Tags Posts tagged with "Kids"


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By: Melinda Lamarche

We now find ourselves at the end of the summer holidays and the start of the school routine is upon us.  It is at this time of year that many parents are scratching their heads thinking about how to keep up with packing lunches and looking for ideas and inspiration to keep things interesting in the lunchbox.

With working parents and extracurricular activities, kids are spending a lot of time outside of the home during the school week and are in need of nourishing foods to keep them going all day long.  Keeping kids well nourished not only gives them an edge in the classroom but also gives them the energy they need to keep up with school and after school fun.

Where to start

Breakfast is great for filling bellies and providing much needed nutrients after a long fast over night.   Plenty of research shows that breakfast is also key in promoting healthy development and contributing to children’s concentration and learning abilities in the classroom.  Skipping breakfast makes it hard for kids to stay focused and concentrate throughout the morning as they wait for lunch.

Start the day off with a nutritious breakfast that is not only delicious but also helps keep kids sharp and ready for learning. As for any meal, aim to include three of the four food groups to ensure that nutritional requirements are met. If possible, prepare breakfast the night before to make the morning routine even quicker, set the table or have things ready to take breakfast to go. Some great breakfast ideas include the following:

  • Oatmeal made with milk or milk alternative, sliced bananas and berries
  • Whole grain homemade muffin (make large batches and freeze individually wrapped for easy, on the go breakfasts) fresh fruit and a hard-boiled egg
  • Fruit and yogurt smoothie with a homemade breakfast cookie

Going the distance

Snacking is essential in helping kids meet their nutritional requirements.  Kids have smaller tummies than adults so they are unable to eat a lot at meal times, therefore snacks are essential for meeting their needs and giving them energy boosts throughout the day.  Snacks are meant to be smaller than meals, that means we should be aiming for two of the four food groups at each snack.  Try combining a source of carbohydrates with protein to not only provide energy but to also to keep small bellies feeling full until the next meal. Some quick, easy and kid friendly snacks are:

  • Whole grain crackers with cheese
  • Fruit salad and yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Homemade muffin and dried fruit and mixed seeds
  • Vegetables and pita triangles with dip (i.e. hummus or tzatziki)
  • English muffin pizza with your little ones favourite toppings
  • Yogurt with homemade granola or whole grain cereal and raisins

Getting over the midday slump

Lunch is the main event.  As with any meal, lunch should include 3 of the 4 food groups.  Some parents find it tricky to include so much variety in the lunch bag every day, but doing so not only keeps kids interested but also contributes to overall health by helping meet nutritional requirements.  Some key essentials when packing lunch are as follows:

  • Get the kids involved. Bring them grocery shopping and encourage them to think outside the box and try new ingredients for their lunches
  • Get kids in the kitchen packing their own lunches
  • Prepare lunches in the evening to help reduce stress caused by the morning routine
  • Keep all the lunch essentials, such as containers, water bottles, napkins, reusable cutlery in one place, to help with making packing organized and quick
  • Choose containers that are easy to open, smaller children may have a difficult time with even the easiest of containers.
  • Pack safe – don’t forget about food safety when packing lunches. Keep hot foods hot with the use of a thermos and cold foods cold by using ice packs and an insulated lunch box.
  • Keep hydrated – send kids to school with adequate fluid, choose water
  • Some ideas for healthy and delicious lunches are:
    • pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber and balls of fresh mozzarella
    • whole grain crackers, cheese cubes, sliced vegetables and a hardboiled egg
    • leftover vegetable and lean meat chili or homemade soup with ½ whole grain bagel and cheese
    • try breakfast for lunch – freeze leftover pancakes and serve up for lunch along side yogurt and a fruit salad or serve up hot oatmeal straight out of the thermos
    • make your favourite omelette in muffin tins and serve with toast triangles and a mix of your little ones favourite veggies
    • Experiment with different grains as the base for lunch to keep things interesting. Try quinoa or bulgur mixed with black beans, red pepper and corn, top with sliced avocado (don’t forget a sprinkle of lemon juice to prevent browning) and some shredded cheddar cheese.

Dinner still hours away?

These days kids are spending more hours away from home during the week.  This scenario calls for additional snacks to prevent dips in energy.  Again aim for 2 of the 4 food groups but consider packing larger portions or an additional snack for your kids to help fuel after school activities, especially when dinner is still hours away.

School lunch success

Packing lunches and snacks doesn’t have to be a pain, get inspired by looking up recipes and ideas for snacks and lunches, involve kids in this process as it is more likely that they will eat the foods they have been involved in choosing and/or preparing.  Keep things exciting by trying to include new foods and keep a list of the tried and true lunch and snack ideas and combinations to consult when you are at a loss for what to pack.

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.


Family-Friendly Summer Treats

Your Nutritional Guide to a Summer Full of Freshness

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

Olympic Rings

Elite athletes can serve as healthy role models for today’s youth but it is important for parents to balance the image of a successful sports hero with the realities of life behind the scenes to help put a human face on Olympic-sized success.

According to Dr. Gail Beck, Director of Youth Outpatient Psychiatry at The Royal in Ottawa, children will learn the most from role models who they can relate to and have demonstrated hard work to achieve their goals.

Beck said many of the athlete profiles that appear during Olympic coverage do a good job of illustrating the commitment and effort that goes into becoming a world-class competitor in addition to highlighting the community of supporters – from parents to coaches – who make invaluable contributions along the way.

“You’ll see these athletes engaged in practices of their sport, talking to their coaches, you cannot see those and make any mistake about how hard they have to work to achieve their goals,” She said. “This isn’t luck.”

In addition to underscoring how hard their role-models have worked to become successful, Beck stresses the importance of reminding kids that everyone – however powerful or prominent in their field – is subject to human frailties.

Beck references examples like Ben Johnson, Canada’s decorated Olympic sprinters whose gold medal was rescinded as a result of steroid use, to illustrate how balancing a child’s admiration with the realities of life will help prevent disillusionment and confusion if someone they look up to does something wrong.

“A 10 or 11 year old is very likely to idolize a sports figure thinking everything this person does is perfect, so if that sports person happens to fall from grace, there can be this huge disappointment,” Beck said.  “It’s important to always balance the good of the person with the fact that everybody has had to overcome some challenges.”

Many Olympic athletes, like cyclist and speed skater Clara Hughes, have used their platforms for good, going on to become advocates for worthwhile causes like mental health awareness.  Beck said it’s a valuable lesson for children to see their heroes making contributions outside of their field and using their talents and fame to make a larger difference in the world.

Lazy summer days wouldn’t be complete with our favourite warm-weather treats, but this summer, consider mixing up your family’s snacking routine with a variety of delicious – yet nutritious – bites.

Contrary to popular belief, nutritious foods don’t have to be a total yawn fest.  There are several ways to put a fun and delicious spin on healthy alternatives, see below for some inspirational ideas!

  1. Summer Salsa! Turn melon, strawberries and pineapple into a colourful salsa and serve it up with whole grain pita triangles sprinkled with cinnamon.
  2. Savvy Skewers! Layer a variety of fruit and berries onto a skewer with a dip of plain Greek yogurt spiked with honey, cinnamon and a dash of vanilla. T
  3. Popsicle Fun! Think of your favourite flavour combinations and freeze them in popsicle moulds or blend up a frozen banana with honey and a few tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and you have instant chocolate banana ice cream.
  4. Delicious Dippin’! Kids love to dip, offer cut up vegetables along side a protein packed new spin on hummus by blending together edamame, tahini, roasted garlic and lemon juice, it’ll also taste great with some whole grain crackers.

Hungry yet?

Mixing in some nutritious alternatives will give your family that burst of energy they need to enjoy the rest of summer to its fullest! Enjoy!

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.


Your Nutritional Guide to a Summer Full of Freshness

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

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ontario’s Minister of Children and Youth Services has penned an open letter to Toronto’s City Council making his case for why the city’s current street hockey ban should be lifted.  Council is expected to debate the issue later this week.

Michael Coteau says Ontario’s capital city can lead the way for other places around the province to encourage outdoor play.

“Road hockey bans are commonplace in municipalities across Ontario and I am hoping your council will show leadership by making it clear that children can and should play safely on neighbourhood streets,” he said.  “A vote to overturn the prohibition and let kids play will challenge other municipalities to abolish similar road hockey bans in their own communities.”

In his letter, Coteau, a father to two young daughters and MPP for Toronto’s Don Valley East constituency, stressed the many upsides of physical activity that go beyond on the obvious health and wellness benefits.  He said life skills such as communication, patience, perseverance and teamwork go hand-in-hand with an active lifestyle.

At paramount issue in this debate is the safety risk posed to children who are playing in the street. Council will also weigh the potential hazard for motorists as well as possible interference with city maintenance.  A city staff report recommends keeping the ban in place for those reasons.

“Transportation Services believes that the “Status Quo” option represents the best balance of competing needs. Recognizing that street hockey, basketball, and other sports activities do occur on public roadways, there are legitimate safety and liability concerns with permitting this activity,” the report states.

Coteau says he’s taken safety under consideration in his proposal and believes there are ways to encourage physical activity while also ensuring the well-being of children across the city.

“The obvious issue at hand is the safety of our children, and I agree that our kids need to be safe, but there has to be a better way than denying them of their right to play,” he said.  “That’s why I am urging all City Councillors to think carefully about this debate.”


Play On

Terrible Report Card

Summer Fun


No one revels in the art of taking smart shortcuts more than yours truly. You know the one that leads from point A to D with expedience and without sacrificing quality. It’s a thrilling thing! And when you master it, there is no turning back. The sheer delight in increased efficiency, timely turnarounds and NOT wasting time is, “in short” — phenomenal!

The convenience industry which characterizes much of society today includes a fulsome range of neat businesses and “hard-to-live-without” services running the gamut. From healthy daily meal preparation with delivery to your door, to grocery shopping online and the endless variety of cleaning services, personal trainers, landscaping artists — the list goes on and on.

Then there are the veritably endless apps that can conveniently keep you honest with food intake and weight loss, sleep trackers and the enabling gifts of all kinds to magically appear at the front door of family and friends marking a special occasion — and within swipe or click or tap range, or flashing from a wearable device. It’s truly head-spinning material.

Which brings me to a newly discovered convenience, one that may very revolutionize an entire industry: buying a car — from loan to purchase — entirely ONLINE. Honestly, I found the concept truly amazing. Making one of the largest purchases one has to make in their life, using the click, tap, swipe method. Whoa!

It all got me thinking, as I watched my 16-year-old son climb into the gleaming taupe-coloured Driver’s Education car, with the instructor in the passenger seat, poised to begin the lesson.

The convenience industry has definitely enabled efficiency to a large extent which means in theory we should be able to spend more time doing more of what we love and hopefully less time, doing the opposite. That should presumably give us more time to chase those creative pursuits, do more of what brings up happiness, free up time to spend on what matters — family, friends, fitness, faith, to-do lists before they become bucket lists on a time limit, etc.

For parents, being able to tap into some of what makes up the convenience industry — hopefully the free or less-costly things — should mean freeing up time to spend that ever-elusive “quality” time with our children, spouses and partners.

But does it? Or do we somehow resist the benefits of the convenience industry and fill up that newly gained time with more stuff — that “stuff” that renders us all busy, ALL.THE. TIME. The B word that forms the common refrain to questions like: How’ve you been? How is life treating you? What have you been up to?

