Monday, August 29, 2016

Back To School Lunch Ideas

Back to School is here and with that is the pressure for parents to provide healthy, nutritious lunches that meet today's Pinterest standards.  Seems impossible right?  It's not! As a dietitian I recommend including just 3 food groups in your kids lunch, so a lean protein sandwich on whole grain bread with a side of fruit would totally get you there.  Add cheese and we have another food group...winning! 

If you need a dose of inspiration then I have the online resource for you.  The folks at Annie's, Applegate, Honest Kids and Rudi's Organic Bakery created Rock the Lunch Box.

Rock the Lunch Box is an online resource where parents can sign up to receive coupons from the brands they trust and search for rocking lunch ideas and inspiration to make packing a better lunch box easier.

Last week I visited NBC Miami with creative yet simple lunch box ideas.  Keyword - SIMPLE! 

For more visual inspiration visit

Happy BTS season!

Love and cartoon lunch boxes,

Disclosure: I was compensated for the above TV segment but not this blog post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Quick Breakfasts for Back To School

The following blog post is sponsored by the American Egg Board and Egg Nutrition Center.  As always all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Busy school mornings can be challenging for parents and long school days can be equally tough on kids adjusting from the freedom of summer. As a dietitian I don’t have the secret formula for a straight-A student, but I do know the important role a good breakfast has in giving kids energy and focus. 

Research shows eating high-quality protein foods for breakfast, like eggs, can help you and your family feel more satisfied throughout the day.

I have always been a breakfast eater and I’m not ashamed to say that some days as a child I enjoyed donuts or even leftover cake for breakfast.  While it was delicious sometimes I found myself ravenous by 10am with lunch hours away.  I was on the right track by having SOME breakfast as multiple scientific studies demonstrate the cognitive benefits of eating breakfast, such as improved memory recall time, improved grades and higher test scores.[1][2] 

BUT what I was missing was high-quality protein.  The kind that’s easily found in eggs. 

Now that I’m the mom and have my own little one, I am focused on creating morning meals that fuel us both with a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Many egg-based breakfasts fit that bill.  They also come together quickly, which is essential in the am.

Nutritionally eggs are a powerhouse, with one large egg containing 6 grams of high-quality protein and antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, found within the concentrated natural yellow color of the egg yolk, as well as vitamins E, D, and A.

A current favorite recipe in our household is egg muffin frittatas.  They sound fancy but they’re oh-so easy to make.  If you already do weekend food prep these are great for you.  Once prepared you can store them in the fridge or even freeze for a fast breakfast in the future.
Kyle leaves the house at 0-dark-30 most weekday mornings and I’m just not the gal to get up with him and prep breakfast at that time.  Sorry babe! Each morning I send him on the way with 3 hard boiled eggs and a slice of oatmeal bake to eat as he drives.

Now that Bear is nearing 15 months she is eating 3 meals and 2 snacks per day.  Well maybe….we have the makings of a picky eater on our hands but scrambled eggs with cheese are always a hit.  I’m happy knowing she’s getting protein and the nutrients I shared above.  If she’s awake and we need food fast then I whip up these microwave mug scrambles.  They’re ready in 3 minutes and the clean up is fast too.  That’s a win, win for Mommy.
More good news for egg lovers? The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans removed the daily limit on dietary cholesterol and include eggs in all three recommended healthy eating patterns. This supports the consumption of eggs along with other nutrient-rich whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. 

Here’s to wishing you a happy, stress-free back to school season with many EGG-celent breakfasts.

What’s your favorite egg dish?
What did you have for breakfast today?

Love and sunny side up,

[1] Rampersaud G, et al. Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. JADA 2005;105:743-760.
[2] Pollitt E, et al. Fasting and cognition in well-and undernourished school children: a review of three experimental studies. AJCN 1998;67:779S-784S. Vander Wal JS et al , et al. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. Int J of Obesity 2008: 32(10):1545-1551.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Life with a 1 Year Old

I have a one year old!  Wow!  Well technically I have an almost 15 month old, but I wanted to share some of her milestones and our daily life with our now toddler.
We had a Little Mermaid themed birthday party for our red headed girl.  We still don't believe that her gorgeous red hair will stick around, so we wanted to celebrate it while we could.  Bear wasn't a fan of the cake, but she loved all the attention and swimming with her cousins and friends.

Even though sometimes she is up earlier than Mamma would like, Bear does a good job sleeping through the night.  She averages 10.5 - 11 hours of sleep a night and we still aim for 2 naps a day.  If she has a long am nap or a busy afternoon we may only get in 1 nap.  I'm thankful she is not in daycare when it comes to naps as a lot of daycare centers transition 1 year olds to 1 nap and my little Bear is still counting on those afternoon zzz's.  And Mamma may be counting on them too to get work done!

Bear is hit or miss with eating.  Her clear favorite food is cheese with blueberries and waffle a close second.  She's not the kid who will beg for food and sometimes it's a bit of horse and pony show to get her to eat, but I know she'll get there.  I just make sure to keep offering her a well balanced plate and keep meal time a positive occurrence.  One thing she will consistently refuse is meat.  She loves eggs and tofu but she passes on meat.  My budding vegetarian!
Chatter Box
It's probably no shock that she's a talkative.  Her favorite words are "mamma" "dada" "cat" and "GO-GO".  See she's a race announcer in training!

Favorite Things
Now that she is a walking pro (started at 13.5 months) one of her favorites things to do is go outside.  She's just discovered digging in the dirt, which as you can imagine isn't MY favorite thing to do. We take her to MyGym once a week and she loves gymnastics and dancing to the music there.  She's not quite into interacting with other kids, but most kids her age are still quite internal.

What's next?
Now that's she's walking, Kyle and I are trying to be brave and take her more places.  We tend to keep her at home more than we should for fear of "nuclear meltdown", but we're doing better.  She has loved the nearby splash pad and I hope to bring her to Disney when it cools down. She's also signed up for the Wine & Dine kids race and I may just cry when she takes off running thinking about how last year she couldn't even crawl.

I hope you have enjoyed watching Bear's first year unfold on social media.  Any tips for navigating life with a toddler?

Do you have kids - what was their first word?
Favorite kid TV show?

Love and go-go,
Carissa & Kyle