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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Buying Organic - Part 1

Howdy Ya'll!

Well I haven't forgotten about the blog world we have just been B.U.S.Y!!! We are in the process of moving, not far, only about 15 min. away actually, BUT moving with a 14th old is nothing short of absolutely exhausting.

With all the moving chaos I'm sad to report that Noah had fast food for the first time... oh it broke my little heart. Of course he LOVED the grilled chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-a, i'm sure because of all that yummy salt haha. I'm happy to report though, that even with all of the chaos, he still has been munching away on his veggies as usual. One morning he even wanted green beans for breakfast... yup, breakfast. Which just goes to show that our food preferences, or societal norms cannot compete with the physiological predisposition humans have for plants.. It was kinda' weird, and actually really awesome haha.

Now onto the topic at hand, buying organic versus buying conventionally grown foods can be confusing, and honestly annoying at times. It's confusing because some people swear that if you don't eat organic you will shrivel up and die from pesticide poisoning. Others state that there really isn't any conclusive hard core evidence stating that it is 1,000% better... It also can be annoying at times because it is SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE!!! I personally feel like the prices have gotten a little more reasonable though. I shop at HEB, and they have come out with their own brand of organic products that are very reasonably priced. In part 2 of buying organic, I plan to take pictures and compare prices and the overall bill in my local grocery store. For right now, I feel like the most important thing is to pick your battles, and be knowledgeable about which foods are actually worth the extra money. It is broken down into two categories. The "Dirty Dozen" and the "Clean Fifteen". The dirty dozen, as you see below, are the foods that should be purchased organic whenever possible, because they have been tested, and traces of pesticides have been found on a regular basis. Again their is no evidence that these pesticides absolutely hurt humans, however, with our dear ones' little bodies of course everything would be more potent in them. 

The next group is the "Clean Fifteen", feel free to buy the below foods organic as well, but know this may be an area where you can save a few bucks and spend it on the other dirty dozen.  * Side Note: No this is not a conversation about GMOs by the way, those are completely different, and I will talk about them at another time.

This is a great article that addresses if buying organic produce is really worth it or not... it tries to say it isn't, but can't really make that statement concretely. I personally buy as much organic as I can, while staying in my monthly grocery budget. Of course I do try and stick to buying the "Dirty Dozen" organic, and then meat if I can. 

Speaking of meat... Now, I would attack the organic meat topic, but following article does it beautifully, so I will let you read it. Click here to read. Personally if there is anywhere that I would encourage you to consider spending your extra bucks, it would be on organic meat. OMG if you have ever seen a documentary on how meat is processed in America it will make you throw up. I'm certainly a meat eater, and I'm not a member of PETA, but it's interesting to say the least. My family has always had a ranch, and my husband has been able to kill a dear and process the meat at least once a year. One dear processed actually keeps us stocked with meat for about 4-6mths! Honestly, that is THE healthiest thing you could possibly do. When you know EXACTLY where your meat came from, and what it ate, you are getting the best of the best. So ladies with husbands who hunt or fish, give them a break and enjoy your significantly more nutritious protein at the dinner table. The following table is from the link above, and compares the nutritional value between beef. There IS a noticeable nutritional difference when it comes to meat, just take a look.. 

Also don't be fooled, just because a food says 'Natural' does NOT mean it is organic. You have to see the cute little USDA Organic label on something to know it is the real stuff. Truth: It is my goal in life to get those DISHONEST MARKETERS AHHHhhhhh!!! haha

I think I'm going to stop here ... there really is SO much to discuss on this topic, and I will revisit it later in "Buying Organic - Part 2". Hope you all have a wonderful week, and are gearing up for the holidays. 

Love & Blessings,
The Veggie Momma

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Veggie fries, yum, YUM!! Finger Foods, easy & FUN!

Howdy Ya'll! I'm from Texas, if you didn't know that :)

I'm very happy to proclaim that since Noah has become a better walker he actually is eating ALOT BETTER!! He's not nearly as grumpy therefore everything in our world and his is easier, including meal times.  He's back to eating his veggies on an almost daily basis again too, Weeeeehooo!!

Quick side note: I've said it before, but I will say it again. I really think it is important for us to remember that our kiddos have food preferences. Yep, they are mini people, and they get bored with food JUST like we do. I forget this.. a lot... I really do. It's not that I'm trying to be close-minded, but sometimes I forget I have literally given him the exact same meal for an entire week. I would be bored of it too. Also, I realize some days he's just not 'in the mood' for a particular food. I have yet to give up on a food altogether if he's not in the mood though... we always come back to it.

Now onto the topic for today. I have realized that kids love ANYTHING Fry-ish looking. I have deduced that it is probably related to a dexterity issue because they are easier to grab, and hold onto. When Noah was really little and just learning to eat, cooked green beans were the easiest food for him to eat. It seems like if they can get a good grip, and aim for their mouths it will eventually end up in there. Fry shaped foods are much easier I have noticed, compared to something small like peas, or beans which take pretty advanced dexterity skills to pick up and accurately place into their mouths.

