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Chocolate Drizzled Strawberries for National Chocolate Covered Anything Day!

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A dessert recipe from Belly Fat Diet For Dummies

Did you know what today is? It’s #NationalChocolateCoveredAnythingDay!  I didn’t even know this holiday existed, but it’s already one of my favorites! Who wouldn’t want an opportunity to cover anything and everything in chocolate? I know I do! 

So, to celebrate today’s holiday, I wanted to share one of my favorite dessert recipes with you from my book ‘Belly Fat Diet For Dummies.” This recipe is super easy to make and a great way to get your family to eat more fruit. You can substitute any fruit you would like and the recipe still works great. Plus, as an added bonus, the dark chocolate provides an extra boost of heart healthy flavonoids. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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Chocolate Drizzled Strawberries
Servings: 7
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs strawberries fresh
  • 3/4 cup 70% dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Rinse and dry the strawberries,keeping the leaves and stems intact. Cover a plate with wax paper and arrange the strawberries on top.

  2. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips over low heat until they become liquid, about 3-5 minutes.


  3. Carefully pour the liquid chocolate into a small, plastic pastry bag or a resealable plastic bag. If using a resealable bag, make a very small cut at the corner of the bag’s tip with scissors (or use a skewer to poke a small hole). 

  4. Gently squeeze the bag to lightly drizzle the dark chocolate over the strawberries. 

  5. Evenly distribute the chocolate over the strawberries, and then allow to cool and harden in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Recipe Notes

NUTRITION FACTS (makes 7 servings) Calories 115 Fat 5gm Carbs 20gm Fiber 4gm Protein 1gm 

Note: Be sure to use dark chocolate, which is filled with health-boosting flavonoids that help to decrease inflammation and boost heart health.

 

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Three Reasons DHA Omega-3s are Essential to You & Your Baby

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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

Chocolate Drizzled Holiday Cookies

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Tis the season for cookies, right? I am surrounded my holiday cookies everywhere I turn. In fact, my husband came home with chocolate chip cookies the size of my head last night from his office (which of course I started eating). So with all of these cookies around, it’s easy to start eating way too much sugar and of course, too many calories (hello holiday weight gain right?). Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with having a few holiday sweets here and there. It’s the excess that becomes a problem. And eating an excessive amount of cookies sure seems easy right now. So, I decided to set out to create a few healthier holiday cookies that I could indulge in guilt-free knowing that they were actually health(ier) for me.

 

Before I share my latest cookie recipe with you, I have a confession to make. I really set out to attempt to come up with a healthier sugar cookie. That failed pretty miserably. This recipe does not come out like a cookie dough that can be rolled out and formed into shapes, but it does have a sugar-cookie-like-taste. My very sweet dietitian friend Katie (from Mom to Mom Nutrition) is trying to convince me that there is such a thing as a puffed sugar cookie, but I don’t think these really fit the bill 😉 But just because these didn’t come out like I intended, doesn’t mean they don’t taste really good. Hey- a cookie is a cookie, right? And these are some tasty cookies- even if they are not sugar cookies. So I have decided to call the ‘holiday cookies’- still festive, still tasty. And be on the lookout for a healthy sugar cookie recipe when I eventually figure it out!

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Chocolate Drizzled Holiday Cookies
Servings: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1 large ripe banana mashed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 each egg
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3/4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix together dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk egg and add in coconut oil. Mix together and add mashed banana, vanilla, and sugar. Blend well. Slowly add liquid mixture into the dry mix, stirring consistently to create batter. Drop batter, one tablespoon at a time, onto parchment paper to create cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are slightly brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 

  2. While cookies cool, place chocolate chips in a small plastic bag. Heat in microwave, 30 seconds at a time, until the chips melt. Squeeze the liquid chocolate into one corner of the plastic bag. Create a small puncture with a pin or scissor and drizzle chocolate over the cookies. Place cookies in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow chocolate to harden. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts (per serving) Calories 48 Carbs 8gm Fiber 1 gm Protein 1gm Fat 2gm 

 

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Welcome Baby James

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img_0743It’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.

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I am thrilled to introduce you to our new little man and can’t wait to share this newest, crazy adventure with you all.

 

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