A drinkable breakfast for those on the go!

So since we got our Vita-mix, we’ve been searching for new smoothie recipes to try. I am all for “inventing” but not every combination of vegetables and fruits is a hit (or has the appearance of being appetizing – but that is what opaque/coloured cups are for haha). Plus, there is so much out there in the world wide web! Earlier in the week my husband was talking about the combination of banana and peanut butter (I have your attention already, right? yum!). This really didn’t seem novel to me as I grew up making lots of smoothies, inventing and experimenting with milkshakes. Anyway, he was searching tonight for a “recipe”, you know, as most men do when they are motivated in the kitchen. He NEVER makes anything without a recipe, unless it is BBQ sauce or spice rubs. I find this humorous especially since I cook most things without a recipe, and sauces and spice blends are what I usually search for as recipes so I don’t end up with something over-spicy or just downright awful.

Anyways, so he finds this recipe with oatmeal. LIGHTBULB! This immediately reminds me of a child I saw whose mom would add oatmeal blended into her bottle of milk. That is another story of its own, but I thought, as a smoothie this might be worth trying…perhaps breakfast as a smoothie, but actually well balanced. Most people think of smoothies as  either fruits, vegetables, juices and water. Or the latter with milk and yogurt added. The bottom line: 2 of 4 food groups. Why not aim higher, for 3 or 4? As Dietitians we often recommend 3 or 4 food groups per meal, and 1 to 2 per snack so that at the end of the day you have achieved balanced calories, nutrients, and vitamins. All in all a better means of meeting your needs from all the food groups.

So tonight we tried a Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie from the attached link. We doubled the recipe and divided it into 4 servings. Each serving was then 1/2 serving of milk products, 1 meat/alternative serving, 1/2 fruit serving, and 1/4 grain serving. The boys LOVED it, and it was the perfect before bed snack:

Ingredients (we doubled this)

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie, photo from thekitchenpaper.com
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie, photo from thekitchenpaper.com
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup uncooked plain oatmeal
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 banana (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 Tbsp honey (optional)
  • Blend all ingredients together

This smoothie would be the perfect breakfast on the go in your travel mug maybe in a slightly larger portion for adults, a post workout recovery food, a mid afternoon or before bed snack for the whole family, or even dessert!

I hope you enjoy this as much as our family did. Remember that the possibilities with a blender are endless, especially when we have access to our good ol’ friend the internet!

~Melissa

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Quinoa: The Superfood of 2013

Quinoa pronounced “Ki-nwa”….is it a cereal? is it a seed? is it a vegetable? I was looking for a true definition to share, and good ol’ Wikipedia seems to be the easiest to digest (haha!). Here is our history lesson for the day: “The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as chisaya mama or ‘mother of all grains’, and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season . . . During the Spanish conquest of South America, the Spanish colonists scorned quinoa as ‘food for Indians’, and even actively suppressed its cultivation, due to its status within indigenous religious ceremonies . . . [and] forbade quinoa cultivation for a time . . . the Incas were forced to grow wheat instead.” (Wikipedia) I wonder if this oppression is why wheat is so popular in our diets today…hmmmmm food for thought?!

Quinoa WikipediaSo back to what is it??? It is a grain-like crop grown mostly for its edible seeds. Quinoa is “a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the true grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds” (Wikipedia). Nutritionally speaking it is most similar to cereals/grains in its nutrient profile rich in protein, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, and iron but higher in potassium (like vegetables). It is considered a complete protein source, having all 9 essential amino acids. Of note though is that it is not meant as a protein replacement. In comparison of an amount one would typically consume (1/2 – 1 cup), it compares more to grain products than to the protein content of meat, fish, poultry, eggs, tofu, nuts, beans, peas, and legumes. A 1/2 cup cooked portion provides 70kcal, 2g protein, 13g carbohydrate, 1.3g fibre, and of course loads of micronutrients. This has been a common misconception with some of my clients. It is recommended as part of a healthy diet, but not to replace this food group (vegetarian, vegan, or not). I incorporate it into my diet as a “cereal/grain product” as this is what it most resembles despite its origins.

