Lessons I’ve Learned from Baby #2

by Lauren on July 14, 2016

The last 5 weeks is probably the longest I’ve gone without posting a blog since I started writing in 2010. The reason you ask? I had another baby!

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Maxwell Andrew Follett was born on June 6th, 2016, and wow life is next level busy with a two-year old toddler and a newborn. Every minute in a 24 hour period is filled with breastfeeding, cleaning, laundry and toddler needs, ie. searching frantically for his favourite stuffed animal while putting sunscreen on him and getting his lunch packed for daycare. This leaves little time to have a longer than 10-second conversation with my husband, cook dinner, shower, brush my teeth, and have any personal time.

Before having Max people said to me that I’ll wonder what I did with all my free time before he was born, and they were right, but I know what I did with my free time – I blogged, worked with nutrition clients, wrote nutrition articles, and tried new healthy recipes; things that will have to go on the back burner for the next few months while Max is so young. Being a parent is not about you; one of many lessons I’ve learned in the last few weeks. Other things I’ve learned:

  • When you only have time to choose brushing your teeth or going to the bathroom – choose going to the bathroom
  • It’s impossible to be everything to everyone in your family
  • Having kids is friggin’ hard sometimes, and it’s ok to admit that
  • With every bad moment, there is a good moment on the horizon
  • The newborn stage doesn’t last forever; “this to shall pass” (I’ve never said that phrase more in my life)
  • Eat fast (opposite of what I tell my clients, but I’m going to retract that recommendation for people with young kids) and when you can. My favourite healthy grabs lately: boiled eggs, baby carrots with hummus, blueberries, granola bars, apples, nuts, cheese and crackers
  • Learn to be content with your circumstances. When the going gets tough, a natural response is to look ahead and want to speed up time; long for the day when your children are more independent, but I look at Jack who’s already two, and I miss the days when he was a bouncing, cooing baby. Things go so fast, and I have to force myself to enjoy the moment regardless of how hard it may be
  • Dinner is no longer a relaxing time to unwind in front of Etalk – it’s pure pandemonium
  • I’m so blessed to have two healthy, beautiful boys and an amazing husband – something I remind myself everyday
  • Taking 10 seconds to breath deeply can work wonders
  • A positive attitude is everything – when both boys are screaming sometimes it helps to just laugh out loud
  • Try and do one thing everyday for you that makes you feel like yourself. Whether it’s painting your toenails, curling your hair, working out…it’s important…the laundry can wait
  • For the next year, I can only wear shirts that allow me to whip out my boob at a moment’s notice
  • I need to put “shower” on my to do list or it won’t get done

Despite the craziness of life, and no matter how hard it gets we have so much to be thankful for, and before I know it Jack and Max will be all grown up and I’ll miss these days (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).

Unfortunately, I’m going to put blogging on hold for a few months until I get the hang of this “mother of two” thing, but I will be back – hopefully with some awesome tips on how to whip up healthy meals for a family of four in 30 minutes – stay tuned!

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Cookies for Breakfast?

by Lauren on May 31, 2016

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When I think of healthy breakfast I think of smoothies, healthy muffins, sprouted toast with coconut oil and natural nut butter, yogurt with healthy granola, cookies…wait, cookies? Yup!

I recently discovered a recipe for Healthy Breakfast Cookies that taste good, and are full of the breakfast staples: bran flakes, oats, milk, Greek yogurt, eggs and apple sauce. My son loves them, and so do I. They’re high in fibre, protein and naturally sweetened with honey. They’re the perfect healthy breakfast to grab when you’re on the go!

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Healthy Breakfast Cookies
Makes 15 – 20 large cookies

Ingredients
3 cups Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes, crushed (when crushed, it equals 2 cups)
2 cups oats
2 tbsp. flaxseed
1-2 tbsp. cinnamon
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup raw, unpasteurized honey
1 large free-from or organic egg
½ cup unsweetened nut milk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ cup organic raisins*

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine bran flakes, oatmeal, flaxseed and cinnamon. Mix well and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, applesauce, vanilla, honey, egg and milk. Mix well. Add baking soda and baking powder and mix well. Gradually add the cereal-oatmeal mixture to the yogurt mixture and stir after each addition. Fold in the raisins.

