confessions of a pregnant group fitness instructor

confessions

Yesterday I taught my first post-baby fitness yoga class, and while I had not initially planned to do the workout as well, I was itching for some movement.  It had been a little over a month since my last workout (which was fitness yoga the day before I had Nova!), and my body was beginning to crave it.  I kept my movements easy, and it felt AMAZING!  Turns out I missed the endorphins too.

The class was easier than I expected, and I realized the reason why – I wasn’t pregnant anymore.  I didn’t realize how big of a difference that made until the baby bump was gone.

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Today’s post I actually wrote 2 days before I had Nova, the day I taught my last Body Pump class.  I had planned to share it that weekend, but then Nova arrived!  And newborn life happened.  So with my first post baby workout in, now seems a great time to share my confessions of a pregnant group fitness instruction.  Because it hasn’t been that long since I was pregnant, and they are all SO TRUE.

Enjoy!

confessions

It really does make me smile ear to ear when people tell me how amazing they think I am for teaching and doing what I do – while 9+ months pregnant.  What can I say? It’s endearing to hear nice things about yourself! (Everyone tell pregnant ladies how great they are, it makes them feel good)

If it wasn’t my job, I would not be working out like I do.  When you’re pregnant and tired, and tired and pregnant, it is SO hard to stay motivated to move, so I feel pretty blessed that I receive forced motivation to exercise almost daily.

Even when I really don’t want to teach (see tired and pregnant above) I NEVER regret it.  I love my classes, my people and I love how exercise makes me feel.  It helps me fight the tired and pregnant feelings.

Sometimes (most times) I am already sweating just moving my weights around and setting up for the class.  And THEN we start working out.

And then I can’t breath.  Not because I am working out really hard, but this child is pushing on my lungs and the whole moving/lifting/talking thing gets tricky.

I do a whole lot more “form checks” the more pregnant I am.  Hey, form is important!

I have peed myself a little during jumping jacks. More than once…

Black pants are the best.  See pee note above.  And hey, if your water breaks it will hide that better too!

Towards the end I worry that my water will break during a class and that my face will turn a new shade of red.  It would be a bit embarrassing, maybe a little gross for the gym floor, but then also exciting!

Teaching while pregnant is an instant motivator – so many people have told me that if I can do it while pregnant, they’ve got to try too.  How will I motivate like this when I’m not pregnant anymore?

A little pop and lock with a big baby bump during a warm up brings a whole lot of laughs to everyone.  Yes, I know my dance moves look even more ridiculous when I’m pregnant. Gotta keep exercise fun though!

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Can you relate with any of my confessions?

Heather

no diets, just eat real food

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I really dislike the word diet.  For years in my teens it was negativity associated with weight – the desire to lose it.  It’s a word that can carry a whole lot of stress, anxiety and worry along with it.  Just a whole lot of mental exhaustion.

I feel so thankful to have moved on past that part in my life.  I have embraced my love for food and no longer carry a diet mentality around.  I know it brings me more happiness and even more health too.  The food I eat, which in turn is my diet, makes me feel the best I ever have.  It nourishes me, takes care of me and allows me to be active and do all the things I want to do.

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But as I write all this, I’m a bit saddened.  I know there are so many people, especially women, that live with the diet mentality I have known all too well.  The calorie counting, obsessing over when to eat next, the ‘diet’ foods that I assumed were healthier for me, worrying about foods I ate but “should have avoided” and the hunger.  Can anyone relate?  It’s not a fun place to be.  Not at all.

But I’ve moved on, and I am thrilled about it!  When I discovered that focusing on real foods, foods that are as close to nature as possible, would help me to not only feel amazing, but to also help me look the best I have in my life, I was hooked.  No more worry and stress, all I had to do was just eat real food.

