Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My Kids Live on Goldfish - Barriers to Being a Healthy Chef

Every mother dreams of being able to prepare and deliver amazing, healthy meals to their families. Visions of plates full of fresh fruits and vegetables and roasted (skinless, of course) chicken dance through all of our heads. And we watch with pride as our children gobble it up and politely ask for seconds.

Ha! As if! 

Please tell me why nobody pulls us aside when our kids begin eating solid foods to tell us the reality of what feeding our littles is like. Even IF we had the time to prepare those yummy meals, would they even eat it? You all know the answer to that.

The truth is, for me, that my kids live on Goldfish crackers. Well, Goldfish crackers and chicken nuggets with some apple slices thrown in here or there. Do they eat ANYTHING healthy? Of course! With some serious crying, whining, threatening and bribing that may or may not take place.

If I am being honest here, being that role model chef, is not all that it's cut out to be, is it?

There are many barriers that us moms face when preparing meals for our families. And those barriers alone are enough for most of us to throw in the oven mitt and pull out the hot dogs.

Common barriers that all moms face:

Time - Who HAS the time? Most families have erratic schedules. Whether you work outside of the home or are a stay at home mom, it is nearly impossible to have set meal times. Between your and your spouse's work schedules, kids' homework, practices and lessons and meal preparation, who can get dinner on the table by a decent time?

Budget - Fresh fruits and vegetables and trendy "health" foods like quinoa and coconut oil are expensive! The most budget friendly foods we can find include those that are canned, frozen or come out of a box. While not the poster children for healthy foods, these types of food answer a lot of our prayers, cheap, kid-friendly and easy to prep.

Lack of Resources - Coupon clipping, recipes, the ins-and-outs of meal prep and all things every mom wants. But a lot of us don't have these tools! Yes, Pinterest is awesome, but who has the time? Yes, I would love to make steel cut oats for breakfast, but how do you make them? Meal prepping on Sundays would save so much time during the week but how is it done? Do we have to eat the same thing every night because ain't no child in my house is going for that unless it's fries and chicken fingers.

These barriers are the exact reason why we find ourselves buying the same four things as the grocery store or inventing family nights like "Pizza Tuesday" and "Mac 'n Cheese Monday". But it DOESN'T have to be this way. No it doesn't!! Stay tuned for the solutions to these common mom problems and let's get our family food habits back in track!

In the meantime, share YOUR biggest barrier!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tips for a Healthy Start to 2015

The vast majority of people setting goals for 2015 have at least one health related or fitness goal.  While working out is half of the battle, eating right makes up the other half.

Here are some simple tips to get your eating back on track.

1.  Curb your sweet tooth - Sweet cravings can be a killer and dangerous when you have some cookies or chocolate around the house.  Before you reach for that piece of chocolate, reach for some fruit! Perhaps a slice of apple with almond butter?

Fitness-Food-and-Weights2.  Stock up on diet-friendly foods - having a stock of raw nuts, fat-free plain yogurt, and fresh fruits and vegetables can help you stay in control at home.  From healthy snacking to low-calorie substitutions (plain yogurt is a healthy exchange for sour cream) these food will help you stay on track!

3.  Police your proteins - while many people focus on meals that are low-carb, proteins can carry a lot of hidden fat and extra calories!  If you protein source takes up more than half of your plate, it is too much! Fruits and vegetables should make up half of your plate with proteins and whole grains sharing the other half!

4.  Don't let happy hour get too...happy - when you know you are heading out for a night on the town, there are a few things to remember so that you don't drink too many calories.  Blended drinks such as daiquiris and margaritas are full of unnecessary calories! Switch to a wine spritzer or even soda water with a splash or juice!

5.  Find your balance - do not ever feel like you have to deprive yourself.  If you want a piece of chocolate cake, eat it! Just remember that calories in = calories out.  If you spurge a bit then run the extra miles that day or the next. It's all about balance!

While there are SO MANY things to do to reach those health and fitness resolutions of yours, these five simple tips are easy enough to stick to without any need for a life-changing behavior! Make this your best year yet!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Treats and Tips

Halloween is here, and we have decorated as usual: graveyard, strobe lights, heads hanging, giant spiders covering the house and the fog machines ... it's not Halloween without the fog machine.
This year decorating was a special moment with both the little ones being able to pitch in.
As always, Stella, now 4-years-old had her own ideas about what she was going to be this year. I have found it increasingly difficult to keep her focus on age friendly costumes when the options out there look like small, adult get-ups.