Scoop 1/4 cup of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Lightly press down to flatten. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Let cool on baking rack and store in fridge for 1 week or in the freezer for 3 months.

*Other possible additions: berries, chopped peach, shredded carrots or zucchini.

Recipe adapted from Pip and Debbie

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Photo Credit

I love cooking and trying new healthy recipes. There’s always the hope that I’ll stumble across one that becomes a new staple in my weekly meal plan. Well I recently found one – the Chicken Mango Superfood Bowl with Avocado Cilantro Dressing. It’s a creamy, flavourful blend of healthy ingredients that is so satisfyingly delicious.

I love recipes like this because it’s easy and versatile. As long as you stick to the main ingredients (the black beans and mango are non-negotiables for me) and the dressing, you can use whatever greens, raw veggies or whole grains that you like or have left in your fridge or pantry. It’s the perfect easy, healthy summer recipe. Enjoy!

Chicken Mango Superfood Bowl with Avocado Cilantro Dressing
Serves 4
Adapted from ifoodreal.com

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa or long grain brown rice, uncooked
1 small can organic black beans, drain and rinse
4 cups kale or romaine lettuce, stalks removed, finely chopped
1 large ripe mango, peeled & diced
3-4 cups leftover chicken, diced or 6 barbecued chicken thighs
1 small avocado, pitted and sliced
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped (use some as garnish for bowl, and the rest for dressing)
1 cup unsalted roasted cashews, finely chopped
Cilantro Avocado Dressing (see recipe below)
1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce

Method

Cook quinoa or brown rice as per package instructions, and make Cilantro Avocado Dressing (this can be done ahead of time).

Chop kale, mango, avocado, cilantro and cashews. Drain and rinse beans. Chop leftover chicken or barbecue thighs.

Divide ingredients evenly among 4 bowls in this order:

  1. Quinoa or Rice
  2. Black Beans
  3. Kale or Romaine
  4. Mango
  5. Chicken
  6. Avocado
  7. Cilantro
  8. Cashews
  9. Drizzle with Cilantro Avocado Dressing
  10. Drizzle with Hot Sauce

Enjoy warm or cold.

Avocado Cilantro Dressing

Ingredients
1 medium ripe avocado, pitted
½ – ¾ cup warm water (depends how thin/thick you like your dressing)
4 tbsp. cilantro, coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. real maple syrup or raw honey
¾ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper, ground

Method

In a food processor or blender, process all ingredients until smooth. Add to a dish of choice right before serving.

Storage Instructions: Dressing doesn’t turn brown if kept refrigerated in a glass airtight container for up to a few days. Shake before use.

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Long Weekend Healthy Meal and Snack Ideas

by Lauren on May 18, 2016

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I feel like I’m starting every post with an apology for not writing more often, but it’s hard to find the time for it these days. I only have a few mornings a week with Jack in daycare, and they quickly fill up with article writing for Respoken Magazine, creating client meal plans and preparing for baby boy #2 who will be here in the next 3 weeks – ahh!

IMG_5591For as long as I can remember the weather on the May two-four long weekend in Ontario is always hit or miss, but this weekend it’s going to be a hit; mid-twenties and sunny from Friday to Monday – oh yeah. My OB gave me the clear to go to the cottage for the long weekend so I thought I would share with you a few long weekend healthy meal and snack ideas for inspiration.

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When the weather is nice at the cottage no one wants to spend a lot of time indoors cooking a big breakfast. I’m bringing some fruit and a big batch of Creamy Overnight (no cook) Steel Cut Oats. This recipe is perfect for taking to the cottage because it can be made the night before, travels easily in a sealed container, and it includes all the essentials (protein, whole grains and healthy fats) to keep you going until lunch. I bring my Whole-Wheat Banana Muffins with me wherever I go, and we’ll also pack a loaf of sprouted bread, aged white cheddar cheese and organic eggs.