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Nowadays I fuel up with a ton of variety of beef, chicken, pork, lamb, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, lots of fats (butter, half and half, coconut/avocado/olive oil, fat from meats, avocado), plain whole fat yogurt, rice, nuts/nut butters, seeds, oats, some pasta, sweet and regular potatoes and of course, super dark chocolate or random treats, but they are not the bulk of what I enjoy and I work to limit excess added sugar because I feel best when I do that.  I cook often, buy a whole lot of ingredients and limit the processed foods that come into our house.

I have so much more to share on this topic, but I want to hear what your questions are!  What do you want answered in my next post on just eating real foods?

Happy Monday and start to the week!  Today I’m going to attempt my first solo trip to the grocery store with three kids.  Fingers crossed for success and no tears (from them and me).

Heather

nova’s birth story {part 1}

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I’ve had almost a month to collect my thoughts and emotions around Nova’s birth and I’m excited and ready to share Nova’s birth story!  Today is part one, next week will be part two.  I love that each of my kiddos births have been different and unique, and Nova’s most definitely was!

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It all started about 10 days before my due date.  I could tell my body was beginning to prepare for labor since I had 4-5 nights of really bad sleep and contractions throughout the night.  I would go to bed, they would begin and I’d wonder if this was maybe it.  But it wasn’t.  Those nights of poor sleep went by and I began to feel less contractions each day and my sleep got better.

Now we fast forward to February 27th, the day before my due date.  The morning started out like any other Saturday – coffee and breakfast with the kiddos (Jacob wasn’t feeling well so he spent most of the day in bed).  After a bit we decided to go outside on a worm hunt around 10am (read more about the worm hunt here).  Mainly to enjoy being outside since it wasn’t raining, but also to keep the house a bit quieter so Jacob could rest.

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The kids loved picking up worms and stashing them in their buckets.  And puddle splashing was a bit hit, as always.  When we took off up our drive way, contractions began pretty much instantly.  It wasn’t anything bad, just the uncomfortable crampy feeling that I took notice to.  As we walked and searched for worms, they seemed to be consistently spaces about 10 minutes apart.  Sometimes I stopped walking to let it pass, other times I kept on moving.

Around 11:30am we got back home.  I put a quick show on for the kids to watch while I prepped lunch.  I have no memory of what we ate, but I’m sure something simply.  Contractions were still the same.  Manageable but noticeable.  I texted my mom (who would be watching the kids) and friend/nurse/doula Lisa and told them that I’d been having regular contractions and that maybe labor was beginning!

Lunch finished, I put Zoe down for a nap and had Hunter nap with Jacob.  Then I began to get things done.  I did a couple loads of laundry, took care of the dishes, picked up around the house, finished this post and schedules my newsletter to go out the next day, and spent some time bouncing on the exercise ball while at the computer.  Contractions were still happening regularly, but again, manageable.

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Then around 3pm I rested on the couch to see if the contractions would either continue or slow down.  We stayed up real late the night before with some friends so I thought maybe my body was just overtired and with rest they would halt.  But they didn’t.  They seemed to be more consistent and closer together – around 6 minutes apart and beginning to get more intense.

After the kids woke from naps, around 4ish, I put on a show or movie downstairs.  I was starting to need calm and to parent a little less and it did the trick.  I downloaded a contraction timer to start tracking them since the intensity kept picking up.  I did not feel good standing through them and I spent more time on my hands and knees.  If I was resting they’d be about 6 minutes apart, but when I was moving around they would come more quickly and would be shorter.  During that time I also had a change in discharge – pink tinted and a whole lot more flowing (lovely, right?).

At 5:20pm I called in reinforcements.  I was feeling grumpy and short when I woke Jacob up from his sleep. I recall saying something like “I just need you to help with the kids!”… in a not very nice tone.  I think he knew things were serious then.  I was really trying to maintain calm, but I know my demeanor was not kind.