Now I realize that REAL fries are yummy and salty and fatty and delicious..... THOSE reasons are the main reasons why kids like them I'm sure, but I also think part of it really is that they can hold them easily. No my kid has not had a real fry yet, if you're wondering. But he has had a TON of 'Veggie Fries'. See below some of the veggie 'fry' like foods we have tried.
The picture above is from tonight when we tried raw asparagus for the first time. I was wondering if it would go along w/ my 'fry theory'.... IT DID! I NEVER would have guessed that my little guy would actually LIKE raw asparagus, let along be able to eat it with only 6 teeth, but he did.. and he loved it. He ate his asparagus and green beans interchangeably, double fisting and eating away. Be still my happy little heart haha. The small bottom right picture in the collage is of Noah eating broccoli this week... apparently we like broccoli again, thank goodness haha. Smaller pieces of broccoli and cauliflower make fun little 'veggie trees' FYI. Noah doesn't appreciate that this is cool yet, but I used to work with inner city kids who harvested organic vegetables that they planted from a garden outside of their school. They LOVED the idea of veggies as little 'trees', try it on your kids... see what they think.

The above photo is from a couple of weeks ago when Noah was eating Zucchini and cucumber 'fries'. His favorite veggie fry by far are cucumber fries, he has yet to reject them, even on a rough day. I mean really, who doesn't like cucumbers? I usually cut the skin off, but after seeing him chow down on raw asparagus tonight, I guess I don't need to anymore? 

Other foods that  I think would be great to try making into veggies fries for your little ones (if they have enough teeth) would be: carrots, summer squash, okra, sweet potatoes (the obvious one), bell peppers, & jicama. I can't forget to mention that an additional 'healthy fry' option would of course include the fruit version 'fry' made out of an: apple, pear, peach, orange, or tangerine. 

 Now meet:  Sally the Steamer
I had planned on steaming veggies for Noahs' lunches anyways, so I went ahead and steamed the rest of the asparagus. It's just not worth it for him to choke. Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE my steamer? Blogger world, meet Sally the Steamer, I love her. She does a GREAT job! This was definitely the very best $30.00 I have ever spent (though I think it actually might have been a wedding gift haha). We didn't get to use it for a long time because it was packed away in our tiny little apartment after we got married. But once we moved into a house, my husband pulled it out one night and we have never put it back. Did you know that an affordable way to always have FRESH-er veggies in your house is to buy FROZEN veggies? Yes frozen, they are harvested at their peak of ripeness and flash frozen so they don't spend 4-6 weeks trying to get to where they are going, losing their nutrients along the way. Think about how long it takes for a veggie to get from another country to the U.S. hmmmm......??? If you can get Organic frozen veggies for a reasonable price, double yay!! Check the drier every day for 2 weeks for loose change/bills, and SCORE you could probably afford this beauty. If you are a busy working momma like me, all you have to do is fill Sally up with water then veggies when you get home from work, turn the timer on for 15-20 minutes, go change your clothes, change a diaper, and Voila! Veggies are done!! It really is that easy! And her clean up is super easy too... I just love her. This brand is an Oster.

Now, back to finger foods... I just figured out my little man LOVES meat balls. Well... only if they are heated for exactly 20 seconds haha, but he does love them! They are perfectly sized for his little hands, AND they really do fill him up. I seriously don't know why I didn't think of this sooner. Since he can't have eggs, all I did was take some fresh ground beef, roll it in a ball, put a little bit of seasoning on them and throw them in the oven. So. incredibly. simple! I plan on making these with Turkey, and Chicken and just adding them to my usual Sunday meal prep list. You should try them too!

Before I found out Noah was allergic to eggs we also tried these gems.. Veggie egg muffins. 

They were yummy, they were delicious, they were easy to make, and they were healthier than most breakfast foods. I'm sad my son can't have eggs, but hopefully he will grow out of his food allergy. And of course he does always have my beloved veggie muffins, which are super easy for him to eat as well. 

Recipes and MORE: I think I have stated more than once that I'm not necessarily the best cook, I do try, I do. This lady though, man she likes to cook, AND she has a whole blog on toddler finger foods WITH recipes and grocery lists - wohoo! Most of the recipes include eggs which is why I didn't feature them, but feel free to give them a try and let us know if you liked them!! I plan on trying a few for sure. 

If you can think of any other foods that are healthy and easy for toddlers to eat, share away! I'd love to hear what has worked for you guys!!!

Hope ya'll have a wonderful rest of your week, and fabulous weekend!!

Love & Blessings,

The Veggie Momma

P.S. not a SINGLE patient of mine told me they didn't like veggies today. Ahhhh, it is the little things in life, my heart is happy :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Grandparents, Husbands, & Vacation

I haven't posted in a while because my husband and I were on VACATION last week. That's right, we escaped from life, and spent 4 beautiful days in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. It was AMAZING!!!! More about that later, but right now I so very proud to report that Noahs' grandparents are SERIOUSLY awesome!!! My mom, dad, & in-laws split duties to make sure that our little one was totally taken care of for 4 days. I'm not sure exactly what he ate for every meal for 4 days, but I know they all did their best to respect our wishes and not let him eat junk food. I set aside what wouldn't perish for lunches, and tried to make as much in advance as possible for them before I left. It was almost all gone when I got back, AND to top it off today he ate his veggies & normal food happily.

