Five Ways to Get your Kids to Eat Fruits and Vegetables

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How to Get Your Kids to Eat Fruits & Veggies- SproutRight.com

Hands up, who struggles with getting their kids to eat fruits and vegetables? Without being able to really see your hand up, I know it’s a large portion of the parent population.

Many of my clients come sit in my office asking how to get their child to eat fruit, veggies or both. While some kids gravitate one way or the other, that doesn’t mean you give up on either food group. The diversity of nutrients from various foods offer a plethora of antioxidants, phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and components that haven’t been given a name yet.

Here are my top 5 ways to help fruits and vegetables get into your kid(s):

1. Lay the groundwork.

Does your child know why they need to eat fruits and vegetables? Often the missing link is that they really don’t know why they are important to consume every day. Teaching them about the different food groups is essential and the earlier the better. For instance; broccoli is high in calcium and so strengthens bones and teeth. Show a full body x-ray, from a book or online, of a child and adult. Explain how their bones will grow just like in the pictures and the good stuff that’s in broccoli (and many other leafy greens) is what makes them strong for faster running, better climbing, speedier skating and award-winning tumbling and gymnastics.

2. Take them to the market or supermarket with you.

I know it’s faster to get it done on your own, but make a date with your child to do some shopping without a particular time frame. Spend some time in the produce section looking at the colours, textures, shapes and sizes and how each fruit and veggie smells and feels. Base your exploration on your child’s age and for some, they can tell you the colours of the food, count how many oranges or pears are going into your cart, or ask what’s next on the shopping list.

3. Make a plan.

Meal planning makes your life easier! If your child is old enough to help with planning, have them suggest fruits or vegetables to include with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make up a chart for the fridge or bulletin board. Have homemade or printed photos of fruits and vegetables on magnets or double-sided tape. Have a meal plan chart and ask your child to put the pictures where they want to eat that veggie or fruit. Be sure to include any they don’t like so much and talk about how these can be tried again. Tell them, sometimes foods tastes better than they remember and share any stories of foods that you once chose not to eat, but now love.

4. Get them in the kitchen prepping with you.

If you haven’t noticed, they love to copy what you do. When you spend time in the kitchen mixing and stirring, they want to do the same. I used to keep a chair in the kitchen that could be pulled up to the counter at almost every meal. My kids could see what was going on, and nibble away on what I was prepping. You may find your child will eat what’s on the chopping board more often than when it is served on their plate! Teach your child how to chop with a paring knife first with a soft veggie like mushrooms. Then make a big deal about how he chopped it as you serve dinner to the family. The more they contribute, the more likely they are to eat it.

5. Stop the vicious circle.

When kids are low in nutrients, their appetite can be low they don’t crave or have a taste for healthy foods. I’ve used both tissue salts of 12 different minerals and Juice Plus+ chewable or capsule fruit and veggie powder. A Children’s Heath study from Juice Plus+ has collected data that shows that there’s a 61% increase of kids eating more fruits and veggies, 60% were missing less days at school, 71% were drinking less water and consuming less fast food and soft drinks and 56% were taking less over the counter and prescription medicines. I’ve seen kids in my practice who, after three or four months of taking Juice Plus+ actually wanting to eat fruits and vegetables. Parents report they ask for them instead of sweets or junk food. The feedback I’ve had has been tremendous. Contact us to learn more about JuicePlus+.

It may seem like an endless uphill battle, getting your kids to try new foods and eat more of the good stuff, but it really is an investment of time and energy. While some days may be less than perfect, look for the little improvements and celebrate those!

Image Copyright: ximagination / 123RF Stock Photo

Nutrition for a Strong Immune System: Fight the Cold with Food

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Foods to Fight the Cold & Flu SproutRight.com

Cold and flu season is here and you may already be feeling a little under the weather. Sometimes it is impossible to avoid the flu-bug, no matter how well you eat, and how kindly you take care of your body through sleep, exercise and stress-relief. (Because you are doing all of those things right?!).

When that tickle starts in your nose or throat, there are a few foods that you can consume that will kick-start your immune system, giving your body a fighting chance at fighting off that nasty virus. Here are four tried, tested and true foods that may just be from your grandmother’s kitchen.

Holy Basil

Holy basil, or tulsi, has a rich history in ayurvedic medicine. It brews up into a soothing tea that many people believe aids in stress and anxiety reduction.

Holy Basil may be effective in supporting the immune system because of its interaction with cortisol, the stress hormone. Some studies suggest that holy basil can regulate cortisol levels, where high cortisol levels are associated with adrenal fatigue and reduced immune functioning.

Holy Basil is also an antioxidant and it has been found to have anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties – all meaning it can also be effectively used to soothe the body during illness.

You can take Holy Basil as a supplement but it is wonderful as a tea. Drink one cup of tea a day for prevention, and up to three cups a day during a cold. It is not known how Holy Basil effects pregnant and nursing women so it is best to avoid it then.

Garlic

Feel a cold coming on?! Stock up on the garlic and warn those around you! Garlic has amazing antibacterial properties and it is a delicious way to eat your way to a stronger immune system. Garlic’s power may reside mainly in its rich make-up of sulfuric compounds: one clove contains more than 100 sulfuric compounds. While roasting garlic may make it more palatable, the heat does kill off some of the sulfuric compounds. It is best to enjoy your hit of garlic raw. Infuse it into an oil and enjoy it over salad or steamed veggies. Click here to read about our Garlic Bomb cure.

Wild Oil of Oregano

It may be a hated taste amongst those of us lucky enough to have tried it, but there is no doubt, Oil of Oregano stops cold bugs dead in their tracks! Oil of oregano is distilled from leaves of the oregano plant, yes the same plant that is dried and served in your pasta sauce.

Studies have shown that Oil of Oregano is effective at killing bacteria and it can also support your immune system in staying healthy. Take a few drops under the tongue when you feel a cold coming on. It is also effective at treating coughs and sinus pain.

Turmeric Root

A staple in East Indian cooking and medicine, turmeric root is that spice with the vibrant orange colour. Ground up into a spice it offers curry a down-to-earth taste, shaved from the root and brewed with cow’s milk or coconut milk it makes a drink that your grandmother may have tried to get you to drink: turmeric milk for fighting colds. Turmeric has many healthy benefits, most that come from the root’s high concentration of curcumin. Studies have shown that the curcumin in turmeric root is an effective anti-inflammatory agent, and that when taken regularly it can inhibit cancer cell growth. Something about curcumin makes it hard for the cancer cells to form, and aids in the death of the diseased cells. This support to healthy cells and resistance to invaders could be why turmeric milk has been a popular cold aid for centuries. You can enjoy turmeric powder in curries or brew the root in coconut milk with ginger and a sweetener for a powerful drink.

What are some of your favourite remedies from childhood? Have you tried any of these or will you give them a shot?

Image Copyright: ximagination / 123RF Stock Photo

Transform 30 Challenge: How to Lose Weight This Month

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Transform 30 Challenge - Lose Weight with Sprout RightIt is a challenge to put self-care on the top of your priority list for 30 days. As busy as we all are in today’s fast-paced life, there are plenty of distractions to, well, distract.

Can it be done? Anything can be done when you put your mind to it. Even as the weather is turning cooler and the temptation to sit on the couch with the remote and your fave snack each evening is high.

If you have a few pounds or many pounds to shed, making a start can be tough. Resistance to change seems to be a part of human nature. We get entrenched in what we do, and to change or alter habits takes brain bandwidth that’s not always there for the taking.

So what can you do? Flip a switch that goes from “No way” to “Yes way”? Sure, why not. Losing weight is a mental game: facing that changes need to be made, and then doing it.

But. But. But.

How do you do it? Can you do it?

Yes you can. I know you can and deep (sometimes really deep) down you know you can too.  You’ve got what it takes.

Make that commitment to yourself. To friends or family. Enlist support and do it with others. However you get s**t done, do it.

Sure you can put it off until you feel the time is right. But what if that’s right now? Here and now is the right time and it’s fear that’s stopping you. Can you see and feel it; the doubt, worry, objections, and million reasons “why not” and not being able to get past the how?

What if the how was taken care of? You could feel amazing. The best you ever have or can remember. As you make changes, your clothes get more comfortable, the muffin top slims and then people start commenting: “You look amazing. Have you lost weight?” That inner smile starts to creep into a massive grin, eventually busting out into a “Yes I have, and I feel fantastic!” You can own that. Be proud and stand that much taller in your clothes a size smaller.

The Transform30 program gets you off to a kick-start that’ll have you glowing in no time. Most who start, don’t stop at 30 days. They keep going to 60 days; or even three or four months. When you reach your goal weight, look and feel the best you have in years, why stop?

You aren’t going to have to starve yourself. Or eat kale and quinoa every day. But you are going to make some changes. Get rid of those foods that could be making you feel bloated or that might be responsible for those undereye dark circles. Or what if your aches and pains went away because you’ve started eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day? Do I have your attention?

Here’s what you can say YES to, right now:

Transform30 Details

Where’s your resistance? Come on. I know you got stuck on one or two. Can’t live without your bread or cheese? Remember that this isn’t forever. It’s a challenge and one that is totally do-able with the right support.

- A meal plan and recipes so you know what to eat instead of your cereal and milk for breakfast, or cheese sandwich or pizza for lunch? You’ll get that.

- How about accountability to people who are in this with you? You’ll get that too.

This program is designed for success. Not half-baked or half-way to the finish line. All the way to your goal, dress or pair of jeans that are still hanging in your closet for that day when the scale tips in your favour.

You’ll find more information here and then you can reach out (info@sproutright.com) to get what you need to kick-start your transformation.

We can’t wait to see the newer, slimmer and greater feeling YOU!

Challenge starts on November 3rd right after the Halloween binge. Stop it before it gains momentum, or before you know it, it’s Christmas and nothing fits!

 

Top 5 Tips for Meal-Planning

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5 Meal Planning Tips on SproutRight.comI love to help men and women achieve their nutritional goals and when we first meet I always ask, “Do you meal plan?” This has many people asking me, “What do you mean!?”

Meal-planning is my little secret for how I make sure my family eats well, that there is always something on-hand for even the busiest weeknight and that I stay on-budget when at the grocery store. Meal-planning is actually quite easy, once you get into the routine, and it can be a real sanity-saver. Grab a notebook and a pen, the kids and other family members, and get started. Here are my 5 top tips for meal planning.

Every family member gets a say.

Studies show that kids are much more likely to eat the food they were involved in creating; whether helping hands-on in the kitchen or deciding what foods they like to eat. Your criteria can be that it be healthy and balanced, but let them come up with some of their favourite meal ideas. You can even make a game out of it! During a family meeting, brainstorm as many meal ideas as you can. Write one meal on each recipe card and shuffle into a deck. When it is time to set your weekly menu, ask one member to choose a card from the pile. Now it is even easier to decide what to have on Wednesday night!

Turn to cookbooks and blogs for inspiration.

There are so many yummy cookbooks and blogs out there, with wholesome and healthy meal ideas. Take a trip to your library or favourite bookstore and see what grabs you. Trying new foods and being adventurous in the kitchen builds up your repertoire, and it also teaches your kids that trying new flavours is fun, and all a part of healthy living. How many new recipes can you try this week? Maybe each time you sit down to meal plan you crack open a new cookbook. Ask a family member to choose one recipe and commit to trying it out! You can also turn to our meal plans, cookbook and recipe cards for inspiration.

Choose a prep day.

With all this adventurous food planning it can feel overwhelming quite quickly. The key to successful meal-planning is designating time to prep meals in advance.  Maybe you can spare a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. You can either make meals in advance and freeze them for a week, or prepare some of the ingredients ahead of time (like cutting vegetables, shredding cheese, cooking broth, cooking pasta). I have even heard of friends getting together to have meal planning parties; they cook up freezer meals in big batches to share.

Always ask yourself, “How can I make two meals out of this.”

Leftovers are a gift to busy families. If you could cook two meals at once, why wouldn’t you? Always make sure you cook up extra portions when making a meal and think about how you might re-purpose some of the ingredients. If you are having BBQ chicken one night, cook up an extra breast and shred for tacos the next night. Make an extra batch of chili and freeze it for another week and extra rice can be thrown into chicken soup, or added to a casserole. Always think ahead.

Have a good meal-planning template.

There are a lot of meal-planning templates out there (just google “meal planning template” and you’ll see just how many there are). Choose one that provides you with lots of room to write, with space to jot down the preparation you need to do the night before and choose one that makes sense for you. Or create your own! It takes just a few minutes and you can always have it on-hand for weeks and weeks of meal-planning fun.

What are your tips for healthy meal planning?

 

Homemade Baby Food: Fall Purées

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Fall Tastes for Baby SproutRight.comThe fall harvest provides many exciting foods for your baby to try including apples, pumpkin, squash, beets and turnip. Buying in-season has several important benefits:

  • It keeps your costs down: In-season fruit is more cost effective than out-of-season imports. Shorter travel distances, sales at your local grocer and top picks at your favourite farmer’s market all mean savings passed on to you;

  • It keeps it local and fresh: Because your produce travels less distance, it is closer to the source. Try farmer’s markets where you can buy directly from the farmer and ask questions like has it been sprayed, or when was it picked? The freshest fruits and vegetables taste better, and are more nutritious.

  • It supports local farming and your community’s economy.

  • It just tastes better!

Butternut squash and pumpkin are great first flavours for young babies. In my book, Sprout Right Nutrition from Tummy to Toddler, I recommend starting your baby’s food adventure with vegetables. As your baby’s repertoire builds, you can begin to mix different flavours, and add in spices and seasonings (just avoid salt, your baby’s kidneys can’t handle it yet). Try some of these fall-inspired recipes and check out our new meal plan for your little one: Baby’s Easy 7-Day Food Adventure.

Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Fall

Basic Baby Food Apple Purée

This is a great first food for baby. As your baby’s repertoire expands, mix this basic purée with other foods like carrot, squash, pork or chicken.

8 Apples (Gala, Fuji, Pink Lady)

  1. Peel core, and chop apples into medium-sized cubes.

  2. Steam until tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.

  3. Puree until smooth (add a bit of water). Makes about 3 cups.

Roasted Vegetables for the Whole Family (with a puree option for baby)

This is a side dish the whole family can enjoy, making it easy to present a meal of whole food plus a purée. Simply reserve a portion to purée for baby (or offer as a finger food to older babies).

Your favourite assortment of root vegetables. Try beets, turnip, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots and squash. I like to add whole garlic cloves; when roasted they are mild enough to enjoy in one bite.

  1. Cut vegetables into bite-size pieces.

  2. Drizzle with olive oil and season with fresh thyme, rosemary and oregano.

  3. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-45 minutes, until all vegetables are fork-tender.

  4. Purée a portion for baby.

Pumpkin Purée

Avoid canned pumpkin purée and make your own for the most nourishing food for baby. This is a great first food.

1-2lb pumpkin

  1. Remove the seeds and pulp from the inside of the pumpkin. Reserve the seeds to roast for the rest of the family.

  2. Cut the pumpkin into chunks.

  3. Roast in a 375 degree oven until tender. Let cool.

  4. Peel the skin from the pumpkin (or cut easily with a knife). Place the flesh into a blender and purée until it reaches the texture of a smooth, thick soup. Add water to thin to desired consistency.

Make puree slightly thicker if you intend on freezing it, as it can be a little watery when defrosting.

How can you bring the flavours of fall to baby?

Clean up the Mess

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I’ve got two kids and a dog so there is no end to the mess in my house. I’m usually asking for my daughters to clean up this or that, wipe the dog’s paws after a digging session in the back yard. But when it’s me that makes the mess, it brings another level of frustration. Why didn’t I just… you know. Have to stop and clean it up right in the middle of getting stuff done.

I was asked by a new paper towel company, Viva Towels, to check out their towels that stretch (and they do), so I said sure. I have lots to use it on, so here’s my verdict. But don’t take my word for it. Check out Viva Towels online or grab a coupon here.

This post was brought to you by Viva® Vantage*, however the images and opinions are my own. For more information please visit www.vivatowels.ca.

How to Fight the Cold & Flu

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 By Kate McMurray, CNP

Cold & Flu RX on SproutRight.comIt’s that dreaded time of year again – cold and flu season is upon us. Between coughing coworkers and kids coming home with runny noses, getting a cold can feel inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be! Getting sufficient rest, making smart food choices and keeping a positive attitude go a long way in keeping the bugs at bay. It also never hurts to have a few key supplements on hand when your body needs an extra boost. Here’s what we recommend for your natural medicine cabinet:

Vitamin C – Nothing new, but an important nutrient when your body needs to put up a good fight. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and supports the adrenal glands during times of stress (whether that stress comes from work, a looming infection or the sugar you just ate). Keep in mind that Vitamin C is water-soluble. It is easily flushed from the body and so needs to be constantly replenished through dietary intake and, when necessary, through supplementation. Ideally you want to supplement with a Vitamin C that also includes bioflavonoids, the helpful cofactors that give Vitamin C rich foods their bright colours.

Zinc – Another well known flu-fighter, this trace element is essential for the proper development and function of all cells, including immune cells. Zinc deficiency, common among pregnant women, is linked to increased susceptibility to viruses. This is partially due to zinc’s role in maintaining the integrity of mucosal cells (the cells lining the nasal, respiratory and digestive pathways), which are the body’s main barriers against infection.

HMF Intensive Probiotic – Did you know 80% of your immune system is in your gut?! Probiotics aren’t often thought of when it comes to fighting the flu but they are a big part of prevention and recovery.  Healthy gut bacteria helps fight off invading pathogens and also facilitates the assimilation (absorption) of nutrients needed to keep your body strong. Think of your good bacteria like soldiers fighting against the “bad guys.” Probiotics replenish your troops. This becomes especially important if you are taking antibiotics, which wipe out both beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut.

Echinasyr – This homeopathic remedy includes Echinacea (a well known immune enhancer and antiviral agent) as well as plant pigments, red raspberry and black current. This syrup is great tasting and sugar-free making it ideal for infants and children.

Imu-Gen – An herbal tincture made from the buds and young shoots of Sea Buckthorn, English Walnut and Dog Rose. These plants are known to stimulate the immune system, balance intestinal mucosa or skin and reduce inflammation in the ears, nose and throat. This anti-infectious combo is a great way to support your body throughout cold and flu season.

With these supplements on hand you’ll be well-armed for cold and flu season. Don’t forget to drink lots of water, eat your greens and have the whole family practice frequent hand washing!

Don’t want to hit the stores for these? We’ve packaged them up for you so buy all together in a special package and receive a free 15-minute consult with a nutritionist to learn how to take each product. BUY NOW.

Kate McMurray, CNP works as a holistic nutritionist at The Big Carrot Natural Food Market in Toronto and offers workshops, consultations, lectures and cooking classes throughout the city. Find her at www.katemcmurraynutrition.com

References:

Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (1998)

Seroyal. “Phyto-gens handbook” (2011)

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/68/2/447S.full.pdf

http://www.douglaslabs.ca/pdf/pds/ZNL.pdf

 

Image Copyright: leungchopan / 123RF Stock Photo

Baby’s Taste Adventure

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Mint and Other Spices for Baby - Recipe on SproutRight.comSo many jarred baby foods or pouches seem healthy enough, but the taste just isn’t the same as homemade. Have you ever tried pea purée from a jar? Or a blend with meat like chicken? Try it one day and you’ll see what an odd taste your baby is developing his palate with.  And yet we feed this to our baby and wonder why he just isn’t that interested when it comes time to share our food!

I get mixed reactions from new mothers when I suggest adding herbs, spices and flavour-packed seasoning to baby food purée. My immune boosting purée contains garlic, cilantro and lemon juice and the reaction is often the same– “can my baby eat garlic?” Of course! A tiny bit of garlic really appeals to your baby’s palate. It takes the toned-down taste of lentils and chickpeas and really amps it up, appealing to the entire family’s taste buds!

Once you have introduced your baby to a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and protein sources (think fish, turkey or chicken thigh, some red meat, eggs, tofu and tempeh), try making more complex dishes that combine different ingredients, together with a few spices (avoid hot spices that can burn baby’s mouth). Your baby would likely enjoy a pear-avacado purée, corn and red pepper purée, or a purée of turkey, stock, carrots and potatoes. If you are making your family’s favourite beef stew – purée this to a chunky texture and introduce your baby to the wonderful tastes of root vegetables, lean red meat, thyme, rosemary and oregano.

If you aren’t sure how to transition from simple purées, the one ingredient purées your baby started with, to more complex dishes, try our 7 Day Meal Plan for Baby that takes your little one on a taste adventure. It is a meal plan suitable for children 6 months of age or older (with instructions on how to adapt it to introducing solid foods) and has some creative mealtime solutions you and your older children would enjoy as well. This meal plan includes over 25 recipes, as well as helpful information about baby led weaning. It is recommended that you purchase this meal plan in combination with The Wean Machine, but the recipes work well without this baby food-making tool.

For a sneak peek at what the 7 Day Meal Plan for Baby offers, we are sharing a recipe with you here.

Enjoy!

Red lentil, carrot, ginger & mint soup

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 red onion, finely diced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp grated lemon rind

1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained

4 small carrots (or 3 large), grated

4 cups water

2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, cumin, ginger and lemon rind and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the onion has softened.

Add the lentils, carrots and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Stir in the mint.

What new taste adventures do you have your baby on?

How to WIN at a Baby Show: Your 5-Step Guide

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Sprout Right's Guide to a Baby ShowIf you are gearing up to attend a baby show this weekend, or any trade show anywhere in Canada, it’s a great way to discover what to buy for your growing family. Trade shows – with so many vendors offering products, services and information, as well as workshops put on by the show’s organizers – can be overwhelming. First time parents are eager to check out baby products and services made for their parenting adventure, but after the third baby food booth, it’s tough to remember the first.

I’ve exhibited at my fair share over the years want to share my top tips for how to WIN at a baby show and get what you want and need out of the experience:

1. Set Your Targets

Attending a baby show, or trade show of any kind, means you can access a whole lot of vendors in one place! But this can also be kind-a overwhelming. It still amazes me how many strollers are out there to purchase, and how many of them have one special gadget-y feature or another! And as a nutritionist helping new parents, I know that the array of formulas on market today can leave your head spinning.

Just as I ask my clients during one-on-one consultations: what do you want to get out of this experience? It’s ok to say “just to have fun” or “to see what’s out there.” But knowing this ahead of time will frame your day. It will allow you to zero in on what type of vendors you want to stop and chat with, and what workshops you might like to attend. There are so many things to do at the Baby Show in Toronto! Knowing what your priorities are will help you zero in on where best to focus your attention.

2. Have a Plan of Attack

You can browse the list of vendors for this fall’s Baby Show Toronto online. And the list of workshops is now available to you, so you can begin to plan your day. Use this information and make a list of your “must see” and “must do” beforehand so that you don’t miss out on something that was actually quite important to you, and so you don’t feel quite so overwhelmed when you step out onto that trade show floor. It isn’t possible to take it all in (at least I have never found this possible!) so knowing your priorities will help make it the best experience possible!

Most shows will offer a map when you arrive; grab one and let this guide you.

3. Pack and Wear “Practical”

Pack water, snacks and maybe lunch unless you are good with fast(er) food. Pizza is a staple at most shows. (It’s not that I don’t support the food vendors at these trade shows, but as a nutritionist I can tell you that not many of the offerings meet my stamp of approval.) Make up a batch of Go Faster Granola bars, and bring a few bars in your purse. (Or pack a handful of almonds with an apple).

Being practical is a skill but at a baby show it is a necessity, especially for pregnant moms. And by practical I mean–what can you do to be your most comfortable? Flats for some, heels for others. Any shoe with the kitten heel that you don’t usually wear or that have blister potential, will make you want to crawl out of the show by the end of the day! As an exhibitor, I have learned this lesson the hard way!