We were all downstairs and I decided to order food from a restaurant close to our place since I didn’t want to cook.  Jacob was going to pick it up, but instead I decided to have my dad pick it up on the way over and to take the kids to his place after we ate.  I didn’t know when I’d be having this baby, but I didn’t want to call my parents in the middle of the night to get them, so I thought it was better for the kids to go that evening.  I called in the order and we hung out while we waited for my dad to get to our place.  He arrived around 6pm and him and Jacob got the food setup on the table.  I ate in between contractions.  I thought they were still around 5 minutes apart, but apparently they were closer to 3 minutes apart.  Maybe I should have stayed timing them?

After eating I sat on the couch, contraction after contraction, as my dad and Jacob got the kids ready to go.  They were definitely uncomfortable and intense.  There was no talking during them, just breathing and focusing on relaxing.  I remember during that time wanting a really nice goodbye and hugs from the kids since I knew this was real labor now, but they were all wound up and I didn’t get any snuggles from them.  They took off a little after 7pm.

After the kids were gone I decided on us hanging out in our room watching TV to relax and maybe resting a bit while I worked through my contractions.  Jacob cleaned up the downstairs, got all the lights off and we headed up to our room.  Instead of watching TV, I sat on the bed and told Jacob that maybe we’d head into the hospital and to slowly start grabbing the bags.  He asked if he could shave, which I said yes to.  As he was shaving I was on hands and knees through contractions.  They were hurting.  Sitting did not feel good.  Standing was no option.  He finished shaving and got our things together, and we headed downstairs to leave the house just before 8pm.

And that’s where I’ll leave it today.  Part 2 coming next week!

Heather

Want to read more birth stories?  Check out Hunter and Zoe’s below!

the worm hunt with naked cold pressed juice

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Oh how I love living in the Pacific Northwest.  The seasonal changes and all the gorgeous trees and nature surrounding us are some top reasons for why it’s the best place around.  Sure we get rain often, but what rain brings out are worms!

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One Saturday morning the kiddos and I set out from our house on a worm hunt.  They got their buckets, boots and jackets (it had been raining earlier that morning) and we took off to see how many worms we could collect.  Hunter loved stopping and petting the worms before capturing them in his bucket.

IMG_3005Zoe just loved following her brother and ‘picking up’ (mostly smashing) the worms.  We had a blast!

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There is something so refreshing about being in nature.  The fresh air, cool breeze on that morning and  being surrounded by all the green brings me so much happiness.  I believe being out in nature is such an important part of living a healthy life — and especially exposing it to my children.  They need the outdoor time as much as I do, and I know we all benefit from it.

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To make the worm hunt even more special, I brought along one of the new Naked Cold Presses Juice blends for us to enjoy mid worm hunt.  It was a good time to stop and count all the worms too.

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We found a big rock and passed the lively carrot juice blend between us.  We absolutely loved this juice!  It’s such a delicious blend of five juices – carrot, apple, orange, cucumber, lemon with a hint of vanilla and turmeric.  Normally I am not a carrot juice fan, but the addition of orange and lemon brightened up the flavor and really made it pop.  I love that Naked Cold Pressed Juices have no added sugar, no preservatives and are verified by the Non GMO Project, which makes it something I’m excited to share with my kiddos.

IMG_3038If you’re looking for the perfect energizing juice to take along on your next worm hunt, or any outdoor adventure, be sure to check out one of the five new flavors of Naked Cold Pressed Juices! You can find Naked Pressed in your local West Coast stores and coming soon nationwide.

What did you do on your last outdoor adventure?

Heather

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

mini almond butter fudge cups

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Do you like almond butter?  (yes…)

And coconut oil?  (yup…)

What about fudge?  (of course…)

And mini foods?  (who doesn’t?)

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If you answers yes to any of those questions then I have the perfect bite sized treat for you!

Mini almond butter fudge cups.

Sounds amazing right?  It is.  The flavor of the almond butter is the star, with the slightest touch of sweetness from the honey and fudge-like creaminess from the chilled coconut oil.

