Tag Archives: nutrition

Chocolate carrot/pumpkin cake

3 Aug

I like chocolate.  And cake.  And cookies.  Pretty much all the things that are nutritionally void, and laden with excess sugar and empty calories.  So, i’ve been trying to find recipes for healthy versions of my favourite treats, but more often, just converting the regular ones.

Last night, Hannah and I made a chocolate pumpkin cake loosely based on this recipe that we modified a whole lot to be way healthier.  I also didn’t have quite enough pumpkin, so I used some carrot too.  The cake turned out to be very delicious, moist, and crowd pleasing at playgroup this morning.  At least people told me they liked it…..

Chocolate carrot/pumpkin cake

Chocolate carrot/pumpkin cake:

1 1/3 cup wholemeal self raising flour (1 cup of wholemeal flour has 15.8g of dietary fibre, 63% of your daily needs, compared to a measly 3% in white flour, 14.8g of protein, and also contains calcium and potassium

1/2 cup cocoa (100% cocoa powder) (promotes cardiovascular health, reduces LDL cholesterol whilst increasing HDL cholesterol (which is the good kind), and is also an anti-depressant)

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (regulates blood sugar, fights infection, combats menstrual pain, reduces chronic inflammation)

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (fights fatigue and stress, reduces inflammation, relieves indigestion)

1/3 cup milk (full of calcium and protein, reduces symptoms of PMS)

1 TBSP fresh lemon juice (contains antioxidants, vitamin C, aids digestion)

1/2 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin (cooled) (contains lots of beta-carotene, a cancer fighting antioxidant, high in dietary fibre, rich in vitamins A and B, also contains the minerals calcium, potassium, and phosphorus)

1/4 cup cooked, mashed carrot (cooled) (lots of vitamin A and beta-carotene, reduces risk of lung, colon, and breast cancer, reduces risk of stroke)

1 TBSP pure vanilla extract, preferably the real stuff, not imitation (reduces nausea, gives the illusion of sweetness)

3/4 cup organic butter, softened (Don’t let the butter scare you. We need fat in our diets, and butter is full of vitamin A, D, E and K, contains lecithin, which is essential for metabolising cholesterol, contains antioxidants, aids in mineral absorption, it’s fatty acids have antimicrobial, anti-tumour, and anti-cancer properties.  Yes, it’s high in cholesterol, but we also need cholesterol to “produce a variety of steroids that protect against cancer, heart disease, and mental illness.”  Did you know that human breast milk contains around 50% saturated fat, the highest proportion of cholesterol then almost any other food.  The french, who consume a diet very high in saturated fat from butter and cheese, have a very low rate of heart disease.  To read more about butter, click here. I wanted to give you a link to a journal article, but you wouldn’t be able to read it without paying, so I didn’t. I can read it through my university library website.  Student privileges you see….)

3/4 cup raw organic honey (honey should not be consumed by anyone under the age of 1.  That said, raw honey is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal, it contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, and phosphate, strengthens the immune system.  Commercial honey has been pasteurised and had all or most of the pollen removed, and does not have all of the benefits listed above)

Stevia to taste (can be liquid, or puree the fresh leaves with your pumpkin and carrot) (Stevia is a natural sweetener that is about 300 times sweeter than sugar.  It does not elevate blood sugar levels, and hardly has any calories.  If you use too much, especially of the raw leaves, it does have a liquorice like after taste, but hey, if you like liquorice, that’s not really a bad thing.  I am growing a stevia plant in a pot outside.  You don’t need much of it, so use sparingly.

3 free range eggs (rich in vitamins, and full of easily digestible protein.  Eggs from free range chickens contain higher levels of vitamins and are more resistant to salmonella)


1. Combine dry ingredients in medium sized bowl

2. Whisk milk, lemon juice, vanilla, pumpkin, carrot, and stevia together in small bowl

3. Beat honey and softened butter together in large bowl on medium until well combined

4. Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated after each addition

5. Pour flour mixture and milk mixture on top of butter mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon until well combined

6. Pour cake mix into baking paper lined 10 inch round baking pan and bake at 180C (350F) for 35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.  You can use different sized pans, just keep an eye on the baking time (smaller pans will mean the cake is thicker and will need a longer time, bigger will yield a thinner cake and require less time).

