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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Spring is in the air so I am feeling green!

I am trying to “Go Green” this year. I think I can improve on my green-ness in 3 easy ways:

  1. Composting. My family has always recycled as much as possible, but I still feel guilty whenever I am throwing out banana peels, vegetable cores, and other compostable waste. So what to do about it? I signed up at our local home show for a composting seminar for which I get a free compost bin, tools, and lessons provided I track my waste for the next few weeks and track my compost for 1 year. If you are interested in learning more about composting check out your city website and you might be surprised what they might offer!
  2. Starting a garden. Since moving into my home 3 years ago I have wanted to garden. Our yard is small and can’t fit the large garden plot I had as a child. So, we started simple the last few years with potted tomato plants since we found most of our summer time was devoted to our boys rather than yard maintenance. This year we are going to step it up since we have achieved more balance in our lives and the boys are old enough to help – so learning to garden will become a family affair. Whatever we can’t grow we will hopefully be able to buy from the farmer’s market or local farms. My friend Leanne gave me a 1 foot “garden plot” tool to help me on my way. It has a map on it to help my kids and I squeeze as many vegetables into our 1 foot plots without over doing it. I am hoping we can at least do a 1 x 12 foot plot along our garage since it is currently a wasted space. Pinterest also has lots of ideas on gardening.
  3. Eating more vegetables! Now I remember I said this was one of my family’s New Year’s Resolutions and I haven’t forgotten about this. My boys seem to be getting pickier and with progressively smaller appetites (help?!) so this has been one challenge among many lately. I feel there is even that much more pressure as I am a Dietitian and talk about food with parents every day! My potential help: I broke down and purchased a Vitamix blender. We’ve used it 3 days and let’s just say the boys have consumed more spinach in 3 days than they have in their combined 6 years of life! I receive no endorsements from this company, but sure wish I did! The best feature of the Vitamix is that it is versatile. It is so powerful it can make flours, hot soups, and can blend anything smooth – even an apple, core and all. Bonus feature: Once the kids saw what went into the blender, they were more willing to try the ingredients (such as fresh pineapple) on its own whereas before they rarely touched it. Victory is mine!

Here is the recipe we tried this weekend: Going Green Smoothie (by Vitamix), serves 4.

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup green grapes
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes

Place all ingredients in the Vitamix container, blend on high until smooth consistency reached.

This provides per serving 1 vegetable/fruit serving for 4 people. 54 Calories, 0 Fat, 237mg Potassium, 14g Carbohydrate, 1.4g Fibre, 1g Protein, Source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Folate.

How do you plan to be green this spring?

Happy Easter!

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

HOW do you feed your kids?

What kind of parent are you? . . . think about this while you read.

What kind of parent am I?

This has been on mind today since I participated in an education session by Jill Castle, MS, RD discussing her approach to childhood nutrition focusing on Fearless Feeding. I am definitely looking forward to her book on this topic coming out in 2013. I won’t dive too much into it because I think her book will best summarize the evidence and will help everyone (including myself) put her concepts into practice. This session was a good reminder as to the concepts of how we (parents) feed children, and why we feed children. Ever heard that you are a product of your environment and upbringing? Well it is true for feeding as well. And if you know where you came from and where you want to go (or how you want to raise your children), then you can figure out the “how” to get there and be the parent you want to be. Inspiring stuff I must say.

There are 4 feeding styles that Jill Castle, MS RD identified in her presentation: Authoritarian, Permissive, Neglectful, and Authoritative. These words have also been used to describe parenting styles. Pretty self explanatory, but identifying which style you practice can make the world of difference in how you approach your child’s nutrition. I grew up with more of an authoritarian approach to eating. I was supposed to clean my plate. I felt lots of  pressure to eat my veggies – I even went to such lengths as to flush them down the toilet – let’s just say that back fired until we got a dog! Let’s just say I still dislike brussel sprouts to this day and gag even upon seeing them on my plate.  “Sweets” were often over-regulated in my home. We had sweets when we were given money for “a treat”, cookies were homemade and available (doesn’t sound too bad right?), but as soon as “weight” was brought up in my home by my mom or my dad, I felt the need to hide in the pantry to have a piece of chocolate. Weight comments were never directed at me, but negative connotations about weight definitely left an impression on me when I was a teenager. And I was by no means overweight, a healthy BMI, no concerns or woes about my appearance. But somehow over the course of my adolescence I developed some disordered eating habits: hiding “treats” in the pantry, binging on them at 2am when I was “hungry”, sneaking an extra serving of dessert, and some others… I still have at times found myself hiding chocolate deep in the pantry so my husband won’t find it. Really, this is SOOOO ridiculous! My husband can’t even eat chocolate as it gives him migraines, so who am I hiding it from? Myself? Or my parents? And really, this is only my perception of what my parent’s approach to eating was. They probably think they were very authoritative, which is what I aim to be. How would your kids describe your feeding approach?

So how can we feed our children? I think Jill’s book will help guide you and your approach to your kids. For now here are some concepts that I teach to families and (try to) practice in my own home:

  1. Provide structure by setting meal times and snack times. Kids rely on routine to trust that their parent will provide for them.
  2. Serve family meals. I have encouraged this before!
  3. Be a role model to your children. Try news foods TOGETHER.
  4. Kids love to have a voice. Provide choice within the same food group. i.e. offer 2 difference vegetables at a meal and let your child choose one (or both!).
  5. Avoid food rewards.
  6. Division of Responsibility. Ellyn Satter is the guru of this concept. The parent decides what and when to offer food (i.e. the structured meal and snack times I mentioned). The child decides what to eat and how much to eat. Easier said than done, right?
  7. Avoid controlling the division of responsibility. No “two bite” rules, no pressure to eat, no restricting foods.