Now, I wasn't worried about him starving at all (the kid really does like to eat). However, with his strong 1 year old opinions lately, and his severe egg allergy, I did have a few reservations.  My mom said she fed him almost everything I had prepared for him, and he didn't go into anaphylactic shock, so all in all I'm thrilled ha!

This brings me to an important point... I know that it is not going to kill your kid if they eat something unhealthy every once in a while, but it doesn't hurt to let people know your health preferences for them. I'm forced to be pretty vocal because my little one has pretty significant food allergies, but allergies or not, if it's important to you let people know. I'm proud of you for working so hard to try and feed your little ones healthy foods, you should be proud too. I do want to clarify there is a difference between being snobby, and being an involved parent. You may have family/friends who can't afford all Organic all the time (if ever), and it would be wise not to judge them. They are probably doing the best they can, just like you.

Lastly, it doesn't hurt to be prepared. I have found the easiest way to ensure that my kid eats what I want him too, is to always have healthy foods with me, or available for him to snack on. Luckily most of my girlfriends are health conscious and usually have healthy snacks on hand if I forget some, but it doesn't hurt to make sure you never leave the house without something. This is especially important to remember in restaurants! SO, the moral of the story is to communicate to friends and family the importance of caring about feeding your little ones healthfully like you do, AND make sure you are prepared so everyone is set up for success! This is a good idea whether you are on vacation or not.

Remember husbands are STILL a priority!

Now, the second half of this post has nothing to do with nutrition for your little ones so feel free to stop reading now haha. Well, I guess it kind of relates... because having a happy marriage makes everything in parenting easier. Including family dinners, meal prep, grocery shopping, and meal time in general.  Nothing makes me prouder than seeing my husband prepare a meal for my son, and care about making sure it is healthy. He shops mindfully for him, he is intentional about feeding him his veggies, and he is my most valued teammate in this life. See below a couple pictures of my love and I from our trip. 

We have been married for almost 6 years, he is my rock. He is the man I prayed my entire life for, and he is my biggest cheerleader. Here is where we started almost 8 years ago! 

Simply put, he's a respected business owner, Godly husband, and incredible father. We got asked probably 7 times if we were newlyweds on our trip. It was a huge compliment to say the least. What I have noticed as a first time mom is that parenting never really gets easier. Whether it's living through all the various stages of life with your little one from lack of sleep, learning to crawl/walk, or picky eating...  Parenting is fantastic, & a huge blessing but boy can be HARD! I feel like it's a million times harder if you and your spouse aren't on the same team. I truly feel like this vacation was necessary for our marriage. I don't ever want to take him for granted, but the truth is I do. I think as moms sometimes we feel like we are carrying the brunt of the load w/ caregiving, and most of the time we are. BUT if we don't invest in our marriage, then it makes it  a million times harder to function as a united team. I loved this man first, long before my little one came along, it's so important to remember that.  

Now, I know vacation can be expensive, and you may not have the familial support that our family does to make it happen. But a vacation far away is not the point, investing in your marriage is the point. Whether it's a walk in the park, or just one night away together, it's important. It's necessary, and for me, even though I missed my little one like crazy... it was a REWARD to see my husband relax, and be loved on. Tonight, when were back in the real world and he was helping me make dinner and feed our son, I realized yet again how lucky I am to have such an amazing partner in life. We were working side by side as a team, trying to build a healthy foundation for our new family. And even if Noah had drank juice and eaten cookies all weekend, the time invested in my soulmate would have been worth it. Don't forget about your husbands mommas, they are NOT just there to bring home the bacon... or in my home, the Organic veggies. 

Love & blessings always, 

The Veggie Momma

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lack of Sleep & Eating Dirt

So, I learned a huge lesson over the past week. Even though I am a mother, and have been able to keep a human alive for over a year relatively unscathed... sometimes I have NO CLUE what I am doing haha!!!! I have been so very upset, b/c something had obviously been bothering Noah and I just couldn't figure it out. He has been GRUMPY! He has been eating horribly, he has been fussy, and temperamental, and clingy, and I had lost all hope my angel baby would ever return haha. I kept thinking that 13mths was a little TOO early for the "terribly twos" and that he had slid forever into grumpy toddlerhood oblivion.

So, in a desperate attempt to find guidance....  I went to Google... oh, how did our mothers, and their mothers, and their mothers LIVE without Google???? I just don't know... My search was for sleep disturbances. Eventhough my son has always been a great sleeper at night, his naps have been very weird lately. They have been so messed up that he has been going to bed around 6:00pm, and sleeping until 7:15am on average. He usually sleeps 12 hrs a night but has been too fussy to even barely stay up past 6:00pm. Because I work part-time and this last week I worked more than usual, Noah's schedule was all messed up. Side note: He has decided to start walking more then crawling over the past week too.

What I found out from Google is that when children start walking more, they actually become more exhausted then normal, which of course makes sense. Also, the sitter has all the kiddos on 1 nap/day, & I started wondering if that was adding to his exhaustion. Apparently when children aren't ready to drop to 1 nap/day, they will turn into little terrors haha. I don't blame this little guy, according to Google, when toddlers transition to walking more than crawling, it can be like running 3 marathons a day for them. Poor guy, he's just been EXHAUSTED!!