Time management is an ongoing odyssey for many of us, but for parents, it must be mastered quickly and on an ongoing basis as a matter of pure survival. Working parents understand this best. No time to waste. The clock is ticking. Drop-offs, pick-ups, schedules, nap time, calendars, activities, snack, meal and potty time, and of course timeouts. The clock whirrs.

While we cannot stop the clock, despite many valiant efforts to attempt such a feat, we could try to outsmart it. Perhaps stealing time — precious moments, priceless seconds, an hour here and there — truly leveraging the age of convenience that we live in to our own advantage, could offer the best of both worlds: A greater appreciation of living in the now.

I can frequently be heard saying to my children when they respond, “I’ll do it later.” Whatever IT is. Depending on the importance of the IT, a.k.a. the ask, I’ll reply, “Why not do it now, later may not come.”

And then there’s the priceless magnet on my father-in-law’s fridge reads which provides further food for thought and summarizes this concept so well: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The worldwide eulogizing of arguably the greatest personality of the 20th Century has been simply riveting to observe, on so many levels and for so many reasons.

Each of us should make time, regardless of age or interest, and take in a little bit of the more-than-full life lived with passion, purpose and principle that Muhammad Ali led. And the heavy, weighty legacy he leaves behind.

What struck me about the self-professed ‘greatest of all time’, or #GOAT as one of my kids reminded me is something I hope that my children will embody in their own lives: Muhammad Ali was his own man. Love him or hate him, question him or applaud him — he did his own thing.

That ‘own thing’ was usually rooted in a commitment to doing the right thing — and often against definite, daunting odds. Doing the right thing for him was a mirror reflection of his personal beliefs, hewn from his upbringing and environment. After all, we are all ultimately products of how we were raised and the environment we are exposed to — are we not?

His unwavering principle is something to marvel at. Principle supported by action. He didn’t just talk the talk (which in itself he was highly-skilled it and evidenced in a litany of piercing quotes). He backed it up with action — which was usually followed by some degree of conviction and courage — cause being your own man is usually a road riddled with potholes, even in the best of times.

Just think about the pockmarked backdrop that defined Ali’s formative years: racial strife and social injustice (the plight of ‘colored’ people in the United States at that time), political unrest (the Vietnam War for which Ali refused to be conscripted) — all this and much more as the fire ignited in the 12-year-old boy who set out to be the architect of his own destiny, emerging as a confident, outspoken boxer of ‘colour’ whose drive, diligence and desire propelled him to international fame, glory and controversy.

Muhammad Ali had many reasons to throw in the towel (something he rarely if ever did in the boxing ring) — in his life. Instead he persevered to pursue his beliefs, seemingly never swayed by anything or anyone but his strong sense of self and his personal convictions.

That is something to be admired. And definitely something to emulate. And in my opinion, sadly, a dying breed.

Muhammad Ali/U.S. Library of Congress
Muhammad Ali/U.S. Library of Congress

Today, doing the right thing, is also widely tested but in different ways. Measured against opinion from our family, friends, classmates, social media, the internet, what the Joneses are doing — it’s a robust, often influential list. It is easy to get sidetracked and even sideswiped. Staying the course is not a matter of course. The tide of ‘peer pressure’ ebbs, flows and usually devours those who hesitate.

At the end of the day, the only real measure of any consequence should be doing the right thing. Easier said then done.

As a parent, trying to raise children who understand right from wrong is something that starts early and is reinforced often. Adults can get led astray. Why should we expect a child to be any different. When you boil it down, the examples of right vs wrong occur daily in our lives, in both mundane and mammoth ways. Daily reality checks, should we choose to view them as such.

Doing the right thing is rather obvious when you think about it. Literally black and white. The challenge is following-through when it feels like you are on an island. Those who are capable of that follow-through usually emerge as true leaders. They may not have the title or the handlers or the finances to tell them they have the stuff of a leader, but their actions speak volumes. And that is what counts.

