9 Fruits and Veggies A Day Makes for a Healthy Mama

However insane or ridiculous it might sound, it is possible to consume 9 servings of produce each day. Add kids, a job, hobbies and life to the mix and, well… it’s a bit more challenging, but still possible.

You might be wondering “why on earth do I need NINE servings of produce daily?”

I get it. Why would you go to the trouble of counting your fruits and veggies daily when most people are counting calories (a strategy that I don’t recommend)?

Counting your daily produce servings isn’t as silly as you’d think. In fact, we’d all be a whole lot healthier if we were eating the fruits and veggie requirements. And, I’d venture to guess that most of us aren’t even meeting half that!

In fact, America doesn’t even produce (or import) enough fruits and vegetables for every one of us to eat the USDA’s recommended daily intake (report from UCS here).

Changing policies to reverse this ridiculous situation will not be covered in this blog post (you’re welcome!). Instead I encourage you to create positive change with your wallet and fork.

While I’ll refrain from sharing the fascinating details of nutritional biochemistry, there are a few key reasons why a busy mom would want to eat 9 servings of fruits and veggies each day.

More energy to chase rug rats

Without enough magnesium and B vitamins, your body can’t produce energy for its cells – the result is one tired mama! Skip the fatigue and instead add in more spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, and bananas to keep your energy stable.

Better immunity to fight off germ factories (aka kids)

The body uses vitamin A in veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and kale to produce functional immune cells that fight off infections and bacteria. Plus, ongoing consumption of fruits and veggies high in vitamin C like strawberries, bell peppers and broccoli reduces duration and intensity of common colds.

Faster healing from cuts

Folate in leafy greens and asparagus is critical in repairing tissues from small kitchen cuts to wounds from c-sections.

Hang with the kiddos longer

Phytochemicals, the compounds in fruits and veggies that give them color, are used to fight off infection and disease. These same compounds speak to the genes in humans and can essentially keep our genes healthy! Harvard consistently sites several large studies that prove noshing on LOTS of fruits and veggies lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke and many forms of cancer.

Hopefully, these nuggets of knowledge will motivate you to quit counting calories and start counting produce servings! It doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think.

Here are two sample daily menus that include a whopping 9 servings of fruits and vegetables.

Sample Meal for 9+ Servings of Produce Daily

 

Sample Menu 9+ Servings Produce Daily

Did you learn anything new that will motivate you to eat more fruits and veggies? Which fruits and veggies could you add to your daily nutrition intake? Tell me one step you’re taking to boost your produce intake this week!

Healthy Holiday Kid-Friendly Treats

christmas cocoa

This year, we’re having a holiday party and I’m soooo excited, I can hardly wait! Growing up it was a tradition for extended family and friends to attend my nana’s annual Christmas Eve party. It’s hard to put words to the emotions that are tied to that experience for me, but it never quite felt like Christmas until after my nana’s party. Her house was filled with gorgeous holiday decorations, celebratory food and holiday cheer that are etched in my memory right alongside her hearty laugh and contagious smile. I miss my nana deeply around the holidays and hope that I can recreate the christmas spirit for my son the way she did for me.

My dilemma for our holiday party has to do with sweet treats. For most of us, it isn’t a kick-ass holiday party without sweet treats (and yummy drinks) to fill our bellies! But as a kid, too much sugar, gluten and butter made me feel nauseous, tired and even crabby.

It’s no surprise because that’s what sugar does to little bodies (or any body for that matter)!

angry child with santa outfit

I doubt any kids want to feel junky during the most wonderful time of the year. That’s why for this year’s holiday party, I’ve searched for a few yummy, holiday treats that are kid-friendly and junky-feeling free. I’ve scoured my favorites sites for some oldie but goodies and new treats too. Every recipe listed here is gluten and dairy free, but you’ll also find them to be refined sugar free and low sugar too. Plus, since I have a few nut-free kiddos joining us, I’ve included nut-free treats too. Enjoy!

Gluten-free and dairy-free

Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies by Danielle Walker, author, Against All Grain – you can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies and these are so unbelievably yummy that I had to share.

Soft Pumpkin Cookies by Adrienne from Whole New Mom blog – you can use sweetener of your choice like maple syrup and skip the stevia

White Chocolate Chai Cookies by Kelly Brozyna, author and blogger, The Spunky Coconut – these look amazing for kids and adults alike

Snickerdoodles by Elana Amsterdam, author and blogger, Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry – my husband flipped for these cookies too!

Nut-free

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bites by Danielle Shea Tan, nutrition coach and blogger, Healthy Mamas for Happy Families – these may not look pretty, but they sure do taste delicious!

Pumpkin Bread by Danielle Walker, author, Against All Grain – turn this  yummy bread into mini muffins and they’re perfect for small hands!

Peppermint Marshmallow Crunch Cookies by Danielle Walker, author Against All Grain – these are melt in your mouth good.

Tell me in the comments, what are your favorite healthy holiday treats? How do you make them kid-friendly?

 

Are you placating a picky eater?

I have an important question for you. Do you ask your child what she wants to eat at meal times?

Child strong arming parent for lollipop

If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. You might feel that you have to offer the kinds of foods she wants because otherwise she’ll be undernourished and walk around feeling hungry all day – or week. Well, I’m here to tell you that kind of thinking is like a sweater full price at Neiman’s. I’m not buying it. And you shouldn’t either.

While doling out choices seems like a good idea in the moment, the reality is that this action feeds your child’s mind the belief that it’s OK to grimace over her grub. And it’s really not. If you’re serving up non-stop rounds of mac ’n cheese, pizza and chicken nuggets, day after day, you and your child are on a never-ending merry-go-round of questioning and catering.

So chomp on this food fact for a second. Your child will still grow on empty calories. But the reality is that it’s only with good nutrition (protein, fruits, vegetables, dairy and vegetables) that she has a fighting chance at a disease- and infection-free life. So it’s really important to break the cycle as early as possible, and turn your picky eater into a passionate one.

mom serving soup to daughter

Here’s how: With eSatter’s Division of Responsibility (DOR) method, you get to decide what, where and when you offer food, and your child gets to choose how much or little of it he eats. The idea here is that if parents do their job with feeding, children will do their job with eating. See how nicely that works?

Let me unpack that for you. If you start preparing healthy foods without catering to likes and dislikes, you will ultimately raise children with a delicious appetite for eating a variety of foods. Your child will ultimately grow up wanting to experience different tastes and textures. And in doing so, she’ll get a body designed specifically for her. What could be healthier than that?

Do you have a picky eater? Tell me about your picky eater in the comments. Have you gotten to a place where you just ask what your kiddos want for dinner to avoid the headache?