Posted in Gluten Free, Healthy, Home Economics, Kid Friendly, Opinions & Commentaries, Product Testing

I’m officially… a Love Bug. 

Being a mom of two girls has had its challenges. In the beginning, I thought if they could wipe their bum and sleep through the night it would just be smooth sailing from there.

HA HA!

It’s ok. You can laugh at me too. Every stage with child rearing has its benefits & struggles.

Starting daycare or school is thought to be the ultimate in breaks. We get our life back, we get to go back to work, no extra daycare costs …. um, no!

Having another set of hands and feet other than our own is even more complicated when we can’t be with them constantly to take care of them.

That’s when I discovered Lovable Labels. I purchased a set for each of my daughters.

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(And one package has lasted until now!)

It was a Canadian company that made my life easier.  No more worrying about what wouldn’t be making it home that day (1 mitten, new indoor shoes, the expensive lunch thermos, etc.).  With Costco dressing many kids in durable snowsuits and backpacks, there’s bound to be a mix up of who’s is who’s.

Lovable Labels are made for a lifetime of use and stand up against the toughest kids.  They are:

  • Waterproof
  • Dishwasher Safe (Tested and true by this Professional Home Economist!)
  • Microwave Safe
  • UV Resistant
  • Peel & Stick (Except for the Iron-ons & non-label products)
  • Laundry Safe (Clothing labels only)
  • Bleach Safe

So I’ve been using these labels ever since. Well, mostly my kids’ stuff but there are tons of uses for adults too including work lunch containers (no missing leftovers from the lunch room fridge!), seniors in long-term care/nursing homes, sports (hockey, soccer, basketball, etc) equipment, students sharing dorm rooms/bathrooms etc.  Plus there are household labels (see my Top 5 list below!) that help homes stay organized inside (kitchen, office, crafts) and outside (recycling, compost & garbage bins!).

I even used them to do a fundraiser for the charity I work with, NSTEP, a few years back.

Recently I wanted to run a free promotion for my business, Nutrition Bites. As a Mompreneur, I have a home-based business but use expos to showcase as my temporary storefront. This season I was booked back to back at VegFest London and Whoa Mama! Marketplace. Many of my clients are parents & children. So what better way to advertise & market healthy eating to kids AND help out parents than to offer customized Lovable Labels to them as they walked by!!!?  I thought it was a very useful idea!

Here’s what my custom Nutrition Bites Lovable Labels looked like:


I attached them to a sheet explaining what they were & how to use them. You should have seen the kids light up! FREE stickers for their lunches? One girl took a few extras to share with her friends.

It was my little part to be marketing HEALTHY messages to kids and go up against the giants that unethically use millions of dollars trying to get low-density nutrition/foods into your kids all day long! (Can you tell I’m a bit passionate about health for kids & communities?!)

One of the best parts of ordering from Lovable Labels was their personalized touches:

A handwritten note to me!


After that I couldn’t help but be even more of a “Love Bug” unofficially of Lovable Labels.  Who takes the time to appreciate a customer’s orders?  This small, Canadian company sure does!

So I decided to support their company by registering to be an official Lovable Label Love Bug.  It was pretty easy, and within a few weeks my  Welcome Package arrived so I could share my love. All I do is be me: share my love of Lovable Labels with others.

What do you get?

  • Giveaways (FREE stuff for you!) – Seasons, themes, etc.
  • Cool ideas on how to use Lovable Labels from me, Sandra, aka Nutrition Bites

What I get?

  • Monthly Incentives & Free Products to review – No clue what these are yet but I plan on sharing them with my followers & Nutrition Bites customers somehow!  (Check out #1 on my Top 5 list below!)
  • Welcome Package to launch my love to you and the rest of the world – GIVEAWAY from me!
  • Content ideas for my blog, social media and home to get creative with Lovable Labels

So with all of the uses for Lovable Labels, I’m going to share with you MY list of the top 5 products I love.

Top 5 List of Lovable Label Products

From a Nutrition Consultant & Professional Home Economist

1. Lil’ Dose of Love Labels: Tutti Frutti

An extra little gift for being Customer of the Day (another sweet thing Lovable Labels does that I had no clue about – who doesn’t love FREE stuff and surprises!?) were these amazing labels.  Their website talks about giving kids positive messages in their lunches & backpacks but I thought – wow – exactly what I believe in – using FRUIT, not candy, to market to kids.  Plus the punny food humour is sure to make any kid-at-heart smile!


