Over the past couple of weeks I have had to remind myself of how important mealtime structure is, especially for my two-and-a-half year old. See, we had a baby two months ago and let's just say, we've let things slide a little bit due to being in the trenches of the newborn stage. We've noticed some bad habits forming so are planning to re-establish some structure around feeding and eating in our house…
As a nursing mother, I am thinking about what I put into my mouth more than usual, considering that my daughter is consuming what I'm consuming. As I watch her grow before my eyes, I can't help but be amazed that I am solely responsible for her growth and development up to this point. As empowering and amazing as that feels, I can't help but feel an enormous amount of pressure. What I eat and drink directly effects both her short term and long term health. Luckily, if I make sure that I eat a balanced diet most of the time, enjoying treats here and there is perfectly fine.
Should you drink coffee or should you avoid it all together?
Should you steer clear of any soft cheeses or just the unpasteurized ones?
And what's the deal with deli meats?!
When you become pregnant, you have advice flying at you from all directions—from your Mom, your friends, websites, books, magazines, your boss and random people who feel the need to give you advice, even when you don't ask for it. This information overload can be daunting and a wee bit overwhelming—especially for a first-time expectant Mom.
Raising healthy, adventurous eaters is what we're all striving for as parents, but the road to get there can be a bit... challenging. My kids are just like any other kids - they have certain tastes and preferences when it comes to food and definitely test our patience at mealtimes. Just like most parents, my husband and I deal with mealtime power struggles with our kids. But for the most part, family meals are positive and happy, and our kids eat nutritious, varied diets.
There's nothing quite like a soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie. My kids (and husband) are so used to me adding nutritious ingredients to baking--things like whole grain flour, chia seeds and oats--that they were slightly caught off guard when they taste-tested these delicious, decadent cookies. It reminded me to make sure they made it into the baking rotation more--one of my fondest food memories is enjoying similar cookies with glass of milk as an afternoon snack or after dinner.
I have an serious obsession with muffin-tins. I use mine daily, either for baking, to fill with craft supplies for my kids, or to fill with healthy snack foods after school. When it comes to muffin-tin recipes--whether it's egg muffins, flourless muffins, oatmeal cups, mini burritoes, or healthy healthy pizza rolls--I have tried it all. And now, I can add dessert to the list!
There is rarely a time when I don't have several dozen homemade muffins sitting in my freezer. Muffins can be the perfect on-the-go breakfast, a quick and easy snack, and a great addition to school lunches.
When I became a mom, I told my husband that I wanted to take our kids to Disney while the "magic" was still real--you know, when they actually believe that the Disney characters are real. I went as a teenager with my family and have many fond memories, especially the thrill of space mountain and getting soaked on splash mountain.
What's better than having a steaming hot, delicious meal ready for you and your family at the end of the day? I can't think of much, accept maybe when that meal is also nutritionist approved and kid-friendly! As a Mom of three, I depend heavily on my slow-cooker to get us through the week. The bit of prep time in the morning (or night before) is well worth the relief that I feel at about 5pm when I'm exhausted, the kids are hungry and the last thing I want to do is cook.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed during the holidays, especially when you've filled your calendars with social events and holiday get-togethers. You may even be hosting a few yourself! Now that I have three kids, my new motto has become "keep it simple" when it comes to everything, but especially hosting. Gone are the days of spending hours in the kitchen preparing gourmet finger foods and desserts (for now, anyways).
There's nothing quite like entering your kitchen and being engulfed in the delicious, warm aroma of gingerbread. To me, that feels like Christmas. What's even better, is knowing that the source of that aroma is a nutritious and wholesome muffin — the kind that you can eat as part of a balanced meal, or on its own as a snack. The kind that you feel really great about sending in your kid's lunch, or serving to your family for breakfast. These gingerbread muffins are to die for, and will put you in the holiday spirit!
Gingerbread is one of those seasonal flavours I can't get enough of, especially leading up to the holidays. It reminds me of my Mom's chewy ginger cookies (with white chocolate), or sipping on a steaming hot gingerbread latte on a cold day. Gingerbread is warm and cozy to me, and the perfect flavour to infuse into over-night slow-cooker oats - one of my favourite ways to cook oatmeal. There's something to be said about waking up to a ready-made wholesome and nutritious breakfast, not to mention the delicious aroma of gingerbread!
One of the easiest ways to raise adventurous, healthy eaters is to involve your kids in shopping, preparing, cooking, or serving meals. No bribing, coaxing or bartering needed — simply getting kids involved makes all the difference! When kids feel as though they have had a hand in making a meal, they are more likely to eat it.
Fall, to me, means pumpkin-spiced everything. I can't get enough of these pumpkin-spice muffins these yummy pumpkin waffles, and of course, pumpkin-spice lattes. Not only does pumpkin add a delicious flavour and vibrant colour, but it also adds loads of nutritional value, containing lots of potassium, beta-carotene and fibre.
Many Canadian Dietitians (including myself) have opted not to use Canada's Food Guide as a nutrition teaching tool over the past 10 (or more) years. In fact, since opening my private practice doors in 2007, I don't think I've ever given out a copy of the food guide (to be honest, I developed my own), and here's why:
School is in full swing now, and packing school lunches has become part of our nightly routine. I'm trying to make it a habit to pack lunches when I'm prepping (or cleaning up after) dinner, so that it doesn't seem like a daunting task after we get the kids to bed, when really all I feel like doing it collapsing on the couch.
I love popcorn, and make it several times a week, usually to enjoy while my husband and I watch Netflix after the kids go to bed; I find that it's the perfect bedtime snack to pair with a cup of tea (or sometimes a glass of red wine!). Lately I've been making a huge batch and saving some for school lunches or for after-school snacks. The kids love it as much as I do, and because it's a fibre-rich and nutritious, I feel good about them eating it.
As parents, we sometimes put our “short-term lens” on when it comes to feeding, especially with young kids. We’re often in a rush and want our kids to eat something NOW, or we feel frustrated that they've only eaten the pasta or bread, and left everything else (especially the green stuff).