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I want to first start off by saying I am NOT a nutritionist or a doctor. I am just a mom of two active little boys, trying to do everything I can to make sure my kids stay healthy and happy. I like to think of myself as a healthy-eater, with the mentality ‘everything in moderation.’ In other words, I like to try to eat well-balanced meals throughout the day – a good mix of protein, fruits, vegetables, and carbs. (And of course your occasional dose of sugar, too. Come on, mama’s got a sweet tooth!) I try not to buy too many packaged foods, but if I do, I read the ingredients and will never buy anything with high-fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils (these are the devil. Well not really, but you know). Lately I’ve also been staying away from soy ingredients as well. I know what you’re thinking – ‘soy is in everything!’ So, realistically I try to stay away from it when I can. In other words, if there is another option without soy, I’ll buy that brand instead.
A typical day in our household starts with oatmeal and cut-up fruit (usually either strawberries, blueberries or bananas) or a healthy fruit shake. My favorite shake is peanut butter, banana, frozen acai berry, almond milk and kale. I sneak in the kale for extra nutrients, and the kids don’t even know. We also use a plant-based protein powder and sometimes a little chocolate vitamin powder as well. Then the kids are off to school.
For school I pack the boys snacks to supplement what the school provides them. (We live in NYC so public school gets free lunch, which is pretty cool for the most part). However, they don’t always serve the healthiest options, so I try to pack them a healthy, well-balanced snack to supplement like a fruit, a veggie, a protein, and sometimes a grain – depending on what I have in the fridge at the time. Usually the fruit is cut-up strawberries, grapes or apples, and the veggie nine times out of ten is cut up cucumbers or carrot sticks. The protein is typically a cheese stick or yogurt tube, and the grain could be a bar or some crackers. Sometimes I don’t even pack them a grain though because I know the school will give them plenty of grain options in class, like pretzels, crackers, or… chips. (gulp).
Dinner in our house most regularly alternates between a healthy version of chicken nuggets (without soy, hydrogenated oils, etc), mac-n-cheese or pasta with meat sauce (ground turkey) and a side of broccoli and/or green beans. I then bribe the boys to eat all of their veggies in order to get vitamins. (This sounds funny I know, but they love their gummy vitamins; to them it’s just as good as candy). Trust me, this takes some work – especially with my youngest one, who won’t sit still for more than two minutes – but eventually they will eat at least 60% of their veggies, which I’m happy about. I also have to say, I only give my kids water to drink. Aside from the occasional special treat of watered-down apple or grape juice, they always have their water bottles with them wherever we go.
Other snacks and treats in our house include Dr Pops and organic fruit & veggie pouches. My boys love their Dr Pops and I feel great about giving it to them – even for breakfast! Such a huge mom win to be able to say YES to lollipops for breakfast.