Over the past couple of days I have keep Noah on his normal 2 nap/day schedule and he is my sweet baby boy again. He's eating EVERYTHING like he always has, and today ate more veggies than anything else. When he was exhausted and grumpy, he would barely eat anything (there was just a lot of fussing and crying.. no interest in food at all). I felt like I was going crazy trying to get him to eat anything nutritious. It was basically organic crackers, almond milk, and peanut butter for days...

BUT, alas... he returned. Along with his sweet demeanor. These are all from today, he had mixed veggies, cucumber 'fries', zucchini 'fries', chicken, & new potatoes. He actually rejected his usual hummus tortilla for more veggies! Happy momma right here :)

Now, I thought it was a good idea for us to eat outside since it was GORGEOUS today...  however, another lesson I learned was that if a toddler has dirt and grass within reach, a toddler might mistaken one green thing for another. Before I knew it, he was eating dirt, grass, AND veggies... together. I guess there are worse things haha. And they always says a little dirt never killed anyone... See the pics below for a good laugh

Final thoughts: Today we laughed, we ate veggies, had 2 naps, and we had a wonderful day together. I guess what I have learned from this past week is that I need to start reading more parenting books haha. And continue to give my little one grace... lots of grace. It's not his fault his schedule had been so erratic. Also, if he liked veggies at one point, I just have to be patient until he's ready to eat them again. I wish I knew a pediatric psychologist, I truly feel like when our kiddos are rejecting food, they aren't always rejecting the food itself. They are trying to tell us something, or control something, or prove something... Which means as parents, we need to be better observers so we don't miss their cues. Hope you all haven't had to go through this, but I'm sure someone has. At least we're not in this parenting boat alone. 

Hope ya'll have a great rest of your week!

Love & Blessings,

The Veggie Momma 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Grumpy Goo

Our evening... 
Being encouraging... promise, I was encouraging not scolding, the hubby just caught me at a weird shot haha. 
Giving up and dancing around the kitchen instead. 

First of all, pardon the nappy hair. It was a monsoon in Katy Tx today, and I got caught up in it, TWICE, on my way into work and out. Second of all, my little had a rough day, and was being a "grumpy goo" as we call it in our house. He didn't want to eat anything for dinner, not even his beloved veggies. Meal time was just a whole bunch of whiney noises and scrunched faces. Something interesting that I have noticed about Noah when he is not in his normal eating routine, is that there are a MILLION reasons why he might not be in the mood for food. More interesting, is that most of them typically have little to do with the food itself. Below are all the reasons I have observed so far... 

- Wrong color
- Yucky smell
- Cut too small
- Portion too big
- Teeth hurt
- Boredom
- Fun to throw
- Fun to squish
- Strong flavor 
- New flavor
- Too hot
- Too cold
- Wants to play
- Sleepy
- Tummy ache
- Headache
- Distracted
- Too lumpy
- Touched other foods
- Too hard to pick up
- Slippery 
- Unrecognizable

Today, the main thing I noticed why he wasn't interested in eating, was just because he wanted to spend time with us. My husband and I danced around the kitchen to the radio like fools, to try and cheer him, and it worked... for a minute... but didn't appease him completely. The second I took him out and held him and twirled him around the kitchen he was happy. We went to the play room, and after a few minutes of quality time he decided he wanted to eat some beef and broccoli. Now I'm NOT encouraging everyone to let their kid become a little manipulative dictator who always gets to eat dinner in front of the TV or in their play room haha. 

No, I'm actually encouraging you to take a closer look at your kiddos and observe what is deeper that could be going on. Some days, he's just being a turkey. Today, he just wanted to spend time with us since we both had to work today. Ya'll, this parenting thing isn't easy, and for me I'm always learning something. Today, I learned that you don't always have to force your kid to do something. You can work WITH them, not against them, and they may eventually come around. 

I have also learned to make most meals a time of FUN! Yep, FUN parents. FUN fun FUN! I never realized why you see so many parents in movies looking like idiots playing the airplane game with every bite...until I became a parent. I know we're busy, i'm busy too. But my son eats SO MUCH BETTER when we sit down as a family, and include him, and pay attention to him. He eats even better when I sit with him, and give him my undivided attention and make funny faces, and sing funny songs. I made up the 'Yum yum' song  a loooong time ago, and he just loves it! We read books, and play peek-a-boo sometimes, and all of it helps to makes the whole experience FUN! :)

now all you parents with multiple kiddos are looking at this screen like I'm crazy. I know I know, this is unrealistic when you have 20 kids and 0 hours in the day to do this. BUT, I figure, if my oldest is a good example, then the little ones that come along will look up to him and learn something. Plus I feel like it sets a good ground work for our family, if our oldest is the veggie trail blazer. Who knows, I could be crazy, but I'll try haha. 

Final thoughts: at the end of the day, what I have observed is most of the time it may not be about the taste of the veggies (when they're really little anyways). It can be a million other things. Sometimes he rejects foods at dinner he ate happily at lunch. I'm challenging you as parents to look deeper... and not give up! This is the most important part, don't give UP! And take the time to TEACH them, they are waiting to learn anything and everything from you - even what healthy foods they should eat! If they see you taking every moment just to throw sub par meals together to shut them up and move on to the rest of the day, they will become adults that will never take time for their health. I know this for a fact, I see it every day. You've got this mom & dad, and your babies are worth the extra effort to figure this thing out!!

Take a look at my baby earlier in the week eating a cucumber. His cucumber that he will ONLY eat in large chunks now (he used to only like the slices... took me a while to figure this one out haha). And this is reinforcement why you never give up, one day they may love something one way, the next they may hate it. Eventually, it seems for us that Noah always ends up coming back around. 
March on & good luck moms & dads!!!

Love & Blessings,
The Veggie Momma

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Parents United

The first part of this is just to brag on my hubby. He made lunch for Noah tomorrow while I was cooking, and he put this together!!
The entree is our dairy free version of a hummus & home made corn tortilla "quesadilla", avocado, organic chicken, organic peas, blue berries, a peanut butter sandwich (snack), a banana, and pouch if he's being fussy. I'm so just impressed my hubby cares and is trying to make a healthy lunch for our munchkin beyond a Lunchable haha. 

Side note: at some point we will probably have lunch meat, however you might want to be mindful about the nitrates/nitrites that are in processed meats. Since Noah's body is so tiny, and everything is more potent in it, I think we'll wait on sausage and lunch meats for now. This article is a good middle of the road view point about nitrates, and I strongly encourage you read it!!! http://m.livescience.com/36057-truth-nitrites-lunch-meat-preservatives.html

Also, what I'm about to cover is one of the most important reasons why I decided to start a blog. So important in my opinion, I decided to bold it, & change the color so you would think it was super important enough to read & remember. ;) 

I would like to  encourage you AND your spouse to make efforts to feed your kids healthfully TOGETHER. I know, I know, sometimes this can be really hard. I see spouses every day that just can't get on the same page with their meals at home. However, as much as you can, TRY to be a good example for your kids... both of you. They look at BOTH of you, and revere both of you, and will not eat veggies if they don't see both of you doing it. Trust me, almost weekly I have grown adults tell me they don't eat veggies because their mom didn't cook them when they were little, OR their dad didn't like them (and vice versa). SO, you really will be significantly more impactful if you are a united front. 

Also just because you don't like a certain veggie, doesn't mean you shouldn't offer it to your kid. PLEASE do not put your food preferences on them. And as much as you can, please try NOT to label your kid as a 'non-veggie lover'. This is very very very important to avoid. I have met SO VERY MANY adults that swear up and down they don't like veggies, non of them, all 1,000 varieties... because they didn't like them when they were little. It just makes me so sad, because taste buds change! Also, children can find an identity because of their food preferences, AND they sometimes like the attention they get from having them. So please please please, try as hard as you can to keep your food jags to yourself :) And do not give up on offering them to your little ones! I will write a blog about this another time, but most of the time kiddos don't like veggies because of the texture, NOT the taste. Which I have learned to get around. Also if they are used to getting french fries most of the time... that's of course a big part of the problem too. So go ahead parents, feed your kiddos prunes, and brussel sprouts, and cabbage, and beets, and let them decide for their selves if they don't like them! :)

Final thought: I have had quite a few people ask me for my muffin recipes. Here is the thing, I haven't found one I LOVE yet! Today's batch were the first ones that actually tasted quite good, and were pretty, BUT I still feel like they have a little too much sugar in them. Also I really wanted a good oat muffin recipe for the soluble fiber, and found one AFTER I made these. I'll share this recipe, but I want you to know my search for the healthiest veggie breakfast muffin I can find is not over! Next week I'm trying the pumpkin, oat, zucchini, flax muffin recipe I found today. Wish me luck (I always need it in the kitchen haha). 

- 3 c 100% whole wheat organic flour
- 1 t salt
- 1 t baking soda
- 1 T organic ground flax seed (w/ 3 T water)
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 t pumpkin pie spice
- 1 c pure cane sugar
- 1 c unsweetened organic apple sauce
- 3/4 c vegetable oil
- 1/4 c almond milk
- 2 t vanilla extract (didn't have this & they were still good)
- 3.5 c shredded zucchini 
*Bake at 350 for 30 min. 
*I altered this a little from the original recipe, so if it doesn't turn out good for you, let me know!!

Moms, dads, kiddos, & veggies unite!

Love & Blessings, 
The Veggie Momma 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Emergency Meals

So there you are... staring into the fridge/pantry thinking 'oh my goodness, I don't have any groceries! What am I going to feed my kid?!' Whether you're a working parent, or not, there are times when you just didn't have time to get to the grocery store the previous week. Now, when you're married withOUT kids, this is no big deal. You can get creative to satisfy your hunger, or you can easily pop into Jason's Deli for lunch. WITH kids however, you can NOT just concoct a haphazard lunch, and going places is NEVER as easy as just jumping in the car and zipping to a restaurant....

SO, what do you do? Since fast food is not an option in our home and I need to go grocery shopping, I had to get creative and throw together a couple of quick meals last week from items I rummaged around and found in my kitchen. Just a reminder, my son is severely allergic to eggs, and gets horrible eczema with dairy, SO I really do have to get creative when our groceries have dwindled. See below for the lunch I threw together earlier this week.

The entree was the steamed veggie, chick pea, avocado meal w/ the almond butter whole wheat sandwich. I make veggie/fruit flax muffins at the beginning of the week for breakfast so I threw that in (This one was zucchini/flax - I'd rather do a boiled egg :/ ),  the banana for a snack, and the pouches just in case he is being picky that day. He's getting away from the pouches, but sometimes his teeth hurt and these aren't a bad option for the daycare to get SOMETHING half way nutritious in him. And of course he always has water (yes, yes, I know that's a PINK sippy cup... I promise he has 'boy' sippy cups but THIS ONE is his favorite b/c it's the easiest for him to drink out of. If anyone knows where I can get it in blue and green I would appreciate knowing haha).
Also, remember your food has to be age appropriate. Noah only has 6 teeth SO I have to make everything easy for him to chew. Once he has more teeth, we will definitely have more options! Remember this is an EMERGENCY meal, I already had all of these things in my pantry/fridge. When I have the time and the ingredients he definitely gets more sophisticated meals. But hey, we all know that sometimes that just isn't possible, so I feel like this is a decent compromise. 

Since today is Sunday and I usually go grocery shopping today (and our muffins were all gone), I realized I needed to get creative again for breakfast. So we made old fashioned oats (w/ water), and mixed in some unsweetened organic applesauce. He LOVED IT! Talk about quick and easy!! 

What are some of your bare pantry healthy emergency meals? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Love & blessings,
The Veggie Momma

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Humble Juice

I really never thought this day would come, yet here it is. My son had fake juice for the very first time... and it almost killed my soul.

I know that sounds a little mellow dramatic, but I have a pretty firm view point on sugary beverage intake in children. They have no place in our kiddos daily diet, period. Sounds a little extreme I know, however you must remember that I spend my days in a field where my patients, at times, have developed diabetes single-handedly because they drink too much juice or soda! Not to mention obesity rates and even diabetes rates in children are starting to sky rocket, and can be linked to sugary beverages. They are just so horrible for our little ones, and I swore up and down my son would never drink them if I could manage it.

I stand firm in my declaration against sugary beverages, however today I was left with no other beverage option but juice for my little one, and had to make a tough decision. Back track to this morning... after a nice, long, hot, jog, I get back to our house and realize I locked us out. Oh yes, I'm naturally blonde, we have a new door, it's Texas, and I locked us out. I panicked and called my husband who was in a meeting and wouldn't be by for at least 30 min. It was snack time, and little man was not appeased by the water in his sippy cup so I caved... I remembered I had left over (from his birthday) Veggie Capri Sun pouches in the garage fridge and I thought "well maybe he'll only drink half of it and that will satisfy him"... NOPE, my kid was like YUM YUM and sucked the whole thing down! I tried to transition to water half way, and he was not having it. He literally drank. the. whole. thing... Desperate times, desperate measures right?? I realized he wasn't going to die from one tiny little juice pouch, but it definitely confirmed to me that I'm certainly not bringing it into my house anytime soon that's for sure. Especially after I witnessed him reject water for it over, and over, and over again.

If your kid already has an affinity for juice, and knows it exists, then you may have a harder time transitioning them back to water. SO, a better option might be the popular 'green smoothie'. We have been doing these for some time, BUT you need to be very intentional about what you put in them. In my opinion if they are not AT LEAST 75% veggies, and made with water, or something low calorie like almond milk, then they can be just as sugar laden as a juice box itself.

I made this later in the day for Noah, and he loved it just as much. It wasn't nearly as sweet, and was made of organic baby spinach and kale, a whole zucchini, a banana, organic applesauce,  and water. He drank almost the entire thing, and hopefully all memories of the fake juice were erased...haha.

A couple more reasons why juice should be kept at a minimum in your kiddos diets:
- It can fill them up with empty calories, and they end up eating less nutritious foods (like our beloved veggies!)
- It increases the rates of dental carries.
- Too much can cause excess weight gain.
- Excess weight in children, unfortunately is starting to lead to higher incidences of type 2 DM in children (seeing little ones with type 2 DM just breaks my heart :-( ... )
- It really is just sugar and water. Those companies are making SO MUCH MONEY off of something that is really horrible for your precious little ones.
- Not to mention that the water-soluble vitamins that are prevalent in fruit, are significantly more bio-available in the fruit itself. Many vitamins, take Vitamin C for example, actually are destroyed when processed in excess and then you don't receive the health benefits anyways. Eat an orange!!!
- Final note, please remember that we are the ONLY SPECIES ON THE PLANET that drinks flavored beverages. Consider having a conversation with your kiddos about what elephants, lions, snakes, birds, or giraffes drink... think about it. They drink water, and they are doing just fine (and they aren't struggling with their weight!).
- I feel the exact same way about soda as I do juice btw :)

Good luck parents!! You can do this :)

Love and blessings,
The Veggie Momma

Monday, September 8, 2014

When he is hungry, FEED HIM!

So days like today are the reason why I decided to start a blog. I know I wrote this morning's post  referencing the past when we first started solids, but today was reflective of our normal feeding days as a 1 yr old... with opinions haha.