2. Allergy Alert Labels

Food allergies can be deadly for some.  Most are aware of this fact as schools, daycares and camps are trying to protect those that have severe allergies.  These labels help to remind others when you can’t be there, to not give your child certain allergens.  Allergy Alert Labels can also just be used for those wanting to have a certain lifestyle – like vegetarianism, veganism, gluten-free, etc.  And if your child has diabetes or other conditions that require a modified diet or lifestyle, the medical alert label will help you define that for others simple with a “peel & stick”.

3.  Canning LabelsPantry Labels 

Keeping healthy can start by being organized in your kitchen.  With personalized Canning Labels (which also help to make great gifts or for small farmers’ markets!) and an extensive pack of 88 Pantry Labels (almost ALL are very healthy staples to have in your home!), you’ll be sure to stock your home and others’ with healthy foods to nourish your bodies and busy lifestyle.

 

4.  Date It! Labels  & Write-On Labels  

These labels allow you to write & personalize AFTER you receive them in the mail.  Date It! Labels are perfect for food safety at home. Ever ask yourself (or someone else asks you), “When were those leftovers made?  Are they still good?”.  Well less work for you and this way you can customize with some Retro, Mayan, or Country styles without having to personalize before you actually make those pickles, roast or banana muffins.

5.  Outdoor Bin Labels 

As a person that has moved a lot in my life, these stickers were my gift to me (along with a local newspaper subscription) when I began my new life as a single mom.  No more chasing a black garbage can down the street to wonder if it was actually mine (Notice how almost everyone has the same one these days!).  No family name needed, just the address to keep your identity private but your bins easy to identify. It’s kind of like a “Return To” if found, during windy days.  And it looks way better than the spray-paint or sharpie method that’s bound to wear off during our harsh, Canadian winters!

 

fruit-starter

BONUS #6 – Don’t forget where Lovable Labels started – their personalized labels great for lunch & drink containers as well as clothes, shoes and bags.  I suggest their healthiest theme, Fruition, to (subconsciously) market fruits & veggies to your kids (and maybe you or your spouse!)

 

A LOVABLE GIVEAWAY FOR YOU!!!

I thought I’d start it of right by sharing the love right away with fellow bloggers & Nutrition Bites followers.


I’m giving away THREE different items from my Love Bug Welcome Package & my Nutrition Bites Promotion:

  • “Blogging is Bliss” & “I love Blogging” Labels/stickers
  • Lil’ Dose of Love Labels: Tutti Frutti (A sampler!)
  • My “personal”-ized favourites #NutritionBites Lovable Labels

Visit my Nutrition Bites Facebook Page to comment to win!

Find the blog post and follow the easy instructions! (Contest not in affiliation with Facebook in any way.  Open to age of majority in Canada. Contest deadline: December 18th, 2016 at 11:59pm.)

Stay tuned for more creative ways to use Lovable Labels and giveaways for my followers – YOU!

Follow me on Social Media:

Facebook:   NutritionBitesCanada

Instagram & Pinterest: @NutritionBites

Twitter:  @NutritionBites8

Blog (this is it!):   nutritionbites88.wordpress.com

Website:   www.nutritionbites.ca

Posted in Farm, Healthy, Home Economics, On Location, Opinions & Commentaries

Harvest Moon Reflection

Tonight in Ontario is the Harvest Moon – a signal to past generations that the crop was ready.  I thought it was fitting to reflect (pardon the pun) on my recent trip to Manitoba.

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Months ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to a Food & Farm trip during harvest time in the prairies.  All expenses paid, yes.  What did they ask of us all participants?  NOTHING.  Yes, I truly mean that.  How they picked us all, I don’t know – the only connection I can figure out was our love of good food!

After settling in to my regular life, I have had a few days to gather my thoughts (and my sleep). I am sure to blog about my specific experiences of a whirlwind 3 days but this summary at least represents the table of contents.

  • I had a quick walk (twice) to The Forks for a few hours in Winnipeg, MB.
  • I met 9 other amazing “foodies” who ranged from Registered Dietitians, chefs, restaurateurs, a food photographer, a news anchor and a travel & food blogger.
  • After a weekend, the titles of these strangers faded away.  The names turned into personalities and the glimpse of everyone’s passion started to come through.
  • Visits to vegetable, bison, honey, beef, grain, bean & canola farms were the main staple of our tour.  It definitely kept us busy & active with the full itinerary.
  • Throughout the tours and conversations with farmers, it became apparent that everyone had their own interest and investment into food.  The questions and comments helped to clear up misunderstandings as well as provide us with many facts and figures we didn’t know.
  • On top of the educational pieces about the agricultural processes and business side of farming, some history was retold.
  • The families and farming community were like Pleasantville.  Yes, I was told that they are regular folk too but, coming from a metropolitan city of London, Ontario – it was like walking INTO history and old fashioned values – everyone was so sweet & nice in EVERY conversation plus hospitable, opening their homes to us (literally)!
  • Farmers really care about sustainability and being stewards of the earth.
  • The food served was out of this world and amazing – ranging from a Pinterest-like party setting in a barn catered by several amazing chefs to my roomie cooking me breakfast (who is an award winning executive chef) and having it ready after my shower (so sweet).
  • The farms were stunning pictures that really captured the essence of how much space Canada has and how beautiful every turn, hill top and valley is.
  • Everyone has a story to tell – Using media (videographers followed us, social media used by guests & farmers ) with so many Canadian farms out there, can help continue the conversation about our food.

My takeaway from a 3 day weekend is that I feel even more passionate for food.  It has sparked new interests, questions and ideas that will last me for years to come.  What I love most is that this experience has now become part of my story and memories.  It will shape my future of food, not just in my career, but personally.  I will share what I’ve learned on my path, because connecting more with our food and health can help us all live a great life. This trip definitely fed my body, but more importantly, my mind and spirit.

 

The most sincerest Thank You goes out to:

  • the Canola Connect team who invited & hosted us,
  • the farmers who were welcoming and asked ANY question we had,
  • the families that showed up to help to host us at their farms (children & adults alike),
  • the other people who toured with me.

 

Posted in Farm, Fruits, Healthy, Home Economics, Local, Opinions & Commentaries, Product Testing

Product Review: Starfrit Cherry Pitter

Cherries are in full season, but my “season” started months ago.  I undertook a project  with 20 Valley Harvest Farms.  I have been responsible for many things including designing unique recipes that highlight not only cherries, but whole food, local and Canadian ingredients (Professional Home Economists can be a great source for recipe writing!).

So with so many recipes to design, test and re-test I also indirectly tested out several ways to pit cherries for the average consumer.

I first tried home hacks and methods that required only household items.  You can read that post here: Cherry Pitting: Home Hacks on Trial. Even though I am against having too many appliances and gadgets in the kitchen, I went looking for a possible way to get through pitting tons of cherries so I could focus on the recipes (especially when a test completely fails and I need to re-do it fast!).

So I research and find the single, stainless steel cherry pitter.  One was at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $18.99.  I also found the Starfrit Cherry Pitter.  With the option of “6 cherries at once”, I was very interested.  It was plastic so I was a bit hesitant, but with the price tag of $14.99 at my local Canadian Tire, I considered it for 3 weeks.  (Now when you search during the season, a ton more pop up when searching online.)

After buying out of season cherries from Washington (USA), spending tons of money and losing lots of time for the other tasks I needed to complete for 20 Valley Harvest farm promotions, I bit the bullet and pulled out my wallet.

Did you know that the average recipe development cost charged to companies is about $350 PER RECIPE?! It’s not just the time, but the cost of ingredients, appliances and even energy – electricity for stoves, appliances – add to the cost of a recipe to be developed and tested.

Being frugal, I thought I’d attempt the Starfrit one since it was cheaper and the idea of doing 6 cherries at once compared to the traditional, one at a time, made me travel to Canadian Tire.  When I asked, the employee didn’t even know where to find it and she said they must not carry it.  I thanked her and noted her lack of confidence of an obviously, not well requested item.  So I kept searching the aisle for my solution to my “bloody” cherry hell (I mean problem….).  Well, low and behold, after searching inch by inch, there it was… quietly sitting there with no indication of how purposeful it really was.

So home I went, with a lighter wallet and a hope that this weird contraption was going to make my life easier.

So instead of just showing you photos of how it went, I thought I’d use my daughter to film a quick impromptu video of how the Starfrit Cherry Pitter works from beginning to end. ​

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​PHEc Tips to get the most out of this gadget:

  • The fresher the cherries, the more likely the pit will not stay attached to the tiny flap of skin.
  • Not just for pies, it’s a great way to make maraschino cherries for cocktails, garnishes and additions to salads.
  • A great tool if you are also going to dehydrate/dry these into cherraisins (I made up the word and pronounce it “sher-raisins” or “chair-raisins” – which do you prefer?).
  • Store with your canning gear and put away for the season, or with your colander for reminders when washing other fruits, berries and veggies.

