The past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. Welcoming baby Jimmy and growing from a family of three to a family of four has been an adjustment. Sure, we are sleep deprived and running on fumes, but the joy in watching my older son embrace his role as big brother and getting to know and love our new little one are experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything. The biggest difference I have noticed since becoming a mother, and I am sure you can relate, is how easy it can be to forget about self-care and focus only on the needs of your family instead of yourself. The thing is, I know that taking the time to ensure my dietary needs are met won’t just help me, but will be essential in promoting health in my baby as well. That’s why I teamed up this month with the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED) www.alwaysomega3s.com to provide this sponsored post on the importance of omega-3 fatty acids and why they are essential for both you and your baby.
EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, which come from marine sources such as fish and algae, play a large role in the health of your baby. Everything from brain development to eye health can be impacted by the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, in particular DHA. you consume each day. GOED put together this fantastic video that explains the importance of DHA in the diet for the health of both mom and baby.
As a new mom once again, I wanted to share with you my top three reasons as to why you need omega-3 fatty acids in your diet and how to get them, especially if you are planning to become pregnant, are already pregnant, or are nursing your child.
#1 Fish oil supplementation may reduce the odds of preterm birth
Recently, a study was published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology that looked at the role omega-3 fatty acids play in preterm birth (babies born before 34 weeks) and preterm delivery (babies born before 37 weeks). The study found that taking an omega-3 supplement during pregnancy reduced the risk of preterm birth by 58% and reduced the risk of preterm delivery by 17%.
#2 DHA intake may impact your baby’s eye health
The body’s highest concentration of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA is found in the retina of the eye which allows them to play an essential role in eye health, especially for the health of the infant eye. In fact, evidence suggests that the DHA intake of the mother contributes to the normal visual development of the fetus and breastfed infant up to 12 months of age. For this reason, taking in an adequate amount of DHA in the mother’s diet each day both during pregnancy and while breastfeeding is key to eye health.
#3 DHA intake impacts infant brain development
Mothers are the sole source of DHA omega-3 for developing babies, which makes up a significant percentage of the fat in the brain. The brain needs DHA to grow and develop, especially halfway through pregnancy and up until two years of age. During pregnancy, your unborn child relies on the mother to provide this vital nutrient. After birth, the infant’s sole source of DHA comes from the mother’s breast milk. Consuming enough omega-3s both during pregnancy and while nursing can help to ensure proper brain development in your baby.
How much omega-3 is enough?
The minimum intake for optimal adult health and the development of your baby is 300 mg per day of EPA and DHA with at least 200mg coming from DHA. While the body can store omega-3s just fine, it doesn’t efficiently produce EPA and DHA on its own. That’s why, while it’s OK to eat fatty fish just two or three times per week to reach that 300 mg per day average, it is essential to make sure you get that EPA and DHA from diet or from a high quality supplement. Cold-water fatty fish such as salmon and tuna can provide a good source of omega-3s, but most of us just do not eat enough fish. Especially during pregnancy where food aversions may be high, it can be hard to get what you need from diet alone. In the US, more than 75% of adults are deficient in these important omega-3s, so it is very likely you may be.
Even if you consume a well-balanced diet, you may not be able to achieve the recommendations for EPA and DHA every day during pregnancy and while nursing. I know for myself, this is definitely a struggle. Not every member of my family shares my love of fish, so having it regularly isn’t always practical. That’s why I rely on adding a high quality omega-3 supplement rich in DHA to my diet to ensure I am meeting the recommended amounts daily. I also recommend that my pregnant and lactating clients do the same. This way, you are ensuring that you are giving your baby the healthiest start possible.
For more information on the importance of omega-3s to health, make sure to visit www.alwaysomega3s.com.
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED). All opinions are my own
It’s now official- we have become a family of four. Right after Thanksgiving we welcomed our newest addition, James (AKA Jimmy) to our growing family. So how is life different now then it was before? Well we are definitely more tired, that’s for sure! I know everyone told me it’s a huge transition to go from one child to two. Although Jimmy isn’t even two weeks old yet, I can understand where that is true. In some ways, he fits right in. We are already used to packing the diaper bag, changing diapers, feeding on demand, and being woken up in the middle of the night. On the other hand, trying to balance a new baby’s needs while making sure our older son gets just as much attention as always can be a bit of a challenge, Luckily, he is as in love with his new baby brother as we are.
Before Jimmy was born, Joey was convinced he was having a sister, that we would name the baby ‘ketchup’, and I was actually having 10 babies, not just one. So on the day the baby was born, it’s fair to say he was slightly disappointed. When he came to see me at the hospital, he looked at his brother, then looked at my belly and asked where the rest of the babies were. Since coming home and seeing just how loud his new brother is, I think he’s finally OK with having just one new baby in the house. I have to say, I am so proud of how he has stepped up to his role of ‘big brother.’ He starts off every morning asking where his baby is and spends much of the day hugging him, bringing him toys, and even sharing his most beloved possession – his blankie- with him. I think they will be best buddies for life.