I think it is VERY interesting that 2013 has been declared International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations, especially since it is a food that has been around for centuries. CBC news has even brought it to the spotlight in terms of its economic effects. I learned about quinoa at a young age, with my Aunt and Uncle in Victoria frequently eating the superfood. I could never pronounce it, didn’t know how to prepare it, had tried it and wasn’t too keen on it at the time as pre-teens tend to be. Now that I am a Dietitian with a broader palate for foods, it is something I enjoy. One thing I love about quinoa is its versatility. You can cook it similar to rice, make pilafs, add it cooked and cold to salads, or add it to your morning oatmeal. You can roast it and add it to cookies, granola, yogurt, breads, muffins, and the list goes on! I am constantly looking for new recipes and ways to use it to incorporate it into my family’s diet as my husband is still not keen on it.

Today I hoped to change his mind as I made Quinoa Cookies. I think this recipe can be a snack for the kids, a great breakfast cookie on the go paired with a fruit and a glass of milk, or a cookie exchange delight!

Healthy Quinoa Cookies Recipe (adapted* from Blogger Quinoa, Kale & Exhale):

  • 4 medium frozen, thawed & mashed bananas
  • 6 tbsp smooth peanut butter – I did not use natural pb this time, but you can to reduce the sugar content.
  • 1 1/4 cup fast cooking oats*
  • 1 1/4 cup cooked quinoa*
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup white sugar*
  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened, coconut
  • 1/2 cup white or dark chocolate chips ( I used white chocolate because my husband doesn’t like milk or dark chocolate – he is missing out!)*
  • Mix all ingredients together. Drop spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in the oven at 350F degrees for 25-30 minutes. I think my oven is a bit hotter than it should be, so you may lean to 30 minutes. You can also try 375F for 20-25 minutes. I did both an they worked well to produce a soft, gooey cookie. As RAchael Ray would say, YUM-O!
  • Makes about 30 cookies about 2″ diameter.
  • Dietitians of Canada eaTracker Recipe Analyzer: 110 Kcal, 5 g fat, 15.4 grams of Carbohydrate, 1.5g fibre, and 2.5g protein
  • *Sorry no pictures as little hands have misplaced my camera cord!

If you haven’t tried Quinoa before, I hope this inspires you to try it!

Enjoy,

Melissa Lachapelle, Registered Dietitian

Fresh summer side eats

It has occurred to me that I have been very recipe focused with my blog. It is my intention to include more “articles” on family and pediatric nutrition as time goes on. For now I hope you are enjoying the small tidbits of nutrition advice that I find can easily be paired with a great recipe. Healthy eating can mean making simple small changes to one’s food choices and lifestyle. A nutrition overhaul is often too overwhelming and not sustainable in the long run as people tend to be over zealous and restrictive in the beginning, and then their enthusiasm for change fizzles. If you have nutrition topics you would like discussion on, please do not hesitate to send me an email!

Tonight, enthusiasm for new foods is running high in our household. I am officially on holidays for one whole week, woot woot! What better way to spend my first few hours off, than with my family enjoying some more fresh summer eats! Bryan has really stepped up his game this week. Hopefully he can maintain his enthusiasm for food and new recipes into the school year when we tend to be super busy. Wishful thinking? Well for now I will take what I can get, and tonight this is a juicy summer side salad that everyone in your family will love!

Jicama. I have never had one that I can recall…On the outside it resembles a cross between a very large potato and a turnip, though once peeled has the texture of a crisp apple or pear. It can be eaten or served many different ways: raw with ranch dip (my son Nolan’s choice), raw in summer fruit salad (Hayden, Bryan and I prefer this), in a stir fry, or with other dips like hummus. The sky is the limit with how creative you can be with it. We may explore this more as it will take our family a few recipes to get through the whole jicama. A 1/2 cup is considered a veg/fruit serving, and for those looking to keep calories at bay, it only has 25 calories per serving! It is rich in vitamin C, fibre (3g/serving), and is a source of carbohydrates. I think the best part about jicama is that is new and interesting, so both the boys (and myself of course) tried it. There is nothing like having a Friday night family taste test session!

I have a hankering for jicama side salad

  • 1 cup of diced strawberries
  • 1 cup of diced seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup of diced raw jicama (peeled first)
  • 1/2 cup mango 100% juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Combine all ingredients and mix. It tastes best when it has had time for flavours to blend together. This refreshing side salad is a great complement to any summer meal. Makes about 6  – 1/2 cup portions (1 veg/fruit serving per person).
    (Photo from myjewishlearning.com – I just liked this picture best from what I could find as ours was already chopped up!)

Enjoy!