Here’s what I think after testing out the Starfrit Cherry Pitter:

Pros

  • Easy to use – It has the same action as a stapler and a child can do it without help.
  • Dishwasher safe – It comes apart to clean all three parts and no handwashing required.
  • Quick – Less work and mess than home hacks, plus this type does 6 cherries at a time!
  • Easier than other pitters – For people that don’t have good hand and finger coordination (Ex: Persons with MS, arthritis, fibromyalgia, advanced or very young ages) – no balancing or strong grip required.
  • Compact – It stores flat with a small locking tab that keeps it flat for storage.
  • Encourages healthy eating – Mr R Ginger ate an entire bowl in 5 minutes when I offered him “some” since they were already pitted.  I’m sure children and everyone in the family will do the same (we never got a chance 😉 ).

Cons

  • Cost is more than home hacks or commercially prepared ones
  • Space – You’ll need to store it somewhere when not in use.

Final Thought:  Yes, I do recommend this item.

IMG_6374If you are picking cherries or making jam or pies, this is a great and healthy alternative to home hacks or commercially prepared with added sugar (10% for those buckets of pitted cherries seasonally available usually).  This became my go to for my recipe testing.  It has held up great under many dishwasher runs, two kids using it and the countless cherries sacrificed for 3 unique recipes designed by Nutrition Bites for 20 Valley Harvest Farms.

I’m not all for new gadgets, or spending money (frugal PHEc here!), but this saved me time and made it easier to enjoy cherries more this season.  I’m happy to have it in my home, and I know next year I will be ready to pull it out.  This cherry pitter is totally worth not looking like a red-handed, mass-murderer during cherry season when you are up for serving delicious pies, tarts, jams, salads and cakes quickly!

 

Note: All opinions are my own.  This was not sponsored by Starfrit and I have not received any compensation or free items to recommend this product.

Posted in Healthy, On Location, Ontario, Opinions & Commentaries

“Funny things people say to me” Series by Nutrition Bites

Ok, so after knowing Mr R Ginger for almost two years, I have obviously met some of his friends. 

Last night we had an evening out in Kitchener-Waterloo with his childhood buddy we will now call Special K. 

Special K always comes up with funny things to say to people including me. Last night was no different but I thought I’d share it with my readers. 

So he had chips on his kitchen table when we arrived. I was famished after teaching a private child cooking lesson in London and then driving straight away to their place. Mr Ginger opened a bag, and knew they were one of my favourites (Gasp! I do eat chips!!! Don’t be alarmed. Be worried if I’m pretending to only eat vegetables. Moderation people.)

I went to eat some chips. Special K said “You don’t want to eat those!” And proceeded to take the bag away from me. Um, kinda rude but Special K is well ….. Drowning at times. So, with my humour, I never help the matter. 

I told him, “Of course, I do! Why would you think that? Because I’m healthy? Because I work in nutrition?”  

He says…….

….. Get ready for it…….

……. “I thought you only eat hummus and spinach!?”  

I think he was serious. Yes. Yes he was. 

What did I do?

I laughed loudly aloud!

I looked at my Ginger and he smiled and laughed too. 

Hhhhhhhhhuuuuh.   

Hummus and spinach do reside in our fridge and home… but so do other less nutritious foods.
 

Here’s the thing – eating a treat or less nutritious food is not against my nutrition mantra or most others in the nutrition/dietetic field. 

My sensories are just like his. But I wondered then if he put the bowl of fruit out for me?

And even out at Abe Erb, I ordered a freshly made, gourmet chicken burger on a bun, and Special K said “You eat bread now?”    

Gourmet Chicken Burger at Abe Erb in Waterloo

I looked at Mr Ginger and I said, “Now I’m gluten-free?”  I smiled. 

Ahhhhh. I guess everyone wants perfection out of a profession. That being said, do lawyers and cops never speed while driving? Are they not someone to respect because they made a rolling stop or didn’t check their blind spot before changing lanes?

It’s kind of the same idea. 

But we will be enjoying Special K for years to come. He makes us smile, and teaches me what people think about nutrition (and things I can help teach, address and advocate for in my career and blog!). 

 And I’ll be sharing his “hummus and spinach” quotes along with others (confidentiality will be honoured!) of what funny things people say to me about nutrition, food and home economics. 

Enjoy. There is lots more Special to come. 

Posted in Farm, Fruits, Healthy, Home Economics, Local, On Location, Ontario

Quality Frugal Food Tip: Want “Seconds” or “Thirds” in Fresh Fruit?

On my gourmet Southwestern Ontario trip this past weekend (one day to be a blog post, hopefully soon), we stopped at Delhaven Orchards in Blenheim, Ontario near Lake Erie. We were blessed with a $25 gift certificate, and honestly it was crazy how much fruit we had to buy to spend it!  (Farmers stands and markets are where it’s at for buying fresh produce for cheap!). 

