Summer is officially here! If you are like most overly stressed out moms, you’re probably experiencing a mix of glee and dread all at the same time. The longer, less structured days allow for a bit more freedom without the craziness of running from one activity to the next. Yet at the same time, all of that lounging out by the pool means that you better have your bikini body ready.
Did you know you already have a bikini body? Yes you do!
I swear whether you put on the TV, the radio, or flip open a magazine, everyone is asking you the same question – are you ready for swimsuit season? Well I have news for you. If you have a body and you own a swimsuit, squeeze that body no matter what size it is into your swimsuit and BAM! just like that you’re ready for swimsuit season. It doesn’t matter if you are a size 2, or a size 22. Own your body, love your body, and go enjoy that pool.
I don’t think there’s a single woman (or man for that matter) in the world who can’t find something about their body in a swimsuit that they’d like to change. Maybe they feel too skinny, too big, have stretch marks they’d like to hide, wish they had more muscle…. the list can go on and on. The point is, we all have insecurities, but letting those insecurities hold you back from doing something you enjoy isn’t healthy. Focusing on body insecurities can also send the wrong message to our children.
If you want your children to love their bodies, you have to start by loving yours
Your son or daughter thinks of you, their mother, as the most wonderful and beautiful woman in the world. They want to grow up to be just like you. If you call yourself ‘fat’ or constantly focus on what you dislike about yourself, they may also start to become body focused and worry about their own physical appearance. Over time, this can even lead to lower self-esteem or disordered eating patterns. As hard as it may be, you owe it to yourself and to your children to love your body no matter what your size so that they too will love theirs.
Need help getting away from the ‘diet’ mentality? Check out a few of my recent posts that can help:
Are veggies a struggle in your house? They can be at times in mine. Of course I want my 3 year old to eat his vegetables, but at the same time I try to avoid food battles as much as possible. Begging your child to ‘just take one bite’ or ‘finish all of your vegetables before dessert’ has been shown to increase mealtime stress and increase picky eating behaviors. It also basically tells your child something is wrong with vegetables if you have to beg them to eat them, reinforcing the dislike for anything green.
So what’s the solution? Honestly there isn’t a perfect solution. I wish there was. But what works in our house is a 3-part strategy. First, I get my son involved in everything from purchasing the vegetable, to washing it, to cooking it. Then, we make veggies fun (adding them into fun recipes, cutting them into fun shapes, calling them fun names- whatever works!), and finally we make them part of dessert. That’s right! Dessert isn’t a reward in our house. If you want some chocolate, some ice cream, or a sweet of any kind, it just is part of the meal. It’s pretty common to see my son follow up eating a chocolate chip with a bite of broccoli (as strange as that sounds).
For us this strategy makes vegetables and dessert equals. Instead of glorifying dessert as a reward you earn after eating the less desirable food, the vegetables are viewed as equally tasty. Sure, sometimes they aren’t touched at all and he eats a handful of chocolate chips instead. But other days, he asks for seconds of vegetables and doesn’t even touch the sweets. To me, that’s a win.
If you are looking to add some fun to the vegetables in your house, give our Ninja Turtle Spinach Muffins a try. These sweet treats are packed full of protein, fiber, vegetables – and yes a little chocolate (because what’s a muffin without chocolate) and so good your little one will be coming back for seconds and thirds!
These green muffins make the perfect toddler muffin recipe.
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 3/4 cup shredded carrots
- 1 ripe banana
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar or syrup
- 1 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
- natural food dye
- candy edible eyes (I find these at craft stores such as Micheals or AC Moore)
In a food processor, blend together spinach, carrots, banana, yogurt, oil, vanilla, and egg. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Pour liquid ingredients into dry and mix to create batter. Mix in dark chocolate chips. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).
Allow muffins to cool. Melt white chocolate and mix in 1-2 drops of natural food dye to get the desired color for your turtle’s mask. Spread a small line of melted chocolate on each muffin to create the mask. Place eyes on top of the chocolate and allow to set. Once chocolate has hardened, serve or store remaining muffins for up to 1 week in refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts Per Muffin: 102 calories, 17 g CHO, 3 g FAT, 3 g PRO, 15 mg sodium, 8 g sugar, 2 g fiber
I can’t believe my little guy is turning 6 months old next week. Time definitely flies, but I feel like with baby #2, time is moving even faster. One of the best things about being a second-time mom is that I actually feel like I know what I am doing this time (well sort of anyway). And I think the main reason for that is I know from experience what essentials I need to have on hand to make the day (and long nights) go as smoothly as possible.
