If there are two things that moms of toddlers may have on their "frustrations" lists it is complete and utter determination to NOT NAP and being picky about food. I am the last person to give advice on trying to convince a toddler to nap (call this my daily stress) but I am constantly trying new ways to get my little munchkin to eat things that do not come out of a wrapper (just an FYI that my second child will be getting nothing but whole foods for his first year after dealing with my first child...).
Anyway, the harm of wrapper food is already done with my first (but it was organic!) and so I am now on the "convince to eat real foods" train.
The neat thing about my first child is that if he picks his food directly from the plants he eats it enthusiastically. He may be the one child that happily chomps down on freshly picked kale but won't test a sweet potato. Consequently, I have decided to have him help out in the kitchen a little bit in hopes that participation in the food preparation may breed interest in eating some of it.
Nutrition.gov provides a good starting list of kitchen activities for kids 2-5. Since my first is 2 years old his activities could include:
I absolutely loved this list as a starting point for kitchen helpers and hope it inspires you.
The one thing that plagued me during my pregnancies like nothing else was not nausea, it was extreme exhaustion. I may have gotten reflux, backaches, and morning sickness throughout the entire pregnancy, but nothing was as bad as literally not being able to get out of bed due to extreme exhaustion. I realized pretty quickly that my diet was not supportive enough for my pregnancy. Although I never beat the exhaustion 100%, I found one superfood that made a difference in my energy levels. In the mornings I began to drizzle a teaspoon to a tablespoon of sulfite-free blackstrap molasses over my oatmeal. To this day, I still will sneak a little into some smoothies or mix it into my own and my kids oatmeal.
What is blackstrap molasses?
Blackstrap molasses is a byproduct left over from sugar production.
What are the benefits?
Although there are many benefits enumerated online from relieving anxiety to helping ease rheumatoid arthritis, I believe that the real benefit is that it is a rich source of nutrients including: calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, selenium and vitamin B6.
What does it taste like?
Sweet, earthy, and a little rough. Too much on your oatmeal and you may want to spit it out. It makes a warming drink if you mix a teaspoon or two with a cup of boiling water/milk and spices such as cinnamon or ginger.
This was the one supplement that helped me survive my second pregnancy with a 2 year old running around. I hope you find it equally rejuvenating.
For anyone who tuned into the last post, the food culprits causing a rash on my poor infant were dairy and coconut.
I am almost 7 weeks postpartum and baby and I are great. However, he still has faced his own little challenges. One of these is a full body rash. When I first saw the rash, I realized that this was likely to become a little challenge for myself, as well.
I spoke to his doctor and the first suggestion was to eliminate dairy in my own diet. Let me offer some background before I go much farther. I am on paper allergic to wheat, corn, sesame, shrimp, egg white, peanuts, and onions. Dad is allergic to dairy. We both still sneak almost all of these foods into our diets. Additionally, I ate chocolate like it was going out of existence during the past few months. With all of this background in mind, I chose to eliminate the foods listed above from my diet and intend to go through a month and then potentially reintroduce these foods.
The results were striking to my baby's complexion. The rash faded and is almost entirely gone. One day I had chocolate and nuts because I thought I shouldn't be unnecessarily restrictive and it would be easy to eliminate those foods if the rash reappeared... lets just say he definitely has an issue with either chocolate or nuts. Consequently, I am now completely committed.
So what the heck does mom eat now? (Because I seriously mope about the chocolate). We have entered a new era of food prep in the house. My go-to is now to keep buddha bowl components in the fridge.
In order to make a buddha bowl you can keep the following on hand:
Portion control is fairly simple as you can, for example, cook 4 servings of rice at a time and divide it roughly 4 ways.
There are limitless variations to buddha bowls to keep you from getting bored.
Lately, I have noticed that Target has a lot of products that I would typically want to try and purchase online. I also have been purchasing a few more supplements than normal because I delivered my second son about 2-3 weeks ago and tend to eat more protein during the postpartum period. It is also nice to have smoothies and cookies when you leave the hospital and can no longer have someone make all your meals but are still recovering and simultaneously caring for a teeny baby.
Protein supplements are not necessary. I buy powders and occasionally bars because I enjoy them. Consequently, these are my processed food treats. Even during early recovery I noticed energy drops if I didn't incorporate enough real food throughout the day and tried to only lean on these when too exhausted to cook (or chew). Do what feels right for you and what your doctor or nutritionist recommends during this period.
Lenny & Larry's Complete Cookie (plant-based)
These cookies just taste good - for a store bought cookie. The sugar is higher than I prefer but my son steals them and I am ok with him trying these cookies as well. I keep these around but don't eat them daily and treat them as I would normal cookies. Trader Joe's now sells a 2oz pack if you think you would eat the whole 4oz cookie in one sitting *raises hand*.
RX Bars for Kids (egg-white based)
RX Bars are a great option if you want a Larabar but also want some protein mixed in. They recently launched a "kids" line that includes berry, chocolate chip, and apple cinnamon flavors. I really like the adult version and purchase the apple cinnamon for my son. My only sadness is that egg white is listed as an allergen for myself, so I don't stock these.
Tera's Whey (whey)
I love Tera's whey. I wish target sold the unflavored version, which I personally purchase. The chocolate and vanilla are both very good, though. My love of Tera's products is largely derived from the fact that I purchase them when pregnant. They have been incredibly easy on my stomach and the short ingredient list (protein, vanilla, and stevia) helps ease my mind about what is going into my body while I am pregnant.
Tone It Up Protein Powder (plant-based)
I loved the Tone It Up protein powder when I tried the vanilla. The chocolate was less enticing but still good. Both have a subtle coconut flavor. These women have cute branding and if you wish to stick with plant-based supplements the bars are pretty good, too. The product is not organic but contains very little sugar and a short ingredient list. If you are looking for a plant-based protein powder without a lot of "superfood extras" this is a nice one to try out.
Olly Salted Caramel Slim Smoothie (plant-based)
Olly Salted Caramel Slim Smoothie is my newest favorite. I went with the caramel version because I enjoyed the taste and it had less grams of sugar. I use half a serving of the protein powder with a tablespoon of chia, almond butter, or flax seeds mixed in. This smoothie is also one of the few veggie blends that do not contain maca root and agrees with my stomach. Although I try to stick to organic products when possible, this smoothie is not organic and does contain both stevia and sugar.
Today we celebrated my husbands 32nd birthday! My husband and I decided that we had plenty of cake over the last week due to generous family and friends that we did not need another big cake around the house. Rather than work on a homemade cake, I opted for whole wheat muffins. The recipe I used was an adaption from Oh She Glows. The two changes I made to the recipe were using whole wheat flour (all purpose worked fine, although generally I use pastry) and using an entire cored apple blended in the Vitamix rather than applesauce. Tip of the day *you can often get away with using finely shredded apple in place of applesauce.*
The husband still got a candle and an embarrassing song plus the memory of our little one playing with a birthday cake from the night before...