Baby

By: Melinda Lamarche

Summer is here and it’s time to hit the road!  Whether exploring new places or rediscovering old favourites, family road trips can be loads of fun and a chance to create lifelong memories.

To keep everyone’s spirits up throughout the journey, it’s a good idea to pack some delicious snacks to keep little tummies happy during those long stretches of highway.  Not only do homemade snacks save time and money along the way, they are also your best bet in terms of offering your family a healthy and satisfying nibble.

Below are some tips and tricks to keep you and your family well-fed while on the road, here’s to a happy (and healthy) journey!

SNACKING BASICS

  • Choose snacks those that contain a source of carbohydrate for energy and some protein to keep you feeling fuller longer, examples include: yogurt and fruit, cheese and crackers, nuts and dried fruit.
  • Before you hit the road, invest in a small cooler and ice packs. Look for reusable containers like mason jars and don’t forget to stock the napkins, wet wipes and utensils.

SNACK IDEAS

  • Yogurt, berry and granola parfait
    • Layer plain yogurt, berries and granola in a mason jar, sprinkle with cinnamon and a squirt of honey before sealing the lid
  • Hummus, veggies and bread sticks
    • Spoon a few tablespoons of your favourite storebought or homemade hummus into the bottom of a mason jar, place cut up vegetables in the hummus and place the lid on top. Serve with whole grain breadsticks or crackers on the side
  • Fruity tortilla roll ups
    • Mix softened cream cheese with a little bit of cinnamon, vanilla extract and maple syrup, spread on a whole grain tortilla. Place a mix of cut up fruit and berries on top of cream cheese, roll up and cut into 1” circles
  • Homemade mini muffins and fruit
    • Make a batch of your families favourite muffins, be sure to use whole wheat flour and keep the amount of sugar low, sneak in some mashed bananas or applesauce to hike up the nutritional value, for some fun stir in some nuts or dried fruit and chocolate chips, bake in a mini muffin tin to get more and keep portions snack sized.
  • Roasted chickpeas and cut up veggies
    • Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas, place on a parchment lined backing sheet. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp of olive oil, roast in a 400degrees for 30minutes, stirring occasionally, then sprinkle with your favourite flavours, try cumin, garlic powder and thyme.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with the tried and true snacks, think cheese and crackers, fruit and nuts and granola bars.

  • When buying crackers look for those that are low in fat, containing less than 5g of fat per serving, low in salt and containing at least 2-4g of fibre per serving. Choose unsalted and dry roasted nuts.
  • Granola bars can be tricky, they are one of those foods with a health halo, meaning they are often marketed as being healthier than they actually are. If buying granola bars, look for those made with whole grains (hint … whole grains should be listed as the first ingredient), low in fat and with less than 8g of sugar.  Making your own granola bars could be a fun way to experiment with your family’s favourite flavours.

So, this summer, pack your coolers and hit the road with some delicious and nutritious snacks to keep you and your crew fuelled for non-stop fun!

Melinda Lamarche has been working as a Registered Dietitian for more than 10 years.  After completing her dietetic internship at the University Health Network in 2005 she went on to complete a Masters degree in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Toronto.  Melinda has experience working with Toronto Public Health and various Family Health Teams in the Toronto area.  Melinda recently completed a Culinary program and is using her new skills to prepare yummy and healthy dishes for her husband, daughter and new baby.

RELATED LINKS:

Delight Your Senses with Our Summer Produce Guide!

Buy Local to Add “Spring” to Your Diet!

Why Pulses are the Family-Friendly Food of 2016

Incorporating Pulses Into Your Family’s Diet

Fall Foods Your Family Should Try

Real Food: Feeding Your Children Right

 

"Bad Moms"

Tired of the Mommy Wars and the pressure to be perfect? This movie is probably for you!

Written by the duo behind the “Hangover,” “Bad Moms” stars Mila Kunis as an overworked mom of two who is struggling to juggle the many – and often unreasonable – demands of parenthood.

Kunis’ eventually reaches her breaking point at a PTA meeting when the queen of the perky moms, depicted by Christina Applegate, outlines no less than 14 dietary restrictions for the school’s upcoming bake sale.

“I’m so tired of trying to be this perfect mom, I’m done” she says to Applegate’s obvious confusion.

Two other moms played by Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn join Kunis in solidarity to ditch the rules of perfect parenting and the rest is history.

See the hilarious trailer below as the “Bad Moms” crew goes wild all over town, including – gasp – showing up at the bake sale with store-bought donut holes. The horror!

There is nothing like seeing your child explore a new toy for the first time, especially ones with sensory or educational value like a play kitchen.  Unfortunately for the less handy among us, the assembly process can be downright daunting and it may feel like your child will outgrow the toy before you’re done building it.

Just for fun, we’ve highlighted the 5 stages of assembling a toy kitchen.  Can you identify?

Shock & Denial

You’ve opened the giant cardboard box and have dumped its contents onto your living room floor. You now find yourself surrounded with 70 unique parts and a 25-page instruction manual complete with illustrations and symbols that resemble hieroglyphics etched into the wall of a pyramid.  Panic and dismay wash over you like a thick fog.

Pain & Guilt

You’ve sliced open your hand using the Allen key and your lower back is experiencing intense spasms and shooting pain.  The thought of quitting has crossed your mind 12 times a minute since you started but you won’t give up because depriving your child of the chance to cook fake food using her fake kitchenware is plain unacceptable.

Anger & Bargaining

Logically you know that fighting with the kitchen won’t get you anywhere, but your frustration is at a boiling point and you can’t take it anymore.  After crumpling the instruction manual in protest, you return to the half-finished kitchen and beg it for mercy in exchange for keeping your cool.

Reflection & Loneliness

It’s been four hours and you’re only half-finished.  The world seems bleak and meaningless and you’re wondering if you’ll ever breathe fresh air again.

Acceptance and Hope

The kitchen is done but there are a handful of miscellaneous parts leftover and you’re pretty sure they aren’t spares.  Still, you take a step back and applaud your perseverance in the face of unspeakable odds. Parenting win!

 

 

 

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There are times when the wind is howling and the snow is whipping across your face, that it is easy to curse living in a winter climate. Being a new parent, I have often found myself wondering just how much easier it would be if I didn’t have to wrestle my daughter into a snowsuit before leaving the house or strap her into the car-seat with a handful of frozen fingers.

Then there are days like today, when the sun is shining and there’s only a slight nip in the air, that I can reflect on all that I love about living in a city that experiences four distinct seasons, including – yes – winter.

Here are just a few:

  1. Snowy Sports: Whether it’s hitting the slopes or taking in an outdoor game of shinny, there’s something so nostalgic and wonderful about frolicking outside in the winter chill – especially with kids. Can you think of anything more fun than climbing aboard a toboggan and sailing down a hill of packed snow? Nope!
  2. Hot Bevvys: When you’re done enjoying the outdoors, fix yourself a cup of warm cocoa and warm-up from the inside out. A steaming hot beverage just isn’t the same when your fingers and toes aren’t mid-thaw.
  3. Winter Fashion: During the dog-days of summer, my mind inevitably wanders to thoughts of scarves, boots and the deep hues that characterize winter fashion. Sandals, swimsuits and maxi-dresses just can’t compare.
  4. Comforts of Home: Nothing makes me appreciate a Saturday night spent indoors more than a Canadian winter. Give me a pair of warm socks and a movie and I am one happy Canuck.
  5. The Spring Thaw: Is there any more optimistic feeling than the one you have during those early days of spring? It’s magical to watch as sidewalks fill-in and a hibernating city comes back to life, ahhhh!

Winter doesn’t have to be a source of dread all year-round; it can actually be quite beautiful in its own right. I hope you take time to enjoy it because in the time it takes to spell F-R-O-Z-E-N, spring will be here!

 

RELATED LINKS:

The Perfect BLEND

Family Fun: Take it Outside