After my first baby was born, I had so much stuff, but half of it I didn’t really need or know how to use and I was just left feeling completely overwhelmed. Of course we also had just moved into our home 3 weeks before he was born, so that compounded the issue! This time around I was more confident in what I needed and what products were more of a novelty that I could skip. Since I know all too well how the lack of sleep and lack of time after having a new baby impacts the ability to make rational decisions, I decided to compile a list of my top must-have items for all the new moms and new moms to be out there.
Willow Breast Pump
Breastfeeding? The Willow Breast Pump is a must have! Ok, so to be fair, the Willow Breast Pump comes out this spring and I haven’t been able to try it yet (although I am on the waiting list to be notified when I can by this amazing machine). But, if you have ever used a breast pump, you will understand why this invention is a miracle find for any new mom. I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed my first son until he was 15 months old. With baby number 2, he has been exclusively breastfed as well up until this point. So that means with both boys, I have had A LOT of time to pump when I am away at work or traveling for a work event.
Pumping at work is annoying enough, as you have to build your workday schedule around your pump schedule, but traveling while pumping sans baby is a whole other story. Trying to orchestrate pumping while driving (hands-free of course), in the back of an Uber, or in the airport bathroom after carting your pump and supplies through the TSA security line is not exactly fun. The biggest issue for me at least is finding a space to discretely pump. Pump on the plane? Sure it’s an option if you don’t mind flashing the random stranger sitting next to you. Pump in a public bathroom stall? Sure, I mean it’s cleaner than a porta party. Even if you can pump discretely with a cover, the noise of the pump gives you away. I’m pretty sure my last Uber driver was ready to call the “See Something Say Something” hotline as I was juggling all of my tubes and cords trying to set my pump up.
So the Willow pump doesn’t just allow you to pump hands-free while you wear it, but it is also so discrete you can wear it under your clothes! You can actually walk while pumping!! And it’s supposed to be so quite no one even knows your using it. If that doesn’t sound like a modern day mommy miracle, I don’t know what does. So put this one on your radar to grab as soon as they are available because I know the amount of hours you will save in pump hassles will by fair balance out the cost of this pump.
As a dietitian, of course I am a breastfeeding advocate. However, I also recognize that not every mom or babies can breastfeed for a variety of reasons. Trust me, having two babies with tongue and lip ties, I get that breastfeeding can be hell on Earth at times and it’s not always going to work out. No mom should feel guilty if the breastfeeding journey isn’t for her or her baby. A fed baby is most important. If you choose to give your baby formula either as a supplement to breast milk or to exclusively formula feed your baby, choosing a brand that mimics breast milk as much as possible is key. And that can be hard to find – until now.
I was beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with Happy Family CEO Shazi Visram. Not only is she an incredible business woman and an amazing mom of 2, but she is also very knowledgeable about nutrition and the needs of both mom and baby. Just recently Happy Family brands launched the release of their own baby formula line Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula This formula is one of the only formulas I have ever seen that includes everything from organic ingredients, to prebiotics, to choline, DHA, vitamin D, and iron to closely mimic breast milk. This formula is now available nationwide and is the one I keep on hand as a supplemental formula for my baby.
If you get a chance, I also highly recommend looking at the new Happy Mama product line they now offer as well. In addition to foods and bars that help to support healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding, their breastfeeding support probiotic supplement is key for me. As someone who has suffered with multiple bouts of mastitis with each baby, I discovered that research indicates a certain strain of probiotic, Lactobaccillus salivarius, may prevent mastitis. After much research, the only place I found I could purchase this particular strain (without it being included as a blend with other strains of probiotics) was in the Happy Mama Breastfeeding Support probiotic supplement. So you better believe I have stocked up and recommend it to all the breastfeeding mothers I know!
If I ever lost my baby carrier, I honestly don’t know what I would do. This is probably the best invention ever created for moms, especially moms of two or more. Being able to wear my baby while I chase my 3 year old around allows me so much more flexibility than if my hands we occupied holding him. As an added bonus, he just loves to be worn and it instantly calms him, so it’s a win-win for us both.
I tried out many baby carriers (and I highly recommend you try a few out as well to see what fits your body and baby the best) and this brand is by far my favorite. The multiple positions allow for wearing the baby from the first week of life all the way up to toddlerhood. It’s lightweight, so I don’t find myself or my baby getting too hot and sweaty, and can be washed easily (which is great since Jimmy constantly tries to eat the straps). Whether you want to wear your baby so you can workout together, have your hands free to go grocery shopping, or just don’t feel like struggling with a stroller, a high quality baby carrier is a must have!
