Pi Day Pie Smoothies

Happy Pi Day!!! Yes, that’s right…its 3/14. Now before you go and grab that piece of pie, let’s see if we can make a smoothie that is equally enjoyable! Want to eat it with a spoon? No problem. Just cut the milk in half and make it a smoothie bowl!

I have a few pie favourites…apple, coconut, berry, peach, lemon mirangue, and cherry are all high on the list. I am really not a big “dessert” person though. Really, who needs all that extra sugar when we have fantastic tasting fruit?! Perhaps you want to skip and pie and the smoothie and enjoy the fruit as it is. That is an amazing plan too. But in case you want to add a little extra flare to your snack today…here are a few ideas…and some have an extra punch of veggie power too!!

Coconut Cream Pie Smoothie Ingredients

2 cups Unsweetened Coconut Milk

1/2 cup Coconut Yogurt (or vanilla Greek yogurt if you cannot find coconut milk yogurt)

1 Banana

1 cup frozen pineapple

1/2 cup shredded coconut

2 Tbsp. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

 

Peach Pie Smoothie Ingredients

1-2 cups Almond Milk

1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

1 cup frozen peaches

1 cup frozen mangoes

2 Tbsp. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

 

Cherry Chia Pie Smoothie Ingredients 

1-2 cups soy milk

1 banana

2 cups frozen cherries

1 cup spinach

1/2 Tbsp. Agave

2 Tbsp. Chia seeds

 

Apple Pie Smoothie Ingredients 

2 cups almond milk

1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

2 apples

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/4 cup oatbran or steel cut oats

 

These were all tested in my Vitamix but should work in any blender

Well this list could go on and on but I will stop here. Hopefully this gives you some fresh and nutritious alternatives to the traditional pie on pi day.

Until next time…stay healthy!

Does my child need a multivitamin supplement???

I have been asked several times since starting this blog to write on the topic of vitamin and mineral supplements for children. I have been hesitant to do so because it is really one that requires an individualized approach. Having said that, I have decided to write about it in general terms. If you have specific questions about yourself or your child, then I would recommend you see your family doctor or registered dietitian or contact me directly.

It it is a common question to wonder if we or our loved ones need a vitamin/mineral multivitamin or single nutrient supplements. Here are a few questions to ask yourself…

  1. Do they have allergies or intolerances that causes elimination of a portion or all of a food group? Are they vegan or vegetarian?
  2. Do they have intense aversions to certain foods that are not easily overcome?
  3. Has the child had nutrient deficiencies in the past?

If the answer is “yes” to any of the above, then a supplement MAY be in order. For example, if milk and milk alternative intake is limited, then calcium and vitamin D are nutrients of interest. If meat, fish, poultry, and eggs are eliminated, then iron and vitamin B12 are nutrients of interest. The next step in each of these examples is to see if the child is consuming foods in place of the eliminated foods that provide similar micronutrients. For example, the child may be drinking fortified coconut milk which provides calcium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients. (As an aside…we know that protein is missing in this option, but that is off of this topic. More info on that topic can be found here.)

If the child has low overall food intake or is considered a “picky eater”, a parent may be concerned; however, this alone is not reason to start a supplement. Children have important nutrient needs; however, they do not need an overabundance of food. They need high quality and nutritious food. If presented with a small eater, my first approach would be offer nutrient dense foods at all times and be cautious to not allow the child to fill up on foods that do not contribute to their health such as gold fish crackers and puffs. In addition, I would ask the parents how much milk is being consumed. Children who drink more than 16 ounces of milk per day are at greater risk of iron deficiency. This is for two reasons….

  1. Calcium in milk can interfere with iron absorption, and
  2. If milk is filling their small tummy, then there may not be enough room for adequate amounts of other foods.

Having said this, if you feel your child may have low levels of important nutrients, they may truly benefit from a supplement. Calcium and vitamin D are vital for bone health. Iron plays a critical role in brain develop, energy levels, and more. The list goes on and on for why we need all nutrients in adequate quantities. As I said at the start, you may want to check in with your family physician of local RD if you are concerned. They can assess your child and even request blood work if deemed necessary. (We had this done with Clay and he was in fact iron deficient.)

Last, but not least, if you are choosing to go ahead with a supplement, please try to keep it as “low sugar” as possible. Giving children gummies and sugar coated tablets is not great for dental health and can be confusing for them. If a child thinks it is candy and accidentally ingests too many multivitamins they are at great risk for toxicity. In fact, iron poisoning is one of the top concerns for toxicity in children and can be fatal.

