a nutritionist’s dream come true. They regularly eat quinoa, kale, and flaxseed; grow their own vegetables; and, as a general rule, feed us extremely well whenever we visit. Of course, they have a real soft spot for their grandkids, which is often communicated in the form of treats.
Sep 30, 2020
5 Ways to Stop Obsessing About Your Toddler’s Diet
As a new mom, I worried constantly that my daughter was eating too much or not enough vegetables, having too many snacks or developing an unhealthy attitude toward snacks. All that fretting was exhausting. And it turns out there’s another really good reason for not obsessing about her meals: it actually made her a better eater. Here’s what I learned along the way. Trust me — you, too, can go from neurotic to normal when it comes to your toddler’s diet.
Sep 30, 2020
Why the Kids Need Their Own Kitchen Drawer
A few months ago, after yet another stack of bright plastic plates tumbled out of an upper cabinet, I set up a dedicated drawer for all of my daughter’s kitchen things. I put everything in there: her plates, bowls, cups, and placemats. It’s a big drawer, so we also store her cooking tools there too, including a crinkle cutter, small cutting board, masher, and ice pop molds. It was a magical aha moment, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it earlier.
Sep 30, 2020
5-Ingredient Meals for Happy Kids & Healthy New Year Resolutions
As a parent, one of my biggest goals is to raise my kids to have a healthy relationship with food so they can avoid bouncing between indulgence, “clean” eating, and guilt. So they can enjoy a Christmas cookie in one bite and some broccoli the next. And I know that the key to this is modeling it myself. So this year, instead of making some sweeping resolution aimed at stripping my diet down, I have a simple goal that I think we can all get behind: Add more produce to our meals.
Sep 30, 2020
My 3 Rules for Making Smoothies for Kids
As any parent of a young kid knows, getting a little one to willingly gobble up their recommended daily dose of fruits and veggies is a tall order — which is where smoothies come in. Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to offer up a lot of produce at once (with all of the immune-boosting properties, vitamins, and fiber little bodies need) in a vehicle that can be slurped down on even the most rushed of mornings.
Sep 30, 2020
Recipe: Red Lentil Sweet Potato Soup
Plant-based and extra filling.
Feb 3, 2020
Recipe: Lemony Broccoli Pasta
With bold flavors, ample veggies, and serious comfort-food cred, this lemony spaghetti with broccoli and Parmesan deserves to be in regular dinner rotation. Plus, it’s fast enough to make after you get home from a busy workday —especially if you buy pre-chopped broccoli florets — and won’t leave a pile of dirty dishes to deal with when dinner is done.
Feb 3, 2020
Recipe: Make-Ahead Blueberry Smoothies for Mama & Baby
Here’s the biggest obstacle to making smoothies in my house: It can feel slightly overwhelming to assemble the ingredients into a reliably delicious mixture first thing in the morning. But smoothies can be one of the easiest ways to pack nutrition into a meal for a baby or toddler — especially if you do the prep work ahead of time.
Jan 29, 2020
Recipe: Peanut Butter & Chocolate Green Smoothie
Even though this “Banana Rama” smoothie contains zucchini and spinach, it has a sweet flavor, thanks to the classic combination of banana, peanut butter, and chocolate. If your kids love Chunky Monkey ice cream or chocolate milkshakes, the chances are high that they’ll love this healthful smoothie. This smoothie is incredibly creamy from the inclusion of frozen banana and peanut butter. (You can use Sunbutter for a nut-free option if preferred.
Jan 29, 2020
Recipe: Coco Loco Smoothie
Three cheers for a brightly flavored breakfast smoothie that will energize those little people right out the door! The silly name says it all — the Coco Loco smoothie has a coconut base, a handful of cauliflower (trust us on this one!), and a silky-smooth texture from frozen mango. It’s a super-simple kid-friendly breakfast that’s a nice change of pace from banana-based smoothies.
Jan 29, 2020
Recipe: Zucchini Pesto Pizza Rolls
Five simple ingredients tag team on a dinner that everyone at the table will love — including mom and dad, given all of the veggies tucked inside!
Jan 21, 2020
Amy Palanjian's 5 Kid-Friendly Dinners Parents Can Love
Next Week's Meal Plan
These are the back-pocket dinners your meal plan needs.
Nov 2, 2019
This Is the Chocolate Cake That Saved My Christmas
Kitchn Love Letters
And my New Year's Eve!
Oct 16, 2019
10 Feel-Good Food Gifts That Give Back
These edible treats help fund deserving charities, causes, and families in need.
Sep 12, 2019
My Kid Buys School Lunch — Don't Judge
I’ve learned that the way that our kids feel about the food they eat, and the environment in which they eat it, often means so much more than what the food actually is.
Aug 14, 2019
Recipe: Huevos Rancheros Tacos
In our house, eggs save dinner at least once a week. And in case you haven’t tried it, serving breakfast for dinner is an almost guaranteed way to delight the kids at the end of the day. These huevos rancheros tacos, filled with black beans, scrambled eggs, and quickly roasted red peppers, are a delicious vegetarian way to change up taco night for the whole family.
May 30, 2019
Recipe: Sheet Pan Potato Nachos
“Nachos!” That’s pretty much the best answer you can give to your kids’ favorite question about what’s for dinner. And when you make them on potatoes and top them with a mix of flavorful toppings like beans, greens, and cheese, parents will be happy too. The beauty of these potato nachos is that you can add as many or as few toppings as you (or, let’s be honest, the kids) like.
