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Safe shakes for pregnancy & breastfeeding moms

Wondering if you can continue to drink your favourite shake while you're pregnant or breastfeeding? Or feed it to your child? Watch my video above for more information. Here's a quick summary:

Avoid

1) Artificial Sweeteners

2) Soy (max 1 serving a day)

3) Rice -based smoothies (due to arsenic)

4) Herbs (can mimic drugs: natrual doesn’t equal safe!)

Better options:

To your smoothies add: Yogurt (6g per half cup) and milk (9g per cup) = 16g

1) Egg whites (use pasteurized!): 4g protein for one. ¼ cup =7g

2) Skim milk powder: 1/3 cup = 8g protein, 28% DV calcium

3) Hemp hearts: 3 Tbsp = 10g protein

4) Chia 1 Tbsp = 2g

5) Red lentils: cooked 3 Tbsp = 3g protein, 3g fibre

6) Nut butter: 1 Tbsp = 3g protein, 100 cals

Pre-made alternatives:

Plain Whey powder

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Smoothie (16g protein per 4 Tbsp serving). Add to 1cup milk and have your extra 25g

Basic Green Smoothie Recipe (15-20g protein, depending on your add-in)

1 cup milk

1 small Banana

...

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Spices for Baby & Preventing Picky Eaters

Check out my interview (featuring two of my children as 'models!') from Global TV Edmonton. The clip also includes the owner of a spice shop, discussing how it's so great to introduce spices (other than salty spices) to babies when starting solids. Agreed! Giving them a varied palate may help to decrease the chances of picky eating later in life. And I discuss (again!) the benefits of a no-pressure/forcing attitude when feeding picky eaters.

Click here to watch the video. Want more? Sign up below for my free webinar "How to get started with Babyled Weaning": 

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Which is the Healthier Oil: Coconut Oil vs Avocado Oil

Fat is necessary for many body functions, including absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, healthy hair, and skin. Fat also improves taste of foods and satisfies and keeps us full for longer. Today I am comparing two popular oils that I both have in my pantry: coconut oil and avocado oil.

AVOCADO OIL

Avocado oil on table close-up

Unlike most oils that come from seeds, avocado oil is pressed from the fruit of an avocado. Avocados produce mild flavoured oil, which varies in colour from light yellow to a deeper emerald green.

Avocado oil has an even higher percentage (76%) of healthy monounsaturated fats than olive oil. Monounsaturated fat was made famous by the Mediterranean Diet and promotes heart health by decreasing “bad” LDL blood cholesterol. Another reason why oils high in monounsaturated fats are healthy is that they are, by default, lower in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats unlike most vegetable oils. High amounts of omega-6 fats can promote inflammation, which is...

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Top 3 Sugar Alternatives

With new lower sugar recommendations from the World Health Organization (less that 5% of total energy intake - or 25g/6 tsp sugar per day) and more scary sugar documentaries being released, are you trying to decrease your sugar intake? Here are three of my favourite alternatives to regular (or "organic," or "natural") cane or beet sugar.

  1. Erythritol sweetener with MonkFruit

This is a new one to me. The main sweetener in Lakanto's Monkfruit sweetener is erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols have been approved for use in Canada and many other countries.Sugar alcohols are called non-nutritive sweeteners because they aren't used by the body so don't provide any calories. Erythritol is made from corn or wheat starch, which is broken down, fermented and dried into crystals.

Erythritol may have some side effects in larger doses. One study found that 50 g (about 4 Tbsp) of erythritol resulted in increased reports of nausea. Sugar alcohols can also be hard to...

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How to avoid boobytraps and meet your breastfeeding goals

Moms are pressured to breastfeed, but set-up to fail. If you wanted to breastfeeding but were not able, know that it’s NOT your fault! A lack of support and rampant ‘booby traps’ can make breastfeeding challenging. What are “booby traps?” Any of these, and so much more:

  • Stigma against breastfeeding in public.
  • Your mom didn’t breastfeed you, so thinks it’s strange and has no advice beyond “just formula feed.”
  • Free formula samples given to pregnant moms.
  • Breastfeeding education wasn’t a part of your prenatal class.
  • The hospital you plan to birth at has a high rate of interventions and cesareans, which can make early breastfeeding more difficult.
  • The doctor offers you formula samples, and measures your baby with Similac-branded measuring tapes.
  • Your hospital has a contract with one formula company. In exchange for using their formula (more often than necessary), they get it all for free.
  • Dad wants to feed the baby with a...
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5 Top On-the-go Snacks for Kids

Whether your summer is full of road trips or day-trips to the park, if your kids are like mine, their first question is “Do you have any snacks mom?” Us moms have to be prepared to avoid hangry kids and repeated, expensive trips to the lake ‘snack shack’ store. Here are some ideas for easy, portable snacks:

1) Fresh fruit is easy to grab and healthy. But can be a mushy, juicy mess at the bottom of your diaper bag! I love dehydrated fruit, which is becoming easier to find at your Cost-co or grocery store. Bonus –it’s very light to lug around!

2) Dried fruit and nuts (or trail-mix) are another go-to for my kids. It’s energy and nutrient-dense, and doesn’t take up too much space in the diaper bag! You can also make your own snack mix with add-ins like: whole grain cereal, popcorn, pretzel sticks pumpkin or sunflower seeds, nuts & your favourite dried fruit.

3) Keep baggies of sliced veggie sticks in the fridge for easy-to-grab...

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Best Babyled Weaning starter foods

Click on the image below to watch my Facebook Live on this topic, or read on below.

Weaning’ is the process of introducing solid foods to your baby. ‘Babyled Weaning’ is when you skip the pureeds and go straight to “real,” or finger foods. Baby feeds him or herself, and joins in with family meals from the start!

A common practice I've seen is to feed baby just fruits and veggies for days or weeks. And while fruits and veggies do contain vitamins, they are too low in both energy and other crucial nutrients like iron, to be the sole offering. Concentrate on sources of iron and higher calories, in safe size and textures.

Here are a few basic starter food ideas:

  • Beans and legumes;
  • Fried and sliced, or scrambled eggs;
  • Tender flakes of fish;
  • Slow cooked beef or pork roast, shredded;
  •  Ground meat, like a spaghetti sauce, meat balls or meat loaf;
  • Tender pork rib;
  • Banana or Avocado coated in wheat germ or infant cereal,  to make them easier...
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Healthy Halloween Treats

My 6 year old daughter gives me a hand in the kitchen, to demonstrate some healthy & fun Halloween snacks for kids. We make witch broomsticks, banana ghosts and orange pumpkins. Check out our Facebook live video.

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How to Deal with the Halloween Candy Overload

My kids can’t WAIT for Halloween. How much fun is it to dress up and go door-to-door for a free candy-overload!? I too remember the excitement of going from house to house, hoping for as many full-sized chocolate bars as possible. But now as parents, I know many of us dread letting our kids eat a pillowcase full of sugar and food colouring. Here are some ides to make Halloween healthier, and how you can deal with the candy overload at home:

  1. Have a good dinner (including some protein and veggies) before going out trick of treating. This way, your child has some healthy food filling their tummy in preparation for sugar overload.
  2. Buy your child a small plastic pumpkin to fill for trick-or-treating, as opposed to a large pillowcase. Once it’s full, you’re done trick or treating!
  3. Trade the candy for money. There are some dental offices that do a candy “buy back” and exchange your candy for money. I would only suggest this if it excites your child, and...
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When can I introduce allergenic foods to my baby?

One of the most common questions I get from parents starting solids is "When can I introduce allergens like eggs/peanuts/dairy/wheat to my baby?

Even for high risk babies, the recommendations are now to introduce high risk allergenic foods fairly soon after starting solids, around 6 months of age. You can read the Canadian Pediatric Society statement on that here.

I created a video to share more details about introducing allergens to babies. Watch it here:

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