Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Little Less Sugar Please!

My husband and I are both coffee LOVERS... this means that there is no time of day that we would turn a cup down. This is especially true now that we have a newborn in the house. We join countless other tired parents who rely on coffee to get them through the day. However, I would be lying to say that this affection for coffee began with parenthood. No, I admit that we have both been drinking coffee like addicts for years. Over those years of cup after cup, latte after latte, we have tried to make our drink choices a little healthier.
When my husband and I order a drink from someplace like Starbucks, we always order it with nonfat milk in order to watch our saturated fat intake. I have also always tried to order a tall or small drink since I don't want to be drinking my calories or wasting them on so called "empty nutrition". We also have tried to watch our sugar intake in our coffee drinks. We are well aware that as Americans, we consume an embarrassing amount of sugar each year (contributing to many deep-rooted problems like obesity and diabetes). In any sweet drink we order, we aways ask them to use half the amount of syrup that they normally do. For example, one of our favorite drinks at Starbucks is a "tall, nonfat, caramel macchiato". This drink contains 23 grams of sugar (12 grams coming from the milk), but when we ask them to cut the syrup amounts in half it reduces it by about 6 grams of sugar. It may not seem like a lot, but when you start adding up all those lattes and mochas you consume month after month, it adds up quickly. Others may think that their drink just wouldn't taste as good without all the sweetness. I would argue that , yes, it may take adjusting, but half the sugar is sweet enough - we just have to bring our taste buds down off the sugar high they're so used to. I challenge you... next time you order your favorite coffee drink, just ask for a little less sugar please!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Healthy Snacking

Four weeks ago, my husband and I returned home from the hospital after welcoming our second child into our family. Prior to going into labor, I had been spending some time thinking about what constitutes a healthy snack. Now that I'm done being pregnant and looking to get back into shape, I'm focused on making smart decisions about what I eat and getting some good exercise.

When discussing the topic of snacks with others, I often hear concerns that if they eat a snack between meals, this will inevitably lead to weight gain. This concern is valid... if you don't make wise, nutrient-rich choices and watch your portion control. Otherwise, healthy snacks can contribute to getting all the essential vitamins and minerals, as well as helping ward off being overly-hungry walking into your next meal... (this = a disaster waiting to happen).

I found a few helpful resources when looking into this topic. One of my favorite websites is the American Dietetic Association website at It was there that I found a great pdf handout called "Smart Snacking for Adults and Teens". Another fun website I love for recipe ideas and mini articles is Martha Stewart's Whole Living website where I found this article. A friend of mine recommended Eating Well magazine and it was on their website that I've found some great recipes like this one!

I love getting new ideas and inspirations so I am curious... what is your favorite healthy snack?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Juice Question

I have often stated in the past that one of my goals as a wife and mother is to find the best ways to healthfully nourish my family. There are some topics I found my stance on a while ago, but many I have to research, struggle with, and eventually answer for myself. As our little girl has gotten older and entered the toddler stage, I have had to settle the question (for our family), "Do I give her juice like so many parents do?"

When Harper was about 5 months old she showed a true "love" for drinking plain water. We were thrilled that she would guzzle it down without question, but wondered if it would last as she got older. Thankfully we cultivated her love for water, the trend has continued, and it has not been a battle. We have given her the occasional sips of orange juice from our glasses when we're out at restaurants for breakfast, but not much more than that. Many might argue that without juice their child may not be getting the vitamins they need. For us, this has simply been answered by the fact that our daughter has been excellent at eating her fruits and vegetables (another area that may be more of a battle for other families). I have settled on the fact that I'd rather my kids eat whole fruits and vegetables than drink them. After all, in comparison, fruit juice can have more sugar per serving and is less filling than whole fruit.
I recognize that this scenario may not the case for many families. Your child may not like plain water or eat their fruits and veggies the way you wish they would. If that is the case, I encourage parents to consider two things: 1) to buy 100% fruit juice when purchased, and 2) to be mindful about the portions/amounts of 100% juice your kids are consuming per day. In coming to some of these conclusions for my own family, I found a few websites helpful. The American Dietetic Association has a helpful handout on "The Role of 100% Juice in a Healthy Diet" where they reinforce the idea that, "while most fruit servings should come from whole fruits, a portion of the daily fruit intake can be from 100 percent fruit juice". This page is the website for the Juice Products Association, so read it with a "grain of salt" remembering they have a bias, however it does have some good reading on the subject. I also really liked this page for its reinforcement on balance and consumption of whole foods. I encourage you to explore these ideas and to make the best decision for your family. For our family, this means trying to stay as close to whole foods and the least amount of processing as possible. What will it be for you?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Harper, 21months... and About to be a Big Sister!

We are just days away, maybe even hours away, from welcoming Harper's little brother! As I try to remain patient and find ways to pass the waiting time, I thought it appropriate to document what Harper's been up to these days.
We are continually amazed by Harper's spirit. She is so full of life and spunk - rarely lacking a smile and an infectious laugh. Jeremy and I often catch ourselves looking at each other saying, "where did this little girl come from? We do not deserve her ;)" These days she is ALL about being independent and trying things out for herself. She also has continued to be our "easy-going, go with the flow" type of child. Thank goodness since our life has been outlined by change over the past months!
Harper has also been chatting up a storm! Often with words we know and understand and other times... she speaks to us in what sounds like full sentences... but we have NO idea what she is saying and is convinced of.
Some of our Favorite Words and Phrases:
  • Harper's first 2-word phrase was discovered while I let her play in the driver's seat of my car. She was playing with all the buttons and said, "Wow, Cool!"
  • Whenever we ask Harper if she would like to do or have something, she responds with "do!" (meaning "I do" instead of "yes").
Mommy: "Harper, do you want to go outside?"
Harper: "Do!"
Mommy: "Do you need help getting your shoes on?"
Harper: "Do!"
Mommy: "Should we blow bubbles together?"
Harper: "Do!"
  • We also love the way Harper tells us she loves us each night before bed:
Daddy: "Say 'I'..."
Harper: "I"
Daddy: "Say 'love'..."
Harper: "You!" (she says it in a singing tone)
  • One of her first clear(er) phrases came the other morning when Daddy took Harper's paci out of her mouth so he could give her a kiss and say good morning... she responded in a sleepy, waking up tone "give me paci". Ummm... ok.
Things she Loves:
  • Being outside! (all the time if she could)
  • Dancing ANYtime music comes on!
  • Taking her shoes off (a true Southern California girl)
  • Feeding the cow at Mimi and Pappy's house
  • Elmo, Cookie Monster and Grover
  • Fruits, vegetables, yogurt and meat
  • Jumping, climbing or anything physically active
  • The color orange
  • Playing at her water table with her cousin Claire
  • Smelling any and all flowers
  • Playing at the park - especially swinging
  • Her baby stroller
  • She would never admit it... but she loves her sleep
Things she Doesn't Like:
  • Having her hair brushed
  • Seeing anything/anyone get hurt
  • Bugs