Melissa

Oh let the sun shine in…

Today is my last day with my kids before I go back to work. Sigh… the weather is rainy, dreary and unmotivating. BUT since it is my last day I have vowed not to waste it! Nolan has been asking to make chocolate chip muffins. I thought, well, I am going to find a recipe for carrot chocolate chip muffins to boost the nutrition factor, but I soon realized we had no chocolate chips. To his disappointment I called grandma to ask for her yummy carrot muffin recipe. However I realized there was a lot of sugar and fat in it so I have since made a few adaptations (sorry mom!).

As I hope to encourage the sun to come out, I have called this my sunshine muffin recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry plain instant oats
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, unsalted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots (~3-4 medium size)
  • grated rind of 1 orange (~2 tsp) & its juice (~ 2 tbsp)

Instructions:

In a food processor grind the oats and pecans until it is a mealy texture. You can add in the baking powder to ensure even distribution. In your mix master beat the oil, eggs, applesauce, and sugar together until well mixed. Then add the vanilla and baking soda/water. Once combined, add the flax, flour and oat/pecan mixture. Lastly add your carrot and grated orange juice and rind. Spoon mixture into paper lined muffin tins. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 16 minutes or until golden brown and tooth pick comes out clean. This recipe makes 18 muffins.

Nutrition facts per muffin: 200kcal, 20g Carbohydrate, 12g fat (keep in mind these are healthy fats),  5g Protein, and 3g Fibre just to name a few (using Dietitians of Canada Eatracker Recipe Analyzer).

Friends often ask me how I find the time to bake or cook with 2 kids. A few secrets: 1. Do your dishes and clean your kitchen before you start – this helps make clean up quick while your food is baking/cooking. 2. Have all your ingredients on the counter before you get your child ready to help. 3. I have Hayden in his highchair with a snack so he can’t get near the oven and I can focus more on what Nolan is doing to keep him safe. 4. Have a sink of soapy water ready so you can wash your hands easily and frequently. 5. Have patience. I am not going to say that things always go perfectly. There are times when one cries for your attention, and one makes a mess. It has taken me all year to “not sweat the small stuff” and there are still times when I struggle to balance it all. We did have some fun this morning making the muffins and taste testing them, and luckily there weren’t any tears 🙂

Happy baking!

Budget Savvy Part 1: My top 10 tips for menu planning

There is nothing like tax season to make one re-evaluate one’s finances. I am always amazed at how money comes in but never seems to be around for very long. Before my husband and I had kids, we spent a lot of money on groceries. We rarely shopped the sales, ate whatever we felt like (still healthy of course), and shopped hungry. We developed some pretty hard habits to break! Since we’ve had kids, we are much more budget conscious, flyer savvy, and try very hard to have a snack or meal before we shop. I will admit that we still struggle to keep the grocery bill down, but it is a work in progress. There are so many variables to consider that make it challenging to create a concrete shopping list, and actually stick to it!

As we approach the month of May, I am challenging myself this coming month to menu plan more (meaning actually write it down – I often “plan” in my head, but that seems to get lost when I’ve been distracted and 5:30pm rolls around and we are starving!). I also want to refine my pantry needs,  make better grocery lists, and try to stick to my new grocery budget as we try to save a little more money for a trip next year. The next few posts will discuss menu planning, grocery shopping and food budgeting. I would love to hear your tips and tricks on any of these topics as we can always learn new things, and give ourselves a pat on the back for what we already do well!

My top 10 tips for MENU PLANNING

  1. Take inventory of your cupboards so you know what you have to work with to start menu planning. This will help create your grocery list later and help reduce food waste by using what you already have paid for!
  2. Check for weekly sales. Our grocery flyers tend to come on Friday, so I often use my weekend to plan and shop based on what is in the flyers.
  3. Plan your menu incorporating vegetables and fruit that are in season. In season vegetables and fruit are usually cheaper, more available, more local, and the quality tends to be better. If you really like those blueberries in the months when they are not in season, you will pay a pretty penny unless you buy frozen when they are on sale!
  4. Consider your family commitments for the week. You are not likely to make that meatball dinner when both kids have soccer that evening. You just won’t, so don’t kid yourself! Instead, plan a lighter meal for the nights you have less time, or utilize your slow cooker! I probably use mine once per week on my busiest night. As mornings are busy, I don’t usually pre-plan what we have for breakfast. I always keep cereal, bread, peanut butter, eggs, and a variety of fruit on hand and let my boys choose what they would like to have.
  5. Consider the likes and dislikes of your family. I have a whole room of picky eaters here, so it is rare that you will find mushrooms or honeydew on our menus, but that being said I have still offered them to my kids in hopes that they will like them even though my husband and I don’t.
  6. Think about texture, taste, and colour. A white fish served with potatoes and steamed cauliflower is nutritious, but it lacks varying texture, colour and plate appeal. Kick things up with colour!
  7. Variety. Need I say more? There is nothing worse than a menu that has chicken every day. We love chicken in our family (so there is a lot of it), but even we can get sick of it if it is every day. Variety is especially important to make sure that the menu provides a variety of nutrients: vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fat, protein, fibre, and all the micronutrients too!
  8. Try new recipes. Even when we menu plan, we can easily get stuck in a rut if we use the same menus over and over and over. Pick a day of the week when you can try a new recipe to keep things fresh! I usually try new recipes on Saturday or Sundays as I am more organized, more relaxed, and have more time to get the kids involved.
  9. Once you have a rough draft of a menu (even if it is only supper meals you plan for), there are a few things you should try to check. The key to developing a healthy family menu is to think about BALANCE. My rule is always to have 3 or 4 of the food groups per meal, and 1 to 2 per snack. Even if I don’t formally menu plan, I always think of balance for every meal I offer my family. With 3 well balanced meals and a few healthy snacks daily, this can help ensure your family members get the nutrition they need for the day.
  10. The last check: consider the needs of your family members in comparison to Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating. With Create My Food Guide, you can customize your guide to your likes/dislikes                                                                 i.e. My needs: 8 Vegetables/Fruit, 7 Grain products, 2 Milk products, 2 Meat/Alternatives.
Breakfast 1-2 Fruit

1-2 Grains

1 Milk products

½ Meat/Alternative

½ cup cantaloupe

1 or 2 slices whole wheat toast

1 cup soy milk

1 tbsp. peanut butter on my toast

AM Snack 1-2 Grains

0-1 Fruit

1 homemade muffin

½ cup strawberries

Lunch 1 Fruit

1-2 Vegetables

2 Grains

½ Meat/Alternative

1 Milk product

½ cup grapes

Sliced chicken breast on 2 slices whole wheat bread, with tomato, lettuce and cucumber

 

1 cup soy milk

PM Snack 0-1 Fruit

1 Grain

1 small orange

4-5 crackers (*amount depends on the brand/type)

Supper 2 Vegetables

 

0-1 Fruit

1 Meat/Alternative

1-2 Grains or other starch

 

0-1 milk products

1 cup spinach salad

½ cup steamed asparagus

½ cup strawberries (dessert!)

1 small lean pork chop

1 medium baked potato

1 small whole wheat dinner bun

¾ cup yogurt (with my fruit!)

Night Snack Whatever I didn’t get that I need, but only if I am hungry. optional

A great resource put out by Dietitians of Canada is Eating Well Together Meal Planner. The first pages discuss menu planning with toddlers in mind, but there is a sample menu and a blank menu planning sheet included. Print it off and give menu planning a try this week!

Stay tuned next week where we will put your menu plan into practice by discussing grocery shopping tips and making your menu jive with your budget.

Happy planning!

 

Resources:

 

Not your grannie’s granola!

Well, the month of March came and went, and sadly I was so under the weather that I lacked all energy to do any writing or experimenting. But I am back, healthy, and ready to eat! Last night I multi-tasked. While browning my ground turkey for turkey soft tacos, I made granola. Granola, the word itself just sounds healthy. G-R-A-N-O-L-A….yummmm. But is it really? Store bought granola can be loaded with fat, sugar, salt, and ingredients we cannot pronounce, which really negates the health benefits of some of its ingredients.

This granola is packed full of good nutrition:

  • Quinoa provides a good source of fibre and protein to help regulate blood sugars
  • Oats are a great source of soluble fibre which helps to lower cholesterol
  • Canola oil and ground flaxseed are good sources of omega 3’s which are anti-inflammatory (*think heart health!)
  • Pumpkin seeds provide protein, fibre, and healthy oils (monounsaturated fats)

Here is my “Not your grannie’s granola” granola recipe!

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 8 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 cups chopped or slivered almonds, unsalted
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds, unsalted
  • 1 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup dried cranberries – substitute these with some unsweetened cranberries/blueberries/goji berries to reduce the sugar!

Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix all wet ingredients together in a small saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients. Stir until well coated. Spread granola onto 2 or 3 non-stick pans or 3 pans lined with parchment paper. Bake in pre-heated oven at 325° F for 30-40 minutes, stirring the granola about every 7-10 minutes to ensure even baking. Keep a watchful eye so that it doesn’t get too brown or burn! Let cool then add in the dried cranberries. This can be stored in a food safe container for up to 1 week. This is a large recipe (~ 30 servings), so it is best to freeze half the granola either in meal size portions or a second large food safe container.

To complete this as a breakfast on-the-go, add ¾ cup yogurt (plain or vanilla), and ½ cup fruit of your choice. This makes a hearty breakfast on the go for my husband, myself or even my 3 year who loves it!

Enjoy!

Nutrient Analysis: This recipe makes about 30 servings, which equals ¾ cup/serving. This provides approximately 275 kcal, 36g carbohydrate, 10g protein, 5g fibre, 50mg calcium just to name a few.

This recipe was analyzed using the Dietitians of Canada recipe analyzer at www.eatracker.ca. Check it out and see what your recipes provide!

Get the Real Deal About Your Milk!

When I was a teenager I would read a variety of teen magazines and collect the milk posters that pictured celebrities with milk mustaches. They were cool right? This was and still is a very powerful milk campaign that inspired me even at a young age to make sure I consumed adequate milk products. Milk campaigns now are targeting a wider audience and trying to show the health benefits milk can provide us, rather than simply associate milk with a celebrity. There is a lot of misinformation about milk on the internet, even some websites that are anti-milk. I have no agenda other than to provide credible and reliable nutrition information to my clients, and to you! I do believe that milk does a body good, and helps us to grow in a healthy way. It has 16 essential nutrients, it helps build strong bones and teeth, it is a great recovery food post physical activity, and may even play a role in weight management. For Nutrition Month 2012,  Dietitians of Canada has looked at the scientific evidence and come up with some common milk myths to bust.

MYTH #16. Cows’ milk is full of hormones and antibiotics.

THE TRUTH: Not true! Canadian milk meets strict government standards so it’s safe and healthy. Canadian dairy farmers give their cows the best diet and health care so they produce quality milk naturally. Growth hormones to stimulate milk production are not approved for sale or permitted for use in Canada. Just like humans, cows sometimes get sick and need medications like antibiotics. If this happens, the cow is identified and milked separately until she is healthy again. Her milk is properly disposed of for a mandatory length of time, to allow for the medication to get out of her system. Milk, organic and non-organic, is a safe, nutritious choice.

MYTH #17. Cows’ milk is only good for baby cows, not humans.
THE TRUTH: Cows’ milk is not just good for baby cows. Around the world, humans enjoy health benefits from the many essential nutrients found in milk. Milk is one of the richest natural food sources of calcium and, in Canada, an excellent source of vitamin D. Both nutrients are needed to build strong, healthy bones. Milk has other health benefits too. For example, as part of a healthy diet, milk might help protect against high blood pressure and colon cancer. Canada’s Food Guide recommends you enjoy two cups (500 mL) of lower-fat milk every day for good health.
*Just to make a note here, lower-fat milk is recommended for children 2 years and up. It is NOT recommended for children under 2 years of age unless recommended and supervised by a Registered Dietitian. Children under 2 years should be consuming higher fat milk (i.e. homogenized 3.25%).
MYTH #18. Pasteurization destroys vitamins and minerals in milk.
THE TRUTH: Pasteurization has little impact on the nutrients in milk. Pasteurization is a simple heat treatment that destroys potentially harmful bacteria sometimes found in milk. This is an important process that helps to make milk safe for Canadians to drink. It is not safe to drink unpasteurized (raw) milk because it might contain bacteria that can be harmful to your health. Pasteurized milk is a natural source of 15 essential nutrients, plus it’s fortified with vitamin D (raw milk isn’t). Drink two cups (500 mL) of lower-fat milk each day to get the calcium and vitamin D you need to help build and maintain healthy bones.
If you would like to read more information about milk and its health benefits, visit Alberta Milk.

So let’s raise our glasses and have a cup of milk today!

Breakfast for supper?!

Earlier this week my husband was away for a conference, so there was little pressure to have supper meals preplanned. I occasionally like to switch things up and have a breakfast for supper type of meal. I find that breakfast is often my children’s best meal, so why not have a breakfast-like meal for supper they might be more inclined to eat? Now looking for inspiration…what to make? While on maternity leave I often watch the Rachael Ray Show for mealtime inspiration. That is not to say I make all her recipes as she presents them, but rather take note, and modify them based on what my family likes (or dislikes!) and what is in my fridge and pantry.

There was still little to be had in our fridge since last week’s breakdown, so ingredients were few and far between. It was waffle week on the Rachael Ray Show, yes! I always have flour, eggs and milk on hand! There were some really neat ideas presented on how to use your waffle iron for unconventional recipes (though some not so healthy). So I pulled out my twice used waffle iron and dusted it off. I opted to make a simple waffle, mostly due to the fact that Nolan (2yrs) is a picky eater and I knew he would like a basic waffle rather than something overly extravagant. When I told him I was making waffles he said “Mom, that is my FAVORITE!!!” and he shook in pure delight. I think he has only had a waffle twice in his life and at restaurants only, but I was rolling with it! I even had him help me pour the waffle batter onto the waffle iron (hand over hand of course) and he was that much prouder of our creation. Picky eaters such as Nolan (and most kids for that matter), are much more invested in what they are eating if they help choose it, buy it or make it. If you can find a way to get your kids involved in healthy cooking and healthy shopping, then the healthy eating part (and actual eating!) will take care of itself.

Here is our Waffles for Supper recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ¾ cup 1% milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Preheat your waffle iron. Beat eggs in large bowl with a whisk. Beat in all ingredients until just smooth. Spray your waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mixture onto hot waffle iron. I found that 1/3 cup batter per waffle made perfect waffles. Cook until golden brown and serve warm with pureed fruit sauce – we made a warm strawberry sauce (no sugar added). This recipe makes 12 waffles. The extra waffles freeze great and can be reheated using your toaster.

Nolan's supper - this is a larger meal for him
My meal, with some pineapple on the side

Nolan paired his waffle with natural ham (nitrate and preservative free) and fruit. I gave him too much ham (1 full slice), but he loved the waffle cut into strips and the ability to dip them into his strawberry sauce. With leftover waffles to freeze and clean plates (even Hayden!), the dogs were disappointed there were no leftovers to be had!

Until the next family meal!

Breakfast, emphasis on the FAST!

My husband rarely eats breakfast, a dietitian’s nightmare! He would attest that I nag him often, grab him before he leaves for work to give him food, or even send boxes of breakfast bars with him to work so that he eats at least something healthy to start his day.  At last my efforts were rewarded: last week he had breakfast every day on his way to work! Let me explain: He is a huge cereal eater – he would eat it for any meal or snack if he had his way. We really should invest in shares with the cereal companies…one of these days. So, with this his food of choice, he needed a way to eat it on the go during his commute to work. So why not drink it from a wide-necked water bottle?  This was something I never considered before, but why not use it for double duty?

We all need to eat breakfast. Our body needs us to break the overnight fast so that we can mentally and physically function during the day. If we try to have a balanced breakfast with 3 food groups, including high fibre and protein choices, it should sustain us until our next coffee break or meal. But how can we make sure that we find the time? Making breakfast a priority may mean that you wake up a few minutes earlier or find a new way to eat your favorite breakfast foods on the go. You may:

  • Put cereal and milk in a water bottle for your commute
  • Bake muffins or loaves and freeze individual portions
  • Boil eggs the night before and refrigerate
  • Keep a healthy breakfast bar in your drawer at work
  • Make a smoothie and put in your favorite travel mug
  • Make pancakes ahead and freeze them
  • Make waffles ahead and freeze them
  • Keep fresh fruit washed and by the door
  • Pack a breakfast and lunch the night before
  • If there is a kitchen/fridge at work, keep a few healthy choices on hand for the week

Convenience is key. It is up to you whether you plan ahead so that the morning is easy, or plan to have a grumbling stomach and brain drain at that morning meeting.  Here are a few food pairing ideas to have a balanced breakfast:

  • Cereal and milk topped with berries
  • Oatmeal/granola bar, glass of milk, and banana
  • Banana and peanut butter wrap/pita
  • Boiled egg, yogurt and fruit of choice
  • Microwaved english muffin, cheese and ham with a handful of grapes
  • Bagel, cream cheese and apple slices
  • A pancake and peanut butter sandwich with an orange
  • Panini pressed peanut butter and jam sandwich on whole grain bread with a glass of milk
  • No sugar added fruit cup and toast with nut butter
  • Breakfast bar and smoothie: fruits of choice, milk, yogurt

If you have some easy, healthy breakfast ideas please feel free to comment or share!

Until the next family meal!