Top 5 unprocessed kid’s snack ideas

20151124_063714 (excuse the bed head, but yummy parfait, eh? )

1. Plain Yogurt parfaits, plain yogurt, frozen fruit (blueberries and raspberries are our favs), if you have homemade granola add it, if not whatever nuts or seeds you have, and a smiley face of honey on the top… a dash of vanilla if you’re fancy.

2. Veggie sticks, (carrots, celery, cucumber, grape tomatoes) with either hummus, or chickpeas (toddlers love them straight out of the organic, bpa-free can).  Or, for an even easier treat, try frozen corn (please please please make sure it’s organic) … little kids LOVE it!

3. Homemade popsicles!  We normally make green smoothies once a week, and I try to double what we drink, and freeze the rest as popsicles.

4. Banana bread, I do my best to do at least 2 breads at a time, quadrupling the recipe is best.  Slice it when cool, and freeze in a freezer bag.

5. This granola bar recipe is another family favourite.  I also make at least a double batch of these gems.  I let them cool, slice them, and freeze them on the cookie sheet.  Once the bars are solidly frozen, I toss them into freezer bags, and have easy, healthy, fantastic treats.

With all the time you just saved making snacks, enjoy a fun show.  My new favourite is UnReal, a lifetime network show, now available on Shomi.

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Preparing your body for Pregnancy 4

Part 4: Getting Fit if you’re Fat

This is a sensitive issue.  I completely understand!  After 3 very closely spaced pregnancies, and lots of  bedrest I gained a lot of weight.  It took me just over a year to lose the close to 50lbs I had gained.

Being overweight when you get pregnant puts you at risk for many issues, like high blood pressure, diabetes, a big baby (think about the stitches!!), and later your baby has a higher chance of being overweight.  These are long term issues, which may make it easy to put aside.  But the elephant in the room is that if you’re bigger when you’re trying to get pregnant – guess what?  You’re just going to get bigger!!  If you’re already feeling it, it’s not going to get any easier!  Even in the best of pregnancies moving around is challenging, being overweight makes it much harder and many times more exhausting.

How do we know if we should drop some weight?  Check your BMI on a calculator.

If you are over a BMI of 25, you most likely have weight to lose.  In some cases, if you are under a BMI of 25 you may still have weight to lose.  You should be at a weight where you feel energetic, and feel confident.  For me, this is around a BMI of 22/23 because I have a small frame, and I am still nursing.  But when I was not nursing, it was lower.  However, someone with a larger build might be much more comfortable around 25.

I think there are hundreds of ways that people could los weight, so do what works for you, as long as you are eating healthfully.

How did I lose the weight?

I think a lot of the success I had was due to the fact that I was tracking my food, weight and workouts.

I kept track of what I ate on MyNetDiary which is a calorie calculator.  The goal was not to be overly strict, but studies have shown that people who keep track of their food tend to eat less.  I had a range of calories that I would consume depending on my activity level, and if I was hungry I would eat closer to the top end of my calorie range.  (1500 to 1800)  If there were days that I consumed much more than I planned, like at a special dinner, than I might go as low as 1250 the next day.  Because I am nursing I stayed above 1200, and listen to my body.

I tried to get on the scale once or twice a week.  I didn’t want to get obsessive about it, but if I let it go too long, I would also slack on the other areas of my plan.

I went to the gym when I could.  This means I had a plan to go 3 times a week.  If I couldn’t go then I would try to go for a good walk, or get up earlier and go for a jog on the treadmill.

I focused on eating whole foods, which means food you could find on a farm, or make in your own kitchen.  I ate lots of fruits and veggies.

I drank lots of water.

If you want a treat, try to eat just half and see if it will satisfy you.

Eat more mindfully, slowly enjoying each bite.

The main change that I experienced was to avoid being excessively strict, but aim for a balanced approach.  I stopped feeling guilty about eating foods that are not perfectly healthy.  If I really wanted a piece of delicious chocolate cake, I would plan for it calorically, and make sure it was the best darn cake… or wait for the chocolate chip cookies Grandma makes when she visits. YUM!

 

 

 

What do you do with Chard?

We get one of those awesome organic fruit and veggie boxes each week, and there are occasionally a few items that we struggle with.  But is chard not the most challenging healthy food to include in your family’s diet?

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With all the benefits packed into this green powerhouse, I was getting desparate to find a way to get the kids, and hubby to eat it and hold it in their body longer than it takes to “chew and spit”.

I have tried a few different options, such as: stir fries  – FAIL!  with eggs – FAIL!  with salad – FAIL!  In chili – my normally chili-crazed family could not spit it out fast enough!

I came across a swiss chard stew that was rated poorly online.  With a few tweaks, I thought it might actually be a hit with my kids.  And it was!  Especially Isabelle… but that girl loves to eat any healthy food.

1 bunch of swiss chard, chopped (only the green part)
1 cup baby carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
A bag of baby red potatoes, or equivalent, chopped  (around 12)
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil (leaves torn or chopped)
5 cups broth (I used chicken once and beef once, the chicken was better)
1/2 t black pepper
1 t kosher salt

Everyone loved the stew.  The exception was my son.  He loved it the first time I made it, and didn’t like it the second time around, (I am guessing it’s because I ran out of garlic the second time).

Otherwise it was a hit!

Preparing your body for Pregnancy 3

Part 3: To Detox or Not to Detox??

This is a question that comes up a lot.  The opinions on the answer  to this question vary widely as well.  My quick and easy answer is, it depends on your definition of detoxing.

The type of detoxing that I do not agree with:

  • Any type of extremely limited and restrictive diet.  Like a 10 day juicing only fast.
    • This limits the amount of nutrition you will take in.  So at the end of the detox you’ll be very depleted in many vitamins and minerals.
    • The human body is meant to digest, and it can be very stressful on your body to restart eating normally after doing this type of fast.
    • I do however agree that occasionally you may need to give your body a rest from eating, so consuming liquids only for 24 to 48hrs can be helpful in some instances.
  • Consuming a packaged or processed packaged “detox” program  (I would make an exception though for someone with heavy metal toxicity, in this case the course of treatment is very specific, so packaged kits would be helpful).
    • These are generally highly processed foods, which is not what your body is meant to eat.
    • Shakes, bars, special cereal or forms of “food” that are not found on a farm are not good for you, no matter what the marketers tell you.

The type of Detoxing that is healthy:

  • If you are a chocolate or sweets addict, and are overindulging, take a 14 or 30 or 90 day break from this offending food.  Taking a break from the specific food that you’re overeating will lead you to appreciate it more.  When you end the period of time you were avoiding that food, resolve to make your portions of that food very small, or kept for special occasions.
  • Commit yourself to making half of your plate fruits and vegetables each and every time you eat.
  • Eat better quality fruits, vegetables and meat.  If you are not eating organic foods, begin by switching over the worst offenders in terms of pesticide residue.  But it is best to avoid foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and stick to organic foods.
  • Cut out processed foods.  If it has more than 3 ingredients, and has anything you wouldn’t find in your kitchen, don’t put it in your mouth.  It’s probably as good for you as eating Windex.

So although I wouldn’t recommend you undergo a “detox” before trying to conceive, I do believe that you should very closely examining your diet.