Science Says: Eating THIS Could Change Your Kid’s Social Life

Mom confession:

The idea of sending my kid to school terrifies me. You guys, it’s still four years away, and it’s stressing me the heck out.

And it’s not because I’ll miss him—though I will.

It’s because kids are mean, and the day my son comes home heartbroken because of another child’s cruelty is one I dread beyond description.

Heavy, I know.

BUT, guess what—there is one thing I do every day already that could be helping prevent those grade school problems well in advance. And that’s feeding my son fruits and veggies.

Say what??

A study done in Europe is telling us that not only can a well-balanced diet increase your child’s physical health, but it could help foster better mental and emotional health as well—peer relationships included.

Researchers found that after studying over 7,500 children ages 2 to 9, and then following up again 2 years later, the kids who practiced better dietary habits (like eating fruits and vegetables, limiting sugar intake, and eating fish multiple times per week) scored better on psychosocial well-being assessments. That meant that self-esteem was higher, parent/child relations were better, and that emotional and peer problems were fewer at baseline as well as follow-up.

Um, I’m on board.

Now, while the research didn’t exactly prove causation—meaning that existing mental and emotional health could have an influence on one’s diet to begin with—I’m thinking there isn’t much to be lost by playing it safe and serving up another scoop of roasted cauliflower.

Because even if my kid is bullied at some point (haven’t we all been??), I’d like to hope I’ll have given him every opportunity to handle it with emotional strength and grace.

 

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The post Science Says: Eating THIS Could Change Your Kid’s Social Life appeared first on TodaysMama.

What Is Normal Eating?

At this time of the year when so many people are making goals around food and eating, it’s a good time to be reminded about what constitutes normal eating habits.

The best quote comes from fellow dietitian and author Ellyn Satter, who is known for her Eating Competence Model. She is more concerned about helping you develop eating confidence and competence versus developing uber-healthy eating habits.

In essence, you would do well to learn how to self-moderate and trust yourself to make wise decisions around food than to stick to certain outside rules or guidelines for eating. Her definition of “normal eating” will help explain this concept:

“Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it — not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life. In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.”

What this definition does is normalize a wide variety of eating behaviors. Eating should be flexible, variable, satisfying, nourishing and enjoyable. It shouldn’t be obsessive, preoccupying, rigid, overwhelming or worrisome.

If your eating habits currently feel chaotic and haphazard or restrictive and obsessive, this can feel very out of reach. So how do you get there?

Recommendations for normal eating

1. Don’t tell yourself there are certain foods you can’t have. That will only work to increase anxiety around food and will encourage all-or-nothing behaviors. When you know you can have a food anytime you really want it, its power over you decreases. On the other hand, if you know this is the last time you’ll be able to have it (or at least the last time this week or this month, etc.), you’re going to have all of it right now, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you. It’s much easier to behave in a level-headed, sane and wise way around food when you aren’t being micromanaged by rules.

2. We tend to run scared of feeling satisfied because we equate it with overeating. However, satisfaction is our solution. Eat for the intent to feel satisfied. Eating to feel satisfied naturally decreases overeating or under eating because neither of those are satisfying (rather, uncomfortable or painful). Feeling full and satisfied from your meals and snacks is your solution. Not feeling full and satisfied is what leads to problematic behaviors.

3. Normal eating is about being intentional, mindful and aware. Instead of tracking calories or portion sizes, note hunger and fullness levels before and after eating, while paying attention to how the food makes you feel. After a meal or snack are you left feeling satisfied? Energized? Lethargic? Still hungry? Balanced? Get curious about how you feel and function instead of being judgmental about what you look like or weigh. This will help connect you to intuitive signals that will naturally guide eating instead of outside rules or measurements.

4. As mentioned, normal eating includes being mindful. While it’s not realistic that we always eat without distractions, aim to show up to your meals with awareness. You are more likely to know when you are full and satisfied if you are paying attention. Maybe set a goal to do this with one meal or one snack each day.

Becoming a normal eater is possible for everyone. In fact, you aren’t learning something new, you are remembering something you were innately born with. Keep that in mind as you practice — you can trust yourself with food.

 

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Holiday Survival Guide – How To Navigate Food

The holiday season is full of opportunities for celebrating gratitude, family, love, faith and service.  Food is often a big part of those celebrations, as it should be!  However, it’s during the holiday season that many are tempted to adopt an all-or-nothing attitude toward food, throwing all caution to the wind only to punish themselves come January.  Instead of falling prey to extremes in thinking and behavior that only leave you feeling exhausted physically and emotionally, these tips are aimed to help you enjoy the holiday season without feeling the need to pay penance.

1.  First and foremost, don’t plan to diet or follow some sort of meal plan after the new year. That’s a sure fire way to trigger the all-or-nothing mindset during the holidays.  If you know restriction, deprivation or a diet is around the corner, it can create “last meal syndrome” where you get all of it right now even if it means consistently feeling stuffed and uncomfortable.

2. Along with that, be sure you are eating consistently, regularly and adequately rather than skipping meals or saving up for holiday meals.  If you go into a meal starving, it’s hard to stay level headed about how much and what you eat.  Regular, balanced meals will stabilizes blood sugar levels, which helps to reduce cravings. It also influences mood regulation as well as overall hormonal balance.  That’s going to come in very handy in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and managing stressful situations and schedules.  Taking care of yourself doesn’t need to come last!

3.  I would recommend approaching holiday meals like any other meal.  While it may include traditional foods, seeing the holiday meal as different usually means you choose to eat differently, losing sight of listening to hunger or fullness levels.  Remember that you can have tasty, flavorful, satisfying meals any day of the year. This doesn’t have to be reserved only for holidays. Even make your favorite holiday dish at other times during the year or at least during the season.

4.  LOVE the food you are eating.  Get picky – eat what is truly satisfying and enjoyable for you.  If you find yourself eating a treat or a portion of your meal that doesn’t taste good, leave it behind and move on to something that does.  If you love your Grandma’s pumpkin pie and she only makes it once a year on Thanksgiving, you better have a piece but allow yourself to eat it without self-inflicted shame or guilt.

5.  Make memories and find meaning in what you’re celebrating. Food is a fun part of that – and perhaps symbolic – but it’s not THE celebration.  That can help put food in perspective, making it less overwhelming or preoccupying.

6.  You may overeat, that happens.  Trust that your body knows how to self-moderate; it can handle it without needing self-imposed restriction and rules.  Be intentional about listening and learning and respecting what it’s needing.  That could take practice!  Recommit to yourself rather than recommitting to a diet or set of food rules.

I wish you nothing but a healthy, happy and mindful holiday season!

holiday food

 

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Seven Mocktails for Mama

We are offering an exclusive discount to Today’s Mama’s readers. Enter code HMHBLOVESTM to take $40 off a lifetime membership to our program.

Are you planning a party menu? If you’re Whole30-ing, pregnant, or breastfeeding, you’re most likely not planning to partake in adult beverages. But, we think you still deserve to kick back and put your feet up while sipping a refreshing, healthy drink. We’ve got you covered in this post with our round up of seven mocktails for mama. Cheers!

Coconut Mojito Mocktail

from Laura of @cookathomemom on Instagram
(makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:
½ cup coconut milk
1 small lime
1 can La Croix Lime
15-20 mint leaves
¼ cup flakey sea salt (optional, for salt rims)

Instructions:
TO salt rim the glasses (optional): Cut the lime in half and run one piece along the edge of each glass. Pour sea salt in a shallow dish and dip each glass in.

DIVIDE the mint leaves among 2 tall glasses. Juice the lime and pour half into each glass. Muddle the mint leaves into the lime juice, then pour ¼ cup of coconut milk into each glass.

ADD ice to the glasses, then top off with lime LaCroix until full (be careful as you pour… bubbles!). Garnish with extra lime slices and mint.

Beauty Lemonade

mocktails for mama

from Food Matters
(makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:
8 oz fresh strawberries
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups coconut water
1 cup kombucha (choose your favorite flavor!)

Instructions:
BLEND all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into two glasses. Enjoy!

White Sangria Mocktail

mocktails for mama

from La Croix
(makes about 4 servings)

Ingredients:
4 cans of lemon LaCroix sparkling water (add to taste)
6 oranges (sliced) or substitute 2 cups of orange juice
2 lemons (sliced)
2 limes (sliced)

Instructions:
POUR LaCroix in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the orange, lemon and lime into the LaCroix.

 TOSS in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible).
CHILL overnight. If you’d like to serve right away, use chilled LaCroix and serve over ice.

 

Watermelon Lime Slushy

mocktails for mama

from @smithfamilykitchen on Instagram
(serves 1-2)

Ingredients:
1 cup diced watermelon (remove seeds)
Juice from 1 lime
Lime sparkling water
Salt (optional, for salted rim)

Instructions:
RIM glass with salt, if desired.

BLEND watermelon and lime juice. Pour into glass, filling about halfway, and then add sparkling water to fill. Enjoy!

Other options we love:

The Dark and Not-so-Stormy from Mother.ly

Bonus for pregnant mamas: limes are loaded with vitamin C, molasses is chock full of iron, calcium, and potassium, and ginger is a tummy soother for any nausea that ails you.

Detoxifying Water from Whole Sisters

Check out these potential health benefits just from sipping on this one! Cucumbers and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties, mint is known to ease nausea, and lemons are a refreshing addition that can also support digestion.

More Mocktails from the Whole30 blog

This post from Whole30 has SIX mocktail recipes, but don’t miss the Lemon Lime Zinger, which uses citrus and ginger to create a refreshing (and potentially nausea relieving) drink.


join now!

Our goal at Whole30 HMHB is to give you the information you need about pregnancy nutrition and health without the judgment or fear-mongering that is so commonly directed at expecting mothers. For more information on our program, find us at mamas.whole30.com and on Instagram @Whole30HMHB. We are offering an exclusive discount to Today’s Mama’s readers. Enter code HMHBLOVESTM to take $40 off a lifetime membership to our program.

 

 

mocktails for mama

 

 

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Take Control of Emotional Eating in 2 Steps

Food is social, it holds memories, and we feel comfort, satisfaction and pleasure from it.  In that way, we all are emotional eaters to a certain extent.  Emotional Eating only becomes an issue when we use food as the only way to consistently distract from or numb uncomfortable emotions.

It’s much more common than some realize, and can feel absolutely overwhelming to the person trying to make sense of it. It’s really easy to blame the food and become rigid and restrictive with what foods are allowed in the house or on a diet plan.

Unfortunately this only works to increase emotional distress, feelings of deprivation and cravings for the very foods that may be felt to be problematic. Restriction breeds rebellion.

In my experience there are two ways to work effectively with emotional eating. They complement and support each other while also being their own unique skill or tool.

emotional eating

 

1. Feel the emotion

Imagine that a 2-year-old is trying to get your attention. She may start by saying your name or tapping you on the leg. What happens if you don’t answer? If you have experience with 2-year-olds, you know that she gets louder and louder and more obnoxious until you answer. However, if you had responded the first time, it’s likely she just needed to be listened to, validated, helped and then sent on her way.

The same could be said for your feelings and emotions. The more you ignore them, the bigger they get. The middle part of your brain, called the limbic system, is responsible for processing emotions.

In his book “Mindsight,” Dr. Dan Siegel, a professor of clinical psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and executive director of the Mindsight Institute, teaches the reader about a technique called “name it to tame it.”

Neuroscience has found that naming the emotion like “I feel sad” can actually decrease the stress response in the brain. When you name it, your brain increases soothing neurotransmitters that are sent to your limbic system to calm it down. The very act of moving toward the emotion, naming it and aiming to understand it decreases its power over you.

A big hurdle to doing this is the common propensity of judging yourself for how you feel. Maybe you feel like you shouldn’t feel frustrated so you avoid acknowledging it. Maybe you feel like you should feel happy so you avoid acknowledging your true emotion. Separate who you are from what you feel.

Please note that in our “name it to tame it” example above, we used the phrase “I feel sad” not “I am sad.” Feelings, thoughts and emotions are only activity of the mind, not who you are. Acknowledging them gives you a chance to be transparent, honest and authentic and move toward growth and healing.

Another hurdle is identifying how you truly feel. If you say “I am angry” and don’t feel the calming neurotransmitters doing their job, it may be because you didn’t identify the true emotion. Maybe you feel hurt, which is making you feel angry. Aim to understand and validate rather than judge and react.

Why is feeling the emotion important? Because if you can move toward the emotion, then you won’t need to move way from it — and toward food.

emotional eating tips

 

2. Avoid emotional reactivity

The second technique may seem to be at odds with the first. We aren’t trying to avoid emotions, just avoid letting them get to a point where they feel unmanageable. In working with clients I find there are very specific triggers for emotional reactivity.

First, you don’t stand a chance against emotional eating if you aren’t eating consistently, regularly and adequately. It’s very difficult to think cohesively, rationally and clearly when you are overly hungry. Our brains only burn glucose for energy, so if blood sugar levels are dropping, you can expect that not much fuel is getting to your brain. If you are prone to emotional eating already, feeling overly hungry just creates the perfect storm.

Eat balanced meals (carbohydrate, protein, fat, fruit and/or vegetable) three times a day, adding snacks between if meals are longer than three to four hours apart. I am certain that you will feel more level-headed in many areas, including with food. Skipping meals might make you feel like you are saving time, but I assure you it’s only backfiring.

 

SEE MORE: HERE’S WHAT YOUR FOOD CRAVINGS ARE REALLY TRYING TO TELL YOU

 

Second, establish clear work-life boundaries. If life feels out of balance, it’s easy to become burned out, drained and reactive. If you are strung out in all other areas of your life, it’s easy to let food become the place where you throw caution to the wind and unwind.  Set clear work-life boundaries, being sure to include time for your own personal hobbies and passions. Be realistic and appropriate in setting those boundaries, but do set them.

Third, find ways to be proactive in self-care to avoid “crisis mode.” You can handle what life throws at you if you cultivate resilience regularly. This will mean different things to different people, but some good examples might include taking regular breaks during the day to get up and stretch, turning on music while you work.

Put a project aside for a bit to work on something less draining (but that lets you still feel productive), practice time management by planning your day ahead of time, start your day with meditation and/or prayer to feel connected and grounded, eat meals away from your desk, set regular sleep patterns and make time for physical activities you enjoy.

Your emotions, feelings and well-being matter. Being too busy for them or pretending they don’t matter is likely manifesting in emotional eating. See it as a sign that coping strategies and self-care behaviors are inadequate and take steps to support yourself.

 

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Is it Safe to Whole30 During my Pregnancy?

 The information included in our Dear Steph series is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation, or if you have any questions regarding your healthcare plan. Have a question for Steph? Send her an email.

 

Dear Stephanie, Is it safe for me to do a Whole30 during my pregnancy? I’m nervous that my baby might not get all of the nutrients he/she needs, I’m not sure how to combat morning sickness without crackers and ginger ale. There’s no way I’m going to be able to not snack! Help! – Pregnant Women on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the entire Internet

 

Dear Pregnant Women,

You are not alone in wondering if a Whole30 is safe to do while pregnant. We (Whole30 co-creator Melissa Hartwig and myself) get these questions every day. In fact, this is the primary reason we created the Healthy Mama, Happy Baby program.

Your #PregnantWhole30 concerns are common, and they also show me how serious you are about your health and the health of your baby. As a registered dietitian, I’m happy to say that a Whole30 is perfectly safe for most pregnant women. And as a mom, I can lend you my support and encouragement because I did a Whole30 during my pregnancy. During pregnancy, it’s possible to complete a Whole30 exactly as outlined in The Whole30 program guidelines.  However, I have a few additional recommendations to make those 30 days as smooth and stress-free as possible:

  1. Listen to your body
  2. Make sure you are eating enough
  3. Enjoy smaller meals and snacks, if desired
  4. Consider your protein and carb intake

We hear the following concerns over and over again:

 

Concern #1 I’m afraid I’ll LOSE too much weight if I do a Whole30.

 

When you embark on a Whole30, you remove foods (grains, legumes, and dairy) that make up a large percentage of your total calorie intake. This is especially true if you’re coming to the program from a standard American diet. Not only are you potentially eliminating significant sources of calories, but you are replacing those foods with foods that promote satiety (non-starchy vegetables, healthy fat, and protein). During pregnancy, your body needs an additional 300-500 calories to promote the health, growth and development of you and your baby. Do you see how this scenario can set us up for potential weight loss or under-consumption of calories?

Pregnancy isn’t truly a time to eat for two, but your body does require additional calories. You want to make sure these additions come from nutrient-dense sources. Ideally, your meals and snacks should contain plenty of healthy fat (such as avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, and coconut products), protein, vegetables (starchy and non-starchy) and fruit. If you’re coming to the Whole30 from a low-fat or calorie controlled diet, you may have to make a conscious effort to include enough healthy fat with each meal. If you’re exercising during your pregnancy, be sure to purposefully include enough starchy vegetables (like potatoes and winter squash) and fruit to support your activity level.

At any point during your pregnancy, if you’re losing too much weight, or are feeling under-fed and exhausted, it may be time to take a break from your Whole30. Now isn’t the time to “push through it” or “Whole30 harder.” Listen to your body, take a break, and do whatever you need to do to get through the rough time. This may include eating a gluten-free bagel or some full-fat, grass-fed yogurt. As your energy levels increase and you feel better, check in with your healthcare provider, and consider restarting your Whole30 at a later date.

Our Healthy Mama, Happy Baby program addresses this in depth, and we include sample meal plans to give you plenty of ideas on how to eat well during pregnancy.

 

Concern #2: There’s no way I can eat that much protein, fat, and non-starchy vegetables at each meal!

 

While the recommendations of the traditional Whole30 program say to avoid/minimize snacking, you may need to ditch this recommendation during your pregnancy. This is especially true if you are dealing with morning sickness or are in your 3rd trimester. Having smaller meals every three hours may help alleviate some of the nausea you experience, which can be triggered by an empty stomach or low blood sugar. As your baby grows, you may not have the physical space in your stomach to eat larger meals. Do the best you can with the issues that pop up. Remember that everything you’re eating is nutrient-dense and healthy for your baby, which is the most important thing.

In our Healthy Mama, Happy Baby program, we give you meal plans, tips, and tricks designed to help you modify the Whole30 for pregnancy.

 

pregnancy whole30 whole 30

 

Concern #3: Should I modify the recommended portion sizes in the Whole30 Meal Planning Template?

 

Pregnancy is not the time to follow a very low-carbohydrate diet or go heavy on protein. You’ll want to add some form of starchy vegetables and/or fruit to most of your meals. This will ensure you and your baby receive a wide-variety of nutrients while reducing any additional stress on your body as a result of going too low-carb.  Consider sticking to the lower-end of the recommendations for protein as your body’s ability to safely convert protein by-products is less efficient during pregnancy.

Many women experience protein aversions during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. You may naturally find yourself consuming less throughout the day. A palm-sized amount of protein at each meal might seem impossible! You can try having smaller meals, use collagen peptides in smoothies or a cup of bone broth or whatever you need to do to make it work. Don’t stress about it too much. You’ll likely feel much better once the second trimester hits and can resume eating your normal protein staples.

In addition to tossing out the “no snacking” recommendation, you may also choose to ditch the Whole30 recommendation to limit fruit to two servings a day, eaten with your meals. I found myself craving fruit during my pregnancy and enjoyed it a few times a day. Pair fruit and starchy vegetables with protein or fat to reduce the impact on your blood sugar levels. Preventing blood sugar spikes and crashes means you’ll feel better and hopefully avoid developing pregnancy-related complications!

 

A Final Note

 

Know that Melissa and I would never advocate for doing a Whole30 for your entire pregnancy. You can still focus on the main principles outlined by the program and have a fantastic pregnancy without doing a #PregnantWhole30. Lastly, know that there is no such thing as a perfect Whole30 while pregnant. Your version of a a Whole30 may be very different from another pregnant mama’s, and that’s totally fine! The key is finding a balance of nutrient-dense, whole foods that works for your unique needs.

Pregnancy is a time to listen to your body, do your best with the curve-balls thrown your way, and enjoy the journey. I know you probably still have a million questions and that’s why I’m here! We provide tons of information, tools, and tricks in the Healthy Mama, Happy Baby program. I’m happy to answer any additional questions or concerns you may have. Follow us on Instagram @Whole30HMHB, or find my personal account @rockyourhormones.


Our goal at Whole30 HMHB is to give you the information you need about pregnancy nutrition and health without the judgment or fear-mongering that is so commonly directed at expecting mothers. For more information on our program, find us at mamas.whole30.com and on Instagram @Whole30HMHB. We are offering an exclusive discount to Today’s Mama’s readers. Enter code HMHBLOVESTM to take $40 a lifetime membership to our program.

 

Steph Whole30 HMHBStephanie Greunke is the co-creator of Whole30 Healthy Mama, Happy Baby. She is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition who specializes in women’s health. She is a certified personal trainer and prenatal and postnatal corrective exercise specialist. Stephanie guides and supports women locally and globally through her web-based private practice, RockYourHormones.com.

 

 

 

 

How My Daughter’s Question About My Size Inspired Me To Take Back My Health

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been heavier.

It’s not that I was ever unhealthy, I was just built bigger. I always tried my best not to care, but it bothered me immensely. And then my daughter was born.

I weighed over 200 pounds and wore a size 16. The idea of being plus-sized scared me. I imagined a life of not being able to keep up with my daughter once she was on the move. I imagined having to wear unfashionable clothes from plus-sized stores (I now know plus-sized stores sell very fashionable clothing). I imagined my husband thinking I was gross and society shunning me.

So I worked out, and I ate healthy. Before I knew it, I was down to 165 pounds on a 5-foot-6-inch frame. I was stronger than all of my friends, I was more flexible, and I could outrun them. I loved being fit, and I loved eating healthy.

So what happened?

Over the past three years, I’ve slowly gained weight again. My muscles are weak. My body is stiff. I feel sluggish and tired. Worst of all, I can’t keep up with my daughter, who’s now 7 years old.

And she notices. She questions it. She wants to know why I’m so much bigger than Dad. She wants to know why my stomach is so squishy. She’s curious about the dimples on my thighs. She asks about my stretch marks. And the truth is my stomach has always been soft, I’ve always had cellulite and stretch marks, and I’ve never cared. But now that I’m heavier than I’ve ever been, even after my daughter was born, these things bother me, and I don’t know how to explain them to my daughter when she asks.

How do I explain that over the years, the stress of work, college, and raising a family has caused me to neglect myself? How do I explain that I’m too tired to work out in the evenings? That I don’t have the time to eat healthier? That those are really all just excuses?

And what about the worst question of all: “Why are you fat, Mommy?”

A question she asks without meaning to sound hurtful. The word “fat” isn’t a bad word in our house; we don’t judge or criticize people about their bodies, and I refuse to put myself down in front of her. But I’m sure, at some point, she must have heard me refer to myself as fat because I believe I am. I am a person who has fat on their body and quite a bit of it.

But the question remains: Why am I fat?

Do I tell her this is what happens when you eat too much junk food? When you choose to binge-watch TV instead of going for a jog? That when you’re stressed out or depressed, all you can do is eat and watch movies? Do I tell her my genetics are simply against me in the weight department?

Well, no, because these are my problems — problems that a 7-year-old shouldn’t have to deal with. And I wouldn’t want her to believe that all overweight people are simply unhealthy like I’ve been.

However, her 7-year-old curiosity has lead me to think about these questions myself. I know why I’ve gained weight. I know that I’m not happy with being out of shape. It’s no longer about physical appearance but about the way I feel, and let’s face it: I feel like crap.

Her questions have also inspired questions of my own: How do I get back in shape? What needs to change? What do I need to do?

And the thing is, I know the answers. Now it’s just time to implement them so I can set a good example for my daughter, so I can live a healthy life, so I can keep up with her on the playground and finally feel good again.

I know it sounds like I’m being hard on myself, but the reality is I don’t care about my size and physical appearance nearly as much as my health. With a family history of diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, and brain aneurisms, I know it’s important that I take care of myself so that I can carry those good habits with me as I get older and become at higher risk for these genetic health problems.

And also that I teach my daughter to care for herself too.

As I set out on my journey toward better health, I’m grateful for all of the people in my life — friends, family, my daughter, and so many others — who help motivate and inspire me to take care of myself and remind me of my worth no matter what size I am.

My New Favorite Snack

I’m a snacker.

I have to be. After I had my babies I had to knuckle down and get healthy. I lost weight and learned A LOT about myself and my nutritional habits. The most important thing I realized about myself is that I make the WORST decisions when I’m very hungry. I have friends that can still order a healthy meal when they are grabbing a bite later than expected.

I’m not one of those people. I’m one of those people that gets nutritional amnesia once my stomach starts to growl.

This means that my car, my bag, and my luggage is always harboring a stowaway. A snack that I can eat when a meeting runs long, when I’m traveling and I don’t want to venture out for something to eat before I’ve had my coffee (or gotten out of my PJ’s), or when the weather is beautiful and we stay at the park FAR longer than expected.

Because of this habit, we’ve also worked snacks into our Click Retreat events. Last month in NYC, someone said to Rachael and me, “You guys are pretty serious about your granola bars.”

YOU HAVE NO IDEA.

So, of course I jumped at the chance to try a new snack. Here are the five reasons why goodnessknows snack squares have earned a place in my pantry.

1. They are CRAZY good.
Real food, tastes real good. See the cranberry? The pieces of almond? The bottom had a nice dark chocolate coating and the apple, almond & peanut, dark chocolate flavor reminds me of a PB&J…a REALLY GOOD PB&J. As for the peach & cherry, almond, dark chocolate…tastes like pie. No joke. Snacks that taste like really delicious FOOD.
goodnessknows cranberry

2. They are poppable.
That’s a bite-size piece for me. I like that. My lipstick doesn’t get messed up, it’s easy to share a package, and my teeth don’t get filled with bits of food. I eat on the run A LOT…this stuff matters to me, especially because I tend to miss meals because I’m shuffling kiddos around on my way to meetings and appointments. I like snacks that leave no trace.

3. Tray packaging doesn’t get crushed.
These tasty little snacks come packed in a cardboard tray. So when they spend a few days getting tossed around the bottom of my bag, my snack is still intact. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal to YOU, but have you ever been covered in granola bar crumbs in your car, or on a plane? Of course you have. Me too.
Goodness Knows 2

4. My kids like them.
For a while I was buying 3 different snack bars. One for the kids, one for my husband, and one for me. My kids like these so it makes packing up to hit the park a lot easier. One snack. EVERYONE WINS.
Goodness Knows 3

5. They keep me from going buck-wild.
This final one is a BIGGIE. I’m working REALLY hard to dial my sugar and treat consumption WAY back. I can enjoy a decadent, high-calorie treat every SINGLE day without even blinking. I spent most of the summer doing just that, so believe me when I say I’m trying to turn some bad habits around. Halloween didn’t do me any favors and without fail, every afternoon after lunch, I found myself trying to resist the urge to raid my kiddo’s candy stash. Instead, I had a goodnessknows snack square. One square and my sweet tooth is happy. The combo of dried fruit and chocolate is flavorful and rich and at around 40 calories per square, it’s a snack won’t undo my healthy eating goals.

goodnessknows peach

Keep your eyes pealed for goodnessknows on the shelves of your favorite store.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of goodnessknows. The opinions and text are all mine.

Healthy Apple Berry Crisp

Trying to sneak in some extra nutrition for your picky eaters? We’re working with PediaSure to bring you quick and easy ways to get your kids more of what they need: fruits and vegetables.

These individual Apple Berry Crisps are delish! Just add 1 scoop of PediaSure Sidekicks Smoothie Mix and you’ve added a full serving of combined fruits and veggies!

The smoothie mix is made from real dried strawberries, bananas, apples and sweet potatoes. Check out some of the other recipes we’ve tried out!

Healthy Apple Berry Crisp Recipe

Topping

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup instand oats
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Zest of 1/2 orange or lemon, optional
  • 4 tbsp. butter, room temperature

Filling

  • 1 scoop PediaSure SideKicks
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled and diced apples
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries (or raspberries!)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • In mixing bowl combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and zest.
  • Add the butter. With clean hands, blend the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles tiny pebbles.
  • Divide the crisp mixture among the 4 ramekins.
  • Place in the oven on the middle rack and back 25-30 minutes. (I like to put the ramekins on a cookie tray first)
  • Serve warm with our without frozen vanilla yogurt or ice cream.
  • Throw a few fresh berries on top for garnish

 

Apple Berry Crisps Recipe

Sponsored By PediaSure Sidekicks:

PediaSure SideKicks