WAFFLES!!!!

Our family LOVES waffles. We have them almost every weekend. I thought I would share with you how I make them healthy while eating such a fun food!

First I’ll share the original waffle recipe that I have and then the variations that I make to it to increase the nutritional value without compromising on taste and enjoyment for all.

The suggested ingredients are:

1.75 cups white flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1.75 cups milk
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs (separating the yolk and the white)

Typically I can get 5 Belgium waffles from this version of the recipe.

My variations are:

1 cup unbleached white flour (unbleached flour has been through less processing than bleached flour)

¾ cup whole wheat flour (whole wheat flour adds more fibre and provides longer satiety than while flour)

1 Tbsp. baking powder (adding more baking powder makes a fluffier waffle)

1.75 skim milk (a lower fat milk reduces the calories and saturated fat without compromising on nutritional value)

1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil (Fat is not a bad thing.  The type of fat is what we need to focus on. Canola and Grapeseed oil are two good choices for cooking that provide very little saturated fat and lots of healthy fats. You can also reduce this to 1/3 cup and still get a great product if you prefer to.)

2 egg yolk

4 egg whites (adding more egg whites provides more protein and allows your recipe to go a little further)

Typically I can get 6-7 Belgium waffles from this new version of the recipe.

Instructions:

If you plan to make this recipe, here are the instructions.

  1. Mix together dry ingredients (Flour and Baking Powder) and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together milk, egg yolks, and oil.
  3. In a third blow, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they are fluffy.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir together until just blended – do not overmix.
  5. Then fold in the beaten egg whites.
  6. Poor into Belgium waffle maker and wait patiently

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Serving options:

Try to think beyond butter and syrup for waffle.  Try these nutritious and delicious options:

  • Instead of butter, try Coconut oil, natural peanut butter, natural almond butter, Greek yogurt, and/or sprinkled cinnamon.
  • Instead of syrup try bananas, grapes, pears, apples, peaches, kiwis and berries (fresh or thawed from frozen).

Adding in a few Tbsp. Of Baby Brain Organics is an amazing way to add protein and omega 3 to this breakfast favourite!!!

Here is my plate from last Saturday…

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Watch the blog later this week for grocery shopping tips!

Until then, Happy Canada Day!!

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Blueberries please!

I am often asked by parents for tips on how to get children to eat more fruits and vegetables. I have put together my top tips on this for you.  At another time I will do a post on picky eaters but remember for all children that it is the parent’s responsibility to offer healthy foods.  It is the child’s responsibility what and how much they eat. So that being said, here are some tips.

  • Snacks are not the enemy! It breaks my heart when parents tell me that they do not let their kids have snacks so that they will eat more at meals. Our goal as parents is not to have our children eat large meals.  Our goal is to offer nutritious food to our children.  So, snacks are far from the enemy.  Common snack foods, on the other hand, can be a problem.  Where we get into trouble is when kids fill up on puffs and goldfish and then don’t have enough room left for healthy foods.  For healthy snacks, offer fresh veggies and fruit to your kids while they are playing.  You can also offer other healthy foods such as cheese, yogurt, whole grain crackers etc. with the fruit and vegetables. Children prefer to graze. They have small tummies.  Make the most of the food they eat but offering high nutrient dense foods at all times.
  • Appetizers! While I am preparing lunch and supper I like to give my kids a bowl of vegetables. For example, cucumber slices, pepper slivers, baby carrots, small pieces of broccoli or cauliflower, etc. This has two main purposes. The first is that they will eat more veggies this way as it is the only food in front of them and secondly, it helps keep them occupied while I am trying to get their meal together.  It’s a win-win!
  • Toddlers LOVE to dip! So offer your child a healthy dip with their veggies (and any other food for that matter). See my previous post on making healthy dips here.
  • Serve fruit before anything else at breakfast time and serve fruit for dessert at lunch and supper. My twins still think that fruit is a huge treat.  They seldom ask for cookies or ice cream at the end of a meal. In fact, we were out for supper last night and the waitress offered them ice cream or a brownie and they asked for blueberries.  She was so impressed that she found them some blueberries! At home they ask for pomegranate seeds or melon or berries or pear or apple or grapes (you get the idea) because they have always had these sweet (and nutritious) treats at the start of the day and at the end of meals. We established this habit early and hopefully it sticks with them for life. Sometimes they do ask for less nutritious food and at that time, I choose to allow them a treat (to support the idea of moderation) or use it as a teaching moment about the importance of choosing healthy foods.

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  • Always offer choice. Autonomy is a big deal to children, so capitalize on this by offering your kids two healthy options.  For example: Would you like carrots or cucumber with your lunch? Would you like apple or pear for dessert?  
  • They will do what you do. Babies, toddlers, and young children are incredibly impressionable and LOVE to mimic mom and dad. We need to model the behaviors we want to see.  Our kids need to see us snacking on fruits and veggies and filling our plates with healthy foods at meal times.  Enjoy some cut up peppers, cucumber, and carrots with your children while supper is cooking.  Share an apple with them after supper.  Put berries on your cereal and theirs.

