Mother’s Day Pancakes

I absolutely love pink…it just makes me smile. And my kids love pancakes. So for Mother’s Day brunch I decided to create a pink pancake recipe that everyone would enjoy. The best part…they helped me make it and kids in the kitchen is the best Mother’s Day gift I could ask for. Here is the recipe in case you want to try it too.

Ingredients

1 and ¼ cup milk (any milk is fine…buttermilk, cow’s milk, coconut milk, almond milk….etc.)

1 cup frozen strawberries or raspberries

2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)

1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil

¼ cup Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts

¼ cup chia seeds

¾ cup unbleached white flour

1 and ¼ cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. baking powder

Instructions:

  • 1) In a mixer of your choice (Vitamix, Blentec, Ninja, etc.) blend together 1.25 cups milk of your choice (I like to use coconut milk), 1 cup frozen berries, ¼ cup hemp hearts, ¼ cup oil, and 2 eggs (or 4 egg whites). Set this aside
  • 2) In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, and chia seeds) together.
  • 3) Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix together…but don’t overmix.
  • 4) Cook pancakes on a frying pan of your choice. I prefer an electric one as I find they are less likely to stick or burn.
  • 5) Serve with your choice of yogurt and fruit for a delicious and nutritious meal for mom!

Until next time….stay healthy!

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Nutrient Packed Breakfasts for Kids (and parents too!)

I am sure we can all agree that sending our little ones off to daycare, preschool, school, play group, or the park, etc. with a full tummy gives us comfort. We know that they will be able to play, think, and learn well until their next snack or meal if they leave their home well nourished. There are two issues that can creep into this ideal. One is that mornings can be rushed and secondly,  some children would rather play than eat when they get up.

In our home, mornings are definitely busy and I have one son who is never in the mood to head straight to the breakfast table…the other two are quite interested which helps. One strategy that I put into place is consistency. I have a timer that goes off 10 minutes after the twins are up to let us know it is breakfast time. This allows for a little bit of reading, playing, and cuddles but also means that we don’t leave breakfast so late that we get behind or I end up in a position where we are rushing the children (especially Wes…my non-breakfast guy) to finish. If there is a morning that I am up earlier with the baby and I have already eaten, I sit with a cup of tea and a bit more fruit when the twins eat. Most mornings we can all eat together thankfully.

The second strategy that I use is to offer simple, nutrient packed meals that have variety to them. This way, I know that they have a jump start on their nutrition needs for the day. I aim for representation from all food groups with a form of grain, milk (or alternative), fruit, and meat alternative. With this, I can ensure that they are starting their day with long acting and short acting carbohydrates, a source of protein, as well as healthy fats for their brain development and supporting mental health.  On weekends, I tend to make more complex breakfasts such as pancakes or waffles or quiche, but on weekdays, we need easy, quick, nutritious and delicious.

Here are some of my kids faves (and they are great for parents too!):

  1. Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes. This is a pancake mix with extra protein and added oat fibre. I make them with coconut milk instead of water to boost the micronutrient and caloric density and I will often add 1 Tbsp. Baby Brain Organics per cup of Pancake mix for a brain boosting omega-3 addition. I serve these with the kids choice of fruit and/or dried fruit and sometimes a little coconut yogurt/goat or feta cheese and/or seeds as well. Depends on the day and how hungry they are as to how much or little I add beyond fruit. Fruit is a must though!!!
  2. PB (or AB) and Hemp Wrap. Whole grain wrap with natural peanut or almond butter and 1 Tbsp. of shelled hemp hearts sprinkled inside. You can all add sliced banana, apple, pear or raisins if you wish. My son prefers his fruit on the side.
  3. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait. The key here is using yogurt that is thick and protein packed. I serve my kids Liberte 9% and add in berries and/or sliced bananas then top with homemade granola and/or seeds and dried fruit. My one son is allergic to oats, so I just leave the granola off of his and offer a homemade muffin instead.
  4. Overnight oats. This is a great one to make in bulk for the whole family! Take a mason jar per person and add about 1/3 cup steel cut oats, add in 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, hemp hearts or baby brain organics. Then add 2-3 TBsp of milk, 1/3 cup Greek, coconut, or soy yogurt, and your choice of fruit. Put the lid on and shake, then put it into the fridge overnight. The oats soak up the moisture from the milk and yogurt and the fruit softens and releases flavor into the whole mixture. I like to add texture to this with a little diced apple or pear added in the morning. For an extra boost of protein and flavor, you can also add 1/2-1 Tbsp. of PB2 to the mixture. I will be talking more about this product in a post to come. For now I will say that it is an awesome way to get the protein and fibre that peanut butter offers, with 85% less fat. Healthy fat is definitely a good thing though, so don’t be afraid to keep using the real thing!
  5. Make ahead eggs. This is another one that is great for the whole family. Mix together eggs, milk, shredded cheese, and place it into the fridge. In the morning, pour into a microwave safe bowl and microwave the mixture one minute per egg used OR put into a frying pan and cook until the eggs are done. These can be served in a whole grain wrap, English muffin or toast. Eggs can remain quite hot for a while, so this is a good one to finish cooking before your children come to the table. You can add some fresh diced avocado to it or any fruit that your children enjoy on the side. If they are hungry right away, they could enjoy the fruit while the eggs are cooking and cooling.
  6. Cereal. Okay this one seems so simple…and it is, but I decided to include it anyway. The key to healthy cereals is low sugar. I offer multigrain Cheerios and rice Chex as the two most common options for my kids. Rhett is the main reason we have Chex in the house as there are very few cereals that do not contain oats. Shreddies and Vector are two that they enjoy as a treat. And as mentioned above, this would be with milk, fruit, and some nuts or seeds on top of on the side. To speed this option along you can always portion the cereal the night before so you only have to add a handful of blueberries and top with milk. This is a great one for kids to help with too!FullSizeRender (9)
  7. Smoothie (or just milk) and toast (or muffin) and nuts or nut butter. This is another simple one. Smoothie recipes are endless…you can see some of my previous post: Smoothies to Beat the Heat (links don’t seem to be working but I will add one once they are again). With toast, ideally it is whole grain and then we can add more nutrition with coconut butter and natural peanut or almond butter on top. With muffins, homemade with low sugar and whole wheat flour is key! You can also sprinkle some chia seeds or hemp seeds on top of either. One of my sons loves to add natural almond butter and feta cheese to his toast and muffins, with berries, apple, or pear slices on top or on the side. IMG_8433
  8. Pita Break Breakfast Pitas. My boys love these toasted and cut into triangles and served with yogurt, fruit, and almonds. Sometimes we do a natural nut butter in place of the almonds. FullSizeRender (8)

 

 

 

I hope you find these ideas inspiring for your morning routine ahead!

Until next time…stay healthy!!!

 

 

 

Seven steps to being a healthier mom!

Being healthy is not a fad or a diet or trying the latest craze. Its a lifestyle with daily choices and effort to be the healthiest person that you can be.  As a mom this can be hard.  Its hard to find time to be active. Its hard to find time to sit and eat. Its hard to shop for and prepare healthy food for yourself and your family. However, the reality is that if you set a schedule for yourself to do all of these things, you will find that you have more energy and you wonder how you ever lived any other way.  Here are my top seven tips for moms trying to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

  1. Every weekend make a meal plan for the week that will guide your grocery choices. Get all that you can at your weekend grocery shop then pop back t the store or market for anything that you need fresh mid-week.  You can also pick up more fruit at this time if needed. This is my supper meal plan for this week to give you an example.
    1. Sunday
      1. Halibut with roasted fingerling potatoes, and broccoli
      2. Mixed green salad with pear, pecans, and avocado
    2. Monday – out for supper with gramma
    3. Tuesday
      1. Salmon with rice noodles, snap peas, and corn on the cob.
      2. Baja chopped salad
    4. Wednesday
      1. Omega-3 pork loin cutlets with roasted beets, onion, mushroom, and cauliflower
      2. Spinach salad with tomato and avocado
    5. Thursday
      1. Homemade chicken burgers
      2. Kale salad topped with cucumber, strawberries, dried cranberries, and almond slices
    6. Friday
      1. Lemon pepper haddock with roasted sweet potatoes and sauteed green beans
      2. Mixed greens salad topped with dried chickpeas, apple slices, red onion, and yellow pepper.
    7. Saturday
      1. Chicken fajitas
      2. Mexican salad (Spinach, tomato, avocado, black beans, tortillas, and salsa/Ranch dressing)
  2. Do meal prep when your children are sleeping.
    1. At night, take time to prepare fruit for breakfast for everyone. Perhaps it is washing and slicing strawberries or grapes or cutting up a watermelon. Then cut up and portion vegetables that you will need the next day. Portion our baby carrots, cucumber, and snap peas for lunches. Dice up peppers, onion, and sweet potatoes for supper etc.  Do whatever you can to make the next day easy.
    2. You may even want to cook things while your children are sleeping and reheat them depending on what the meal is. This works well for lasagna and casseroles, as well as chicken, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beets.
    3. If you are a stay-at-home mom, then your children’s nap time is also a great time for food prep. This was supper prep that I did during nap time on Wednesday of this week.
    4. IMG_8208
  3. Start everyday with a sitting down to breakfast with your children.  This is important for many reasons.
    1. We need to model healthy behaviors to our children.  Eating breakfast (the most important meal of the day) is one of the best habits you can teach your children.
    2. You need to fuel up! You are a busy mom and your body has not had nutrition for anywhere from 8-12 hours at this point.  If you do not fuel up properly within one hour of waking, you are more likely to make poor food choices later in the day.
    3. Your children will have better behavior if they are well nourished.  They will treat their siblings and other children better, they will have longer attention spans, and they will have a better life experience when they are well nourished.
    4. It is about more than the food! This is your chance to connect with your children without distraction for 15-30 minutes. I use breakfast time to chat with my kids about what the day will hold. Without this connection, the day just doesn’t go as smoothly.
  4. Make healthy lunches with supper leftovers. I made this lunch today with leftovers from Tuesday and Wednesday suppers. IMG_8243
  5. Choose healthy snacks between meals so that you do not overeat at meals. Here are a few ideas ranging from lighter snack to more complete snack…
    1. Cut up watermelon, strawberries, grapes, or any other fruit you enjoy with or without yogurt.FullSizeRender (1)
    2. Baby carrots, sliced cucumber, and peppers with hummus
    3. Low fat decaf latte  IMG_8178
    4. Greek yogurt
    5. Glass of chocolate milkIMG_8206
    6. Cottage cheese mixed with pineapple or strawberries
    7. Kashi quinoa granola bar
    8. Whole grain toast spread with mashed avocado
    9. Homemade muffin with coconut oil and/or peanut butter
    10. Slice of low fat cheese, a few whole grain crackers, and apple or pear slices
    11. Mix of dried chickpeas, dried almonds, Shreddies, and raisins
  6. Find time to be active either with or without your kids.  If you are with small children full time, then pop them in a stroller or bike trailer and go for a walk, run, or bike.  I take books and snacks for my kids to keep them occupied and happy while I am getting activity in.  I also always end at a park or splash pad and they know that this is coming so they are tolerant to wait for that.  We chat about the different types of animals and trees etc. that we see along the way. If your children are in daycare or school and you work during this time and need to be with them the other parts of your day, then perhaps you can find a neighbor or friend that you can walk with in the evening a few times per week or find a yoga or spin class at your local gym that you can go to while your spouse/partner stays home with the sleeping children. Perhaps you could each take two nights per week to be active while the other stays home.  Or perhaps it is worth getting a babysitter twice per week so you can be active together.IMG_8229
  7. Last but not least, try to live by guidelines not rules.  If you live by riles then you set yourself up for failure which usually results in more poor choices.  If you aim for guidelines then you can always aim for your best in that moment and as long as you are doing your best, then you can remain positive about the choices you make.

I hope that these are helpful tips for you to be the best YOU and YOU can be and teach your children to do the same.  Self care as a mom goes much further than ourselves.  It spills over into our children. It affects how we treat them and how they will treat themselves.

Until next time….stay healthy!

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?