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National Nutrition Month: Healthy Tips for Families

By Emily Savage

National Nutrition Month 2020 is themed “Eat Right, Bite by Bite.”  Small changes to your family’s diet can have a positive impact on overall health and help instill healthy nutritional choices and education in children from the onset!  We reached out to two of our BCB resident nutrition experts, Adita Lang, Nutrition and Wellness Coach, and Reproductive Dietitian Rachelle Mallik, MA, RD, LDN, to weigh in with some top family-friendly nutrition tips for families, kids and moms to keep everyone healthy and happy on the daily!

We all know breakfast is the most important meal because it can set the tone for a great start to the day.  It can sometimes be hectic, though, while getting the whole family organized for school, work, daycare etc!  It’s sometimes easier said than done, but preparing some breakfasts ahead of time can definitely help take some of the stress out of morning craziness. And if that doesn’t happen all of the time, having some tried and true, easy ideas in your back pocket to easily pull together in the mornings can also help.  Here are some good ‘ole standbys and probably some new ideas to add to your mix:

    • Whole grain toast with mashed avocado and fried egg (or hard-boiled if really pressed for time!).  Try this version of an Egg and Avocado Wrap to for a fresh twist some days!
    • Overnight oats (combine rolled oats, ground flax or chia seeds, nut butter, frozen fruit, milk or non-dairy alternative in a jar and put in the fridge overnight. Can be eaten warm or cold)
    • Muesli
    • Veggie and egg muffin cups (make ahead, store in fridge or freezer and warm up in microwave). Use veggies of your choice.  These bite-sized treats are especially great for on-the-go!
    • Power Porridge
    • Eye Opening Smoothie
    • Granola and Greek yogurt or skyr and berries
    • Whole grain toast with peanut butter and sliced apple or pear

Once the day gets started, family life is most often very busy shuttling kids to and from sports or activities and often times kids are eating on-the-go.  And we all know, a “hangry” kid is never fun and is a minute away from a meltdown, so it’s always a good idea to have some prepared snacks in your purse or diaper bag!  Here are some of our favorites to try out – you never know what might be a new hit!?

  • Snap pea crisps
  • Whole grain cereal or granola (preferably less than six grams of sugar per serving).
  • Fruit like clementines, bananas, applesauce pouches with no added sugar.
  • Yogurt tubes
  • Homemade blender oat muffins (check out this great recipe).
  • Almond Butter and Honey Sandwich – Always use raw almond butter and, if you want to add a bit of an immune booster you could use Manuka Honey instead of your traditional honey.  This could be done in a sandwich or a wrap.
  • Ants in a Log
  • Chia pudding
  • Frozesn Fruit Pop

And guess what?  We know “hangry” moms are not always fun either!  🙂  In addition to making sure you have some healthy snacks on hand for your kiddos, don’t forget about yourself!  Here are some of our favorite easy, fan-favorite snacks for busy moms:

  • Hard-Boiled Egg – I realize this does not seem very glamorous, but it does the trick of keeping our energy levels strong!
  • Quick made Energy Bars.
  • Overnight Oats can stay in the fridge for three days – Make a few for a grab and go snack.
  • Apple with raw almond butter – Get the single-serve packs of raw almond butter to make life easy!
  • Roasted chickpeas.
  • Peanut/nut butter packet and apple or banana.
  • Roasted nuts/peanuts and grapes or clementines.
  • Seed or nut-based energy bars (like 88 Acres, Kind, Lara, etc)
  • Crispbread like Trader Joe’s gluten free one and sliced or string cheese or hummus cup.

When Mom has some time to herself, we know making a healthy lunch or snack is not always top of the list of things to do, but sometimes having a few ideas in mind can help get things kick-started.  We know mom life is busy so we are sharing some of our favorite easy fan-favorite recipes for busy moms:

  • Cottage cheese pancakes: Blend one cup cottage cheese (lactose-free if needed), half cup rolled oats, two eggs. Cook like regular pancakes. Top with nut or seed butter, berries and a drizzle of maple syrup.
  • Chocolate Smoothie
  • Hummus Pizza https://www.aditalang.com/post/hummus-pizza
  • Turkey-lentil tacos: Saute half pound ground turkey in a extra virgin olive oil with chile powder or taco seasoning, add one can drained and rinsed lentils, serve on warm corn tortillas with red cabbage slaw (make ahead with mayo, lime juice and chopped cilantro), top with diced avocado and/or shredded cheese.
  • Mango Salad
  • Half avocado topped with olive-oil packed skipjack (light) tuna, drizzled with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper; serve with whole grain or almond flour crackers.
  • Overnight Oats 
  • English muffin pizzas: Top whole grain English muffin with marinara, baby spinach, shredded mozzarella, fresh basil (optional but delish) and broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned and muffin is toasted. Serve with green salad.
  • Hummus and Avocado wrap
  • Sheet-pan dinners with salmon, chicken, pork or tofu and veggies. Eating Well has a bunch of great recipes.

And finally, as the mom, the caretaker of the family, sometimes we put ourselves last in line to keep healthy, but it’s very important to make sure mom is nourished in order to feel her best self so she can most effectively take care of the family and kids.  Here our our some quick tips for busy moms to stay healthy throughout the day:

  • Drink Water.  Ideally, it is eight glasses per day, add in two more for any caffeinated or alcoholic beverage – hydration is key.  The more hydrated we are the better we think and feel!  Carry around a reusable glass or stainless steel water bottle and sip throughout the day. Staying hydrated helps ensure your body is functioning at its best.
  • Get your protein!  With every meal and snack be sure to include a good amount of protein.  The reason being is that it will keep you fuller longer and will help to maintain your energy with the craziest of day.
  • Add in activity wherever you can. Use the stairs, carry your groceries, park further away – every time you increase your heart rate you kick on your metabolism and burn a few extra calories throughout your day
  • ENJOY YOU TIME! Take a brief moment every day to do something for YOU – when you can take a time out, even for a brief moment, it resets your day and gives you an energy boost.
  • Relaxation Rituals.”  Get a pretty notebook and on each page write out something you enjoy doing.  Then if you feel stressed or overwhelmed, simply open that notebook to a random page and do what is written for whatever time you have available (even five minutes works.).
  • Meal plan/prep.  It’s helpful to have a game plan for meals in the upcoming week, and prepping some ingredients ahead of time makes weekday cooking faster and easier. Chop veggies, wash fruit, cook whole grains, assemble overnight oats in jars or fill freezer bags with smoothie ingredients.
  • Keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer.  Reduce those moments of opening your fridge and thinking there’s nothing to eat. You can create a variety of meals with canned or jarred beans, tuna or salmon, frozen veggies and frozen cooked grains. Just add seasonings like oils, vinegars, herbs and spices to make them tasty. Frozen pizza or boxed soups work in a pinch as well!
  • Try to include a vegetable or fruit with every meal. If you wait until dinner to eat all of your vegetables, it’s a lot harder to meet the recommended five+ servings daily.
  • Have an afternoon snack. Most people go the longest between lunch and dinner, and often are ravenous by dinnertime. This can lead to overeating during the meal or snacking on less nutritious items while cooking.

Find more on Rachelle on her website, Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter and more on Adita on her website and Instagram.

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