Love Child Organics: Nourishing for First Foods to Growth Spurts and Everything in Between

This post is sponsored by Love Child Organics. All the statements, thoughts, and opinions are my own and not altered in any way for the sponsoring company. 

I have loved the squeeze pouches from Love Child Organics for years. The puree squeeze pouches have always stood out to me because they are more than just “applesauce”. They have kale, beets, carrots, pumpkin, quinoa, and more. They are a great “on the go” snack or a value add to a rice or chicken dish that needed a little more moisture for my children’s taste. It wasn’t until recently that I started using several more of this amazing companies products. If you are not familiar with the brand, I highly recommend that you check it out. Here are my families top 3 favourites right now in addition to the fruit puree pouches.

1)Snack Food Alternative: My children often ask for goldfish cracker but it is not something that I am willing to serve them. However, I have been purchasing an alternative for their lunches recently that meets their tastebud desires and my dietitian standards. They are the Love Child Organics Owlies. These are Organic Spelt cookies that are dairy free and nut free so all my children can have them and they are school safe. They are very low in sodium and sugar which I appreciate for a snack food. The boys get a few in their lunch once or twice a week. They know that these are not meant to take the place of fruits, but rather are a healthy additional snack in their lunch. To be honest I enjoy them with a cup of tea in the afternoon sometimes too!

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2) Nutritional Boost: A few months ago my youngest son, Rhett was going through a bit of a “low appetite” phase. While continuing to offer small meals and snacks throughout the day, I also offered him a lil’ shake from Love Child Organics after nap most days. This gave him a little extra boost compared to a glass of milk and was also very easy if we were headed to get his brothers from the bus stop at that time. His appetite soon returned and I reduced my use of the shakes but he continues to enjoy them now on days when we need a “grab and go” or if I think he needs the nutrition boost. The reason I like these over other brands of supplements is that Love Child uses organic milk as a base and the ingredient list is short, readable, and packed with items I want my children to have such as pumpkin puree and coconut oil.

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3) Iron Add-on: Adequate iron status for young children is vital for brain growth and development. I am always looking for ways to add a little extra in.  Lately I have been adding the Love Child Organics Oats and Chia infant cereal to baked goods in our home and it has gone over very well! Keep an eye on the Love Child Organics Blog for a Breakfast Cookie Recipe that is iron rich great for the whole family!

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If you have any questions about these or other Love Child Organics products, please feel free to ask in the comments below. Until next time…stay healthy!

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Golden Chicken (Four Ways)

Have you heard of Golden Milk? It is a blend of plant based milk, turmeric, maple syrup and black pepper. When I was introduced to it I loved the flavour and wondered how I could use the power of turmeric and this awesome flavour combo in a meal recipe. From this, “golden chicken” was born and has become a very common meal in our home.

You can make Golden Chicken four different ways: crockpot with boneless chicken thighs or breasts, oven with boneless chicken thighs or breasts, as a casserole dish, or as a stove top “one pot meal”.

Here are the three recipes:

Crock Pot (per 4-6 people): Combine 2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth with 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 cup honey mustard, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1 peeled and pressed clove of garlic (optional). Pour this mixture over 8-12 chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) or 4-6 chicken breasts (whole or diced). Cook on high for 1 hour and then turn to low for an additional 4-6 hours. Serve with quinoa or brown rice and your favourite fresh or roasted veggies!

Oven (per 4-6 people): Combine 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth with 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 Tbsp. honey mustard, and 2 Tbsp. maple syrup. Pour this mixture over 8-12 chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) or 4-6 chicken breasts (whole or diced). Cover and bake at 375F for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Serve with quinoa or brown rice and your favourite fresh or roasted veggies!

Casserole (per 4-6 people): Make as descried above but add 1 cup of dry brown rice, 1 additional cup of liquid, 1 cup of diced baby carrots, and 1 cup of mandarine oranges to the pan. Then allow for an extra 15-20 minutes of cooking time. Always check to ensure that everything is cooked through as ovens vary.

Stove Top (per 4-6 people): Combine 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth with 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 Tbsp. honey mustard, and 2 Tbsp. maple syrup. Set aside. Dice 4 chicken breasts and place into non-stick pan. Add a small bit of water and cook over medium heat until chicken is cooked through. Add broth mixture, 3 cups of cauliflower rice and 2 cups of diced vegetable of your choice (ie. diced carrots, peppers, peas, and corn).  Let simmer on medium heat for a few minutes then turn to medium low and cook until the broth as steamed off.