I hope that his provides you with some food for thought on this topic. As always, if you have any questions you can comment below, email me, or DM on Instagram @mealsformeandmyminis.

Until next time….stay healthy!

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Its National Registered Dietitian Day…so what exactly is an RD???

I am often asked what the difference is between a Nutritionist and a Registered Dietitian. I decided that Registered Dietitian Day was a perfect day to chat about this.

The bottom line is that Registered Dietitian is a qualified and regulated health professional with a regulated title, and just about anyone could choose to call themselves a “nutritionist”.

Okay, so why does that matter?

Well, an RD is registered with a College of Dietitians…similar to the College of Physicians or College of Nurses, etc. We are held accountable for our actions and also required to go through an assessment and set goals each year and follow up each year to ensure we are staying on track with professional conduct and development. We also are required to have malpractice insurance. A nutritionist does not have anyone that they are accountable to. If they were to give inappropriate advice, there would be no recourse.

What is the education requirement to become an RD?

RDs must complete a 4 year Bachelor of Science followed by a comprehensive dietetic internship and/or obtain a Masters of Science. Following this, the individual must write an exam and pass this exam to be registered with their college. I am a member of the College of Dietitians of Ontario. If I were to move to Alberta, I would need to re-write the exam to be accepted into the College of Dietitians of Alberta. The same would be true if I moved to any other country in the world. I would need to write the exam for that country’s College of Dietitians.

Dietitians are experts in nutrition and have guiding principles for counselling and overall conduct. Nutritionist is more likely to suggest more extreme measures and typically will not have as broad an understanding of overall health, as they are not truly a health professional.

I hope that this helps to clarify if you have ever wondered about this topic. Feel free to email me anytime if you have further questions.

Until next time…stay healthy!

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Super Berry Muffins

Rhett has quite an obsession with Berry muffins these days. He wakes up asking for them in the morning and if it were up to him, he would have them at every meal and snack. This morning we didn’t have any left and he threw a small fit…you know the typical toddler “I want my way” tantrum. I explained that he would have to have something else for breakfast, but after breakfast we could bake some. This seemed reasonable to him, so that is exactly what we did. I like to keep fresh berries for eating as they are, so we used frozen in the recipe below. However, you could easily use fresh if you have an over over abundance on hand. I have called these Super Berry Muffins because berrie certainly are superfoods packed with nutrients and disease fighting antioxidants, but also because the boys were pretending to be superheroes while making them. The name seemed fitting all around. 😉

Ingredient

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/3 cup Baby Brain Organics (or an extra 1/4 cup whole wheat flour)

1/2 Tbsp. Baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup coconut milk (or alternate milk of your choice)

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or other fruit puree)

1/4 agave syrup or honey

2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup frozen berries

Instructions

1. Mix together all dry ingredient.

2. Mix together all wet ingredients.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just moistened. Try to not over mix.

4. Spoon muffin mix into pan and then add berries. You may wish to add just one Berry to each muffin if you are making mini muffins or a spoonful if you are making large muffins.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F. Baking time for mini muffins is about 12-14 minutes and for medium size muffins is 22-35 minutes.

When we were making these, there was more of a mess than I anticipated as the kids were involved, but they tasted better for it and the experience was one that will keep me smiling all day long!

Hope you enjoy!

Until next time…stay healthy!

Butter…or Margarine…or is there another option???

I am often asked if I recommend butter or margarine and the truth is that I recommend neither. If someone wants to use an added fat, I recommend that they choose oil. Butter is full of saturated fat and margarine is super processed. Going back to the basics of oil is a consistent better choice. Then the next question is…which one should I buy???

Well, truth is having a few in he home can be helpful. Here is a quick rundown of the uses of some common oils.

Avocado oil: This is a great one for cooking at medium to medium high temps on the stove or in the oven. It has a nice light flavour and a higher smoke point than olive oil.

Canola oil: This one can also be used in the oven or on stove too and is great for baking  . It has the lowest concentration of saturated fat at a 7% concentration

Coconut oil: This is one that has spiked in popularity of use over the past few years  truth is, it’s uses are endless!!! As far as ingestion goes, it works well for baking or as a spread. It is quite high in saturated fatty acids which gave it a bad reputation for a lot of yeas, but with the unique structure of its fatty acids, they are not as harmful as the fatty acids in butter, and when consumed in moderation, coconut oil can be a very healthy component of a well balanced diet. So the next time you make pancakes or toast or even rice…and reach for butter or margarine…try this as your spread instead! It also adds a lovely flavour…if you like coconut 😉.