May 30, 2019
3 Simple Strategies for Stress-Free Restaurant Meals with Kids
My husband and I recently took our 3-year-old out for burger night at our favorite local restaurant. We wanted to take advantage of the reduced prices — and sometimes, on a random Wednesday, it’s just nice to have someone else do the cooking. Of course, I packed a tote full of books and crayons to occupy our girl, but the key to a stress-free dining experience with a tot in tow often requires a bit more thought. Here are three ways we keep eating out enjoyable for the whole family.
May 24, 2019
How To Make Lactation Cookies
My memories of the weeks after my first daughter was born are hazy at best. I remember that she cried a lot, absolutely hated her car seat, and loved it when we bounced with her on an exercise ball — and that I was continually grabbing handfuls of food to satisfy my appetite. Breastfeeding hunger is no joke, especially when you’re nursing every two or three hours around the clock in those early days.
May 1, 2019
Recipe: Coconut-Pineapple Agua Fresca to Refresh a Nursing Mama
Between being up all night and feeding baby, being a new mom is exhausting — and dehydrating. And while water (and more water) is the best thing you can do to stay hydrated, there are times when you just want something else. Like this refreshing yet easy three-ingredient agua fresca made with pineapple, coconut, and a healthy handful of mint. During my second pregnancy, pineapple has been my most frequent craving.
May 1, 2019
Recipe: Mashed Sweet Potato Bowls Two Ways, for Mama & Baby
Like many so parents, I was so excited to start solids with my daughter. At the 6-month mark, she could suddenly participate in family meals in a whole new way and I loved watching her explore her food. (I also loved it because, unlike the toddler that she is now, she ate anything that I put in front of her!) We ate a lot of roasted sweet potatoes back then because she loved them any which way we served them — whether roasted in wedges, or served as a mash.
May 1, 2019
Recipe: Avocado Toast Two Ways, for Mama & Baby
Oh, avocado toast — the perfect shortcut meal for any time of day. And one of my absolute favorite ways to serve up a meal that works for the entire family, even the wee ones. Avocado toast is the perfect example, too, of the type of food I am sharing this week for DIY Mama; simple, adaptable meals that with a few adjustments are equally delicious and nutritious for mama and toddler.
May 1, 2019
My Strategy for Everyday Cooking During the Holiday Season
Picture this: I’m 16 weeks pregnant, already sporting a basketball belly, and standing over a hot stove stirring risotto. For an hour. Because it’s Christmas Eve, I’m feeding 12, and I had to triple the recipe. The kitchen is sweltering, I can’t possibly drink enough water to stay hydrated, and I desperately want to call the meal off and serve toast for dinner.
May 1, 2019
5 Tips for Celebrating New Year’s Eve When You Have Kids
Every year, my friends and I come together to celebrate the new year in the Hudson Valley. There are eight of us in total, and this four-family sleepover is my very favorite event of the year. With delicious food, lots of downtime, and a chance to sit and talk for hours, it’s a perfect way to start each year feeling refreshed. As kids have entered into the equation — there are now six between us! — things have gotten a bit trickier.
May 1, 2019
Why I’ll Never Use the Words “Clean Eating”
In my house, we eat mostly fresh foods and keep packaged foods to a minimum. We grow a lot of our own produce in our backyard garden and are members of a CSA. We even buy most of our meat from local farmers who are transparent about using non-GMO feed. But I’ll never say that we eat “clean” because it undermines my long-term strategy for both my own health and that of my two girls. Here’s why.
May 1, 2019
5 Low-Sugar Ways I Bake Dessert for My Family
In our house, we do our best to eat meals that give our girls ample opportunities to eat lots of fruits and veggies. But since I know that life is more enjoyable when there are regular treats, we also do a lot of baking. I often feel like my kids are being offered sugary treats everywhere we go, so the baking I do at home is always lower in sugar.
May 1, 2019
The One Thing We Always Do on Christmas Morning
My husband came to our marriage with very few holiday traditions. And since we always head east to my Italian family for Christmas, his preferences have gotten a little lost in the sea of pizzelles and pannettone, risotto and tomato pie. He loves to eat delicious food, though, just like every member of my large Italian family, so he fits right in — until he requests kolaches for Christmas morning.
Dec 22, 2016
5 Ways to Make Halloween Benefit Your Community
My 4-year-old has been planning her Halloween costume for months. She’s on the fence about whether she wants to be a hyena (thank you, Lion King) or Tinker Bell (because of the dress, of course). And, of course, costumes and candy are a big part of the excitement of Halloween, especially when you’re in the single digits. But I’m hoping that my daughter is old enough to share the hospitable Halloween spirit with our community. Giving back doesn’t have to be difficult.
Oct 12, 2016
The After-Bedtime Dinner Party: A One-Hour Menu and Game Plan
Entertaining at home has gotten a lot more complicated in my house lately. And while I love my sweet baby girl to pieces and would gladly snuggle her all evening long, there are times when I need a meal with friends — without toddlers or babies to wrangle — for my emotional well-being. So I recently attempted a night when I did both and invited friends over for an after-bedtime dinner party. The result?
Sep 25, 2016