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

tots-mango-spinach-banana-pumpkin-mangospinach-sqpack

 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!

kids-banana-tubes

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

indulgent-double-chocolate-chunk-4pack images

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.

kids-grape-pouch

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!

OPAL Mom™ Favorite: Green Kid Crafts: Creativity and STEM Science Kits for Kids!

Green Kid Crafts

Green Kid Crafts: Creativity and STEM Science Kits for Kids!

Green Kid designs and delivers hands-on, award winning, and eco-friendly Discovery Boxes, Creativity Kits, and STEM Science Kits (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Here you’ll find information about our kid’s subscription program, our best gifts for preschoolers and kids ages 3-10, our favorite kid’s science experiments, plus craft ideas for kids.
 

Give the gift of creativity with Green Kid Crafts!

What to Expect Each Month

  • 3-4 award winning Creativity and STEM Science Kits (science, technology, engineering, and math) designed by experts to build confidence, flex creativity, and make kids smarter. Look Inside a box to learn more.
  • All materials and instructions, along with some fun extras!
  • An exciting new theme, think Outer Space, Kitchen Science, Nocturnal Animals, Backyard Science, Ocean, and Mad Scientist.
  • Included free for subscribers: Exclusive online collection of additional activities, reading lists, games, puzzles, and more each month, all centered about the monthly theme!
  • Get Ready for October’s Legends & Folktales Box! This box is full of activities that will promote the emotional and imaginative development of kids. Your kings, queens, knights, and princesses will create their own Storytelling Kit, Design wearable Crowns, and have a blast hurling projectiles around the room after making their own Catapult. Can’t wait until October? Order one of our single purchase Discovery Boxes, too!

  Green Kid Crafts Awards

Trying to Stay Fit While Pregnant? Get Creative at the Park!

Summer has come to a close, but staying fit in these last weeks of warmth can still be an option…especially if you are at the park with your little ones!  Pregnant?  Even better!  Get creative!


Fitness Tip: If you have children that are not in school that will go to the park with you, use the opportunity in between sets to get in a little cardio and chase them around. They will love it you will burn some extra calories!

For more from my mommy blog, please visit: www.opalmom.com

 

Finding Balance When Pregnant and Caring for Multiple Children

This past week, I’ve been caring for my two children with the help of my in-laws while my kitchen is renovated in the city.  Being in my third trimester, I’ve had to strategize the day accordingly in order to reserve my energy and still be able to parent effectively while my husband remains in the city to oversee the project and continue to work.  So, how do I do it and continue to work as well?  I always refer back to OPAL. Organize, Prioritize, Act and Let Go.

There are always going to be days where I seem to have way to much on my plate despite my best intentions to plan ahead.  These are the days that include endless demands from my children, seemingly endless work emails and deadlines, and of course, making sure to take time to address my own needs as a mother and this time around, a pregnant woman.

So, this week, this is how I’ve utilized O.P.A.L. to set myself up for success:

ORGANIZE:

WORK

  • I reserve time in my schedule for my work obligations and other appointments.

KIDS

  • FOOD: Snacks and quick breakfast foods are placed in a bin where they know to go if they happen to wake up early or get hungry before meal times.  At the beginning of each week, we talk about what these foods will include. Usually, it comes down to 3 choices of Lara Bars, dried berries, and roasted plantain chips.
  • ACTIVITIES: In the morning, the kids have the choice of either drawing or reading while I blog, email and make work phone calls.
  • NAP TIME: Scheduled for the same time each day
  • QUALITY TIME: Every afternoon, I’ve set aside time to bond with my son with a quiet activity, and the morning, with my daughter.

adelie park logan park

PRIORITIZE:

This varies between WORK and KIDS.

logan painting

However, the kids always come first so what I do to prepare them for my workday is I fill them in on how the day is planned.  My son and daughter both are familiar with how my workday unfolds with regard to blogging and training clientele, so what we do, is we plan activities for them during that time.  Perhaps one day it will be reading quietly, another working on an art project or spending time with their grandparents.  This planning together helps them understand that their well-being is my first priority.  Of course, if things come up, work takes a back seat, but at the same time, my children know that in order to live, I need to work.  So, we work together always.

 

ACT:

In order to make some of my most well thought-out plans work at least 50% of the time, I need to act upon them.  This not only includes following through with work, but following through with my children.  This means honoring promises made and also holding them accountable for their activities so that I can honor my work appointments.  I find it important for my children to know that while they are my first priority, they need to learn patience as well.  As a mother, it is always on my mind to jump to their every request, but taking these moments to pause are important for me as well to be able to follow through in teaching them to wait when the time calls for it.

 

LET GO:

*Sigh* This is my biggest challenge.  I’m one of those people who sets out to conquer the world on a daily basis and expects just that.  Letting go for me doesn’t mean letting go of my goals and aspirations for the day.  It means trying my best and letting go of the result.  Sometimes this means letting go of the fact that all of the items on my list my not be finished, but that the ones I do finish are done to the best of my ability.  It may mean that I need to let go of my best intention to stay patient with my children and not carry the guilt of borderline losing it during a very packed day.  Sometimes, it means that I just say, “My best today may be my worst tomorrow and that is ok.”

 

 

10 Ways to Stay Active with Your Kids This Summer

Staying Active with Your Kids This Summer

Summer Fun

The summer is all about enjoying the outdoors, relaxing, and reaping the benefits of all our hardwork through the colder months.  But, it also means SCHOOL IS OUT!
So, how will you keep your kids entertained and stay active at the same time?
1. Run through the sprinklers – TOGETHER
2. Create a scavenger hunt that requires you to walk to find the items.  A metro park is a great place to do this.
3.  Have a family relay race in the yard or at the park.  Make it fun so that the winner receives a fun summer treat or combine with #1.
4.  On rainy days, play make-believe.  Create scenarios where the living room may be a jungle, where you have to crawl down and around different rocks (chairs), trees (lamps), and sneak by animals (stuffed animals) to get to your tent (bed sheets draped over furniture).  
5. Climb on the jungle gym at the park – TOGETHER.  Repeat until you as the adult start to feel sweaty.
6. Plan a bike ride together.  If your children are old enough to ride their own bikes, choose a bike path, metro park or section of your neighborhood where you can all ride safely together.  If you’ve a little one or multiple little ones, invest in a bike buggy and turn your workout into an adventure for your child(ren)!
  
7.  Create workout plans together.  Before doing the workout, have your child(ren) help create the workout.  You will be amazed to see the creativity that they can bring and how much more challenging your workout can be with a little help from your kid(s)!8.  Follow a tv or dvd workout together.  Whether I’m doing kickboxing or a core workout, when my son sees me doing a workout on the tv, all he wants to do is join in.
9.  Have a dance party!  Make a playlist with your little one(s) of your favorite dance songs and and let your bodies wiggle!  Don’t stop dancing until the entire playlist is finished!
10. Play a family sport outside.  Maybe this is as simple as a game of freeze tag, or it’s a larger family affair of holding a softball tournament.  Make it even more fun by grilling out afterward, and picking up the game again when meal time is finished!