Today, I started back at a weekly mom's bible study this morning, and also had to work this afternoon. So, Little man was in TWO daycares today, and by the time he got home tonight he was worn out to say the least, he was also tired, grumpy, fussy, and HUNGRY! So we tried the normal veggie spread like we usually do, and nothing but protest from him. We tried chickpeas...protest, steamed squash...protest, organic low sodium canned asparagus...protest... NOTHING WORKED! Then I gave him a zucchini flax muffin that he usually eats for breakfast. Well he gobbled that right down.

Now I failed to mention before that Noah is actually super allergic to eggs (per blood test), and moderately allergic to dairy (per the scary eczema on his legs). SO I would usually give him a boiled egg, or an organic cheese stick if he was really hungry but he can't have either. So zucchini muffin it was.

He ate, he stopped fussing, and all was quiet. Now instead of deciding to give up and surrender I decided to offer him veggies after he had devoured half of the muffin. My daily goal is  for him to have veggies at every single lunch and dinner for the rest of his life, if I can help it. So I will ALWAYS find a way to make that happen. Here he is finally coming around, and YES eating his veggies...

Moral of the story here: If your kid is hungry, FEED THEM! But DON'T give up on feeding them healthy foods in the process. You never ever know what they will eat once they can see past their hunger. You don't need to torture them, but notice how they can be significantly more reasonable once they aren't starving. 

Veggies, mommas, & kiddos UNITE!

Love and Blessings, 

Solids... where to begin?

Good morning! Well I received such an overwhelming amount of encouragement & feedback yesterday I am now so excited to start posting regularly. I started thinking yesterday also about how lucky I am to be very well connected to so many amazing medical professionals who are experts in pediatrics! I have a few RD friends who work in peds & one of my very closest friends is a pediatric Nurse Practitioner. SO, I'm gonna use ya'll (or any of my other RD friends) as reference points! If you have anything to add to my blogs that I may have missed, please feel free to comment away below :)

Now, I feel like I need to back track just a little to cover some important milestones when Noah started solids. I have to be honest, I did NOT make every single bit of his baby food from scratch with an incredibly awesome, super expensive, baby food processor. Nope.. I'm a bad mommy.... haha actually, I'll be super honest, I never really had a huge desire too, and here are a few reasons why:

1.) Baby food has come a LONG way! I was incredibly fascinated by all of the amazing different varieties. And as someone who was trying to lay a strong foundation for his veggie-loving tastebuds I found the amount of veggies he would be exposed too with the options that were available out there, were truly awesome. PLUS, what's even better is that almost all of them are available in Organic! Like previously stated, I'm NOT 100% organic, BUT w/ Noah, I really try to be. His body is so tiny, and he deserves to be fed the best of the best. Take a look at all the amazing varieties I found below, and these are just a few!

2.) I was just SO amazed by all the different varieties, I was a little intimidated to make my own. We started solids with this little guy below. I was thinking, WOW I can get Spinach and Rutabaga into this kid - woohoo!! I did rice cereal for 2 days, and the diabetes educator in me, could not shake the fact that I truly felt in my heart he should be eating something with more nutrition besides carbs!! So we went straight to Spinach, rutabaga, and avocado. Now, my girlfriend, (the pedi NP) told me the reason why they start w/ the cereals is for the correct texture (so they learn to swallow correctly), for the iron (that you can't get from breast milk), and because it is easiest on their GI tract. All of those made sense to me, but my son had already weaned himself from breast feeding (long story), and his Organic formula was fortified with iron. We got around the constipation issue by staying on top of prunes every so often. Note: Prunes were the ONLY fruit he had for the first 2 months we started solids. If you give your baby sweets before veggies, they will never go back. 

3.) The last reason why I chose the pre-made baby foods were mainly for the texture. I worked as an inpatient RD for a couple of years and saw people with swallowing issues on a regular basis. I wanted to make sure he wouldn't choke when he was learning how to eat, so this put my mind at ease. Also, let's be completely honest, I just could not find the time needed to make them the way I wanted too. If you are thinking these little pouch guys are expensive, you're right. HOWEVER, Babies-R-Us has deals on them frequently. Also, my logic tells me that if I buy a bunch of organic veggies and have good intentions to make baby food and never get around to it, then I wasted all that money. So for me, it would probably cost me the same amount. 

Take home message: Moral of the story for today... start developing your kids pallets from the start! Noah's first foods were veggies, and I'm so very proud to say that he never turned his nose up at the them. Remember these are the foods they were created to eat! Yes, even beets and rutabaga! If you think they aren't going to like them, they never will. You will indirectly project your food preferences on your kids, I promise, it may not be intentional but you will. Be MINDFUL of this, and allow your kiddos to decide for themselves! :)

Side note: Avocados are AMAZING, I mean all those healthy monousaturated fats are awesome!! Plus, if you are ever in a bind as a restaurant, you can pretty much get a side of avocado every single place you go.  Plus they are easy for little ones to eat. See for yourself  a few reasons why they are so great below. 

Hope you mommas continue making awesome foods for your precious little ones!! And if you have some easy ways to make home-made baby food that are fast, I would LOVE to hear it, so please share below. If you don't have the time, or just don't want too, then that's ok too. Good thing in today's grocery store we have options!!!! 