Easy, fast and delicious have been my main kitchen criteria lately.  We have been so blessed by sweet friends and family that have brought us dinners, making the first couple of weeks home with Nova more simple and relaxing.  The meals that Jacob and I have been cooking have been just that, easy, fast and delicious.

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Hunter and I spent a little time making these treats one morning and they turned out to be such winners!  I love the fat content from the almond butter and coconut oil for a quick bite of energy when I need something fast but don’t have free hands to make anything.  The kids love them, and LOVE letting them melt in their warm hands making for a fun mess.  Plus they meet all three of my criteria – easy, fast and delicious!

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Hunter sat on the counter and filled the mini muffin tins with liners while I warmed up the fudge mixture on the stove.  After I poured the delicious soupy almond butter mixture into the cups, he sprinkled on cacao nibs.  Many nibs made it into his mouth during the process too.  A chill in the fridge and they were ready to enjoy!

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Mini Almond Butter Fudge Cups

recipe adapted from here

makes about 24 mini fudge cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 3-4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt
  • optional: cacao nibs for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Combine the almond butter, coconut oil, honey, vanilla and sea salt in a small sauce pan and warm over low-medium heat.  Whisk to combine and turn the stove off when it is smoothly combined.
  2. Add mini muffin liners into a mini muffin pan.  Evenly pour the mixture into the liners.  Top with cacao nibs and chill in the fridge until set.
  3. Enjoy right out of the fridge!

Do you let your kids sit on the counter when they help in the kitchen?  Are you an almond butter fan?  What is your favorite nut or seed butter?

Heather

naked cold pressed juice

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Whenever we have juice in the house the kids go crazy for it.  Their little hands grab for it and they steal sips from our glasses whenever they get the chance.

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The latest juice we’ve been loving are these adorable Naked Cold Pressed Juice blends.  They are so bright, flavorful and refreshing.  Plus I feel great knowing that each Naked Cold Pressed Juice is made with ready-to-eat, high quality fruits and vegetables that are cold-pressed right into the bottle. The juices are shipped immediately to ensure only the highest-quality, best-tasting juice hits the shelf every time.  The kids think they are getting a treat, when really they are just nourishing their bodies with every delicious sip.

Naked Juice recently launched their Naked Cold Pressed Juice blend line.  Here’s the breakdown of the five new flavors.

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Bright Greens

  • A refreshing blend of eight juices – apple, cucumber, celery, lettuce, lemon, kale, spinach and wheatgrass.
  • Each bottle of Bright Greens is a good source of Potassium and an excellent source of Vitamin K.

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Hearty Greens

  • A delicious blend of nine juices – celery, apple, lettuce, cucumber, orange, spinach, lemon, wheatgrass and kale with a hint of spearmint.
  • Each bottle of Hearty Greens is a good source of Potassium and Vitamin C and an excellent source of Vitamin K.

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Lively Carrot

  • A delicious blend of five juices – carrot, apple, orange, cucumber, lemon with a hint of vanilla and turmeric.
  • Each bottle of Lively Carrot is a good source of Potassium and an excellent source of Vitamin A.

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Bold Beet

  • A delicious blend of seven juices – beet, carrot, cucumber, apple, lemon, orange and ginger.
  • Each bottle of Bold Beet is a good source of Potassium.

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Cool Pineapple // my favorite – tastes like a tropic vacation!

  • A delicious blend of three juices – pineapple, cucumber and lemon with a touch of filtered water.
  • Each bottle of Cool Pineapple is an excellent source of Vitamin C.

I highly recommend these juice blends!  And so do my kiddos.  They taste very veggie forward, but are perfectly balanced with a touch of natural sweetness from the fruit.  You can find Naked Cold Pressed Juice in your local West Coast stores and coming soon nationwide.

What juice blend is calling to you?  

Heather

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

and then there were five

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{{check out the end of the post for the Aurorae yoga mat flip flop giveaway winner}}

Our family changed in the best way possible 10 days ago when we welcomed Nova into our world.

