I've had quite a few moms asking me lately for suggestions on what to feed their children. It seems like I am not the only one going through a picky eater stage. My daughter, Harlow, used to gobble up everything we gave her but now that she's nearing 3 years old she has opinions on what she likes and doesn't like. One of her new favourite sayings is "no, I don't like that" before she has even given it a try. It has definitely become frustrating.
The good thing though, is my daughter is a snack machine. She basically eats all day long. A friend recently told me that one of her friends doesn't let her children snack as she wants them to eat their meals.
I understand that you want your child to eat what you have prepared them at meal time. I get it. But it is SO important that children have multiple snacks throughout the day. Kids have a fast metabolism so they burn up what they eat quite quickly. They need to be fed frequently to keep their blood sugar levels stable. This helps keep their moods even, their brain focused and functioning and their energy up.
When children reach a certain age it can become a battle to get them to eat what you want. It is really important to remember that you are in control of what they eat at home but you cannot control how much they eat. They are their own beings with their own minds and willpower. We have to trust that if we are providing different healthy snack and meal options throughout the day they will get the nourishment they need. Their bodies are smart and they will crave what nutrients they need. Harlow went through an apple kick for about 6 months eating 2-3 apples a day. I'm sure there was some nutrient her body was missing and her body told her to get it from apples.
You've probably heard this before but you are the role model and you must lead by example. If you are eating a snickers bar you have to be prepared to share it with your child. If you don't want them eating a snickers bar then you have to not have them in the house (or be very sneaky where you hide it!). That is my rule. If I don't want my kid to eat it then I can't eat it. If your child sees you snacking on and enjoying kale chips or a big bowl of fruit then they are more likely to want to eat those too.
A good way to get your child to eat the things you prepare for them is to let them help make it. Harlow LOVES energy balls and part of the reason she loves them is because she gets to spend special time with mommy making them together and eating them in the process.
It is also EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to never use food as punishment or reward. For example, if your child doesn't want to eat their veggies at dinner PLEASE don't tell them they can't have dessert. It makes them think of their vegetables as boring and yucky and their sugar filled dessert as delicious. If you are going to make a dessert, make something that is delicious but also super healthy so when they don't want to eat what you've provided at dinner they will still be eating something healthy and filling for dessert (raw vegan cheesecake anyone?!).
Punishing or rewarding ("eat 3 more bites of broccoli and you can have ice cream") children with food creates an unhealthy relationship with food, giving more value to the reward food (aka the "unhealthy" food). It is an easy strategy in the short run, but in the long run it can increase the risk that a child (or adult later on) will emotionally eat. It also gives them a preference for junky, high fat high sugar foods and decreases their ability to regulate their food intake.
So what ARE some healthy snacks that aren't overly complicated to make? Check out my list below.
-Energy balls are fast and delicious and can be changed to suit your child's preferences. If your child has a nut allergy swap out the nuts for seeds or oats.
-Fruit salads using seasonal fruit.
-Overnight oats and chia puddings are great quick make ahead breakfast or snack ideas. You can easily sneak hemp seeds or chia seeds into them for added protein and minerals.
-Foods with dips! Harlow is more likely to eat something if she can dip it in something yummy. So tzatziki and baked pita chips or organic corn tortilla chips are great. Hummus and veggies sticks or flax crackers (we like Mary's brand). You can experiment with different beans/legumes (chickpeas or lentils or black beans and blend in veggies like roasted peppers or spinach).
-Try roasting things! Roasted chickpeas are DELICIOUS! We also love cutting up zucchini and rolling it in a mixture of parmesan and spices and baking it and then dipping it in hot sauce. You could also do the same with sweet potatoes or carrots.
-Try different cooked veggies with lots of butter or coconut oil (cooked broccoli, carrots, green beans) and I like to put Herbamare on Harlow’s (she LOVES it and makes her want to eat her veggies more).
-For a sweet treat you can also make vegan banana ice cream (frozen bananas blended in a food processor, add some toppings like coconut and nuts).
-Fruit smoothies (see my raspberry dreamsicle smoothie below) are easy and you can throw some greens and plant protein powder in there too if your child is totally opposed to vegetables. Smoothies can also easily become popsicles for hot summer days.
-Apple sandwiches. Cut an apple in half, smear it with peanut butter, add toppings (nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, mini chocolate chips, etc.). Kids love these because they can pick the toppings.
-Vegetable buns (takes a little more time to make these). I like the ones from greenkitchenstories.
-Whole grain tortillas (or use a big lettuce leaf) with hummus or other bean spread, veggies, sprouts, cheese, etc.
Keep offering the same foods too. It takes about 10 tries to change a child's taste buds. So if you are desperate for your child to like hummus, they might just like it the 10th time they eat it. Some kids are really sensitive to the different textures of food (that would be my husband) so trying healthy foods in different ways can get them eating the foods you want. For example if they don't like raw bananas try freezing them and making ice cream out of them, or adding them to smoothies or mashing them up and mixing into overnight soaked oats.
If you are struggling to get your kids to eat healthy or just need more ideas, feel free to send me a message. And mama, you're doing great!
Love and light xo,
Breastfeeding is a beautiful way to connect with your baby. The oxytocin released while breastfeeding can bring you and your little one closer. Being able to feed your baby from your very own body can be an empowering experience.
Some women are lucky and produce milk easily, while other women struggle to produce enough milk for their baby. Low milk production can create stress, frustration and sadness in women who aren't able to produce as much as needed for their growing baby.
If you are struggling with low milk production, here are 5 tips for you to help increase your milk supply.
1. Try Galactagogues
Galactagogues are herbal substances used to increase a nursing mother's milk supply. Moringa, fennel, fenugreek, alfalfa and nettle are just some of the different galactagogues that may help increase your milk supply.
You can usually find nursing teas with a mix of these herbs at your local health food store which are an easy way to take them.
2. Eat Fruit
Breastmilk contains a high amount of sugar to provide a baby with the energy it needs to grow and thrive. It is important to start eating in a way that supports this high sugar production to produce as much breastmilk as possible. The best way to do this is to eat glucose containing foods, and the best sources of glucose are fruit, honey and coconut water.
When I speak about eating more fruit I don't just mean add an extra apple a day. I'm talking about eating fruit all day long. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Make it a priority and you may see an increase in your breastmilk production.
3. Stay Hydrated
Breastmilk is about 87% water, so getting enough to drink is going to be important. You need to drink enough water to create your breastmilk and also fulfill all your hydration needs.
The best indicator that you are well hydrated is very pale yellow to clear urine. Make sure that you drink good quality, filtered water. If you have a hard time drinking a lot of water, make it more exciting by adding slices of fresh lemon or limes, fruits like watermelon or strawberries or herbs like mint or parsley.
4. Nurse More
Nursing your baby more often is one of the best ways to increase milk production. Nursing is a supply and demand system. The amount your baby nurses tells your body how much milk to produce, so the more your baby nurses, the more milk you will produce.
5. Take Care Of Your Needs
Your pregnancy is over but that doesn't mean you get to stop taking care of yourself. What you eat and what you do directly affects your baby. Your baby gets all of its nutrition from your milk, so making sure that your body is getting what it needs for baby as well as yourself is very important. The more nutritionally "full" you are, the better your body works. The better your body works the more efficiently it can make milk.
I recommend that women who are breastfeeding continue to take a pre-natal vitamin as well as iron and a probiotic. Continuing to avoid caffeine and alcohol are important. And although it may be very hard, get as much rest as possible. Sleep when baby sleeps, don't take on too many projects and learn to say NO. The more rested and well cared for your body is, the better it will be at making food for your baby.
*On a side note, a great supplement to take during breastfeeding is chlorella. Not only is it a blood purifier and a liver detoxifier, it helps cleanse breast milk by decreasing the dioxins in breast milk. As a breastfeeding mom myself, chlorella is an important supplement in my diet.
Remember, whatever way you choose to feed your baby is the right way for you and your little one. Whether it's breastmilk or formula or a mixture of both, the important thing is to spend the time holding your baby and bonding with it. Skin to skin is one of the best ways to feel close to baby and to help baby feel close to you.
Love and light xo,
Photos by Alexis Feist Photography
As winter seems to drag on and on this year with each new snowfall, I've been feeling the need to get warmer and cozier and to slow down. This Slow Cooker Butter Chickpea dish is a meal I've been turning to a lot over the last few months because it warms me up and is quick and easy to make for those nights where I just don't have the energy for cooking. The tiredness has been growing day by day as my due date is slowly approaching. I know this is a meal that I will be making a lot once the baby is born as cooking will be the last thing on my mind.
A few notes on some of the healing properties of this dish:
Ginger is an antispasmodic and can help calm and relax the body. It is antiviral, antibacterial and anti parasitic. It reduces inflammation and increases circulation. It has more than 60 trace minerals and helps enhance the body's production of vitamin B12, an extremely important vitamin for stress reduction and fertility. It is helpful at curbing nausea if you are in your first trimester.
Garlic is a sulfer containing plant from the onion family which helps support the detoxification activities of the liver, and detoxifying the liver helps to balance hormones. Garlic's active ingredient, allicin, is an antibiotic that has been shown to help with viruses and staph and strep bacteria. Use it as part of any healing diet. Garlic contains antioxidants (especially vitamins C and A and selenium) that boost the immune system and protect us against allergens and pollutants.
Cilantro has good quantities of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, magnesium and beta carotene. It has beneficial stomach properties and eases digestive problems such as nausea and vomiting. It can be helpful with fevers, purifies the blood and strengthens the heart. It has been called the ‘poor mans chelator’, which means that it has a talent for drawing out heavy metals from the body and helping to excrete them.
Slow Cooker Butter Chickpea
-1Tbsp olive oil
-1 medium size onion, diced
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1 can coconut milk
-2 cups crushed tomatoes
-1Tbsp garam masala
-1Tbsp curry powder
-1Tbsp freshly grated ginger
-2tsp chili powder
-1/2tsp black pepper
-2 28oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
-handful chopped cilantro, for garnish
-wholegrain pita bread, naan bread or brown rice for serving
1.Place all ingredients except cilantro in your crockpot. Cook according to your crockpot instructions (about 4-5hrs on low heat).
2.Serve butter chickpeas with fresh cilantro and warmed pita or naan bread.
Love and light, xo
Have you heard of Moringa? I hadn't heard much about it until a few months ago when I was shopping at my local health food store. I knew it was a superfood but I didn't know HOW super it really was until recently.
Moringa Oleifera is a tropical, fast growing tree and its leaves are highly nutrient dense and nutritious. It is rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A, omega 3, chlorophyll, protein among many other nutrients. But what really caught my eye was how rich it is in iron. It has 25x more iron than spinach. Iron is a really important mineral, especially for us plant eaters. I've been on the lower side of the iron spectrum as of late due to my pregnancy so this really intrigued me.
Due to the amount of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals it contains, moringa is a perfect food for athletes as it can improve endurance and lower inflammation. It's great for women breastfeeding as it may increase milk supply and boost energy levels. It also helps to lower blood sugar levels and increases mental focus. It has been used as a natural aphrodisiac to increase sex drive, HOWEVER, I have also read that it may reduce rates of conception. So if you're looking to get pregnant moringa may not be the nutrient for you. But once you ARE pregnant it can supposedly help boost the immune system.
Moringa was supposedly used as an Ayurvedic medicine, sunscreen, body lotion, perfume and for purifying water in ancient times. Due to its speed of growth and nutrient density, moringa is being looked at as a way to bring protein and vitamins to impoverished people.
This was the first time I tried it so I will let you know in the future how I feel. But in the meantime, you may be interested in trying it out yourself, but only if you're not trying to conceive!
Morning Moringa Bowl For Mamas
Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free
1 can of coconut milk
1/4 cup, plus 1Tbsp chia seeds
1tsp. moringa powder (if you're trying to conceive just leave this out. The bowl is amazing and packed with nutrients with or without it!)
pinch of himalayan sea salt
-toasted shredded coconut
-toasted chopped cashews
-cacao nibs or chopped dark chocolate
-maple syrup or honey
-freshly grated ginger
1.Place coconut milk, chia, vanilla, moringa powder and salt in a bowl. Whisk together. Cover and place in fridge overnight. You may want to whisk a few times before going to bed to make sure it doesn't clump together.
2.In the morning, give pudding a stir, top with desired toppings and serve.
Love and light xo,