This is a wonderful dish to”cook once/eat twice” or cook enough for your family AND another family that could use help with meals.

What is Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, what are the signs, and how can we manage it with small children?

There is a lot of attention given to Type 2 Diabetes these days but not nearly as much awareness is raised around Type 1 Diabetes. I have partnered with Americord to talk about what this type of Diabetes is and the symptoms and signs to watch for in case your child is affected.

There are three types of Diabetes: type 1 (DM1), type 2 (DM2), and Gestational Diabetes (GD). Type 1 DM has also been labelled as Juvenile Diabetes as it usually is diagnosed before the age of 18. However, this alternate title has faded in use as we have more and more children and adolescents diagnosed with DM2 and DM1 can be diagnosed in adults, although rare. DM 1 has a strong genetic link but may also result after certain type of viral infections.  When someone has DM1, it means that their immune system has mistakingly attacked the beta cells in their pancreas resulting in little or no insulin available to help their bodies use the glucose consumed. As a result glucose builds up in the blood stream which can lead to low energy and damage many areas of the body.

So how can you tell if your child has DM1? The main signs/symptoms are:

  • excessive thirst, especially for juice
  • frequent/excessive urination
  • weight loss/trouble gaining weight
  • low energy/asking to rest or sleep all the time
  • frequently sick
  • cuts and bruises take a long time to heal

Remember that any one of these in isolation may be related to other causation factors, but it is always worth a conversation with your pediatrician if you are concerned.

If your child is diagnosed with DM1 then they will need insulin provided for all carbohydrates consumed. The frequency and amount will be determine with your child’s health care team and eventually your child may be able to move to an insulin pump instead of injections. One of the biggest challenges with small children who have DM 1 is determining how much they will eat at a meal. A diagnosis of DM1 does not exempt our child from “food jags” or fussy eating. In fact, these normal developmental stages may be even more extreme. If you are struggling with this, please remember that the Division of Responsibility still applies. However, you may need to alter it slightly. If you have given your child insulin for a certain amount of carbohydrates and your child is refusing supper, it will be tempting to offer juice or candy to ensure their blood sugar does not go low. However, this can lead to development of poor habits. Instead try to always add a nutrient-rich and carbohydrate-rich food to the meal that your child likes along with exposure to one they don’t love. Also don’t be afraid to talk with your child to to help them understand how they might feel if they don’t eat enough. Setting them up for success and offering the “why” behind nourishemnt can reduce meal time stress and battles and leave your child developing habits of choosing nutrient rich foods over quick fixes like juice. If you find that this is a daily challenge then be sure to speak to the Registered Dietitian on your child team for more strategies that are specific to where your child is at.

DM1 is a lifelong disease and the best approach is to teach and guide your child to make healthy choices that support their overall health and blood sugar balance as best possible. Also remind your child that this disease does not define who they are. They are 100% whole and able human being with the potential to do anything they put their mind to! If you have any further questions on this topic, feel free to comment below or speak to your local health care team.

What is Celiac Disease and why is a Gluten Free Diet Essential for it ?

This is a question I am commonly asked as a dietitian. I have partnered with Americord to bring you answers to this controversial area.

First of all, let’s talk about what gluten is, then how it relates to Celiac Disease, and steps your family can make to accommodate a family member who has been diagnosed with this disease.

Gluten is a form of protein found in wheat, barley, rye, triticale, and many other grains  it is also found in many condiments via addition of grains such as most soy sauces, BBQ sauces, and salad dressings.

Celiac Disease (CD) which is an autoimmune disease which includes an allergy to gluten. If someone has CD, then it is essential they follow a strict gluten free diet. Even trace amounts of gluten can evoke a negative reaction. Individuals have usually had less than optimal vitamin and mineral absorption prior to diagnosis so it is always good to have a proper assessment done and determine if any supplements are advised to help with any deficiencies. In terms of food preparation, here are a few tips to keep your home GF if a family member is diagnosed with CD.