7. If you’re really on top of things, cool the cake on a wire rack, but if not, that’s ok too.  I just let mine sit in it’s pan and it was fine.

After sufficiently cool, put cake in the the fridge.  This cake tastes best cold.  Not room temperature, from the fridge cold.  Once cool, it goes all fudgey and delicious.  Of course you shouldn’t consume a large amount of the cake because despite being nutritious, it still has calories.  You can rest assured knowing that your little “treat” wasn’t just empty calories, but is providing you with lots of good nourishment.

Cut into 12 slices and each slice has 166 calories.

Close up. See how fudgey it is?  Yummmmmmy....

Close up. See how fudgey it is? Yummmmmmy….

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS! Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory Like my blog? ‘Like’ it on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Adventures/203964682967827?ref=tn_tnmn Pin It You officially have my permission to pin this (as long as it links back to my site).  Just don’t act like you wrote it. Because you didn’t…. Copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson
The Best Mom Blogs

Ensuring nutrition in picky kids

18 Jul

“You make yucky dinners, Mommy.” Hannah told me last night.

“You don’t know they’re yucky because you don’t actually try them.” I told her.

“I do know they’re yucky, I can smell the yucky.  You make yucky dinners.  Why can’t you make yummy things for dinner?”  And by yummy, she means plain pasta with a bit of cheese, Vegemite sandwiches, or crackers.

Hannah’s lack of a varied diet is something we struggle with every single day.  For a long time, our rewards chart system was working wonders.  If she tried her dinner, she would get a magnet on the rewards chart.  A week of trying her dinner entitled her to a reward that we predetermined together.  Sure, she would just take the one bite, and half the time gag and gag whilst making hideous why-are-you-torturing-me-this-is-the-most-disgusting-thing-I’ve-ever-eaten-in-my-life faces, but for us, that was progress.  We thought that if she tried things often enough, one day, she might actually come to like them.

She does eat fruit, carrots, and frozen pea, corn and carrot mixes (she will only eat them if they are frozen) occasionally.  Meat, on the other hand, is non-existant in her diet.  No fish, no beef, no pork, not even chicken, apart from the occasional nibble she will take out of a chicken nugget.

Consequently, we’ve been giving her a nutritionally complete powder mixed with her milk after breakfast so that we know she is getting some protein and iron in her diet.  She thinks she is getting a treat, since we got the chocolate flavoured powder, and we get peace of mind, knowing that she is not going to be malnourished.  It’s a win-win. (Some are not suitable for children, check the label to make sure).

Oh my goodness, I can get this in pudding form?!   Um...yes...for Hannah....

Oh my goodness, I can get this in pudding form?! I do love pudding….

One such nutritionally complete powder, Ensure, is available pretty much world wide, and comes in many forms.  Like pudding.  Yes, pudding.  So if you have a kid who doesn’t like to drink stuff, but loves desert, you can just give him/her some pudding. Brilliant.

Ensure can also be used to help manage constipation (the very reason we got a powder with extra fibre for Hannah), after surgery when the patient can’t have solids, for people who can’t chew properly, as a post-exercise drink, and has many other uses as well.

Of course, obtaining all of your nutrition from fresh, healthy food is ideal, but that’s not always possible, especially in kids and elderly people, so having an alternative is wonderful, and often, life saving.

*This post was brought to you by Ensure Canada.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!
Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Like my blog? ‘Like’ it on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Adventures/203964682967827?ref=tn_tnmn

Pin It You officially have my permission to pin this (as long as it links back to my site).  Just don’t act like you wrote it. Because you didn’t….

Copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson

The Best Mom Blogs

Tips for picky eaters

7 Mar

When Hannah was little, she used to eat any puree I put on her little spoon.  She loved any and all food. I can’t pinpoint when, or how it happened, but now she is fussy.  Really fussy.  It drives me nuts.  She’s been this way for at least two years now, and instead of gradually getting better, it just gets worse.  I fear that she isn’t getting enough vitamins, minerals, and protein to sustain her and keep her healthy.  I know it’s not just Hannah though, eating is a huge problem.  According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 50% of toddlers aged 2-4 are picky eaters (up from 19% of under twos), which accounts for 95% of all picky eaters.

Lucky for me (and probably you too), I received some picky eater tips, and got some of my own questions answered by Kate Samela, Paediatric nutritionist, mom of two, and author of Give Peas a Chance: The Foolproof Guide to Feeding Your Picky Toddler, which was name a “mom must read” by Parents.com.


One of Kate’s tips is using kids’ favorite textures (not tastes!) to expand their eating habits. The goal is to try and identify foods that are similar in texture and consistency to foods that he already accepts and that have the same “mouth feel”.  The familiar and accepted texture can be a bridge to a new flavor or food acceptance.

If they like …

Crunchy/Salty: Instead of Cheerios or Goldfish, try Terra Stix or mini rice cakes

Sweet and Squishy: Instead of pancakes, try freeze-dried fruit cubes or sweet breads like pumpkin or zucchini

Smooth and Slippery: Instead of string cheese, try a yogurt smoothie or pudding

Soft/Mushy: Instead of mac and cheese, try sweet potato pancakes or oven-baked eggplant parmesan

  • Offer the food with a safety food and as part of a meal. A safety food is one food that you are certain your toddler will accept – something familiar and likeable. For example, if you are trying to expose your toddler to meat, pair it with his favorite fruit or vegetable and a starch (i.e. watermelon and French fries).
  • Allow your toddler to touch and play with that food, even if it means putting it in his mouth and then spitting it out. Playing with food is something that toddlers do and they engage in this activity because it is a key part of their development.
  • Serve the same food to all at the table, so your toddler will see other people eating what he is being served.
  • Offer the food in small quantities so that he does not get discouraged or overwhelmed. “Portion Distortion” begins in the toddler stage: Bags of chips, cookies, and snack crackers are bigger than ever. Often, parents feel like their toddler is eating nothing because they have piled on grown-up portion sizes, or even quantities of food that an older sibling would eat.
  • If after two minutes your toddler says the dreaded “I’m done,” ignore him and attempt to engage him to talk about something he did that day. Do not try and overzealously attempt to keep him at the table, or set “rules” for what else he has to eat before he gets down. There is a biological reason for a decrease in food intake between the ages of one to three, and that is a slower rate of growth. Appetite mimics rate of growth; therefore, appetite “slows down.”
  • Consider what your toddler eats over the course of a week, rather than from meal to meal. You can even pick several days if a week seems just too long. The idea that his decrease in appetite is developmentally appropriate should give you some reassurance for those days that his eating doesn’t seem to add up to nutrition perfection.  In a day, it can be normal for a toddler to eat one “good” meal.

I asked some specific questions to Kate, about things I struggle with in regards to Hannah.  Here is what she said:

Q:My daughter is 3.5, and very picky. Instead of starting to get less picky, she keeps getting pickier. She will often refuse to eat things she loved not so long ago, and say “I don’t like that anymore.” She doesn’t just not like it for a week or so. When she says that, that’s it, she won’t eat it again no matter how many times I put it on her plate. Is this normal, and what can I do about it?

KS: As frustrating as this can be, it happens with some kids. The first thing you have to do is think about how you (or anyone eating with her) are responding to her declaration of “I don’t like it”. If you feel the scenario escalates into a battle of wills more often than not (i.e. You respond: “What do you mean you don’t like this, you just ate it yesterday!”), then there are some changes to be made. Simply ignore her declaration and act like you don’t care either way. Try saying, “Well, I am sure you can find something on the table you like.”

If however, these food refusals are accompanied by weight loss, persistent stomach aches, changes in bowel habits, or constant fatigue, you need to speak with your pediatrician as her decline in food intake could signal something else.

2. Question from a reader: My 18 month old daughter eats pretty balanced meals, but sometimes she refuses to eat anything for a few days, she will drink milk though. Her doctor warned me that if she drinks more than 12oz a day she could get very ill and possibly die. My initial reaction was fear, but I’m feeling a little mislead, any input? thank you!

KS: The big concern with excessive milk intake in toddlers who have very little table food in their diets relates to iron deficiency anemia. Milk is a poor source of iron, and foods help keep iron stores within normal limits. The severity of the anemia will depend upon how long the scenario has been going on. Meaning, when a child doesn’t eat anything, and drinks more than 16 ounces of milk per day week after week, it can become a serious problem. Usually, it occurs when the child is drinking large quantities of milk (like more than 24 ounces).

Be sure that you are still going through the routine of offering regularly scheduled meals and snacks, and be sure you (or the caregiver) are sitting and eating with her. Use these days as a chance to offer something new and fun – sometimes kids just get bored of the same old stuff – especially at 18 months.

Also, pay attention to her stooling pattern during these 3 day food refusals – if she is constipated, she might not feel like eating. Give 2-4 ounces of pear juice per day to help her move things along.

And lastly, give her a daily MVI with Fe, such as a Flintstones Complete, to be on the safe side


3. I know you say I shouldn’t overzealously try to keep my daughter at the table and make her eat x and y before she gets down, but is it ok to make her sit at the table until dinner time is finished if she doesn’t actually have to eat anything? Usually I let her get down when she’s done if she eats all of her food, but if she doesn’t, she has to stay at the table until dinner is finished (and I emphasize the fact that she doesn’t have to eat anything). She always wants to get down though.

KS: It sounds like there are mixed messages being passed along. Your daughter would benefit from a consistent response to her request to get down from the table. Meaning, whether or not she gets down should not depend upon what she ate or didn’t eat. If your goals are to have her sit for longer with the family to enjoy the time together, then it’s fair to set the rule that no one can get up before everyone is finished. And I agree that she does not have to eat anything while she is sitting. One suggestion: quietly be mindful of how long she has been sitting, but don’t feel the need to set a timer. She should not know you are keeping track of time, otherwise she will dread coming back time and time again.

4. When I put something that Hannah “doesn’t like” (I use the term loosely because it’s not based on taste, just what she says she doesn’t like without trying it), she won’t even eat the things she does like that are in a different section of the segmented plate. Often she will even turn around in her chair because she “doesn’t want to see it.” How can I get her to try things when she won’t even touch or look at them?

KS: This is a tough one. First, I would want to know if you remove the offending food on a regular basis. If you have fallen into that habit to keep peace at mealtime (full disclosure, I have done it too!), she might be persistent with this response based on her past experiences. If you have removed it once, you will remove it again! (Note from Sheri added after questions were answered: I do not take the offending food away.)

I would suggest putting what you made for dinner on serving dishes instead, and allow her to try and serve herself instead. Most 5 year olds can do this with a tiny amount of guidance, but if she is younger, than she might need some hands on help. Kids LOVE the autonomy of putting their own food their plates, and might even be motivated after a few weeks of doing it, to put something new on the plate too. Otherwise, you can try today the website Today I ate a Rainbow, and see if the charts and rewards help – it’s a great site.

5. I recently got a rewards chart for Hannah. If she tries her dinner, she gets a sticker. If she gets stickers for a week, she gets a predetermined (by a discussion between Hannah and me) prize. She doesn’t even have to eat the food. All I want is for her to put one little bit in her mouth, just so she can taste the flavour and hopefully start to get used to putting different things in her mouth, and even coming to like the different tastes. Do you think a rewards chart is a good idea for picky eaters?

KS: I think it depends on how it is presented, and of course the personality of the child. If what she is eating (or what she is not) is a major focus of her day, every day, every meal, then I think the chart is overkill. Additionally, she might just feel like she is constantly disappointing you by not taking just a bite.  You want her to feel like she can choose to try a new food because she wants to. You can motivate her by taking some focus away from food, and take the pressure off meal time a bit and just enjoy each other’s company.


If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!
Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Like my blog? ‘Like’ it on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Adventures/203964682967827?ref=tn_tnmn

Pin It You officially have my permission to pin this (as long as it links back to my site).  Just don’t act like you wrote it. Because you didn’t….

Copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson

The Best Mom Blogs

%d bloggers like this: