How Yogurt Can Be Used to Encourage Your Child to Eat New, Healthy Foods

As a mother of 3 young children, I find that meal times can be challenging no matter what time of day.  I also work as a fitness professional who specializes in health and nutrition for women and children and still find that when dinner time comes, all my toddler daughter wants is YOGURT and not the fresh plate of produce that I’ve chopped up for her.  Yogurt is a nutritious choice, but if she could have it for every meal, snack and craving, she would.  So what do I  do when this happens?  I GET CREATIVE!

My children range in age from 7 months to 6 years and each child has his or her preferences ESPECIALLY when it comes to yogurt.  With the help of Chobani Yogurt, I’ve come up with a few ideas to encourage my children to try new, healthy foods by using the very yogurt that they want to have with every meal!

Babies: Chobani TOTS

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 For my smallest, #ChobaniTots offers an INCREDIBLE collection of mixed yogurt pouches that I’ve begun to introduce to my tiny tot.  The Mango and Spinach option combines Chobani yogurt with mango & spinach puree with other natural ingredients to offer a nutritious yogurt option that includes foods to which my little babe may otherwise turn his little nose up.

cayden mama

Toddlers: Let Them Help YOU

My middle child is almost 2 years old and LOVES to help in the kitchen.  She is a strong-willed little lady who insists on having yogurt with every meal so when it comes to encouraging her to try new, healthy foods, I’ve decided to include her in the process of making her food.

adelie kitchen

My favorite new recipe came from a client of mine a few weeks ago for Almond, Coconut, Gluten-Free Pancakes.  As Chobani Greek Yogurt is also gluten free and comes in a variety of kid-friendly flavors, making this recipe with my daughter is not only fun, but also delicious!

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The recipe:

Almond, Coconut, Gluten-Free Pancakes using Chobani Banana Greek Yogurt

almond coconut pancakes

1 1/2 cups almond flour

2 T coconut flour

3/4 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

6 eggs

1/4 cup Chobani Banana Greek Yogurt

2 T honey

1 T vanilla extract

1 T oil/fat (olive oil, butter, coconut oil, or ghee)

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined and smooth.

4. Grease a griddle or skillet generously, and ladle batter onto griddle, forming 4-inch cakes.

5. When bubbles form, flip & cook until done.  Feel free to top with additional Chobani Banana Greek Yogurt along with Fresh Maple Syrup and a side of fresh strawberries.

Kids: Make Lunch Time FUN

I pack my 6 year old son’s lunch and snack everyday for lunch and one of things he requests is that his lunch is fun!  So does this mean that I make pinterest-worthy faces in his sandwich?  Well, tempting as that is, no I don’t.  Instead, I use yogurt as a way to continue to get creative.

logan school

Since Chobani Yogurts come in all flavors ranging from blueberry to chocolate, I include them in his lunch with several, different options:

Yogurt as a Dip for Fruit

Cut up an apple or a cup of strawberries and pair them with Chobani’s Indulgent Yogurts such as Double Chocolate Chunk

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Yogurt as a Healthy Snack

Each day, my son needs to have a morning snack packed for school that is quick & easy to carry with him.  We often decide to include a yogurt pouch with his morning snack so he gets a nice dose of calcium in a flavor that he looks forward to having.

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Chobani Kids offers 7 incredible flavors:

  • Grape & Strawberry
  • Strawberry & Vanilla Chocolate Dust
  • Grape
  • Strawberry
  • Chocolate Dust
  • Banana
  • Grape and Watermelon

Getting creative is the number one thing I do on a daily basis to get my children to eat healthy foods as eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult!  Making the eating experience fun for my kids is what always draws them back in when meal time becomes frustrating.  For me, to reach my children often times means thinking like one.  I encourage you to try this and use Chobani when giving it your first go!

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Eating Clean…for Labor?

 

There’s a common phrase being thrown around out there for eating fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins and whole grains.  It’s called CLEAN EATING.  I’ve used this term also and still use it.

Throughout my pregnancy (3rd), I’ve consistently followed a clean diet and have had a virtually symptomless pregnancy. Yesterday, at 36 weeks 2 days pregnant, I learned from my OB that I am already 3cm dilated and 50% effaced.  She basically said that I could deliver this baby either tomorrow, or two weeks from now.  Either way, I want to do what I can to prepare.

I was so surprised when she said that I was 3 cm when only two weeks prior, I was O cm and 0% effaced.  However, like some other pregnant women nearing the end of their pregnancies, I’ve begun to indulge a bit more and as a result, end up feeling achy, crampy, and lethargic.  This happened after my exam yesterday.20140828-084933-31773109.jpg

As soon as my husband and I left the dr., we went our usual route to Starbucks to pick up coffee beans and for me, a decaf iced drink.  Along with my iced drink, I picked up a slice of pumpkin loaf which has become a trend for me in the past 3 weeks.  No biggie.  But then, I got home, and as it was late, we decided to order out.  Pizza and salads.  Sure, I ordered a salad.  But i ate all the chicken off it and proceeded to eat two slices of greasy pizza while finishing my decaf iced coffee.  And you know what happened?  I immediately became congested, had a lovely case of diarrhea, and  went into a series of BH contractions ranging from 5 minutes apart to 11 minutes apart for the next 4 hours accompanied with a back ache and an overall feeling of bloat.  These are in fact symptoms of impending labor, but having done this twice before, I knew that this wasn’t labor.  Regardless, this continued through the evening leaving me with a very restless sleep that woke me every 3 hours.  Labor seemed imminent…that is, until I woke up and changed my tune.

I woke with a headache that would rival the worst hangover, a bloated face and fingers, and a very very sluggish demeanor.  This was at 4:00am.  So, I thought having a bowl of cereal would help.  One bowl of cereal turned into two, followed by a food coma.  Falling asleep again, I woke to the sound of two children screaming MAMA! at 7:30am with all the same symptoms that I had at 4:00am.  Regardless, I pulled myself out of bed, and went to the washroom to splash my face with water and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  I looked just as bloated and congested as I felt.  But…my contractions were gone.  So, I had a window of time to try to alleviate my symptoms.

I ran to the kitchen, and while making breakfast for my kids, went to my go-to breakfast for warding off colds – Green juice and fresh fruit.  Within 10 minutes of eating a few bites and sipping some green juice, I began to feel better.  Not just ok, but actually better.  My Braxton Hicks contractions started again but were spaced far apart again, baby #3 started kicking happily, the feeling of bloat began to subside, and my energy returned.  As with any clean breakfast like this, a trip to the bathroom isn’t rare, but the feelings associated are not ones of nausea.  My sinuses cleared almost immediately and my pep in my step returned.

SO here are my thoughts.  Knowing that the body cleanses itself out before the onset of labor by means of releasing bodily fluids and waste, why not try eating cleaner in preparation for labor?  No woman enjoys being uncomfortable, cramped and achy in the final weeks of pregnancy and for some, this is just unavoidable.  But, in my case it seems that my well-being and over physical wellness is directly affected by the food that I feed it.  Having a symptomless pregnancy while clean eating may be a coincidence, but I’m beginning to believe differently.  I’m thinking that by continuing to eat clean through to the end may help prepare my body for labor by keeping my body full of vitamins and nutrients, clear of toxins and congestants, and lowering my blood pressure by keeping foods high in fat, salt, and sugar from causing undue stress on my digestive system.  I’m going to give it a try!

My First Go As a Mommy Blogger Has Me Hooked

A few months ago, I decided that I would take on the new world of mommy blogging.  I experimented with writing daily, weekly, biweekly and even a newsletter.  I’ve had such a great time that I have decided to continue with this new venture into my life as a mother of 3 as I’m due September 22nd.  Taking this new step into the world of mommy blogging has allowed me to reflect on the importance of my experience as a mother, which includes my daily life raising my children and additionally, my work.  I never realized that my daily schedule included required me to be resourceful with my time, my energy, as well as my income.  I came to realize through writing that these strategies that I use on a daily basis are not only applicable to me as a working/stay-at-home mother, but also to other mothers who stay at home, work part time, or are expecting first, second and third babies.  Heck, these strategies are even applicable to the stay-at-home or working dad!

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So, please feel free to follow me on this journey as I explore the world of blogging outside of fitness and juggle three small children.  In the meantime, feel free to explore my website: www.opalmom.com.  If you like it, please sign up for my newsletter which I have decided to release on a monthly basis due to the demands of my current work schedule and my schedule with my family.  The newsletter includes stories from OPAL Mom™ Members, Followers of my FB Page, and my Twitter followers (@OpalMomBlog) in addition to special offers from companies that I support and love:

And MORE!

I’m looking forward to hearing from you as well so please feel free to email me at any time at opalmomcom@gmail.com!

Are you a Crunchy Mom?

I never really considered myself a “Crunchy Mom” until I read this article and realized that most of the things listed were normal occurrences in my daily life.  Sure, I work with pregnant women on a weekly basis, have a 5.5 year old, 15 month old and am 7.5 months pregnant, but all the same.

Crunchy mom creation: Homemade smoothies for the family

My crunchy mom creation: Homemade smoothies for the family

After I read this article, I remembered a conversation that I had with my OBGYN last week where we were talking about summer foods that children eat.  I distinctly remember her saying, “Well most kids eat hotdogs and all that in the summer, so why should I be worried about it?  I mean, do you really check for nitrates in your hotdogs?”  It was all I could do to not gasp in horror and say, “Ummm, yes.  IF my children even approach a hotdog that I MAY consider preparing, it’s usually made with an alternative meat product that is nitrate free and all the other crunchy granola rules regarding processed foods.”  But, I didn’t.  I just smiled and shrugged.

Stirring up organic protein cookie dough for his mama

Anyway, that being said, coconut oil is a household name in my home, baby wearing the norm, and of course the practice of “using our words” and “gentle hands” is routine.  Take a look at the article and see if you happen to be with a Crunchy Mom or are one yourself!

10 Things Guys Married to Crunchy Moms Understand via Still Mommy

100% Fruit Juice Homemade Popsicles

IMG_9403This recipe has become a neighborhood favorite among the kids that live in my condo complex!  I made it one day for my son and soon, the whole neighborhood of kids were surrounding him hoping to taste these homemade popsicles.  They are tropical in flavor and a great nutritious alternative to store purchased, artificially flavored, and sugar loaded options.

Recipe: 100% Fruit Juice Homemade Popsicles 

Ingredients:

(purchased in single serving sizes from Trader Joe’s)

– Mango Smoothie

– Orange Juice

– Tart Cherry Juice

For this recipe, I’ve used anything from IKEA cups with a plastic spoon inserted, to ice cube trays with toothpicks, to make-at-home reusable popsicle kits.  

1. Take a 32 oz thermos or measuring cup  and fill it 3/4 of the pre made mango smoothie (approximately 1.5 cups).

2.  Next, add 1/2 of the orange juice, approximately 1 cup.

3.  Lastly, add 1/4 cup of the tart cherry juice and mix all the juices together until combined.

4.  Fill your popsicle container of choice with this tropical juice mix and freeze for 2.5 to 3 hours, or until frozen through.

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The popsicle my daughter is seen eating here was another recipe that I made which included pureed blueberries and tart cherry juice.  She loved it also!

ENJOY!!

For more information about OPAL Mom™, please visit: www.opalmom.com