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I am sure many of you moms reading this post can agree with me that feeding kids can sometimes be a tough job. As parents we constantly worry about their diets. Are they getting enough? Are they eating the proper nutrients? Are they trying new foods? It’s a never-ending process.

I have to admit that my daughter Savannah is a voracious eater (and always has been). I remember during the baby puree food phase, she wasn’t at all interested in what was in these little jars.  She would grab at our chopped up table food with her little hands. It doesn’t take much convincing to have Savannah try something new.  Her diet includes a wide variety of vegetables, protein and good grains so I do not worry (as much) with her.  However some of my friends and clients have expressed their concern with their children’s diet and always wanting tips and tricks on getting more greens in – most importantly a variety of greens!

Vegetable pancakes are a great way to get those veggies in and are as good as a side dish as they are a main, topped with a soft boiled egg. You can whip up this batter in less than 20 minutes and freeze them so that you have them on hand. If have already let your toddler in on the wonderful world of pancakes, referring to them as such would be a good idea so they are open to giving them a try.

I want to make myself clear, I do not agree with sneaking vegetables into kids food.  There are short-term benefits to doing this but long-term it doesn’t teach them valuable eating habits. Disguising superfoods inside kids’ favorite meals to get them to eat more healthfully, is not the way to go. I think it essential that kids know what vegetables and ingredients are in their food so that they are learning about each vegetable and the various ways in which they can be eaten and taste! These kale pancakes are definitely not disguising themselves as anything other than what they truly are.

Ingredients

4 large kale leaves, stalks removed and finely shredded (2 cups worth of leaves)

1 egg

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup hemp hearts

1/2 cup flax meal

Salt & pepper

1 teaspoon turmeric

grass-fed butter

Instructions

Lightly steam kale in pan

In a blender combine steamed kale, egg, garlic, salt, pepper and turmeric

In a bowl, combine kale batter, chia seeds, hemp hearts and flax meal

Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add a small amount of butter to coat the pan. When pan is hot, scoop ½ cup mixture for each pancake and flatten out until 1cm thick. Cook for a few minutes until bottom is golden brown, flip and cook on the other side. Cooking time will be about 4-5 minutes per pancake.

 

While I was pregnant I often wondered what kind of mother I would be and the thought of having a daughter, at times, scared me. I questioned my anxiety and quickly came to the understanding and truth that having a girl scared me because I was a daughter who was relentlessly trying to find herself. I hope to provide you with all my learnings so that I may guide you towards a path of acceptance, love and freedom.

Like many other mothers, I am sure, there are times that I stare at you and wonder if I will unknowingly make any damaging mistakes.  I don’t want this fear to complicate my role as a mother. I am not seeking for perfection but just a chance to raise a girl into a woman who is independent, confident in herself and lives with so much love and passion.

Dear sweet Savannah Rose,

I wish you could see yourself through my eyes and only then would you truly know how much I adore you.  Thank you for choosing me to be your mother and for granting me the special gift of raising you.  Coming into my life you instantly showed me what unconditional love feels like.  Being a mother to you is effortless and you make each passing day more and more bright.

You came without instructions and there are times when I reflect on how I am doing as your mother.  Always know that everything I say and do is because I love and care for you. As much as I am here to teach you, you are also here to teach me.  They say the role of a parent is to teach their children all about life. I have come to understand that children are here to teach parents what life is truly all about. Savannah, I have learnt so much from you already in such a short time.  The most astonishing thing for me is that I have learnt so much about ME since you have been born.

I am proud of so many things in my life but nothing beats being a mother to you. I am amazed by your sensitivity and pure heart. Your understanding and happiness. Your beauty truly runs deeper than the eye. The joy that consumes every cell of your body is unbelievable and your energy is absolutely contagious. You have taught me to laugh often because life is too short not to enjoy every moment of it. The day I had you was the day I began to heal my inner child. The day I began to look at life through a different lens. You make me a better person – someone who strives to live life each day with an open heart, with more understanding, with more acceptance of myself, with more awareness, with more happiness and with more love.

