Posts Tagged ‘healthy’

Quick and Easy Breakfasts

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.38.28 AMI don’t know about you but we spend many mornings running around and well- running late. My alarm is always set for an hour before my daughter wakes up for preschool, but that hour goes by really quickly. Having really quick breakfast options that are also healthy are key for our family. Here are some of my favorite easy-to-put-together breakfasts.

Breakfast Quesadillas.  This is nothing more than scrambled eggs and cheese between two organic corn tortillas. If you have some pre-made guacamole on hand even better! The mix of healthy carbs, protein and fats will give them plenty of energy and keep them full.

Overnight Oatmeal. There are lots of varieties to play with here and you can either make individual servings (I use about ½ cup dry rolled oats per person) or enough for the whole family. Just put it a glass container or mason jar and cover with organic milk, nut milk or plain yogurt. You just need enough to just cover the oats, add some vanilla extract and raw honey and leave it in the fridge overnight. You can serve it cold or if you used milk instead of yogurt you can quickly heat it before serving. Try topping it with some berries, bananas, chopped nuts, peanut butter, raisins or whatever else your family loves.

Apple Sandwiches. This is one of my favorites. Pick a large apple and cut into slices that can be stuck back to each other to make little sandwiches. Spread each slice with your favorite nut butter and maybe some coconut flakes or granola, and then sandwich them together and you’re done!

Egg in a hole. Choose high quality, healthy bread such as sourdough or Ezekiel bread and grab a fun cookie cutter to make a hole in the middle of it. Heat a little butter in a pan, put the bread on the pan and then add either a whole egg or a scrambled egg into the middle of the bread and let the egg cook through.

Fruit Kabobs with Greek yogurt dip. These are great to make in large batches to have throughout the week for breakfasts or snacks. All you need is a kabob stick and your favorite fruits and a little bowl of Greek yogurt for dipping in. You can keep the yogurt plain or add some honey, strawberry jam or a touch of maple syrup.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor and online fitness coach. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their grove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.


Tags: easy breakfast, quick breakfast, kid friendly breakfast, healthy breakfast


Making Baby Food is Easier Than You Think!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Making Baby Food

The thought of making your own baby food may seem daunting and maybe even pointless since there are so many packaged baby food options on the market. If you’ve thought about it but feel like it might be too much work, I promise it’s not.

It is actually really easy! And it’s totally worth it. Just like eating fresh food is better for us as adults, fresh, homemade food beats a can or pouch any day of the week for kids, too!

You don’t need any fancy equipment or special “baby food makers.” Really the only things you need are a food processor, some ice cube trays and if you’re sending food to daycare some little glass containers to put the prepared baby food in.

First you have to decide if you feel more comfortable with baby led weaning, where babies gnaw on larger chunks of food, or if you want to stick with purees, or maybe do a combination of each. Purees tend to be the best option for daycares since so many don’t want the liability of possible choking.

My favorite guide to making baby foods are a cookbook by Tyler Florence called Start Fresh it begins with purees and works through toddler foods and all the way into family meals. I’ve probably made every recipe in the book and have not come across one the whole family didn’t love. One of my daughters’ favorite purees from the cookbook was a combination I would have never thought of on my own: carrot, mango and apple! Another great resource is the Wholesome Baby Food website which is jam-packed with helpful information.

As babies get older and they start eating more complex foods they can start eating the same things that you eat. Eventually you’ll need to puree less and less until you don’t even need to puree at all. While you are still pureeing though I suggest preparing everything in large batches! Then simply scoop the puree into the ice cube trays and freeze. Once they’re completely frozen you can remove the individual frozen cubes and transfer them into a large freezer safe bag and lay them flat to save space. That’s the bulk of the work!

If you’re getting food ready for daycare just take a few cubes out the night before. Put them into a small glass container in the fridge and let them thaw overnight. If you’re eating at home,
I recommend heating them on the stove top rather than the microwave. You can even add some breast milk to the sweet flavors or some bone broth to the savory flavors. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor and online fitness coach. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their grove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.

Stay Healthy this Holiday Season

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.30.07 PMSticking to a healthy eating plan and regular exercise can be challenging, no matter what time of year. But the holiday season, with its social gatherings and excessive amounts of baked goods, is the toughest time of year to indulge with moderation. Here are some of my favorite ways to avoid the holiday weight gain!

Always plan ahead. If you’re attending an event, make sure to eat a high-protein snack before you get there. The protein will keep you fuller longer than a high-carbohydrate snack and making objective choices about what you’re eating is easier when you’re not starving.

Don’t drink your calories. Liquid calories are just as important as the ones you eat. Drink lots of water to stay well hydrated and avoid holiday cocktails that are made with heavy cream, sweetened juices or sour mixes. Instead, sip a glass of red wine or opt for clear alcohols with club soda and a splash of lime, and have a glass of water between each drink.

Focus on the holidays, not the food. The holidays are really about spending time with the people we love, creating memories and celebrating traditions. Find different things to do with your loved ones that don’t revolve around food. Stay active together, try a new exercise class together, go ice-skating, or even take a painting class to create memories revolving around the fun you had instead of what you ate.

Avoid emotional eating. Along with food, the holidays can also bring extra stress, and turning to food for comfort is easy because there’s so much of it around this time of year. No matter how busy you are make sure to take at least 30 minutes for yourself every day.

Make exercise a priority. Don’t skip your morning workout because you overindulged the night before. Instead use it as motivation to get you out of bed and give your workout everything you’ve got. Sneak in exercise as much as you can, try taking the stairs, doing sit-ups during TV commercials, parking a little further from the store, walking a few extra blocks before jumping into a cab. Any extra time you spend raising your heart rate is better than not doing anything at all, and you won’t feel as bad if you do skip a workout or two.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.

Staying Healthy During Flu Season

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

How to Stay Healthy During Flu SeasonTo be perfectly frank, I never worried much about flu season until I was pregnant for the first time. We were told by both my OB/Gyn and our pediatrician that households with pregnant women and children under age two were in a higher risk category for the flu. Hearing that, I started looking into how to keep my little family healthy through flu season. Here are some things that I’ve found helpful in staving off the flu. Could be dumb luck, but our track record so far is perfect–no flu for us (knock on wood).

Of course I did this one before, but hand washing is huge. It is the single most important thing in my opinion in avoiding the flu. You don’t need antibacterial soap, just regular old soap and water will do. You need to wash for 20 seconds to kill all of the germs (which is the ‘Happy Birthday’ song, times two). Frequent washing up, especially after you have been to a public place, is an easy way to avoid getting sick. This is a great habit to start early and often with your kids. I’m personally not a huge hand sanitizer fan, but it’s good to have around in a pinch (especially with kids).

I’m sure you’ve heard the advice to carry your own pen to limit germ exposure, but what about your kids and publicly-pawed surfaces? Babies and toddlers put everything in their mouth, so avoiding germs altogether is going to be near impossible. This is the time of year, though, that you may want to avoid places like the play area at your pediatrician’s office or even large indoor playgrounds, which can be a godsend during inclement winter weather, but can also harbor a lot of germs.

You may have heard about babies in Scandinavian countries napping outdoors in the winter; for me an important way to stay healthy during the winter is to get some fresh air on a regular basis. I know it’s a pain to get babies and toddlers all bundled up, but indoor air quality in the winter is often poor due to houses being shut up tight for energy efficiency. Getting outside for some fresh air, exercise and vitamin D (your body gets most of its vitamin D from the sun; during the winter this can be difficult) can make a huge difference in your day, both physically and mentally, especially during the darkest days of winter.

Whenever I fly, my family and I always drink a product called Emergen-C before leaving for the airport. It’s a high dosage vitamin C powder you mix with water to make a fizzy drink. There are other products out there that have similar properties, and of course you can get your vitamin C from whole foods instead, but this is one that I like and I feel it helps beef up our immune systems before being exposed to tons of people’s germs in super dry, stale cabin air. If you have a very young child, you can check with your pediatrician about vitamin C and your youngster; it’s a water soluble vitamin but still could potentially cause discomfort if you administer too much. Probiotics are also a useful tool in keeping your family’s immune system strong this winter. You can find them in yogurt (look for live cultures labeled on the package) or kefir, fermented foods like kimchee and also as a supplement.

Meaghan Howard is mom to two little boys, who are still always putting everything into their mouths, even during flu season. 

Healthy Baby Snacks on the Go

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Healthy snacks on the goOnce your child enters the world of solid foods, snack time is markedly different than when he just a quick nursing session or bottle. When you’re on the road, whether it’s a quick trip to the park or a summer road trip, snacks can mean the difference between an enjoyable experience or one that makes you wince thinking about it even years later.

It’s pretty easy to pack nutritious snacks for your toddler; it just takes a little planning. You can take almost anything on the go if you have an insulated bag and an ice pack. For quick trips, a small bag is easy to tuck away in a diaper bag, and for longer trips you can bring a small cooler or larger insulated bag. Reusable ice packs are inexpensive, eco friendly, and won’t leak like ice will.

If your child is chewing, cut up fruits and vegetables make great snacks on the go. Reusable containers will keep softer foods from getting smashed. If you don’t have time for this (or your child isn’t chewing yet), you can purchase squeeze tubes of applesauce or other pureed fruits and vegetables. You can even make them yourself with reusable squeeze containers and bring along smoothies or yogurt. Bananas are like nature’s version of a convenience store snack–they’re totally grab-and-go.

If you want a diaper bag staple that’s shelf stable, dried fruit is often a hit with babies and toddlers. If your child doesn’t have teeth yet, this may be one to save for later. Also, you will want to watch the volume; too much and it could cause, um, gastrointestinal issues.

Great portable protein sources include string cheese, yogurt (particularly in the squeeze tubes I mentioned before), and hard-boiled eggs (watch the yolks–my sons delighted in grinding them into floors if I turned my back on them for a second).

For a quick carbohydrate snack on the go, consider making up a few onigiri, or rice balls. This video shows how to throw them together and different ideas to mix into the rice, but you can make them with just plain rice too.

Finally, if you’re planning a long outing where you are taking a cooler, consider freezing some of the beverages you plan on bringing. The frozen water or bottles will do double duty as ice packs and also as an ice-cold beverage to drink as they thaw, which is always amazing on a scorching summer day.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 3 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.