Velcro Swaddle Blankets
If you know how to swaddle your baby without Velcro, you deserve a metal. Seriously! There are many things in life I find challenging, but I think trying to swaddle is on par with me trying to figure out how to do my own taxes. No matter how many times I try, I end up failing and needing professional help. Swaddling is the bane of my existence. When I finally think I have succeeded, my little Houdini baby wiggles himself right back out of it (or if he doesn’t, I spend the whole night away staring at his monitor afraid he will unswaddle himself and get the blanket stuck over his head).
As much as I want to just say the hell with it, swaddling is so key in those first few months, at least for my babies, to soothe them while they sleep and prevent them from waking themselves up with their startle reflex. So that’s why when I discovered swaddles that stay closed thanks to the miracle of Velcro, I bought as many as I could. These are a lifesaver. I can swaddle in seconds and the baby stays swaddled all night. I can also sleep now without panicking that my crappy swaddling attempt is going to unravel in the middle of the night and trap my baby. You can pick these up at pretty much any baby store or online on Amazon, but in my opinion, these are an essential (unless you are that freak 1% that can swaddle perfectly –in which case I applaud you!)
What are your top new mom must have essentials?
Disclosure: I have partnered with Flatout® Flatbread to bring this recipe and post to you. Although I have been compensated for my time, all opinions are my own.
In my house, if I ask the question “what would you like for dinner tonight?” I am bound to get the same answer from my husband over and over – pizza! The man could live on pizza and pizza alone. It’s not just pizza as a meal he loves; he’d prefer it as his go-to snack choice as well. Before I started dating him, I had never even tried those bite-sized frozen pizza bites you can find in the grocery store. Once I tried them, I agreed they are pretty tasty, but the nutritional content leaves a lot to be desired. With sodium, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fats – they are not a snack choice I can get behind on a regular basis.
If you have a husband like mine or if you’re a Weight Watchers® member, you know that going the frozen pizza snack route may not always be the smartest choice. Homemade pizza has gone over very well in our house, and it allows me to add in whole grains along with veggies as a topping for a more balanced meal.
However, when I told my husband I was going to make him a more nutritious replacement for his beloved frozen pizza bites, I knew he was skeptical. That was until he saw and tasted these guys! By swapping the standard dough for Flatout Light flatbread, I was able to create a delicious option with whole grains, fiber, and protein that you truly can snack on every day.
If you don’t know about Flatout Flatbread Flatout Flatbread yet, you are missing out. This line is big on flavor with no added sugar while being an excellent source of fiber and protein. It has honestly been one of my all-time favorite food brands to recommend to my clients for as long as I can remember. And it’s not just me who loves them. Flatout Flatbread is now endorsed by Weight Watchers! You can enjoy Flatout Flatbreads for 2 to 4 SmartPoints® value each. The Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale program empowers Weight Watchers members to eat the foods they love with the help of the SmartPoints food plan and live life to the fullest on the journey to good health. If you want to enjoy a favorite food like pizza while you’re on your weight loss journey, you will love this Flatout High Fiber Pizza Bite Recipe. It makes a great snack or even healthier appetizer for your next get-together.
High Fiber Pizza Bites
(makes 2 servings)
2 Flatout Light Flatbreads
¼ cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
¼ cup marinara sauce
1 pinch garlic powder
1 teaspoon olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Using a pizza cutter, slice your flatbread horizontally into two even pieces.
- Place small scoops of tomato sauce an inch apart over the right side of flatbread piece (you want to be able to fold each piece in half, so the sauce should not be centered). When you are placing the scoops of tomato sauce, less is more! You don’t want the sauce to leak out when you go to create the actual pizza bites.
- Next, place a small pinch of cheese on top of each scoop of sauce.
- Fold the flatbread over onto itself so the sauce and cheese are ‘sandwiched’ inside. Using a fork, press down on the edges of the flatbread to seal it closed.
- Using a pizza cutter (or knife) slice the folded flatbread to create individual bite-sized pieces. Once cut, use the fork to seal the remaining edge closed.
- Place pizza bites on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Using a basting brush, lightly brush olive oil on top of each bite. Sprinkle with a pinch of garlic powder and place into the over.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until the flatbread has browned nicely.
- Serve warm with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Makes 2 servings
Saturated Fat: 2gm
Weight Watcher SmartPoints value (per serving): 4
Weight Watchers for services and SmartPoints are the registered trademarks of Weight Watchers International, Inc. Trademarks are used with permission.