  1. Read ingredient lists well. Watch for words that indicate wheat, rye, barley, or any other grain that may contain gluten. A common one is “hydrolyzed wheat protein” in many salad dressings and other condiements. Even soy sauce contains wheat and a GF version must be used.
  2. Have a toaster that is dedicated to GF bread only. Label it and set it in a separate area than you regular toaster.
  3. Switch out wheat based pasta for rice pasta, lentil pasta, chickpea pasta, cauliflower rice, or spiralized zucchini
  4. Always have quinoa on hand that can be offered hot or cold.
  5. For oatmeal try Bob’s Red Mill GF steel cut oats. Their GF pancake mix, pizza crust mix and other mixes are also great options for a quick and easy meals
  6. For baking use a mix of GF flours as one kind alone may lead to a dense baked product but mixing a few together can be quite nice. If you are looking for a GF muffin recipe you could try this one that I have been making for years.
  7. If using luncheon meats, be aware of any fillers that contain gluten. 
  8. Offer lots of fresh fruits and vegetables as these are always free of gluten.
  9. Be sure to ask at restaurants if they offer GF options and if they ensure proper preparation techniques of these away from any products that contain gluten.
  10. If travelling, take your own GF snacks from home to ensure adequate nourishment along the way. We really like taking fruits, veggies, GF hummus, GoGoQuinoa biscuits, and BohoBars in our home.

Also, remember that consulting an RD upon diagnosis is a great idea. You can contact your local College or Dietitians to find one in your area. And as always, feel free to leave questions in the comment section below.

 

Almond Butter Chicken

Last week my boys were having bananas and almond butter as an after school snack and they asked if we could have almond butter with supper. I was already planning to make chicken but had planned on Chicken Feta Bruschetta. I love when the boys are involved in meal planning so I quickly agreed that including almond butter would be a great idea and through this recipe together. It was a huge winner all around and I decided it was definitely one worth sharing so here it is!

Ingredients (per 6-8 servings)

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup low sodium chicken broth (or water)

1/2 cup natural almond butter

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

1 tsp. tumneric

1 tsp. garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Mix broth, almond butter, soy sauce, honey, and spices altogether.
  2. Place chicken in an oven safe dish and pour mixture over chicken. You may also wish to add a little extra broth or water around the edge of the pan for extra moisture.
  3. Cover chicken with lid or foil and bake at 375F for about 35-45 minutes (until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.)
  4. Serve with any sides your family enjoys and put any leftovers away for quick and way lunches or suppers later in the week.

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Fitness Friday: Hydration

Ladies! Did you know that the first sign of dehydration is thirst??? That’s right! If you are thirsty, then you are already dehydrated. Okay, grab a sip of water and then keep reading.

Today I want to talk a little about water needs for everyday life and when we are active. The reality is that everyone is different as to how much water they need. We can get water from beverages and food and our body actually makes a bit of water called “metabolic water”. The recommendations we have are for the amount we get from beverages which is meant to meet about 80% of our goal needs. For women this is 2.7 L per day. However, there are many factors that increase our need for hydration including activity. In general, adding 2-3 cups of water per each hour of activity helps to replenish our bodies. That is, if we are well hydrated first. Below are a few tips to consider, but as always, consult your health care provider for more individualized recommendations.

1. Aim to drink 4 oz of water for every hour you are awake. In addition to this enjoy milk/milk alternative and herbal tea for additional hydration. This will allow you to head into a workout well hydrated.

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2. For every 8oz of coffee add an additional 4 oz of water. For every alcohol beverage do the same…add an additional 4 oz. of water.

3. Drink 8 oz. of water before your workout; 8-12 oz. during your workout; and 8-16 oz. after your workout (in addition to 8 oz. chocolate milk as we talked about last week).

4. Notice signs of dehydration such as thirst, irritability, fatigue, headache, and nausea.

5. If you live in a hot climate, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or work in a forced air environment, your needs for water are higher than described above.

Until next time…stay healthy!

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Overnight Pumpernickel French Toast Bake

This hearty breakfast is perfect for a busy weekday morning or a relaxing weekend. Either way you can prep it the night before and just pop it in the oven when you wake up. L

Ingredients

6-8 cups of diced pumpernickel bread

2 cups coconut milk

3 cups cartoned egg whites

2 Tbsp. Maple syrup

1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract

1 Tbsp Cinnamon

Instructions

1. Place bread cubes into a large glass Pyrex.

2. Beat together coconut milk, egg whites, vanilla, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Then pour it over the bread pieces.