I am thrilled to introduce you to our new little man and can’t wait to share this newest, crazy adventure with you all.
I have partnered with the Brightside Skincare Line to bring this post and exciting giveaway to you. All opinions are my own.
Grab your own Brightside Skincare products at a great discount over on Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/2cBOyGK) using the coupon code 36RPU7PD to save $5 off of a full 5 piece set.
Have you ever woken up one morning after getting way too little sleep only to look into the mirror and wonder how the heck you aged so fast over night? This happened to me about a month ago. Thanks to my crazy work schedule, a toddler who doesn’t always sleep, and third trimester heartburn keeping me up all night, I have definitely been sleep deprived. Honestly, since Joey was born I have been very, very sleep deprived (what infant only sleeps for 20 minute stretches at a time for over a year?!). I think the lack of sleep has started to add up and I have been seeing the unpleasant results in my skin.
So one morning, I wake up and notice lines and dark circles that were not there the day before. Now normally, I would head to the store to find some kind of anti-aging skin products that would nip this whole aging process in the bud. Before kids and pregnancies, I would just grab a few products off the shelf that sounded promising and give them a try. I never really gave much thought about what I put on my body – funny since I spend so much time carefully paying attention to what I put in my body through diet right?
I never used to research (or even read) every ingredient in every skin care product I used. But when I became pregnant the first time with Joey, I started to research every ingredient, chemical, and additive that was in my beauty products. I started to look at what was in everything from cleansers, to moisturizer, to shampoo. I was horrified to find out many of the products in my skincare cabinet could be potentially harmful to my body (as well as my unborn child). I found my products were packed full of phthalates, parabens, and sulphates- all additives that are absorbed into the body through the skin and may have potentially negative health effects. So what did I do? I threw everything out and started from scratch. The only problem was it was almost impossible to find skincare products that were free from harmful additives that either didn’t cost a fortune or that actually worked.
Throughout my pregnancy with Joey I just accepted the fact that my skin wouldn’t look to great and would be more prone to dryness and aging. I decided to just avoid everything all together if I couldn’t find something that worked within my budget (or worked at all!). When I became pregnant this time, I had the same dilemma. I would have to just accept 9 months of bad skin in order to make sure both my baby and myself were healthy. And that’s what I was doing until I recently learned about Kerri Johanning’s story and the Brightside Skincare line she had developed.
Kerri’s life had been changed by losing both close friends and family to cancer in a very short period of time. She decided to begin working with the American Cancer Society to see what role she could play in the fight against cancer. Working with this society, she began to learn about environmental carcinogens and toxins that increase the risk of cancer and where they can be found. To her horror, she discovered that many skincare products are packed full of ingredients that could have the potential to harm health. She then set out on a mission to create a line of skincare products that were safe, natural, and effective to provide options for individuals who are trying to reduce their exposure to chemicals. Having been touched by cancer in my own life with the loss of many dear family members, her story really designated with me.
Her skincare line, Brightside Skincare, contains everything from cleansers to toners, moisturizers, to eye cream, and even lip balm. What I found amazing was that all of the products in this line are free from fragrance, parabens, sulfates, lanolins, phthalates, and carcinogens while being gluten and cruelty free. I was even more excited to learn that the products are made in a FDA approved Certified Organic Lab, which doesn’t always happen in the unregulated skincare market. The line sounded great and I wanted to try it out, but I figured it would probably break the bank based on all of the features it offered. But then I went on Amazon.com and was shocked to see that this natural skincare line is actually more affordable than some drug store lines!
I now have found a skincare line I absolutely love that actually works and that I can afford without going broke. Because I was so excited to learn about the Brightside Skincare line, I reached out to the company to see if we could partner together to spread the word. I was thrilled when they agreed to sponsor this post and allow me to giveaway a full gift basket of the product line ($100 value) to one of my amazing readers! If you want to try out the Brightside Skincare product line, now is your chance!
WIN! WIN! WIN!!!
How can you win the amazing Brightside Skincare Line Gift Basket? All you have to do is share this post (or image) on Instagram or Twitter tagging both Brightside Skincare and myself with your reason as to why you want to switch to a natural skincare line on or before October 27th. Then come back here and leave a comment below to let me know you have entered. The winner will be announced on October 28th!
In the mean time, you can grab your own Brightside Skincare products at a great discount over on Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/2cBOyGK) using the coupon code 36RPU7PD to save $5 off of a full 5 piece set.