As a final note, have fun with food with your kids!!! I have the twins help me make a grocery list and they do most of the grocery shopping with myself and/or my husband.  When they get to pick out which head of broccoli or cauliflower we are going to take home to cook, they are more likely to be excited about eating it.

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Hope this helps to get you and your kids eating more antioxidant rich foods this summer!

Healthy Dips for Mamas and Your Minis

Lets face it kids LOVE to dip!!! My children will eat just about any food as long as there is dip available. When my twins entered the “dipping” phase or toddler-hood, I was really uneasy about the increased sugar, sodium, and preservatives that they would be exposed to in things like ketchup and store bought salad dressings. So I decided to get creative and think of how I could offer them healthier choices than ketchup and Ranch dressing. If your children like dips OR if you have picky eaters and want to try the strategy of offering dips, here are some ideas. The other great thing is that you join in with them eating these dips with lots of veggies and fruit.

1) Hummus. You can use store bought or make your own. If you are using store bought, choose ones with as low sodium content as possible. Not only is hummus a yummy (and low mess) dip, it is jam packed with nutrients such as healthy fats, protein, fibre, iron, and magnesium. I like the ones by Summer Fresh, Fontaine Saute, and Sabra.

2) Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt is great for SO MANY THINGS. You will see me post about this amazing food a lot for various reasons. As a dip, it can be used for fruits, veggies, chicken, fish, etc! You can use plain or flavoured depending on what you are dipping. You can also add it to other dips to make them healthier and/or creamier (see below). I personally like the Liberte brand, but there are other great ones out there too. For a thick and creamy dip use either the 5% fat or the 9% fat choices. The lower fat products are great for eating but do not work well for dips.

3) Guacamole. If your kids are like mine and love avocado, why not turn it into a dip?! You can easily make your own! Mash up 1-2 avocados and stir in a squeeze or two of lime juice until you get the consistency you desire. For a creamier option, add a bit of 5% or 9% fat vanilla Greek yogurt.

4) Greek Ketchup. If you have children that like ketchup on anything and everything, try using 1/2 the amount of ketchup and mixing it with plain or vanilla Greek yogurt. This will still be a red dip but will have half of the preservatives and way more nutrition. For even more nutrient boost, try adding pureed butternut squash or sweet potato in too. I am not a big fan of “hiding” food as it is important that our children are exposed to the actual flavour of whole foods, but this nutrient boost is just too hard to resist.

5) Salad dressings. Most store bought salad dressings are full of preservatives and sodium so making your own is great.  I will be doing a future post on my favourite homemade salad dressings. Until then, and/or if you don’t have time to make your own, try purchasing the freshest ones possible. You will find these in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.  My favourite of these is the Renees line.

Until next time…happy dipping!

Healthy Treats for Outdoor Fun!

Summer is here and its time for park visits, zoo days, beach days, and spontaneous trips to your friend’s pool! Along with these amazing outdoor activities comes irregular schedules and increased appetites. This can lead to poor choices in food and/or missing meals. Planning ahead will help you and your children stayed nourished, hydrated, and healthy this summer! Here are some tips to get you started.

1) Don’t get caught filling up on high salt and high sugary snacks and beverages OR skipping eating for so long that you overeat. Pack easy to eat fruits and veggies for you and your kids to snack on. Grapes, blueberries, apple slices, melon cubes, cucumber slices, baby carrots, and pepper slivers are some of our favourites. Maybe take along some Greek yogurt or hummus for your kids to use as a dip. Kids love to dip and having healthy options available encourages them to eat more of the things you want them to.

2) For longer days when you need more complete meals, add more filling foods to your fruit and veggie snacks. Focus on things that are easy to pack and easy to eat. Your kids may not be willing to stop very long to eat. Try wraps or sandwich wedges; muffin with cheese; whole grain crackers and almond butter; Greek yogurt with granola; or hard boiled eggs and pita wedges.

3) Stay hydrated! Always take lots of water with you for you and your children. .  You can take plain water or for a more exciting option add strawberries or limes or orange slices to your water. For mamas, you can also try making your own iced tea to take along. Some of my favourites right now are “Just Peachy” and “Strawberry Colada” from Davids Tea. I use this amazing iced tea carafe that can even sit on its side in a cooler without leaking! These provide a way to stay hydrated and feel like you are having a sweet treat without any calories or caffeine.

4) Don’t forget to take an ice pack. Put any sandwiches, cheese, yogurts, eggs, etc. next to an ice pack so they stay cold and safe to eat.