4. Take it Easy

Expectant mothers take note: sound advice no matter what the occasion! Don’t try to do it all, and see it all. This is where your target planning and research will guide you. Most shows have a re-entry option, so you can come back the next day. Filter out what is less of a priority and focus on what you want to accomplish, and making it the best day possible. When you need to, stop and take a break – drink your water sitting down, have a bite to eat, rest your tired feet. Mixing up your day by attending workshops is a great way to find the breaks you need, as is seeking out the areas of the show that the organizers have designated just for this purpose. At The Baby Show in Toronto this weekend, there is the DK Area and Reading Nook, which is perfect if you have young kids with you.

5. Put Fun First

Many of the vendors have exciting contests and special deals on products (I will be running an amazing contest, and offering a special price on my book, as well as The Wean Machine and a 7-day meal plan for baby). Many attendees I meet know going into the day that contests will be on offer and they bring their address, email and telephone number pre-printed on a label. Smart! What a great tip!

All in all, the main objective is to have fun, isn’t it? And to get to learn more about some pretty great products and services… maybe to win a contest! A baby show can be a great way to spend a Saturday or a Sunday, but be sure to put some thought into creating your “plan of attack.”

What’s on your list of who to see?

What’s in Mom’s Lunch Bag: 5 Quick & Healthy Lunch Ideas

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5 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Mom - Sprout Right

So, you are in the swing of back to school and how’s your lunch looking? Not as good as the one you packed for your kids, I bet. Us moms (and dads) can be guilty of putting loving energy into our children’s lunches – packing nourishing, brain-boosting munchies – and then grabbing any old thing for ourselves.

You’re a busy mom – I get that – so here are 5 quick and easy lunch ideas that put your health first. 

1. Leftovers – Use What You’ve Got for a Balanced Meal

Fish Cakes by Sprout Right - 5 Healthy Lunches for Moms

This is a simple way to make sure you have something nourishing to pack easily in your lunch: make extra supper and pack up a serving even before you eat. It could be leftover stir fry, a slice of lasagna, or a fish cake with a side of steamed veggies.

2. The Updated Ploughman’s – A Plate of Nourishing Small Foods Really Adds Up

Love this easy, breezy lunch that typically features an assortment of cold plate favourites. Make your own combination, or try our lightened-up suggestion: a hardboiled egg, hummus with carrots, organic gluten-free crackers with your favourite nut butter (try walnut), a sliced honey crisp apple.

3. Salad in a Jar – Layer a Salad for a Perfectly Pack-Able Nourishing Meal

Salad in a Jar on Sprout Right - 5 Healthy Meal Ideas for Mom

Your mason jars aren’t just for canning! Layer your favourite salad ingredients and carry the whole shabang to work in this totally totable jar. Start with your dressing along the bottom, add heavier ingredients like chickpeas. Layer in some quinoa for a protein boost and then add your lettuce on top. Top with cut vegetables and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds or sunflower seeds. Tip the entire jar into a large bowl at lunch.

4. Hummus and Veggie Wrap – Pack the Veggies into a Whole -Grain Wrap

Reach for a sprouted grain wrap and spread it with your favourite homemade hummus. Add as many veggies as you can find in your fridge – try red pepper, cucumber, sprouts, carrots, zucchini and lettuce. Add nuts and seeds for an extra heart-healthy crunch. Wrap up and enjoy.

5. Easy Quinoa Salad – Add Every Vegetable You’ve Got for a Big Fibre Boost

Quinoa is a great cook-ahead grain; prepare a batch on a Sunday afternoon and add to salads (even enjoy it with berries for breakfast) all week long. Create a big bowl salad by adding all the veggies you’ve got in your fridge – cauliflower, broccoli, beans, snap peas, sprouts, cucumbers, tomato, peppers – and top with a good scoop of quinoa. Dress this with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.

If you aren’t on top of your game, home or work, the family starts to crumble. You’ve got no more excuses! We’ve given you 5 easy, and yummy, lunch ideas to fill your work week.

What’s your fave and what will you try?