Always know that I am here for you without judgement and only with love. I accept every part of you and always, always, always know how very proud I am of you.

You can come to me for anything and know that there will never be judgement.  I am here to love and support you always. As your mother my role is to provide you with the qualities you will need in the big world.  Keep your heart wide open.  There is goodness all around you, you just have to look.  When you feel small in this big world just be still.  Find your centre, it will lead you to calmness and this is where all answers are found. Trust your gut and intuition – I promise you, it will never lead you in the wrong direction. Love yourself FIRST before anyone or anything. Be kind to yourself and know that the most important person in this world is YOU. Take care of YOU so you can then extend some of your loving energy outward.

From the moment you were born, you sparkled from the inside. Don’t ever let anyone dull that sparkle. Surround yourself with positive people who care, love, support and inspire you and push away from those that are toxic and negative.  In life, you will come across those people who will try with all their might to make you feel small or to make you believe you cannot do it. You CAN do it and can be anything you desire if you just fiercely believe in yourself.  I will always be your cheerleader and #1 fan.

I know the time will come when the pages of my life end but I know that you will be one of its most beautiful chapters. For this I am forever grateful.

Love mommy

xo

 

Cooking a healthy breakfast for your kids can be tough especially when you want to add variety to their diet. I often struggle with breakfast ideas and what to make Savannah that is healthy, well-balanced, nutrient-dense and tasty!

I like these patties because they’re a quick, handheld meal or snack that your kids can eat on the go or even on the way to school. They contain protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates and will give your kids the energy to get through the day!

   

 

Savannah loves black beans and I wanted to create another fun way that she could enjoy them! I love serving these to her with a side of dairy-free yogurt for her to dip.  Most of the ingredients I keep on hand, so cooking up extra is easy and this way my hubby and I have something nutritious on hand to snack on throughout the next day.

If you’re a mom who is tired of feeding their child cereal and milk in the morning try something new and whip these patties up in less than 20 minutes and you can finally smile with the knowledge that your child is getting a healthy breakfast.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 15oz can of organic black beans, rinsed and rained

1/4 cup zucchini chopped

1/4 cup cilantro

1 garlic clove minced

2 Tablespoons ground flax seed

2 Tablespoons hemp hearts

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

1 egg

1 Tablespoon grass-fed butter

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients, except the butter, into a bowl and mix well
  2. Heat a large pan over low to medium heat with 1 tablespoon butter
  3. Place 1 tablespoon of black bean mixture into the pan. with a spatula, spread the mixture into a shape of a pancake
  4. Cook each side for approximately 2-3 minutes
  5. Cook the remaining mixture, using 1 Tablespoon of butter for each batch
  6. Cool and serve

What is Healthy Eating?

Lately I have had the absolute pleasure of creating meal plans for toddlers.  This is a question that arises quite often in my one-on-one sessions with clients with kids.  My response continues to be consistent for any age (child to adult), eat colourful nutrient-dense foods.  Healthy eating for your child means giving them a variety of foods so that they get the proper nutrients for normal growth.

More and more I hear parents frustrated at the thought of what to feed their child each day.  Now although sometimes it is easier to feed your child foods that do not require a fork (grilled cheese, pizza, burgers, etc.) it is not the ideal option for their optimal health.  This is creating a habit in which will be a lot harder to break as they get older.  My thought is that as long as my daughter is not old enough to opt out of her meals and take my car to the drive-through, I have full control of what is in front of her. This allows me to spend this time teaching her the beauty of nutritious, colourful foods and to eliminate all foods that are high in bad fats, cholesterol, sugar, additives and preservatives.

I have said it time and time again, leading by example is key especially when it comes to your children eating healthy.  We all know that toddlers want to do what mommy and daddy are doing.  Whether it is putting on your high heels and jewelry or incessantly trying to grab daddy’s cell phone (who is clearly on it far too much! But that is another topic lol).   Therefore if your little one sees you eating colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy proteins (while avoiding sugar-refined foods and junk) they are much more likely to follow your lead.  So no you cannot get away with eating cake for dinner and trying to push vegetables on your child.  It doesn’t work this way but hey look at it as a way for the entire family to change and establish better and healthy eating habits. Which brings me to my next topic of family meal time.  I grew up in a household with a mother and father who would not budge when it came to dinner time.  We all sat at the table as a family and ate the same meal as a family.  This was a time we all connected about our day with absolutely no distractions from the TV, phones, etc. We all enjoyed this time and as a result dinner time became an enjoyable time as did the food on our table.  Research shows that children who have regular family meal time establish better eating habits and as a result eat more fresh produce.

So what do you feed your toddler?

Children will always love the plain starchy foods such as pasta, potatoes, rice and bread and yes although you can make grilled cheese healthier by switching up the white bread for Ezekiel or mac and cheese made with brown rice pasta these foods are not nutrient-dense and will only fill the belly.  Experiment with colourful foods and do not be discouraged when your toddler turns some foods away.  Research shows that it takes 9 tries before a toddler will accept a new food: keep trying over and over.

I like to start off by giving Savannah a base of pureed greens (kale, spinach, collard greens, swiss chard) blended with bone broth.

 

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Because Savannah is at the age where she wants to chew her food, pick it up, explore it, the rest of the vegetables that go into her bowl are steamed or boiled until just soft allowing her to develop her pincer grip.  These foods are typically a mix of sweet potato, carrots, beets, zucchini, parsnips, daikon radish, peas, avocado.

 

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Making her bowl as colourful and exciting as I can and then explaining it to her is what gives me joy

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Then I add her lean healthy protein which is always different:  Organic turkey, chicken, liver, lentils, chickpeas, wild salmon, egg

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Grains:  I typically give Savannah 2 tablespoons of organic brown rice, amaranth or millet with her dinner (unless she is having beans/legumes in which case I eliminate the grain)

Keep in mind that balance is the key and as a parent one of the most important things you can do for your child is teach them healthy eating habits and this starts with YOU modelling these behaviours.  If you feel overwhelmed or confused book in a consultation with a Nutritionist who will provide clarity as well as a meal plan and recipes.

The longer you wait to have children; the harder it is.  This line is all I heard before having Savannah.  At the time this comment didn’t strike anything in me.  I had a very carefree life – traveling often, dinners out, last minute meet-ups with my friends and lots and lots of “me” time.  I was FREE.  Free to come and go as I please with very little responsibility and absolutely no boundaries.

Then came sweet Savannah Rose and my life changed forever.  I came home from the hospital still in shock that I had just given birth to a baby.  I was trying to digest the miracle that had just taken place but was too busy figuring out how to breastfeed, keep myself awake and stay sane.  As I spent sleepless night feeding her, I recalled the many articles and Facebook posts about how wonderful and effortless it is to be a mother.  I immediately felt guilt at not feeling this way – I was angry.  Angry that I had to feed every hour on the hour, angry that I could not go out even for a walk longer than 30 minutes because my breasts were needed again.  Angry that I was now having to do more work than my husband, angry that I was a prisoner in my own home, angry that I was angry.  I didn’t feel prepared for the change.  Why was this change so drastic for me?

Despite the very positive articles I read about motherhood, the truth is life changes drastically after children.  Roles shift, work load increases, you feel depleted and your sense of control is challenged.  What I have come to understand is these feelings are normal and many women go through similar emotions but do not speak about them.  I became aware that I was feeling this way and instead of staying in a state of anger I decided to write down all the things I missed about my “free” life before becoming a mother.  I wrote down everything, even those things that seemed silly to my husband like painting my nails (I love nail polish! LOL).  This list allowed me to feel some sense of control again, bringing me some balance.

After making my list I came to terms with these “losses” and no longer felt anger.  My perspective had suddenly changed; these ‘losses’ have brought me new joys and experiences.  Having a baby doesn’t mean you have to give up all the things you love, taking care of YOU is equally as important.  In fact, I believe it makes you a better mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend.

Savannah brings joy to my life each and every day.  She has taught me what life is all about and her kind soul is what brings joy to my days.