5) Last but not least, involve your children in the planning.  Kids are more likely to eat foods that they have helped to choose and you will be teaching them the valuable lesson of planning ahead so they are set for life making healthy choices.

Wishing you all a safe and healthy summer!!!

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Watch the blog later this week for fun dip ideas your kids will love and tips on getting more fruits and veggies into yourselves and your little ones. Until then stay well!

Healthy mind, Healthy mama

I don’t know about you but meals at our house are bizarre! With three children 3 and under it is very noisy throughout the meal and I am generally up and down about 50 times doing something for someone…a dropped fork, more water, feeding the dog, more food for the children, etc. I absolutely love our family meal time together and I wouldn’t have it any other way! But when the weekend comes I am ready for a date night! Date nights aren’t always easy to organize or easily affordable so my husband and I have started doing “date nights in”! I love them just as much as “date night out”. On these nights we can sit and eat and talk. Really talk. I can hear a full sentence from him without one of my children interrupting. We like to give our children a family meal time experience though so we sit with them while they eat supper and have a snack so that we are still eating something as a family. Then once the children are in bed we can enjoy a meal together. For “date night in” we can enjoy all the quality time we would get by going to a restaurant without the cost of a babysitter or a high-calorie, high-cost restaurant meal. I absolutely love to cook so once the kids are in bed we pour a glass of wine or iced tea, make a healthy meal, and sit together to nourish our bodies and our relationship at the same time. image So next time you have had a long week and you feel distant from your husband, try “date night in” and nourish your body, your mind, and your relationship. Cheers!

Summer time treats for all

Popsicles are a great way to cool off in the summer but most are packed full of simple sugar that our kids don’t need. Every food and drink that we offer our children should be as nutrition packed as possible. This summer, try making popsicles with your kids that will be fun and nourishing for them! The kid in you might want to try some too! Just pop fruit, veggies, yogurt, etc. in the blender, then pour into a popsicle mold, and freeze! Pull them out on any occasion for a good cool off!
Here are a few combinations to get you started…

1) Berry Bonanza
Strawberries
Blueberries
Raspberries
Plain Greek yogurt
Drizzle of honey
Squeeze of lemon juice

2) Banana Colada
Banana
Pineapple
Coconut Milk
Drizzle of honey

3) Watermelon Refresher
Watermelon
Strawberries
Mint leaves or Basil leaves
Drizzle of honey

4) Veggie fanatic
Banana
Roasted Sweet potato
Roasted Beets
Plain Greek yogurt
Drizzle of honey

Happy Freezing!

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Breakfasts of champions!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This applies to parents and children alike. I find that the mornings are super busy with three children three years of age and under so we need quick and easy breakfast options. I like to give my children the option between two equally nutritious breakfast choices. While they are deciding what they want and getting ready to eat I start making my breakfast.Once they have announced what they want I work on making that and finishing mine and then we all eat together. Eating as a family as often as possible supports both physical and mental health for all and keeps a family more connected. My husband and I like to chat with our children about what is coming in the day ahead and also model to them that we are sitting down to eat breakfast too.

Ideally, children (and adults) will have a breakfast with 2-3 food groups to ensure that they get the nutrients they need to start their day. A good breakfast helps toddlers handle their emotions better, helps children to focus better in the classroom and help adults make better food choices for the rest of the day. Having breakfast within an hour of waking up prevents us from crashing later in the day; therefore, resorting less to high sugar or high caffeine choices.

Typical week-day choices for breakfast in our house are:
1) low sugar whole grain cereal with milk and berries;
2) toast with peanut butter and banana;
3) Greek yogurt with granola and grapes; or
4) homemade muffin with cheese and apple slices

On the weekends we offer more elaborate choices such as pancakes, french toast, waffles, and scrambled eggs but I still offer fruit and milk or yogurt with these more exciting options.
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Challenge to you: Aim to sit and eat breakfast with your children at least 4 times this week. Does it make a difference in your day? Does it make a difference in theirs?

Hello mamas and mamas-to-be!

Well after months of thinking this over, I am taking the plunge and starting a blog.  My goal is to offer practical suggestions to moms and moms-to-be for themselves and their families.  My name is Noelle Martin and I am a Registered Dietitian in London, Ontario, Canada.  I have three year old twin boys and another son who is almost one. Prior to becoming a mom I had a Private Practice where I counselled people of all ages.  Now that I am a mom I can combine my expertise as an RD, with real life experience to offer you information, advice, recipes, and practical solutions that I have used over the past few years. Over the past five years I have dealt with infertility, IVF, a twin pregnancy, breastfeeding twins, a singleton pregnancy (while still breastfeeding twins), breastfeeding one baby, infant allergies and intollerances, weight gain and weight loss, and picky eaters. These are the things I will be writing about and much more!

Please let me know if you have specific questions you want answered or if you need clarity on any post that I do.  Also be sure to check out my daily tip on IG @mealsformeandmyminis.