Lunch is usually simple; homemade pizzas, leftovers and salads. My sister-in-law is in charge of salads and veggies, and nothing is better than the Costco pre-packaged kale salad – jam packed with cancer-fighting kale, raw Brussels sprouts and broccoli! The dressing is kind of gross, but we usually substitute my homemade Apple Cider Honey Dijon Vinaigrette. Apple cider vinegar has so many health benefits (made from fermented apple juice; it puts good bacteria back into your gut; making it amazing for healthy digestion, it aids in weight loss, lowers cholesterol & high blood pressure, and stabilizes blood sugar), but it can be hard to drink straight up. Mixing it into a salad dressing is a great way to incorporate it into your diet.

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The cottage just isn’t the cottage without happy hour on the boat, and of course a few appies. Guacamole is a fan favourite, but there are months of summer ahead and if you want to keep your calories in check, I’d recommend making my Slimmed Down version that uses zucchini in place of the 2nd and 3rd avocados.

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I’m not a big chip person as they’re typically high in trans fats and calories, but Kettle Chips recently sent me samples of their new Classic Caesar flavour (just in time for National Caesar Day on May 19th), and they’re delicious. Being pregnant, this is a great way for me to enjoy the flavours of a classic Caesar cocktail without the booze. And as far as real chips go (as in real I mean made from potatoes and not lentils or brown rice); I’ve seen worse in terms of ingredients. They’re non-GMO, contain no trans fats, no preservatives and no artificial colours or flavours. I’m not promoting eating chips as regular healthy snack option, but if you want to treat yourself this weekend, give these a try.

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Dinner plans are organic burgers (now available frozen and pre-made at Costco) and I’m making one of my favourite summer meals: Maple Ginger Cedar Plank Salmon with Sweet Potato Fries and salad. Superstore sells my favourite salmon from True North Salmon Company. Their salmon is farmed, but unlike most farmed salmon, the feed is all-natural – no dyes, chemicals or growth hormones.

I hope this gave you a few healthy meal and snack ideas for the beautiful long weekend coming up. Cheers!

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Eating Healthy Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

April 18, 2016

Sorry for the break in posts, but things have been crazy busy! Between attempting to potty train my son, getting ready for baby #2 (coming mid-June), working with clients and my new freelance writing job with Respoken Magazine; my poor blog has been put on the back burner. I’ve also been asked to write a […]

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Mac and “Cheese”

March 31, 2016

A big part of my job as a nutritionist is finding healthy alternatives to classic (not-so-healthy) favourites, like mac and cheese for example. There’s something comforting about the warm, creamy, salty cheese sauce with noodles. Unfortunately, classic mac and cheese is either from a box and full of preservatives, fake powdered cheese, artificial dyes and preservatives, or […]

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One Last Soup Before Winter’s Over

March 17, 2016

Photo Credit Spring is just around the corner, and I can’t wait. Because of daylight savings the light has changed and memories of warmer days are coming back to me. The snow is melting, birds are chirping and I saw some little green stems poking out of the ground this morning. We still have a […]

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Want to Plan, Shop & Cook Like a Pro? There’s an App for That.

March 9, 2016

A big part of my health philosophy as a nutritionist is that I don’t believe in diets or quick fixes; I believe in living a healthy lifestyle. What does that mean to me? It’s all about finding a healthy balance when it comes to food, eating and exercise (I always say to my clients: it’s what […]

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Tips to Successful Meal Planning

March 1, 2016

I always tell my clients that one of the most important factors in living a healthy lifestyle is to start meal planning. If you put the time and effort into planning and buying the groceries you’re more likely to make healthy meals from scratch rather than grab something quick and unhealthy in a pinch. Sit down […]

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Creamy Overnight Steel Cut Oats and Making the Best of Everyday

February 24, 2016

This past weekend we took a much needed weekend away to Mont Tremblant with some friends. Even though we didn’t ski (I would have loved to, but didn’t think it was safe being 24 weeks pregnant, and Jack’s a little young to start this winter) it was so nice to get away as a family […]

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