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When she was 2 days old we brought her home and our life as a family of 5 began.  She figured her nights and days out after one night of being home, which I though was so sweet of her.  She doesn’t know it, but I really appreciate her sleeping from 10pm-7am with just 2 wakes to nurse and then she goes back to sleep.  I’m really hoping it lasts.  Having to function with more wake ups than that would not be as fun. Newborn sleep deprivation is no joke!

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I’m totally taking advantage of quiet afternoons and sneaking in a short nap or just rest time.  While I feel pretty great, I still get exhausted during the day (nursing, healing, etc).  I’m so thankful to have Jacob home for a few weeks.  We love this family time, and I don’t know what I’d do without him helping out with the bigger two and all the household things as well.

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I love not having a schedule and doing whatever we want to do.  This morning Nova and I watched Jacob, Hunter and Zoe play at the jungle gym.  They had such a blast.

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We made it to church on Sunday, Jacob’s taken the kids on outdoor adventures, we’ve all gone grocery shopping and also, there’s been a lot of TV/movie watching, which they love.  Thankfully I know it’s only a temporary thing.

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The kids love to snuggle and kiss Nova.  Zoe always wants to hold her and giver her all of her special blankets and toys.  It feels so right and normal having Nova here with us.  She is the perfect addition and our family feels so much more full with her here.  I think the fact that Nova is such a chill baby makes the transition so smooth and easy.

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We are definitely a tired bunch all around, but soaking in every minute of this short lived ‘just home’ time.  Adding a tiny baby into our family made me realize just how big the other two really are.  Time needs to slow down!

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Life as 5 has been all kinds of great.  We’re taking it in day by day and enjoying just being together.

Before I forget, the winner of the Aurorae yoga mat flip flops is Sarah!  Sarah, send me an email (fitmamarealfood@comcast.net) with your address and flip flop size and I will forward it onto Aurorae to have them sent out to you.  A big thanks to Aurorae again for sponsoring the giveaway!

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Talk soon,

Heather

welcome baby girl nova sienna!

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Yesterday we welcomed the third addition into our family – Nova Sienna! 

   
Nova, you came into this world in a flash.  Much quicker and sooner than I was expecting (1 day before your due date!), but I am so glad to have you here in my arms snuggling you close and getting to know you by the minute.

 

Born Saturday February 27 at 8:46pm, weighing 7 pounds 12 ounces and 20 inches long, along with an amazing full head of black hair. 

  
I cannot wait to share your birth story.  It was not at all what I expected it to be, but unique and beautiful in every way.   Just like you my baby girl. 

  
We are so in love already and cannot wait to share you with Hunter and Zoe and let our story of five begin to unfold.  

Thank you for all the sweet wishes on Facebook, Instagram and messages we have been sent.  We truly feel so blessed to have so much support and love surrounding us, so thank you and know that we feel the love!

Heather 

dear zoe {year two}

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Dear Zoe,

Yesterday you turned two.  HOW are you two already now?

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We spent the morning at your two year check up (sorry for the shot).  You were incredibly snuggly and shy and I loved holding you and keeping you safe and close.  You are also growing so well!  75% percentile for weight and height – you are a great eater and growing up to be a strong girl.

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We went to a coffee shop after for a steamed milk treat.  You loved it, of course.

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Your uncle Trevor spent some time with us, we ate lunch, you went down for a nap and after nap you and Hunter watched a movie together before our friends came over.  Gosh, you love spending time with your friends.  You get so excited and run around in circles when they show up. But you also slow down and share your favorite things with your friends too.  You are the sweetest.

I got to put you to bed last night (normally your daddy does).  I sang you a few songs while we snuggled in the chair (you always want to start with Jesus loves me), you rested your head on my shoulder while squeezing your taggie and 2 stuffed animals, then I kissed you, laid you in your bed and said goodnight to my two year old girl.

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I spent some time reading through your birth story, and just as I thought, I forgot nothing about it.  Your entrance into the world will forever be in my mind.  It was such a spectacular day.  You have added so much to our family and I cannot imagine not having you around.