Flaxseed oil: Although packed with nutrition, this one is not good for cooking. It is at high risk for oxidation in the presence of heat. Use this one in small amounts as a supplement or added to salad dressing or oatmeal.

Grapeseed oil: This one is similar in its properties and uses to avocado oil but has a slightly heavier flavour…although it’s not a significant difference.

Olive oil: This is likely the most popular oil in homes; however, many people are misinformed on its ideal uses. Olive oil is not the best oil for use when cooking. In fact, it is recommended to aboid heating Olive oil beyond a low heat. It is at high risk for oxidation, which means when it is heated it can become harmful to the body. Ideally olive oil is consumed fresh as part of a salad dressing or bread dipper. It can also be added to oatmeal, rice, or mashed sweet potatoes for children that are struggling to gain weight.

There are are many other oils I could discuss, but I’ll stop there at the “more popular ones”. If you have questions about others, feel free to let me know.

Until next time….stay healthy!

 

 

Peanut Chicken

I had a few girlfriends over for Thai food last weekend and it reminded me how much I LOVE peanut sauce. I also realized that since my kids love peanut butter they would likely love any dish made with it. So I decided to work on a recipe this week for a “kid friendly” (aka not too spicy) Peanut Chicken. So for any of my readers who do not have a peanut allergy in your home…I hope that you enjoy it too!

Ingredients

6 Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breasts

2/3 cup peanut butter (this can be crunchy or smooth)

3 Tbsp. honey

3 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. avocado oil (or for a coconut flavor addition, you can use coconut oil here)

1 tsp. pureed garlic

1 tsp. curry powder

Instructions

  1. Slice or dice chicken breasts and place into a baking dish.
  2. Mix all sauce ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Add sauce to chicken. You may wish to add water at this time to thin it out as well.
  4. Bake at 375 Degrees F for about 35-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. The smaller the pieces, the faster the chicken will cook.

Variations and Serving Suggestions: 

  1. Diced up peppers, onion, mushrooms, and other veggies could also be added into the chicken dish while it cooks.
  2. This could be served over rice or rice noodles with stir fried or steamed veggies.
  3. This could be served with flat bread and a large salad.
  4. This could be served with potatoes or sweet potatoes and your choice of vegetable.
  5. Make a lunch for the next day with any leftovers.

As always, feel free to add a twist that will make it perfect for your family.

Until next time….stay healthy!

Banana Coconut Matcha Muffins

I am excited to share this muffin recipe with you after working through MANY drafts to come up with a muffin that tasted good, had a nice texture and mouth feel, looked good, and had a good shelf life. I also wanted to make sure that it was enjoyable for kids and parents alike. If I am being honest, my husband does not care for these, but that is because he is not a fan of coconut and these muffins have a beautiful coconut flavor. If I close my eyes when I open the container, I feel like I am at the beach!!

Okay, here is the recipe.

Ingredients

Dry ingredients

3/4 cup shredded coconut

2 tsp Matcha powder

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp. hemp hearts

Wet Ingredients

3 medium to large bananas (or 4 small), peeled and mashed

3 Omega-3 eggs, beaten

2 Tbsp. Agave syrup

1/3 cup coconut oil

1.5 cups milk of your choice (I used coconut)

Instructions

  1. Combine coconut and Matcha in a bowl and mix until the coconut is coated in Matcha. This will help prevent any clumping of the coconut or the Matcha.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients into one bowl.
  3. Combine all wet ingredients in a bowl. Start with mixing the mashed bananas, eggs and agave together. Then stir in the coconut oil, and finally add your choice of milk.
  4. Finally, add wet ingredients to dry and stir until moistened, but do not over stir.
  5. Scoop batter in to small, medium, or large muffin tins.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes for mini, 15-18 minutes for medium, and 20-23 minutes for large…or until you can pull a knife tip out clean.
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Shredded coconut and matcha mixed together

These muffins are packed with health benefits including disease fighting antioxidants from the Matcha and Omega 3 fatty acids from hemp hearts and omega 3 eggs. They also contain cinnamon, Agave, and a solid protein content promoting a low glycemic response. I hope that you enjoy them for their flavor, but also benefit from the healthy ingredients!

When developing this recipe, I used to sweet Matcha powder I received recently from Ujido Matcha. If you want to try it too, you can use the code “noellemartin20” at checkout to get 20% off your order. I find this Matcha to have a lovely flavor and consistency and works well for smoothies, lattes, and baking.

Until next time…stay healthy!

Promega Banana Muffins

Looking for a breakfast or snack food packed with quality protein and omega 3 fatty acids? Look no further! These muffins are packed with nutrition and flavour AND have no added sugar!!! You can also “dress them up” as I have in the picture above. This mini version of the muffin is topped with Yoso Chocolate Coconut Milk Yogurt and a raspberry. You could also use Greek yogurt and/or any other fruit you and your little ones enjoy!

Ingredients

1 cup oats (ideally steel cut quick cooking oats)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

¼ cup Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts or Baby Brain Organics

¼ cup chia seeds

½ Tbsp. baking powder

½ Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup bananas (about 3 large bananas)

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or alternate fruit puree)

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

2 eggs

½ Tbsp. vanilla

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Mash bananas and beat eggs then add these together along with applesauce, oil, yogurt, and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry and wet mixture together and stir until moistened, but do not over-stir.
  4. Spoon into muffin pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 14-17 minutes for mini muffins and 22-28 minutes for “regular” size muffins.

Makes 18 regular size muffins or 36 mini muffins.

Feel free to add dried fruit or nuts for added nutrition and flavor too!

Until next time…stay healthy!

Mussels!!!

My husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary with a road trip to the East Coast of Canada. Up until that point, I had never tasted a mussel. I always thought that the texture would be odd and was fearful of how I would react if I couldn’t chew and swallow without making a scene! Can anyone relate? I have heard from others that they have the same concern. But this one afternoon, while in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia we came across a restaurant that served only mussels. We decided it was now or never and we never looked back. The mussels were out of this world amazing!!! I couldn’t believe that I had gone so many years without experiencing this food that was rich in protein and omega 3 fatty acids and quite easy to prepare.

Once home from our trip I decided to make our own version. I was shocked at how inexpensive they were and how fast they are to make. Over the following 9 years I have created many broths that I like to cook mussels in but I will keep this to a reasonable length and share two with you now…one of which we enjoyed tonight.

First of all you need the largest pot you have as it is a lot of liquid, and then the mussels take up space as well. In terms of amount of mussels to purchase, it depends on everyone’s appetite, but I tend to plan on about 1-1.5 pounds per person served with a generous salad.

Broth 1

4 cups of water

5 cups of tomato or Clamato juice (or tomato sauce works too)

1 large can of No Salt Added diced tomatoes

1 red onion, diced

1 cup of frozen peas

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. avocado or canola oil

1 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice

Broth 2

4 cups water

3 cups white wine

1/4 cup avocado or canola oil

2 Tbsp. minced garlic and/or dill

1 red onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

Instructions

Bring either of these mixtures to a boil, add rinsed mussels and continue to boil for about 3 minutes or until you see that most mussels are open. At this point you can serve them or you can scoop them with a little bit of broth into a baking pan and sprinkle with feta or parmesan cheese and pop them under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or in the oven at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes.

fullsizerender-12In this photo, the mussels are just starting to open. It happens really quickly and is fascinating to watch. If any mussels do not open, this means that they were not meant to be consumed, so just leave them in the bowl.  The rest will open like the picture below and are ready to enjoy!
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You can easily use other herbs and spices and sauces to get any flavor that you enjoy. Bottom line is that you need a liquid base to bring to a boil and there is not limit from there.

Hope that you enjoy these and would love to hear any new combinations you come up with in the comment section!

Until next time, stay healthy…

 

 

 

 

Energy Bites

Looking for a sweet snack that has a nutrition packed punch ???

I have exactly what you are working for and you can make it in less than 10 minutes.

These energy bites are packed with omega 3 fatty acids which play a huge role in brain and eye development, support mental health and heart health, have anti-inflammatory properties, and so much more. They also are a source of protein which helps support muscle growth and development as well as a stronger immunity and many other body functions. And last, but not least, they are a source of soluble fibre which supports bowel health, can help to lower cholesterol levels, and helps support satiety.

Here is the recipe…

Ingredients

1 and 1/4 cup Steel Cut Oats

1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

2/3 cup natural peanut or almond butter (crunchy or smooth is fine)

1/3 cup shelled hemp hearts

1/3 cup chia seeds

1/3 cup Buckwheat Honey (or regular honey will work too…Buckwheat honey has an anti-inflammatory effect which we really appreciate in our home)

1 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and let sit in the fridge for 5 minutes. Then roll into balls and place on parchment paper in a glass or Tupperware container and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

You may also wish to add pumpkin seeds or dried fruit.

Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Until next time…stay healthy!