It’s that time of year again- back to school time! Sure, it may seem like having the kids in school all day will give you a bit for free time to devote to planning and preparing nutritious meals, but that isn’t always the case. Before I had my son, I had this idea in my head that when I went back to work and he headed off to daycare, that you basically just drop your child off, kiss and hug them, and then spend the rest of the day working. I didn’t really give thought to the time needed to plan out lunches and snacks for the day, clean out the lunch boxes from the night before, prep healthy breakfasts we could eat before we head out in the morning, and find time to prepare a healthy dinner as well. Honestly, those first few weeks of adjusting to a new schedule stressed me out more than I could have ever expected. And I think many parents feel the same way.
Whenever you and your family are adjusting to a new schedule, such as the one at the start of the school year, it’s normal to feel a bit stressed and overwhelmed. I see this in so many of my client. That first week or two of the new school year is pretty much a whirlwind filled with grabbing meals and snacks mindlessly on the run. If this sounds like you, I wanted to help take away some of that stress. That’s why I teamed up with my friends over at Chobani to develop my top five quick-fix lunches for all of you busy moms out there. These simple lunches can be pulled together in minutes and are packed full of the healthy nutrients that your little ones needs. Feel free to mix and match these options up for a well-balanced, stress-free start to the school day.
Some kids are more snackers than meal eaters. I get this since I am more likely to graze on food throughout the day than to sit down to a big meal. For snack lovers, try using a compartmentalized bento box to offer a variety of bite sized options. The small portions and increased variety are a great way to prevent your child from feeling ‘overwhelmed’ at mealtime. This is also a great way to introduce new foods in kid-friendly portions. For a balanced lunch, pair together a whole grain muffin, carrot sticks with hummus for a dip, turkey breast, strawberries, and almonds. To save time, spend one day per week washing and slicing variety of fruits and vegetable so you can just grab and go when packing a lunch. For mini muffins, I usually make these in batches of 24 and freeze them. If you pop one in the lunchbox in the morning, it will typically thaw by lunchtime. Round out the lunch with an adorable Doc McStuffins squeezable pouch of Chobani Kids, which contains two times as much protein than the leading kid’s yogurt and 25% less sugar. With a varied lunch such as this one, even if your child does not finish all the foods offered, you can still feel reassured that she consumed a variety of essential nutrients.
If you are packing meals for daycare, it can be easy to run out of ideas for soft food options that provide your little one with the nutrition that he needs. For toddlers, adequate protein, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids are essential for development and growth. That’s why I love this combination of applesauce, diced butternut squash, whole grain tortellini, and a broccoli & carrot quiche for a mix of antioxidants, protein, and fiber. To round out the lunchbox, I add in a squeezable Chobani yogurt, which is made with only natural, non-GMO ingredients, real fruit, and provides 12mg of DHA omega-3 fatty acids to help promote healthy brain development.
Picky Eater Perfection
If you have a picky eater at home, you are probably no stranger to having your child’s lunchbox return home after the school day completely untouched. To make lunch more appealing to even the pickiest child, liven it up by adding a mix of fun shapes and colors. It doesn’t have to take long to make a ‘fun’ lunchbox. I use a combination of colorful silicone shapes to hold bite-sized snacks along with cookie cutters to decorate sandwiches, fruits, vegetables, and even cheese slices. For the best results, look for the cookie cutters that have a spring-loaded punch. These can cut through more challenging foods like bread and vegetables much more quickly than the standard cutters. Sometimes all it takes is a touch of food art to turn the pickiest eater into an adventurous eater.
The goal of your child’s lunch should be to fuel both her body and her mind. One way to accomplish this is to make sure to include at least one or two “brain foods” into even lunchbox. Foods rich is omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, walnuts, edamame, and Chobani Tots which contains 12 mg of DHA Omega 3 per serving, can make great additions to any meal. Round these brain foods out with antioxidant-packed fruits and vegetables and you have a delicious recipe for academic success. For a quick and easy lunchbox, pack together a tuna sandwich on whole grain bread along with a handful of walnuts, blueberries, and edamame. Toss in a Chobani Tots squeezable yogurt for an added boost of DHA.
The Chocolate Lover
Do you have a chocolate lover? I do and sometimes it can be a challenge to get him to eat a meal without the constant begging for “dark treats” as he likes to call chocolate chips. So why not give him what he wants? Of course I don’t mean feed your child chocolate every lunch, but you can incorporate it in a healthy way to make both mom and child happy (and in our house this makes my junk-food loving husband quite happy as well).
I take Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt, which contains no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or flavors, and top it with a small sprinkling of mini dark chocolate chips. This makes the perfect ‘dessert’ for any meal while providing a good source of protein and calcium. You can even try mixing one teaspoon of 100% cocoa powder into one cup of Chobani for a delicious chocolate ‘mousse.’
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Chobani. All opinions are my own.