Baked Oatmeal- up with the moon, out with the sugar

Some days are perfectly lovely. This week early in the morning, we were able to enjoy the lunar eclipse.

I had zero awareness it was this week. My little two year old, however, was awake at 4am, and my husband said from under his covers, ‘there is a lunar eclipse…’ With that we turned our early morning lemons into lemonade and bundled ourselves up to go outside and watch the moon.

Before venturing out though my husband brewed some coffee over the chemex, and I thought ‘hey, there’s enough time to bake the oatmeal,’ and I set out to find a recipe that didn’t use sugar.

Here’s the thing, so many recipes say they’re ‘sugar free’ and they are quite literal about it- while there may be no sugar, there is honey, or molasses, or agave. While each is unique and precious, when my goal is to eliminate minimally nutritious carbs, those sweetners aren’t much better than sugar.

So I decided to improvise.

For mine:

1/2 mushy banana
1/3 cup unsweetned applesauce
1 egg and 3/4 cup egg whites, whisked together
1 cup oats
1/2 a medium to large apple, cubed
Pumpkin spice to taste
Dash of salt

Combine the egg mixture with the applesauce, banana, pumpkin spice and salt. Add in the oats and apple.

We baked ours at about 425 for 30 minutes. Cook as long as you need to for a golden hue.

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We watched, huddled in blankets, as the earths shadow covered the moon and turned it red. My son delighted at seeing stars, and the moon, and we stamped on the earth as he thought about it casting a shadow, just like he does.

We then enjoyed our baked oatmeal with a bit of almond butter and yogurt. Truly sugar free, since honestly life is sweet enough already.

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Did you catch the eclipse? How do you make your recipes slightly healthier, what subs do you make?

XOXO

There’s Always Time :)

Pre-dinner HIIT cardio for the hubs.

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Have you ever done HIIT?? It’s amazing. You burn some amazing fat while preserving that muscle. Win win.

Here are some awesome options from Around the Web:

fitness blender produces simple and effective workouts, tons of options for hiit workouts of varying lengths

jamcore produces some of the toughest hiit workouts I’ve ever done!

zwows by zuzka light are for the advanced exerciser, prepare to fall in love with this inspiring woman

And then lisa marie at dailyhiit who took zuzka’a place at bodyrock is also crush and love worthy- and oh so motivating

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Are there pockets of time that you can squeeze in fitness?

Have you tried doing HIIT for your cardio in lieu of the traditional cardio exercises?

Happy sweating!

XOXO

The Family That HIITs Together

Here’s the HIIT routine my hubby and I did together while our dear toddler ran between our legs 🙂 We were all cracking up, and sweating. IMG_0870.PNG

Let me know if you give it a whirl!

XOXO

Make Peas, Not War

The War.
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Just one bite!
Sit down!
Try it!

The negotiations have failed. And there the broccoli sits.

Toddler meal times can quickly devolve into minor power squabbles. And all you want is for one bite of cabbage to pass those little lips.

It’s complicated though.

They’re appetites, for one, are in flux. They’re not as hungry as they were as little babies since they’re growing less..

Then there’s that survival instinct that comes with their increased independence- an increased wariness of all things new, untested, especially foods. Good thing too if we lived in the woods and they were now able to wander more freely- that caution might stop their hands from putting that poisonous berry to their mouths.

So then there’s that independence- it’s a new reflex for toddlers to refuse, to say no. A new freedom, an important skill, to will something different than mom or dad. Don’t just quash it! They need a sense of their own wills if they’re to manage life on their own in the future.

Unbeknownst to the well meaning carrot-wielding parent, the more they push, the more that little persons primal instincts and developmental trajectories tell them to dig those heels in!

NO!

What’s a well meaning parent to do? You’re trying to teach them healthy habits!

Maybe you’ll try to reason with the little wild, candy seeking thing.

If you’re going to ‘reason’ with a toddler, it might seem natural to extol the health benefits of particular foods. Education, right? Sugar bad, broccoli good.

Well then I read this article about a study where they tested two approaches to ‘selling’ foods to kids. One group heard about all the healthy things about wheat thins (ok, not what I want to be selling lol, I’m not nabisco). The other about the tastiness of wheat thins. The last heard nothin.

Which group ate the most wheat thins?

The Tasty group of course!

Makes sense too- I mean you know that eating a bowl of broccoli is healthier than a whole tray of brownies. But does it always workout that you choose the boring healthy spartan broccoli over the gooey Fudgey decadent s’mores brownies? (Ummmmm, ok purely metaphorical here…)

I mean besides the obvious taste difference, it appears there’s something else at play psychologically speaking.

Some of you might be going, ‘well hold on! Back up! Since when is broccoli boring? Spartan? Ma dear, that veg is vibrant!’

Well you friend are on the money! When we focus on the enjoyable aspects of a particular behavior, the researchers suggest, were more likely to engage in it! Toddlers too! They were able to get excited about wheat thins when they heard they’d be yummy.

Sure, broccoli might never have the raw appeal of brownies, but we can certainly get more into yummy broccoli than healthy broccoli.

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broccoli, mango salsa, and día de Los muertos spoon

Based on this information, here are some things I do to encourage my picky little eater to consume healthy foods, or to try new ones, that focus on what’s enjoyable about certain foods:

*We make up silly songs about the food-
Broccoli tree, broccoli tree, boy you are sooo yummy; vitamin a, vitamin c, so yummy in my tummy!

*We describe the food:
Is it squishy? Is it sweet? What color is it? What’s it taste like?

*We prepare the food together:
We’ll scrub the sweet potato, put it on the tray, put it in the oven, watch it cook with the oven light on. If you can plant the veg together, well, gold stars upon your green head!

*My husband and I will make exaggerated sounds of enjoyment, talking up the delicious qualities of the food.
Mmmmm carrots are so sweet! I loooove yogurt in the morning!

*Peer pressure (well applied!)
We’ll talk about all the people (or animals or toys) that enjoy a particular food.
Grandma loves beans! Bunnies eat lettuce all the time!

*Choices! I’ll ask him what he wants between several options, and he’ll decide what we make that night. Often he’ll be more invested in the dinner then, and excited by it.

*Butter, cream and cheese. A bit of flavor can work wonders with a veggie, without overpowering it’s healthfulness.

Basically I try to limit good/bad food categories. We try to find room for all foods in Munches diet. Just some things get more air time than others. But most importantly, we focus on the fun, the pleasure. Or we try too, at least 😉

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chewing on celery sticks- after banging it on the table first

All of this is great parenting fodder- but most certainly, like with all sound parenting advice, it’s so useful in how we approach ourselves.

Do we do food power plays with ourselves? Demanding we eat the healthy, non fattening broccoli when our playful toddler hearts want a pint of ice cream? Do we try to enforce healthy behavior for it’s own healthy sake, teeth gritted, health-conscious warrior like?

Were so very much like toddlers- we want our life, our food, to be fun and enjoyable. Sure, sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do, and that’s a good thing. We are grown ups.

Often though, we could probably afford to change our approach, especially regarding health and fitness. We can afford to be a little more like toddlers, toddlers with awesome parents (us!).

What are ways you can be more playful and ‘pleasure oriented’ in your approach to healthy eating and exercise?

Maybe get some ideas by listening to this podcast, Why Willpower Isn’t Enoughby the Nutrition Diva.

Also, what are ways you encourage the picky eaters in your life, toddler or otherwise, to enjoy delicious good for you foods?

XOXO

Play With Your Kids, Play As a Family

It’s fun :)!!

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For our time together as a family, we went to the park. Despite the chill and the drizzle.

We ALL played around a bit:

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Do you get out and moving as a family? If not, what’s stopping you? Time as a family doesn’t need to be fancy- just fun. And it’s as fun as what you bring to the table 🙂

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XOXO

Butterflies by the Lake

This past Saturday I was in sorry need of some butterfly therapy, and thankfully Munchie was game.

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rockin out in the car, or, at least I was

So we headed out to the local butterfly pavilion. I sincerely hope your town, city, province, region has one or will get one soon. Cheesy, maybe, but oh so right.

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There’s just something so soothing about all those beautiful flowers and these whisp-like lovelies feathering around your head and ankles. My tot was smitten.

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He kept running around after them…

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…upsetting their nectar dinners as he tried to touch them…

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We read about the little life-cycles of these magical creatures:

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Then we checked for stow-aways and said good bye to the butterflies.

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Just past the red barns and around the bend we stumbled upon this little scene:

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In his usual fashion, Munch dove right in:

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And then we did a bit of climbing:

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I love places like this that give little urbanites a chance to get closer to nature, to see what it’s all about.

After messing about on these for a bit,

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he was ready for the real stuff: ‘let’s go see nature’ he said.

And so we did.

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He was thrilled to discover this little lake, all set up for a visit from a mama and son on Saturday afternoon jaunt.

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It was hot, and approaching dinner time, so we took off.

But couldn’t help pulling off at the farmers stand on the way home. The late-summer bounty, rounded out nicely by the first fruits of Fall were a feast of senses.

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If you read my post about our typical breakfasts, you can imagine how pleased I was to find this ‘no-sugar’ added beauty:

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perfect on those eggy-oats, protein pancakes, greek yogurt or whatever an aspiring bodybuilder may need to spruce-up!

In the end we got the preserves, two Tango Apples for the road, and a beautiful box of juicy heirloom tomatoes.

Those tomatoes were lucky to make it home, they were as sweet and flavorful as candy. We weren’t even done paying and Munch and I were helping ourselves!

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And you know what, everything just seemed clearer after our little trip.

Sometimes you have to let go of things from yesterday to make room for something beautiful today.

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Hope you have a wonderful weekend, and if you’re in need of lightening up, needing to let go of something, find your way to a butterfly pavilion. Those little creatures are surprisingly good at helping you out with heavy loads 🙂

XOXO