I finally got smart and asked her what she would like to be, then went out and bought her a costume. Perhaps I took a little bit of the fun out of it for Stella but, each year, I get tired of vetoing all of her choices because they are too skimpy, or too “adult” for her. And, it turns out, she is very happy with her more than appropriate witch outfit.

As for Carter, I could never have imagined how much easier having a boy would be. His mind changes constantly, which to me translates to mean that he really will be happy with anything. So at this point, as long as it doesn’t require him to wear a hat or headpiece for too long and it involves him going from house to house, we are in the clear. A dinosaur will be walking the streets tonight.

As always, making sure that Halloween is a safe and happy holiday, I will be taking some steps. While we all know the safety tips on checking the kids’ candy, it is equally important to make sure that the kids are safe while walking around trick or treating.
 Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
 Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
 Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
 Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
 Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
 Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

See more at:

Cheers to all you parents out there as you fold, zip, tuck, and pin your little ones into their Halloween costumes.
Have a safe Halloween and don't be afraid to eat some of that candy, after all, it's no good for the kids!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Love Is Blind. So Are Free Hugs

Now that Stella is four, I am finding that life’s lessons seem to be needed day to day. Gone is the time when a mom’s love was the only thing that mattered — in its place, is a curious child who tests limits and wants answers.

Because of this, I always try to embed what I can in our daily activities. Maybe it is a little talk about kindness or teaching her empathy when she steals her brother’s Crayon. Perhaps it is talking about perseverance when she gets frustrated and wants to give up.
I often feel like maybe these little speeches wouldn’t be needed if there were more examples of these things in front of her. While I know there are good people in the world, it seems as though what little Stella sees is from those who are doing things that she has learned not to do.

“Why did that man not say excuse me when he bumped into you mommy?”

“Why are those people not talking nice to each other?”

“Why did (so and so) say to (such and such) that she was ugly today?”

Whether my little one is such a whistle blower or she just has a watchful eye, it often saddens me that she sees more of what is wrong than the beauty in what life can be.

I came across a video that I wanted Stella to watch. The video is of a man, Ken Nwadike, CEO of Superhero Events, who goes out to running events, stands on the course, and offers “free hugs.”

The “Love Movement” touches me for a number of reasons. First, I am a runner, and have been in many running events where I could have used a hug from someone. Second, when watching the videos, things like racism don’t exist. Nobody sees or thinks about color, fear, or gender. People see a genuine kind act and they go for it! Men and women cross over to jump into Ken’s arms for their free hugs.

These are the things I want Stella to see. I want her to see someone, a stranger to most, who takes his time to go and spread love to people. I want her to know that everyone deserves love and kindness no matter what age, gender, or color. I want her to know that random acts of kindness touch people forever and that she has the power to do that.

Whether you want a teachable moment or just want to feel good. Watch “Free Hugs” from the San Francisco Marathon last weekend.

Free Hugs San Francisco Marathon HD from Superhero Events on Vimeo.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Don't Let Your Workouts Interefere With Being a Haute Mom!

How do you recover from your workouts?

With all the choices available to us haute moms, this question is likely to turn up hundreds of answers.

As part of my Fit Approach Sweat Pink Ambassador role, I was lucky enough to be chosen to participate in the Fuel Your Better Campaign by Vega Sport.

Hubby and I after M2B
As someone who is consistently participating in at least one half marathon and training for two to three full marathons a year as well as challenges that include back to back events like Disney Dumbo Double Dare, I am always looking for products that will better my performance. I have noticed that as I get older, I am not able to bounce back as quickly as before.
Vega Sport intrigued me for one main reason. It is 100% vegan. There are no animal products. I tested out the Accelerator which is a powder formulated especially for recovery. 

After trying it out after a ten mile training run, I was sold. No upset tummy and I felt fantastic the rest of the day, and more importantly, the day following. The real test came weeks later after pacing my husband at Mountains To Beach Marathon in Ventura, CA. I was able to get right back to the kids as soon as I got home and didn't have the usually soreness or tightness that I feel after a distance run.

I can't think of anything better to help this Haute Mom stay in shape without missing a beat!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

When Life Gives You Lemons

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade; is that how the saying goes? I realize that this is a tough lesson for us all, especially when trying to teach it to your children.
This past Monday, I was glued to the internet as I watched the Boston Marathon. As a runner, it is the mecca of marathon events and as someone who was watching the event live last year when the bombings occurred, I couldn’t miss it.

I had several friends who had flown to Boston to participate after hard training to qualify. I had even more friends watching from home after missing their own qualifying time by seconds. One of my close friends decided to fly to Boston to support runners after he missed his own qualifying time by a few seconds.
Ken Nwadike, CEO of Superhero Events (they put on the Hollywood Half Marathon, Costume Party Run, and the Awesome 80s Run series) decides to make the trek to Boston after dealing with disappointment this year when his attempt to qualify for Boston failed by a mere few seconds.

Why? To go and support the thousands of runners (almost 36,000 to be exact) that had qualified and to show that the journey is not always about your own achievement.
Wearing a “Free Hugs” shirt and carrying a matching sign, this race director stood on the course and offered hugs to the participants running by. The reaction was astounding. As I watched his video of the experience, I couldn’t help but finally understand the truth behind life’s plan not always being in our hands.

You can see in this video the reaction that Ken received from his kindness of choosing to fly across the country to show his love and support for the Boston Marathoners. People not only run clear across the course but double back just to get one of his hugs.
Free Hugs

I showed Stella the video at which she asked, “What is that man doing?” I explained that his hope was to be a runner but since he could not, he decided to be a part of the other runners’ experience and spread hugs.

My innocent daughter smiled and replied, “I bet the runners liked the hug more than Ken running.” From the looks of the video, Stella was absolutely right.
So many lessons in such a simple act from random acts of kindness to the tough lesson of sometimes, things that we really want don’t happen for a reason because someone else has a bigger and better plan for us.



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Making Healthy Food A Part Of Your Family

While choosing to eat healthy is the first step, getting the rest of the family to follow suit, may be a challenge. I can eat as healthy as I choose, for Stella (3 ½ years-old) and Carter (18 months) this is a whole other story.
I know the importance of ensuring that my little ones develop good eating habits at an early age. I am not sure if it is my fault (tracing back to my pregnancy cravings), but they both have quite the sweet tooth. But habits should be formed now because as they get older, they will be harder to break.

Here are some things that I have tried that have proved to have some success with keeping the kids’ eating habits on track:

·        Offer healthy choices – If the snack choice consists of chips or rice cakes, it is no surprise that the kids will choose chip.    I mean, come on, wouldn’t you? Both of my little ones are  old enough to make choices (even if Carter does this simply by pointing and shaking his head). When I allow them to  open the pantry for a snack, they find the least healthy item   in there. Instead, I will select two things to choose from, like applesauce or a banana, that way, I am happy with whatever they choose. If the kids don’t want either? Then they must  not be that hungry

Crab legs! Who knew the kids would love them!
·        Re-write the kids’ menu – Who says that kids have to have traditional “kid-friendly” food. As soon as mine had teeth, they were eating what hubby and I were eating. They now gobble up things like tofu and salmon and turn their noses up at peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The best part? Mom    or dad only has to cook one meal!
·        Be the captain of your ship – Who does the grocery shopping in the house? If there is a lot of junk food – it didn’t get there by accident. I remind myself when at the grocery store that if I buy a box of cookies, someone will eat them. The less junk food I buy, the less tempted everyone is to indulge.

·        Don’t make the kids “clean their plate” – While this strategy may have been used by our parents, it is not the best practice. Forcing kids to “clean their plate” only makes eating a chore. It also forces kids to eat when they may no longer be hungry. All that teaches them is too overeat and not listen to their bodies.

·        Remember that food is not love – I really had to struggle with this one. I am guilty of passing out cookies, baking brownies, or going out for ice cream when Stella has done something good. It is embarrassing because, sometimes, she asks if she has been good and I know that this is a code for wanting a sweet treat. Instead, I have to find other ways to reward her for things. Perhaps it is an extra book before bed or allowing her to choose a game for us to play. Maybe I print out some free pages for her to color or paint. It is hard because a sweet treat is so much less time consuming than the other options but I know, in the end, this is the healthier choice.

If being a parent wasn’t hard enough, taking extra steps to ensure you are raising health-conscious eaters makes it harder. It takes time and planning (as if you didn’t have enough to do). But with the startling rates of childhood obesity and type-2 diabetes, this is not something that we can ignore. Lowering our kids’ risks of these nutrition-related diseases is easier than dealing with a chronically ill one.
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