Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

Make-Ahead Meals Will Change Your Life

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

make ahead meals

When my now five-year-old daughter was born my mother in law came to visit us and stocked my freezer with homemade meals. It was so unbelievably helpful that just last month I paid it forward to my sister-in-law, whose first baby is due next month. I was working full time when my daughter was born and having a supply of healthy meals to grab out of the freezer was amazing.

Since then lots of things have changed for my family–I work part time from home now, my daughter is in preschool three days a week, but even though I technically have more time to prepare meals for the family being prepared with make ahead meals is still an absolute game changer.

There are a few different ways you can go about doing this. Some people like to spend one day a week shopping, meal planning and prepping for the week. That means being prepared with a meal plan, getting everything you need for the week and prepping. You can wash, chop and even roast vegetables, cook grains, and even season or cook your proteins.

You can even take it a step farther and portion out lunches for the week for anyone who needs one.  Breakfasts can be done the same way–making egg muffins, overnight oats, and baked oatmeal, healthy breakfast breads and cutting up and portioning out fruit. This kind of planning works great for family meals and even for preschool or school lunches.

The downside is that it will take up a good chunk of a day- if you have the flexibility to do this on a weekday that’s what I try to do so it doesn’t eat into our weekend.

Another way to go which is probably my favorite is to take time to load up the freezer. You can either take one day a month to get it done or just double and triple portions of everything when you cook. If you’re making a casserole make three instead, have one for dinner and stick two in the freezer. If spaghetti and meatballs is on the menu for dinner triple the meatballs, then all you have to do is boil some pasta, toss together a salad and throw in the already made meatballs.

Breakfasts can be done the same way to be stocked in the freezer and so can so many school lunches. Pancakes, waffles, French toast–they can all be frozen and re-heated in the toaster. Think of anything that you would buy frozen from the store and you can easily recreate them at a fraction of the price and with healthier ingredients. These can include breakfast burritos, homemade pizzas, I love using pie crusts for making things like homemade pop tarts or filling them (or pizza dough!) with savory ingredients like chicken and pesto or ground beef and cheese.

The more prepared foodyou have in the freezer, the less food prep you’ll have to do the rest of the week. So if you’re scrambling around trying to figure out what’s for dinner or what to pack in a lunchbox, give it a try and I guarantee once you get the hang of it you’ll save yourself a lot of time!

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

Getting Your Toddler to Try New Foods

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Getting your toddler to try new foodsWe all want our kids to love fruit, veggies, and other healthy foods. Each child is predisposed to liking different foods, and most kids go through picky phases where they assert their independence through rejecting the food you give them. So what can you do to help encourage healthy eating habits in the long run?

A new study done with schoolchildren in Australia indicated that no amount of “education” or telling kids that something is good for them really has any impact on what foods they eat. What did have an impact, however, was when they allowed children to try a variety of foods and talk about how they tasted, what they liked, and what they didn’t like.

Presentation matters, too. A Cornell study found that while adults preferred three groups of food and three colors on their plates, children preferred six colors and seven groups.

Another important factor is what the parents eat. Every mom can tell you that almost without fail, every child’s favorite food is whatever you are eating right now. If you’re not eating fruits and veggies, they won’t either.

Here are a few things you can do to help encourage healthy eating:

  • Take your toddler grocery shopping with you. Talk to them about the different food and let them pick out something that is “their” special snack. Try a new fruit or veggie each time you go and let them try it as soon as you get home.
  • Let your toddler help you cook. I know, toddlers, cooking? Disaster! There are ways to do this that won’t make you want to pull out your hair. You can premeasure or precut the portion that your toddler is helping with, and let them dump or throw the item in the pot or dish. Allow them to sample safe ingredients, like veggies, if possible. At dinnertime, gush over how your child “made dinner.” They will be so proud, and also more likely to eat what they helped make.
  • Bring home new things to try. Bring home a new fruit or veggie from the grocery store each week for your child to try. If your toddler is older, talk to them about how the new food tastes, feels, and what they like or don’t like about it. Talk about the different things you can make with it. One time my oldest saw a whole coconut at the store and asked if we could buy it. Of course, I almost automatically said no. But we bought it, looked up how to get it open, tasted the coconut milk, and found a recipe to use it in. It was a fun learning experience for us both. Put the emphasis on trying new foods and not just liking or eating it all.
  • Have healthy foods available for snacking. It really kills me when my 4-year-old grabs an apple out the bowl, takes five bites, and leaves it. But at least she’s eating apples. Keep healthy food around when your kids ask for snacks. It will help curb snacking and also help them learn about seasonal foods as the snacks change from season to season.

One thing I discovered worked in our house was when I put a new veggie only on the adult plates and not on my daughter’s when we ate dinner together. I initially did this because of the pediatrician’s recommendation that we introduce new foods slowly to watch for reactions. My daughter immediately noticed the new food and wanted a bite. I marveled at this happy accident that had led my tiny child to beg for bites of broccoli, spinach, zucchini, squash, green beans, and every other veggie I could make. She wanted anything that I had on my plate that she didn’t. It worked with all three kids, although my middle child has become pickier now, and I can’t really explain why.

No one strategy—eating healthy while pregnant, making your own baby food—will guarantee any kid is a healthy eater. But all these little things together can help encourage a lifetime of healthy eating by getting your child off to a strong start.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City. 

Nutrition while Nursing

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Nutrition while NursingWe hear talk of nutrition while pregnant, and again when baby begins to move towards solids, but we often overlook talking about nutrition while nursing.

We all know that eating healthy is important and know that there are areas in our diets that are less than ideal. But eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. Overall, the best diet is a well-rounded one.

A few key things to remember:

  • Eat natural. Fresh, whole foods, with little or no additives or contaminants
  • Eat variety. Consuming a variety of each of the food groups from day to day and meal to meal can help ensure you are getting a good balance of nutrients and minerals, and keep mealtime exciting.
  • Eat and drink water to satiation. If you are feeling hungry or thirsty, your body may need more than it has been getting. We are all different, so what is enough for you may be too much or not enough for someone else. Listen to your body.
  • Eat good fats. Don’t forget to get some healthy fats in your diet. These are the brain’s building blocks and pave the way for your baby’s brain development.

Resources like and books like Natural Health After Birth can further enhance your knowledge and expand your variety of recipes and other healthful additions to your diet.

Even with allergies, eating a good variety of food and changing it up each meal can help ensure you are as balanced as you can be. Eating a good variety may help to prevent over-sensitization to one particular food, and sets your baby’s palate for the future. Share the wonder and variety in the world with your baby right at home, through your food, and you are both sure to benefit!

TaiLeah Madill is mama to three and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She is passionate about volunteering with her local babywearing group and helping other families enjoy the benefits of wearing their little ones. 




Silent Saturday: Starting to Get the Hang of Gluten Free…

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

Lookie what I had for dinner… a homemade black bean burger topped with homemade hummus served on top quinoa sprinkled with cilantro…YUMMY! And super filling too. Plus I didn’t miss the gluten in this meal at ALL!!

Although I can’t take credit for this dish; hubby made it for me. It is his very own secret recipe that I am going to squeeze out of him someday soon to share with you all. 😉

In the meantime I am starting to have faith that it IS possible to be a (happy!) gluten-free vegan. Just need to figure out how to make a decent gluten-free, vegan muffin. Suggestions welcome! 🙂

Happy, healthy eating all!