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You are such a little daredevil and are constantly adding new scrapes and bumps to your body.  I think it’s because you see all the things your big brother does and you want to do them too, but I also think you are just a go-getter and want to try everything for yourself.  You also want to do everything by yourself.  Sometimes I can trick you into us doing things together (like buckling your car seat) but for the most part you want to be in charge of doing everything.

I don’t know where this came from, but you are really into telling us (and even strangers who are near you) “don’t touch me”.  I won’t lie, sometimes it’s challenging when you tell me not to touch you then you get hurt falling off of a chair or something, but I also appreciate your ability to vocalize what you want.  You are an independent, strong-willed little girl.

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And speaking of vocalizing, you have so many words to share!  You are a little chatter box and while I know what you are saying about 80-90% of the time, sometimes at meal, especially when daddy is home, you just love chattering away about whatever is on your mind.  It is the cutest listening to your voice.

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I love that you are a snuggly one when you wake up from your nap and before going to bed.  Normally you just want to be doing things, but those moments when we can slow down, snuggle real close and you want to give all the hugs and kisses makes me so happy.  You are gentle, kind and so great at sharing.  Hunter is lucky to have you as a sister, this baby is blessed to have such a caring big sister and I know your daddy and I could not be more happy to have you with us.  We love you so much.  I wish I could spend an entire day just snuggling you, and reading you book after book and giving kisses all day long.  But I know you’d wiggle out, so I will settle for the nap time and bedtime snuggles that I love so much.

Zoe, you are so so loved.

Mama

Read more:

real food loving kids: give them the power of choice

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If having your kids in the kitchen cooking with you doesn’t sound relaxing or they just don’t have interest in it, another way to get them involved with food is at the grocery store.

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For quite a while I was doing the big weekly grocery shopping trip on Mondays after teaching my 3 class line up when my kids were being watched.  Grocery shopping with 2 kids can be loud and challenging at times (I always bring extra snacks and things to distract them), so these solo trips were a real luxury.  However, about a month ago we (finally) got back into a church going routine.  Since church ends around 10:40am we are left with some time before lunch and have turned it into the family shopping trip to Chuck’s Produce.  Jacob takes Hunter with a mini list around the store while Zoe and I grab the bulk of the items.  We meet up and finish together, and it is my new favorite way to grocery shop.  I love it even more than those solo trips!

I began adding a fruit or vegetable of choice to the Hunter/Jacob list.  Any fruit or veggie was up for grabs.  If it was something new that we had never tried (there are some crazy looking veggies out there!) then we would get the opportunity to try something new.  The first week he picked broccoli.  I had loaded up on broccoli too since it was on sale so we had a heavy week of broccoli eating.  We ate it raw, roasted, steamed and puréed into this cheddar broccoli soup.  His favorite way was roasted (mine too).  Normally broccoli isn’t something he gets excited about, but since he picked it specifically, he was eager to try it in so many different ways without argument or much encouragement needed.  He didn’t always like it, but at least he kept trying it.

Another week he was sick and didn’t get to go to church or grocery shopping but he had been already thinking about foods he wanted to pick out.  He actually had a list in his head: orange bell pepper, oranges, green grapes and dried mango (it’s like candy to us).  Such awesome healthy choices!  I happily picked all of them up for my under the weather boy and he was excited when I told him about all the foods I bought at the store.  He then promptly wanted to eat all of them with his lunch.

Giving kids the power of choice and involving them in selecting real foods is a simple yet powerful way to encourage their own healthy eating habits.  From my experience, if they pick the food out, they are more likely to be excited to try it.  Just as involving them in the kitchen with cooking a meal, finding more ways to spark excitement about real food is going to benefit them for a long time.

Have you tried this grocery shopping strategy of giving them the power of choice?  What tips do you have for getting your kids excited about real foods?

Heather

Read more on feeding kids: