Offer each food a million different ways

Offer each food a million different ways

“My daughter doesn’t eat apples.” That’s what I would have said after multiple attempts of giving her sliced apples. I could have (and would have) given up on those darn apples…if I hadn’t worked with families and limited eaters, nor studied children’s eating for years as a Certified Nutritionist and Picky Eating Expert. And another simple ‘picky eating’ solution is born! To us an apple is an apple.  An egg is an egg.  And chicken is chicken.  But how that food shows up on their plate and in their mouth makes a difference.  A big difference! A sliced granny smith apple is completely different from a whole granny smith apple, from both a sensory perspective and oral motor.    And a macintosh apple has a unique taste vs. a red delicious apple. So I knew I had to put my “Picky Eating Expert” hat back on and try a million new ways until I found the winning apple combination.  Ok, maybe not a million 😉 I had try a million dozen different apples.  Royal gala Golden delicious Granny smith Macintosh Red Delicious You get the gist! (and I can’t remember any other varieties at the moment) And I needed to offer that apple a million dozen different ways. Peeled Sliced Thinly sliced Really thinly sliced and peeled Cooked Shredded Half an apple A full apple Dried crunchy Dried soft With dips….and so on.   As I was handing Naomi her apple this morning it dawned on me that this was another simple “picky eating solution” I should share. As you may have guessed, my stubborn yet sweet, two year old Naomi is now an apple lover.  Partly because...
Coconut Yogurt Bark (dairy-free)

Coconut Yogurt Bark (dairy-free)

I’m completing the cheatsheets for the Energy Reboot starting on Monday, including my list of delicious and simple low-sugar treats.  Well, truth be told…I’ve been drooling the whole time!  This Coconut Yogurt Bark was a last minute addition after experimenting with a dairy-free version of one I saw on Pinterest. This recipe was another no-brainer to add to the program: It takes 3 minutes to prep (maybe even less) + freezer time It has 3 ingredients (or more if you choose to get crazy) It was a hit, for me and my little ones Here they are sampling (and loving) the frozen treat last night. I was going to keep it a secret and only share this Coconut Yogurt Bark with the tired moms who took joined the 20-day program, but my excitement got the best of me.  So here I am spilling the beans. A few pointers first: You may want to take it out of the freezer a few minutes before eating, just keep in mind that this stuff melts quickly (so keep a napkin handy). You’re also welcome to use dairy-based yogurt which will turn out just fine. But for those who prefer dairy-free this is the brand I use.     If you have a sweet tooth this is a great lower-sugar snack (4 grams for one piece).  Ultimately though, wouldn’t we all love to have more control over our cravings or none at all? Um yes please! There’s a reason why we gravitate to certain foods - be it chocolate or chips.  And I’ll be showing parents how to tame those cravings in the Energy Reboot (in addition to providing simple 5-minute strategies on boosting energy, health, sleep,...
The Better Birthday Cupcake (gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar)

The Better Birthday Cupcake (gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar)

My two girls have birthdays within a month of each other.  The two-in-one birthday parties are convenient but they also give me anxiety!! (sort of kidding).  Especially with 3 weeks of consecutive parties. #birthdaypartiesthatneverend Because with kids’ birthdays comes birthday cake. With cake comes sugar (a lot of it). With sugar comes runny noses, less room for nutrient-dense foods, and sugar cravings! (not to mention a slew of other health issues). When it comes to the birthday menu, I don’t have as much of a say in the selection.  My amazing mother and my mother-in-law graciously purchase and prepare most of the food (cake included).  And with Italians on one-side and British on the other, it’s safe to assume that a homemade, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar birthday cake wouldn’t be the sweet of choice. Unless….they don’t know it’s homemade, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar?  [sneaky!!] I’m all for balance and not making sweets seem forbidden.  But there is a better (and healthier) birthday cake for our littles. It doesn’t HAVE to be full of processed sugar, white flour, or topped with artificially coloured icing.  Without all of the above, it doesn’t mean it has to taste like cardboard either. This weekend I took a chance on these simple vanilla coconut flour cupcakes.  Unlucky for me, there was a decadent ice cream cake cozied right up beside it.  Yet I still confidently offered my homemade, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar cupcakes.  And, for the most part, they ate them!  [tough to compete with a Frozen themed ice cream cake]. Now my warning:  Because they are made with coconut flour (which is very absorbent), they have a more crumbly texture than your typical wheat-based cupcake.  Think cornbread....
Why being a “bad mom” can be good

Why being a “bad mom” can be good

I’m not a bad mom. Although, sometimes I feel like one based on how I parent. Maybe it’s because I saw the darker side of motherhood after Sienna was born – and I was a mess.  I witnessed my first child go through heart surgery (twice), struggle with nursing to eating solids, and being labelled “failure to thrive”. Everything I had went to finding solutions for my daughter.  So much that I had nothing left for myself. My anxiety was high. My energy was depleted. My patience was paper thin. Working out and getting out didn’t happen much, and my health had seen better days   I was not the “me” I hoped to be.  And wish I had simple tools like this…   I wanted to be an energetic, healthy, and happy mom.  Not tired, irritable, and stressed out. The only way I was going to turn things around was by putting myself FIRST.  Putting myself BEFORE my kids and my husband? Ewww.  Ick.  It felt SO WRONG.  But it was the best thing for all of us. The choices Keith and I make for our family often have our girls top of mind.  However, as much as possible we ask, “is this the best thing for us — their parents — and the foundation of our family?”  If the answer is yes, we proceed.  Often with guilt but knowing deep down it’s the best thing to do for the family. Here’s why feeling like a “bad mom” can actually be good:   I go away WITHOUT my kids multiple times a year (and look forward to it). A few of my nutrition friends and I went to Vancouver for a full week this fall.  No kids,...
What’s your PMS type?

What’s your PMS type?

So not fair!  After birthing a baby, suffering through chapped nipples, and surviving (hardly) sleep deprivation, mothers should NOT have to deal with this PMS BS.  Right?   The persistent headaches, debilitating cramps, and insatiable cravings – every. single. month. Until menopause?  No thanks! Did you know there were different PMS types?  More on this below. Raising kids is hard enough without the added PMS symptoms. How can we be calm and collected, or ‘parent peacefully’ when all we really want to do is curl up in a ball (with a bag of salty chips, and maybe some mint ice cream too). Being a Nutritionist, I see enough clients come to be with PMS symptoms among other challenges.  I feel their pain as if it’s my own.  But as they’ve witnessed, PMS does not have to be your normal. Let’s start to nip it in the bud, starting with some PMS 101…   So what’s your PMS Type?   When you have a PMS chat with your girlfriend, you’ll realize this time of the month doesn’t look the same for all of us.  You may crave chocolate like it’s nobody’s business.  She might cry at the sight of spilt milk. PMS manifests in different ways depending on what’s happening in your body.   As I explain to clients, there are actually 4 PMS types or categories (some experts argue there’s 5). Where do you fall? PMS Types Potential Causes  Symptoms Incidence of women PMS-A  ANXIETY High estrogen Low progesterone Difficulty sleeping Tense feelings Irritability Clumsiness Mood swings 65-75% PMS-C CRAVINGS Hypoglycemia Increased insulin (especially in early part of cycle) Hormonal regulation Carb & sweets cravings Cravings for salt Increased appetite Headaches Fatigue, fainting...