Carrot Muffins

These carrot muffins were a hit with my toddler. They’re a great way to sneak in vegetables!  The carrots are full of vitamin A and fiber.  Feel free to use whole wheat flour instead of white flour to provide more fiber.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 egg

1 cup orange juice (I used apple juice because that’s what I had on hand)

¼ cup vegetable oil

½ cup sugar

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups finely grated carrots

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the orange juice, oil, and sugar to bowl and mix together.
  2. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla to egg mixture. Stir together.
  3. Stir in grated carrots.
  4. Spoon the batter into a muffin pan lined with baking cups. Fill each cup about ¾ full.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 400°F.

Recipe from: Yarrington, C. (2015). Veggies for Kids, 2nd Ed.

How to Exercise with a Toddler

If you have an infant or toddler at home, then you probably know that it may be is impossible to do anything alone.  This includes working out.  Finding the time or energy to exercise when you have a toddler to care for is hard, but there are ways to make it work if you get a little creative.  Here are a few ways that I’m able to be active with my busy toddler.

  1.  Make it a game.  Toddlers tend to follow you around and want to do whatever you are doing.  So, let them workout with you and make it fun!  Put on an exercise video and encourage your kid to do the moves with you.  Trust me, it’s hilarious.
  2. Use your kid as a weight.  When your child is having a whiny, clingy day and wants to be held, hold your baby–and do squats! You can do a variety of leg exercises with the added weight of your baby as a bonus.  Just be careful to not strain yourself.
  3. Walk outside.  Let your baby ride in a stroller while you walk (or jog).  Or, have your toddler walk and explore with you.  This is a great way for you both to get fresh air and sunlight while being active.  It also helps your kid release energy before naptime.
  4. Take advantage of naptime.  When your child goes to sleep, do your workout right away! That’s right, the dishes, laundry, and toys on the floor can wait.  You need to use that free time to do something for yourself first. It helps to have your workout clothes already out and visible so that you are motivated to exercise when naptime rolls around.
  5. Feel the burn while cleaning.  You can make household chores burn more calories by doing things with more intensity.  For instance, walk faster around your home as you clean. Or, do things like wiping down countertops and mopping with more vigor and energy.  You may look silly doing it, but you will feel the burn.  You could also wear your baby in a carrier while you’re cleaning to work up a sweat.

Do you have any tips or tricks that allow you to exercise regularly?  Please share and let’s all help each other.

My First 5k

This past weekend I finally participated in my very first 5k race! By no means did I finish first, second, or third…but I finished, and that is a start. I alternated between walking and jogging throughout the entire course. My goal was to finish in 45 minutes and I came in at 44 minutes 17 seconds. It was tough, but definitely not impossible, and I am ready to continue pushing myself to improve my running and endurance.

My husband, Alvin, did the 5k with me and pushed me to help me meet my goal (thanks, love!) and our daughter, Ava, rolled along with us.

5k 1
Alvin, Whitney, and Ava

 

5k 2
“Go Mommy!”

Completing the 5k was fun, and I will be doing it again soon. It’s important for me to be active and improve my fitness level for my own health, but also as an example to my daughter on how to take care of her body in a healthy, fun, way.

Exercise does not have to be something we dread doing. Try different activities and workouts in order to find something you like doing, then start small and slowly work your way up to more intense exercise. What do you enjoy doing for exercise? I’d love to hear about it. And to all the runners out there…what are the best ways to improve your running?

My Struggle with Fitness

I know I’ve missed the New Year’s Resolutions/Goals hype, and maybe I did on purpose so that I wouldn’t fail…but I am now ready to commit to a new exercise regimen to reach my fitness goals.

A little back story–prior to my pregnancy, I was in fairly good physical condition, I was doing moderate-intense exercise at least 3 days per week.  I was a healthy weight for my height and had great muscle definition.  I also had energy during the day and felt sharp mentally.  I became pregnant in late 2014, and throughout my pregnancy I continued to exercise, although less intense.  I still felt strong and healthy.

I gave birth in August 2015 to my sweet baby girl and I wanted to get right back into my exercise routines and get back to normal…but things never went back to normal.  Fast forward to now, my daughter is almost 18 months old, and since she was born I have struggled to get motivated and stay motivated to exercise regularly.  I know how important physical activity is, I know how it can positively impact your health physically, mentally, and emotionally, but I’m still struggling.  My main problems are that I either have no energy to exercise, or I start working out and quit after about 5 minutes.  I often feel tired and sluggish.

I want to stick to exercising regularly to improve my energy level and tone my muscles.  My fitness goal is to exercise 3 days per week and to run a 5k before the end of 2017.  I am just putting this out there to help myself stay accountable.  I will be posting updates as I progress through my fitness journey.

Do you have any advice on how to stay motivated to exercise?  Please share and let’s help each other!

Breastfeeding a Teething Baby

So, breastfeeding is going smoothly for you and baby and all is well. Until one day you feel a sharp pinch and notice baby’s gums are getting tougher.  Baby’s first tooth is coming through!  What now?

How can you breastfeed a baby with teeth? Doesn’t it hurt?

You absolutely can continue to breastfeed your baby during the teething process if you choose. Just like before the baby started teething, a good latch should not hurt.  The mother’s nipple actually goes to the very back of the baby’s mouth; therefore, the most sensitive part of mom is nowhere near the baby’s teeth while nursing.

Will my baby bite me?

Probably, yes. And it does hurt.  Remember, biting down on something helps babies to relieve their teething pain.  You just have to train them to bite a teething toy or something other than you.

What should I do if my baby bites me during breastfeeding?

Get your baby’s attention and tell them no. Be firm and repetitive so that they get the connection that biting is not good.  At first, my daughter would pinch me or bite down and look up at me and giggle.  I had to continue telling her, “no, don’t bite.”

What if baby keeps biting?

If baby is not listening, stop the breastfeeding session. The baby will cry and be upset, but eventually they will get the message to stop biting.  There were a couple of times that I had to give my nipples a rest and give my daughter expressed milk in a bottle if she still seemed hungry.

Any other advice?

Sometimes babies will bite if they are distracted while nursing. It may help to breastfeed in a calm, quiet place so that your baby can focus on eating.  Also, babies may bite if they are not truly hungry and just want to play.  If that is the case, just take the baby away from the breast and move them on to another activity.

In my experience, getting the first four teeth was the roughest time. Each time a new tooth came in, it’s as if my daughter had to learn how to adjust her mouth for nursing.  Like all things, teething/biting during breastfeeding is just a phase that will pass.  And you can continue to breastfeed though it.

Do you have any advice or experience on how to handle breastfeeding while teething? Please share.

Simple Strawberry Smoothie

This smoothie is one of my favorites—it’s easy, tasty, and toddler-approved! We enjoy this as a snack, but it also makes an excellent breakfast smoothie.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 4-6 oz Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • ¼ cup uncooked oats

Directions:

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Make this smoothie your own—frozen blueberries, mixed berries, or bananas work great in this smoothie. I prefer soymilk and Greek yogurt, but any type of milk and yogurt will do.

10 Ways to Eat More Vegetables

Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and help reduce the risk for many chronic diseases.  Try these tips to eat more vegetables!

  1. Top a pizza with tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, and zucchini.
  2. Add chopped bell peppers or onion to scrambled eggs.
  3. Stuff an omelet with mushrooms, onion, tomatoes, or spinach.
  4. Dip raw veggies in low-fat salad dressing or hummus.  Try bell peppers, cauliflower, carrots, celery, or cucumbers.
  5. Give your basic green salad a nutrient boost with grape tomatoes, baby carrots, or spinach leaves.
  6. Sneak shredded zucchini, carrots, or spinach into lasagna, pasta sauce, or meat loaf.  You can’t even taste the difference!
  7. Give mashed potatoes a boost by adding cauliflower. Steam and mash the cauliflower right in with the potatoes.
  8. Try a vegetable smoothie, or add a handful of spinach to a fruit smoothie.
  9. Replace regular spaghetti noodles with spaghetti squash or zucchini.
  10. Try a variety of vegetable soups or try making your own vegetable soup.

 

These are just a few ways to add more vegetables into your meal plan. Do you have any tips or tricks on how to eat more vegetables? What are some creative ways that you “sneak” veggies into your kids? I would love to know, please share!