3. Cover pan with foil and place in the fridge for 4-24 hours.

4. When ready, bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes or until all the liquid has cooked through.

Serve with your favourite yogurt and fruit and a sprinkle of hemp hearts or blend with a smoothie such as the one pictured here which has coconut milk, frozen blueberries, spinach, banana, and hemp hearts  💜

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Until next time…stay healthy!

 

Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

To kick off the first day back to school/work routine I am sharing these moist and incredibly flavorful muffins. They are a source of antioxidants, probiotics, and omega3 fatty acids to help keep your family’s immune systems strong for cold and flu season! I used the new Sneakz Organic for an extra boost of nutrition. You can find more about it here.

Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Bobs Red Mill steel cut oats
2 scoops Sneakz Organic Chocolate Protein Powder
1/4 cup Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts
1 cup Silk coconut milk
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup Garden of Life coconut oil
1/4 cup honey (or coconut sugar)
1 banana
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (or other berry)

Instructions
1. Mash banana, then add honey, applesauce and coconut oil and blend until smooth. Set aside.
2. In another bowl mix together dry ingredients. Add in coconut milk and banana mixture and mix until moistened.
3. Add berries and pomegranate seeds then mix again and pour into muffin tin.

Bake at 375 F for 20-22 minutes

Crock Pot Thai Chicken Stew

I love making warm and nourishing meals in the winter time. This stew meets both of those goals perfectly and my boys all love it. This recipe is wonderful for a busy work day or a cozy weekend day. My kids love cutting veggies for soups and stews. For this tecipe they cut the peppers and green beans and measure the quinoa and rice. Getting them involved increases their interest in a meal every single time! I hope you and your family enjoy it too!

Ingredients

12-16 boneless, skinless Chicken thighs OR 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts diced

1 cup sodium free chicken broth

3 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

3 Tbsp. honey mustard

1 Tbsp. puréed ginger (or 1 drop Doterra ginger essential oil)

1 Tbsp. puréed garlic (or 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced)

1 Tbsp, honey

2 tsp. tumeric

2-3 peppers, diced

1 onion, diced

20-25 green beans, chopped into 1” length pieces

1 cup cooked red quinoa

3 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup diced pineapple (optional)

Instructions

1. Mix broth, soy sauce, honey mustard, ginger, garlic, tumeric, and honey together.

2. Place chicken thighs or diced chicken breast, peppers, and onions into crock pot and add broth mixture. Turn crock pot on low and start cooking. (You will need 5-8 hours of cooking on low overall.)

3. After 4 or more hours of letting the chicken cook (and ideally at least 1 hour before you plan to eat), open the crock pot to shred the chicken apart. I like to do it on a cutting board, but you can also do it with two forks right in the crock pot if you wish too. Once done this, add the green beans, cooked quinoa and rice, and mix everything together. Continue to cook on low until you are ready to eat.

Hope your 2018 started off with a wonderful family day.

Until next time…stay healthy!

 

BlackBerry Chia Pinwheels

One of my favourite holiday traditions is baking with my mom and kids. This week-end we took an old family recipe and made it dairy free by using coconut oil instead of butter. We also made it free of refined sugar and replaced some of the white flour with whole wheat and added a touch of omega 3 by replacing regular jam with chia jam. My mom was skeptical how they would turn out. I’m thrilled to report it was 100% successful. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup Garden of Life Coconut Oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
Several spoonfuls if blackberry chia jam (or your favourite chia jam/purée)

1. Blend all ingredients except the jam/purée and knead until it becomes a dough.
2. Place between two pieces of wax paper and roll into a rectangle. It takes a bit to get it all flattened out, but you will get there.
3. Remove the top piece of wax paper.
4. Add jam/purée in small amount spreading it into a thin layer to about 1/4” from the edges.
5. Using the bottom piece of wax paper to help you get started, roll the dough into a long roll.
6. Wrap it up in the wax paper and place in fridge for at least 4 hours. You can leave it there for up to 48 hours though.
7. When ready to bake, unwrap the roll and slice into 1/4” pieces. Place on cookie sheet or stone and bake at 325 F for about 18 minutes.

Until next time….stay healthy!