Sure, Muhammad Ali will be remembered by many for his memorable feats in the ring rising to become the heavyweight champion of the world. Others will surely admire his devout faith and finding it. There will be those who marvel at his searing courage in the face of mounting adversity. Individual traits, all of them, that should definitely be highly regarded. But when you strip it all down, you’re left with the core — a man guided by his principles and the desire to live them, daily.

The dramatic jabs, uppercuts, misses and body blows he endured in the ring mirrors greatly Ali’s life outside it. He even perfected the ‘on the ropes’ move as a part of his in-ring strategy. All focused on winning the bout. Outside the ring, focused on preserving his principles. And while he no doubt had his flaws, it’s difficult to knock a man down for doing what’s right.

I look forward to hearing from his children — what it was like to have such a giant as a parent.

Talk about humongous footsteps to follow.

That too, should be riveting to watch unfold.


Six Adult Lessons I Learned as a Young Dancer

A Person of Principle

Faces of Leadership

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!


  • 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.


  • 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.


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


Meanest Mom Ever - Jaime Primak Sullivan
Jaime Primak Sullivan/Facebook Profile Picture

A U.S. reality TV star is garnering online attention and praise for her tough-love approach to parenting.

Jaime Primak Sullivan, star of Bravo’s Jersey Belle, was appalled by her kids’ dismissive treatment of a Dairy Queen employee when the family was out for ice-cream this past weekend.   Not one of them said “thank you” to the young lady behind the counter or to their mom for purchasing the treat.

Meanest Mom Ever

In an online post that has since gone viral, Sullivan explained how she calmly counted to 10, gave herself a silent pep-talk, then collected each of the desserts and threw them in the garbage while her children  looked on in confusion and horror.

Once everyone settled down, Sullivan says she explained to them the importance of treating people with respect and to really “look them in the eye and say thank you.”  At ages eight, seven and five, she says her kids are too old to overlook the importance of basic manners in everyday life.

Jaime Primak Sullivan's Facebook post that has since gone viral.
Jaime Primak Sullivan’s Facebook post that has since gone viral.

The reaction to Sullivan’s post has been overwhelmingly positive with many posters praising her tough-love approach to parenting and sharing similar experiences from their own lives.  The post has been shared 44, 000 times on Facebook and has drawn more than 350,000 ‘likes’ in just four days.

In a subsequent video blog on her Facebook page, Sullivan says she viewed the Dairy Queen experience as a “teachable moment” and that a more measured response would not have yielded the kind of long-term impact she’s was looking for.

“I would like them to treat people with basic human decency, perhaps more than basic – forever,” Sullivan said. “Because if I die tomorrow, I’m leaving you with my three children, so I would like for the world to be better because they’re in it.”


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Service with a Smile

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No App for That! A Parent’s Guide to Explaining Simpler Times



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!




Korean Beef Bowl Prepared by Corey Etherington for Week 3 of Nutrition Week

By: Corey Etherington

Another successful week on our journey to healthy living!

This week we focused on portion control, something that’s been a challenge for us in the past as I tend to serve larger-than-necessary helpings that often lead to overeating. Our goal for the last seven days was to pay close attention to how much we were eating, to listen to our bodies and to walk away from the table feeling satisfied – not sick.

By applying the other lessons we’ve learned to date, including meal-planning and cooking with quality ingredients, we were able to prepare reasonable sized portions that were both healthy and delicious – and the slow-cooker only made an appearance once!

Here is what Week 3 looked like in our house:

Monday: Slow Cooker Asian Beef with Brown Rice

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Delicious!! Prep is insanely fast and easy and comes with a fun ginger peeling trick.

Edie’s Rating: Delicious!! Edie absolutely loved this dish. She even asked for it again on Tuesday night.