    Blueberries: a laundry detergent’s worst nightmare!
  8. Trust your kids. Trusting children to self regulate their food intake teaches them to listen to their hunger cues.
  9. Allow kids to explore food. Sometimes this means letting them make a mess!
  10. Promote a happy, relaxing mealtime environment. Nurture = nourish. They tend to go hand in hand.

I hope this has given you some practical food for thought that can help guide your feeding practices and help you to nourish your children. Happy eating!

Melissa Lachapelle, RD

Just the Right ByteFearless Feeding


Pulled pork-a-licious for your next family meal

Time. We never seem to have enough of it right? I feel that way sometimes. That life is moving faster than I can handle it, that the kids are growing up too fast, and I feel rushed to do this or that most of the time. Time. It is something I could use more of, but i also could spend more of it focused on what really matters: My Family.  I counsel parents and their kids for a variety of reasons. Whether it be for poor growth, obesity, or picky eating, there is one question I ask of all my parents: Do you eat meals as a family? Some say yes, some say no, but most say that they are lucky if they all sit down for one meal a day as a family. Most do not realize how important a family meal truly is to their family’s health.

eatright ontario sums it up best: “families that eat together eat better!…Children who eat with their families also consume more fibre, calcium, folate, iron, and vitamins B6, B12, C and E,and less saturated fat and trans fat.” A family meal is crucial to the development of healthy eating habits and implementation of any nutrition-related plan. a family meal is also an opportunity for learning about food and how to prepare it. It is a safe place to share about our day and explore family traditions – especially when it comes to holidays! There is no time like the present to start making time for family meals! Here is a recipe for your next family meal:

Pulled Pork-a-licious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1.5 kg pork roast
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 Filoncini buns, whole wheat if you can find!

Directions:

  1. Rub the roast with the vegetable oil. Place the roast into the slow cooker. Mix all ingredients together with a fork or whisk. Pour mixture over the roast. Cover and cook on High until the roast shreds easily with a fork, 5 to 6 hours (or on low 8 to 10 hours).
  2. Remove the roast from the slow cooker, and shred the meat using two forks. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, and stir the meat into the juices. Let simmer for another 20 minutes.
  3. Toast the Filoncini buns face up under the broiler on high for 3-4 minutes until a little golden brown. Spoon the pulled pork onto the toasted bun. Top with coleslaw and other bun half.
  4. Serve with your vegetables of choice. We paired ours with peppers, broccoli, and carrots.

Until the next family meal,

Melissa Lachapelle, RD

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

Fresh summer eats

Summer is finally here! I am fortunate enough to be married to a teacher who has most of the summer off, so I have been looking forward to my “holidays” from my every day cooking and meal planning. Last week my husband got an A+ for his culinary skills. He made a Chili-lime chicken and rice meal that was quick, easy, healthy, and full of fresh flavours. It was truly his best dish to date, and delicious to say the least.

He was a little hesitant to share his recipe, not because it wasn’t delicious, but because he wasn’t sure it was healthy enough for my blog. He sometimes does not give himself enough credit. He is label conscious and often tries to choose foods lower in salt and fat, he just didn’t know that would translate into healthier cooking. “Healthy” does not have to be fancy cooking that takes hours to prepare. It can be as simple as pairing 3 food groups together and making healthy choices within each of those food groups. Some of the parents that I counsel are embarrassed when they show me a food record from a summer weekend while they were traveling or away. They figure I will scold them for too many snacks. “Snack foods” can become a meal, it just depends on the snacks. Cookies, licorice, and a slurpee is NOT a balanced meal. These are considered occasional foods to have once per week, not to be used in our children’s diets every day. Carrot sticks, crackers, and cheese are often snacks foods, but in the right portions can be a balanced meal for a toddler or child (i.e. 3 food groups, healthier choices) and could be followed by a licorice at a ball game or while camping. As long as we are still doing some meal planning, reading labels, and making healthier choices at the grocery store, we can keep our summer eats healthy and easy. Cheers to Bryan for adding to our healthy summer recipe collection!

Bryan’s Chili-lime Chicken

  • 2 cups of drained canned peaches (packed in juice or water)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tsp sugar or sugar substitute
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 4 tbsp lime juice

In the blender combine peaches, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, and mustard. Blend until smooth. Add sugar, chili, and lime to mixture. Pour about 2/3 of mixture per 4 or 5 chicken breasts into a dish to marinate for 1-4 hours. Set aside remaining sauce for basting and some for dipping. You can also place the chicken and marinade in a food safe bag or container, and freeze it so it can be cooked another time.

Barbecue chicken on low for 10-15 minutes (depends on your BBQ). Baste each time the chicken is flipped. Turn up the heat on your barbecue for nice char marks to finish cooking. Serve with chili-lime rice. *While the chicken is cooking, make your Chili-lime rice. I usually make my rice in the microwave so that I don’t have to watch it on the stove while I make the rest of supper or while I watch the kids.

Chili-lime rice

  • 1 cup uncooked rice ( I usually make brown, but he made white rice)
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Cook on high in microwave or on stove top for 20 minutes.

Serve your Chili-lime chicken and rice with your vegetables of choice! Our family prefers salads and fresh vegetable sticks and dip during the summer months. We had carrot sticks and peppers, but I also made cooked carrots and peas for my little guy who doesn’t have very many teeth yet.

Happy summer eats!