Have an awesome and blessed day!
The Veggie Momma 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Our introduction

My husband has been asking me to write a blog for years... So, here I am, finally with the motivation to do so. My beautiful 1 year old son, Noah, is to thank. I want this blog to encourage moms to be confident in feeding their children what they KNOW is best for them, even when it is challenging sometimes (well most of the time- stupid chicken nuggets haha). I have a strong desire to help combat this overwhelming obesity epidemic - 1 hydrogenated oil, non-veggie eating, soda-drinker at a time. To fight an epidemic, we have to build a strong foundation from the get-go. Mommas, this means we gotta start fighting EARLY. Like, before your kiddo is even 1! Did you know that if you can change the eating habits of a kid BEFORE 4th grade, you have significantly reduced their risk of becoming a weight-challenged adult? It's never too late to change, but that's good news to me!

This is my beautiful munchkin, YES eating veggies and LOVING them!!
Also... It seems in this era that revolves around social media, no one is at a loss for words. In a split moment one has the ability to project a voice out into the universe that can either be encouraging, discouraging, hilarious, opinionated or just downright hateful!  Don’t worry my friend, my little bits of personal expression and life stories will live mostly in the encouraging/ funny territory.I am a Registered Dietitian by trade, but I'm NOT a health extremist AT ALL. I'm not 100% organic, vegan, raw, or anti-microwaves. If you can maintain that lifestyle I am seriously happy for you, I'm aiming for a little more moderation, especially since I'm a part-time working mom. I have a special place in my heart for working moms... the struggle is real. Working or not, it seems we all have the same goal, and that is to raise happy HEALTHY kids, that grow into happy healthy ADULTS without chronic medical issues! Whether you work or not, you have one picky eater on your hands, and all mommas are on their knees begging them to eat haha.

My Mission: My main goal for this blog is to raise a healthy kid and help you raise healthy kids. Also to help fight the messages sent by society that insist otherwise. I also want to change the bad rep veggies get.. I want my kid and your to LOVE a variety of foods INCLUDING the most amazing food of all VEGETABLES!!!!!! I have a firm belief that as a society if we truly want to become healthy, we need to go back to our roots. Our primitive roots that is. Humans were created to be primarily PLANT eaters.. yep, that's right. We were actually created to eat things like PLANTS, nuts, seeds, fruit. And protein of course, BUT not usually from large animals like most people think - ask yourself, how would they catch and kill them.. hmm.. head scratcher?? I have a very firm belief that no one can make a definitive claim that they "hate vegetables" because you really would be denying your genetic make-up which actually NEEDS and CRAVES them to make your body work at it's most optimal. Plus there are like a 1,000 different varieties with varying textures and tastes. C'mon you haven't tasted ALL of them!? I was raised in a house full of lots of unhealthy crap, BUT I was always surrounded by veggies. I desire so deeply to raise a child in a home where the crap food is kept to a minimum, and the veggies never spoil (hey a girl can dream) :) That's why I'm blogging, I'm willing to try ANYTHING and hopefully some of my experiments will help you with your children too :) I've had some funny experiments so far, I'll back track and share some of the for sure.

My history: I grew up a chubby little kid who hated, and I mean truly loathed PE. I was overweight, awkward, and clumsy. The piece-de-resistance was my awesome, frizzy, unruly, curly hair made far worse by the fabulous humidity of the south (and my super cool glasses). I had a great family, great friends, and a fairly normal upbringing but never felt good about only being “the girl with the pretty face.”  Somewhere along the way through tragedy and heartache I realized I was meant for something more. Nobody likes being overweight, and absolutely NO ONE likes being the one person who can’t keep up, or like myself was even picked on for being a chubby kiddo/teen.  So the last 10 years of my life have been a journey nonetheless of me finding my way through our obesogenic society to achieve health, and trying to help others a little on the way. I have tried it all in an attempt to fit into a mold, and realized over the last 10 years there is no ONE way to be healthy/skinny. You have have to refocus your aim, and let health be incorporated in every single area of your life. For the average person this is far more difficult and scary than just following a diet or taking a pill! I've been practicing living like a normal healthy person for over 10 yrs now! It feels good, I'm far from the picture of perfect health now, but you wouldn't believe where I used to be haha. For a good laugh see where I started almost 20 yrs ago.

Closing thoughts: Moms... we are really all in this together, and we need to support and encourage eachother. STOP THE MOMMY WARS (can I get an amen!?). Professionally I am in diabetes education, and I work in an outpatient department of a hospital. I have no false illusions that I know everything about health or nutrition and will never claim too. I've gotten so many good tips from my awesome friends, and I'm gonna share those too. I simply want to help you figure out how to feed your kid, while I'm trying to figure out how to feed mine. I used to say I’m not a good cook, now I would say I am just a little chef in training. I like to experiment with cooking, and almost anything I make that's edible birthed from a disastrous tornado in my modest kitchen. Let’s share smiles, laughs, recipes, tips that work for you, words of encouragement and success stories. Veggies, mommas, & kiddos UNITE!! :)

Disclaimer: My blog will have tons of spelling errors, run ons, and over zealous commas... I apologize in advance for all of grammatical indiscretions, I'm not a detail oriented person to say the least haha.