Posts Tagged ‘healthy snacks’

Allergen-free Snack Ideas

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

allergenMy husband has celiac disease so our household is gluten free.  My second daughter has a milk and soy protein intolerance (MSPI) so now I am eating gluten, dairy, and soy free.  If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly starving and snacking while breast feeding.  The following are a list of my go-to snacks that take little to no prep work and can be eaten with one hand as a bonus!

–        Unsalted, natural almonds and walnuts: Many salted varieties contain soybean oil, which my daughter is sensitive to.

–        Natural peanut butter or almond butter with apple slices or celery:  Many regular peanut butters contain soybean oil

–        Lara bars

–        Vega protein shakes made with coconut milk or almond milk

–        Bone broth with canned coconut milk:  Every commercial variety of broth I found contained some kind of soy.   After having a roasted chicken or gluten, dairy, and soy free rotisserie chicken for dinner, throw the bones in the crock pot with water and a splash of apple cider vinegar for 24 hours to make bone broth.

–        Avocado with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper

–        Tortilla chips with mashed avocado

–        Trail mix made with unsalted nuts, dried fruit, and Enjoy Life chocolate chips

My favorite middle-of-the-night, post-feeding snack is baked oatmeal.  Once a week, I would bake a pan during the first few months of my younger daughter’s life.  I adapted the recipe from one I received from my mother-in-law so that it would be gluten, dairy, and soy free.  I usually ate a square right out of the pan, but you can add almond or coconut milk and warm up a square for a couple of minutes in the microwave.

Baked Oatmeal

1/3 c coconut oil
2 room-temperature eggs
2/3 c brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp vanilla
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
Sprinkle of nutmeg
1 c plus 2 tbsp coconut milk (or dairy/soy free milk of your choice)
3 c quick (not instant) oatmeal


  1. Grease 1 ½ quart casserole dish and heat oven to 350°F
  2. In mixing bowl, beat eggs slightly.  Add brown sugar, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well.
  3. Slightly warm coconut milk in small pan on stove.  Add in coconut oil.  Stir just until the coconut oil is melted.  Remove from the heat and add small amount of egg mixture to the pan, stirring very quickly.  Pour coconut milk mixture into the remaining egg mixture in the mixing bowl, again stirring very quickly so that the eggs don’t curdle.
  4. Stir in oats.  Pour into casserole dish and bake for 25-30 min at 350°F

Notes: Raisins, dried fruit, or nuts can be added to oatmeal before baking.  Oatmeal can be prepared and refrigerated overnight, then baked.  I’ve also used old fashion oats and got good results.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom from Denver, CO to two girls, 3 years and 11 months old, who enjoys cooking, running, and hiking.

Taking the Junk Food out of Birthday Parties

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Taking the Junk Food out of Toddler Birthday PartiesNothing is more exciting than your child’s very first birthday party! There are so many cute things you can incorporate, so many themes to choose from, trying to figure it all out can make you both giddy and nervous.

However, birthday parties often go hand in hand with junk food, candy and kids running around on a sugar high! As a Holistic Health Counselor and mom of a daughter with food allergies, I’m always partial to parties offering healthy snacks and food-free goodie bags.

Offering healthy options doesn’t have to be boring or expensive. Here are some easy ways to keep it healthy:

  • Provide plenty of protein. Chances are you’ll be serving cupcakes or cake, so instead of filling tiny bellies with carbs that turn into sugar, fill them up with protein to counteract the blood-sugar spike they’re sure to get from the cake. Some fun kid-friendly choices are cheese cubes, string cheese, chicken fingers, sliders, or tiny meatballs.
  • Offer fruits and veggies with dips. Most kids love to dip, and you can make it a lot of fun my using cute mini cupcake liners to offer a variety of dips. Carrots, celery and jicama are always popular and can be dipped in hummus, guacamole, cheese dip, or Greek yogurt with savory seasonings. Apples, tangerines, pears and bananas are great fruits for dipping into yogurt sweetened with cinnamon and honey. Cheesy kale chips are also a toddler favorite.
  • Skip the dehydrating sodas. Do mini water bottles or juice boxes for the kids. For grown ups you can go with a summer twist and fill large containers with fruit-infused water which not only tastes great but looks beautiful.
  • Choose party favors over sugar. Goody bags are really easy to make healthy! The Dollar Store, Target and Party City are some of my favorite places to find cute gift bag fillers. Stickers, crayons, noisemakers and anything that goes with your birthday theme are great and will last much longer than more sugary snacks.

At the end of the day the most important thing is to remember to relax and enjoy every minute of the party!

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.

Healthy Smash Cakes for Toddlers

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Healthy Alternatives to smash cakeEveryone loves a good birthday party and pictures of a cute baby tearing into their first birthday cake. It seems like the smash cake is almost a rite of passage, a necessary part of the first birthday ritual.

At this age many babies have never even tasted sugar, so it can be a shock to their tiny bodies. Food dyes can cause reaction in many kids, not to mention toddlers. Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to the traditional smash cake.

Going with a homemade cake might be your best bet since you can control the ingredients and sweetness. Chances are that even a cake that is just a little bit sweetened will please your baby, and you can use vegetable-based food coloring, typically found in health food stores, to make it just as pretty as any store-bought cake.

If you’re trying to avoid grains, this is a fabulous recipe for a paleo smash cake. Below is the recipe I used for my daughter’s smash cake and it was an absolute hit! Use organic ingredients whenever possible.


5 ripe bananas

¾ cup cinnamon applesauce

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour or gluten free baking mix

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mash the bananas with the applesauce and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.

Mix the dry ingredients into the banana mixture.

Liberally grease the cake pan with coconut oil or organic butter and pour in the batter.

You can use a large pan and the cut out smaller shapes once it’s baked or you can use small, individual sized pans. Begin checking for doneness at around 20 minutes, less if you’re using very small pans or a little longer if it’s a large pan.


1 cup cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup fresh strawberries or blueberries (whichever color you prefer)

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. Wait for the cake to cool before spreading the frosting.

If you want to try something completely different, you can try a cake made out of fresh fruit. Watermelon makes a perfect base for a cake and now is the best time for one of these fruit cakes since so many delicious fruits are in season. Here’s a great guide on how to make a beautiful watermelon cake!

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.

Top 5 New Mommy Must Haves!

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

You won’t find these items on a traditional list of suggested items for a new mommy, although they can certainly help during the early postpartum transition with a new baby.

1. High quality, easy to fill and clean water bottle – Nursing mamas get extra thirsty and need to drink lots of water to stay well hydrated as well as to maintain an adequate milk supply. Having a nice water bottle that is easy to fill, drink from, and clean helps ensure mama gets plenty of water throughout the day. A water bottle with a straw is extra helpful for quick sips since mam’s arms are usually full with new baby.

2. Blackout Curtains – Sleep is a rather elusive concept during the early postpartum period, so having the ability to create a dark, quiet space whenever needed to get some overdue sleep is especially helpful for all family members…mama, papa, baby, and/or siblings included. Add in a sound machine and you’ll be able to create a peaceful sleep environment any time of day!

3. A well stocked pantry and freezer – Breastfeeding mamas need to consume between 300-500 extra calories a day. (did you know making milk was such workout? 😉 ) And that doesn’t mean just adding a daily milkshake to your diet because the quality of the calories is equally (if not MORE important) than the quantity. So as a breastfeeding mama be sure to have lots of healthy snacks readily available for yourself. Stocking your pantry and freezer near the end of your pregnancy can help you to avoid frequent trips to the grocery store with a newborn.

4. A Stash of Light Hearted Reading Material – Newborns nurse a TON…as frequent as every two hours. In addition to high frequency, the nursing sessions also tend to last a long time as baby is still gaining efficiency at the breast. As a mom of a newborn this means you will spend a great deal of time sitting with a nursing baby. Having a good book or a magazine to keep you company is helpful during this period of long and frequent feedings. Although keeping the reading material light hearted is usually best because new mommies operating on virtually no sleep often lack the mental attention for complex, in depth literature. Also hormones are pretty imbalanced during the early postpartum period and emotions can be a bit intensified, so you might want to avoid sad, dramatic literature for a while.

5. Comfortable Clothes – I didn’t catch on to the importance of comfortable postpartum clothes until my third baby was born. During the final weeks of my third son’s pregnancy I bought myself some nice pajamas to wear after baby was born, knowing that I would be spending a lot of time at home with him during the first several weeks of his life. During the early postpartum months feeling as comfortable as possible is essential. A wardrobe full of baggy maternity clothes or tight pre-pregnancy clothes usually leaves mama with limited clothing options that are comfortable. Therefore investing in some nice, comfortable, easy to nurse in postpartum clothes is a nice way to care for yourself (and subsequently for baby). You don’t have to spend a ton of money either; you can shop second hand store or clearance racks.

What non-traditional items are included on your new mommy must have list? Anything special that helped you survive those early postpartum weeks with new baby?


PS. Don’t forget about this week’s Fan Photo Friday! Let’s celebrate mama’s milk with some nursing photos! Send your Favorite Nursing Photo to photo to by Thursday, June 21. Be sure to include any information you
want shared such as age of nursling, significance of photo, etc. Then check back on Friday, June 22 to enjoy a celebration of mama’s milk through a collection of nursing photos! Winner gets 25 Milk Miles deposited into their account! 🙂

Tasty Tuesday: Candied Almonds

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

I eat almonds pretty much daily. They are one of my favorite go-to healthy snacks. I often will put a handful of almonds in my pocket to munch on throughout the day (quick tip for a mom of active little ones: pack your pockets with healthy mama snacks to keep your energy up and blood sugar stable!). While I try to eat them mostly raw, I do enjoy flavored almonds as well. I got kind of hooked on the cocoa powder dusted almonds from Trader Joe’s but man are they expensive! Being the frugal mama that I am, I decided I could probably make my own for less money. 🙂

After a little experimentation with flavors, this is what I came up with:



3 tablespoons maple syrup (or liquid sweetener of your choice)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups almonds

2 tablespoons cocoa powder


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a saucepan. Simmer over medium, stirring constantly until brown sugar is dissolved. Add nuts and simmer a few more minutes while stirring. Poor onto greased baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes, turning one or two times. Transfer to a container with a well sealed lid. Pour cocoa powder over nuts, cover, and shake to coat. Allow to completely cook before enjoying!

Tip: Saucepan and baking sheet get super sticky and will be hard to clean if sugar is left to harden. It’s best to clean both right away if possible or try soaking in soapy water.