Corey’s Tip 1: The recipe says to cook for 3.5 hours but there isn’t a lot of liquid in this recipe so I decided to only cook it for 3 hours. Turns out that was a good decision as any longer and the meat would’ve been really dry. But… every slow cooker is different so just like Amanda told us to learn about our oven, learn about your slow cooker too.

Dietitian Tip: Cut the amount of brown rice by half and try making this dish with cauliflower rice to increase your daily vegetable intake.

Dietitian Tip: Add a green veggie like kale and serve the beef on top to add an extra crunch to the mix. Kale is a great source of Beta Carotene and C which are both antioxidants!

Tuesday: Skillet/Oven Chicken Burgers with Greek Salad

Ross & Corey’s Rating: WE LOVE BURGERS!

Edie’s Rating: More! More! More!

Corey’s Tip 1: I made a few modifications to the recipe, including: using ground turkey instead of chicken, eliminating cumin (personal taste) and barbequing the burgers for that delicious, charred quality. Lesson here – make whatever easy modifications you need to in order to ensure the family is eating a balanced, healthy homemade meal.

Corey’s Tip 2: Greek salad dressing is a staple in our house. I never put the salt in and I cut the sugar in half. I also use the optional oregano. LINK: http://www.food.com/recipe/greek-salad-dressing-57642?nl=email_share

Dietitian Tip: Corey is absolutely right! Modify recipes and replace herbs and spices that you’re not fond of with ones you love.   Experimentation is key!

Wednesday: Buddha Bowl

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Maybe we should go vegetarian?! This was so delicious!

Edie’s Rating: Edie tried this on Thursday night but only ate some sweet potato dipped in the tahini sauce. She liked it but was more interested in leftover turkey burgers.

Corey’s Tip 1: Mix-up the flavours according to your preference. This dish will work with any vegetable you have in the fridge and if the recipe is too spicy, modify it!

Dietitian Tip: This dish calls for Tumeric, the spice that gives curry its yellow color. Here are some healthy facts you might not know about it:

  • Curcuminoids or curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric
  • Research being conducted looking at the the beneficial effects of cucumin on;
    • Inflammation, aging, depression, prevention of Alzheimers Disease
Preparing vegetables for the Week 3 Buddha Bowl
Preparing vegetables for the Week 3 Buddha Bowl

Thursday: Citrus Marinated Chicken

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Ross is obsessed with this chicken, the fresh ingredients taste like an explosion of summer!

Edie’s Rating: Edie wasn’t feeling the cilantro in this dish.

Corey’s Tip 1: I used chicken breasts instead of thighs. I prefer white meat so again, personal preference.

Corey’s Tip 2: This recipe calls for broiling. I am not good at broiling – I tend to overcook everything I broil so instead, I just baked the chicken.

LINK: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Citrus-Marinated-Chicken-Thighs-51178850

Dietitian Tip: Setting timers is very useful! Broiling can be an important part of a recipe but sometimes it just needs a couple minutes. Turn the oven light on and keep on eye on your food.


Week three was a really good lesson for us. We listened to our bodies and as a result, our meal planning really paid off. We had leftovers for lunch and even dinner if we wanted it! One of the best parts of the week was that Edie had something new every night and because I was so prepared, we were able to sit together as a family and eat dinner every night. Edie is such a good eater when we are eating too and she is more willing to try new things. It’s awesome!

I can honestly say that this journey has been an amazing experience so far and we have learned so much.

Week 4 is all about trying new things so wish us luck and follow along!

For more expert advice on healthy eating, contact:
Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc.Registered Dietitian, Simply Nutrition


Week 3: Prioritize Portions

Week 2 Recap: Quality Counts!

Week 1 Recap: Meal Plan Your Way to Success!

Stocking-Up On Nutrition Month Essentials!

Following One Family’s Journey to Healthier Eating

5 Ways to Teach Kids About Nutrition

Reading Nutrition Labels

Show Your Fruits and Vegetables Some Love this Valentine’s Day