So what did we buy?


An 11-litre peach basket filled with “seconds” apricots (for $12 – no taxes ever on fresh fruit and veggies by the way in Canada) plus a whole bunch of apples, some peaches and plums (they are fully in season in Ontario right now so fill up your baskets and cars!). In comparison, “firsts” apricots were $4 or so for a quart (the average one pound countainer for strawberries).

And what are seconds?
They are the fruit and veggies that don’t look “perfect” in our eyes – smaller, some marks, or even sometimes under-ripe or over-ripe.


There are high standards for canning companies – so usually the biggest ones go to the processing facilities because they can get bigger slices (but then pack it in cans and lots of added sugar and “syrup” – always buy fresh if you can, or packed in water only).  There is usually NOT bugs inside, and they can be SO much cheaper than “firsts”.   Thirds exist too, but many are discarded or in a case like apples – might be made into a cidre or something that uses the fruit or vegetable but it is processed to a point so it doesn’t look physically like the same thing.  It could still be a natural product, just perhaps not the full, whole food/fruit/veggie.

Watch this little video I made:


(Also found on my YouTube Channel)

So don’t forget to look for deals everywhere but don’t judge a fruit just by the outside. Even peaches don’t have to be red to be the sweetest and juiciest. That depends on each variety, just like apples!

So enjoy seconds and thirds just like you would silver or bronze. Working hard for your money doesn’t mean you have to have the gold standard – you might just be paying for looks, not taste or nutrition.

PS – Those eating solely organic know that imperfect and sometimes downright ugly still tastes good. Nature is not always perfect to us, but that’s because how we view things. Literally sometimes.

Posted in Healthy, Opinions & Commentaries, Recipes

My Opinion to “Juicing”

Juicing has been in the media for a couple of weeks now.  My 8-year- old daughter (a mini me in the making – God help the world :)), comes home and says “Did you know? They are getting rid of juices in the Food Guide.”  And yes it was stated like that – a fact.  I smiled and corrected her so that she could understand it was a debate right now.

So myself and Deb from ‘NSTEP discussed juicing a year ago (us grassroots charity people tend to be in-the-know and on the ground to know the trends earlier than what mass media can express).  It was definitely a one-sided conversation (no wonder I like working with her!).

I teach with ‘NSTEP in schools and I even tweaked lessons to be used at a local girls camp held at a university in town.  What do I teach – whole foods are way better than parts of it.  We use language like “healthier” instead of “bad” and “good” – it’s called positive reinforcement.

My problem with our North American society right now is that we are starting to classify even whole foods that come from nature.  One day a new “super food” is being promoted, and the next day we are villainizing another.

Learn from this old gal and goes along with a presenter at the Southern Ontario DC Conference this year – we do not know EVERYTHING!  I worked for Agriculture & AgriFood Canada for many summers and as well at 3 different locations across Ontario.  One fall, I was in a chemistry lab trying to discover the phytochemicals in strawberries in the late 1990s.

Strawberry in hand

We “know” now that a component in red wine (resveratrol) and healthy fats (olive oil) can possibly help with heart disease as we look to a Mediterranean diet (my dad is Italian and I can tell you this is not always the case when you live in Canada and your diet changes).

We “know” that blueberries are full of antioxidants that help prevent cancer to a point – but really who studied the blueberries and not the chemistry they are made up with?  (Petri dish vs pills/nutraceuticals vs whole foods)  We don’t know what combinations exist in nature to split everything up and give praise or blame to one part.

We “know” so many things that we didn’t “know” before.  Why do I put it like this – because like the presenter at the conference said (I’m paraphrasing here)- even if we don’t know something now, we cannot ignore the fact that we might not have discovered the health benefits of some food or diet – even if science cannot back it up at the moment.

Advice – Take everything with a grain of salt – good or bad.

I’m a huge believe in scientific studies as I have helped with enough in my days.  I believe that there is so much proof about many things we do actually “know”.  But there is a business behind publishing studies that the public might not know – many studies never get published…. this is based many times on how any magazine would publish things including public interest, funders, the people reviewing the studies as well as if the study came back with NO significant results.

I think the best approach to reading mass media in this over-information age is to stick with tried and true.  Whole foods have many health benefits.  A peach (Niagara native here), cheese, eggs, beef, wheat – why put one on a pedestal (or ditch completely) because of the one study a popular newspaper or the Dr Oz-of-the-day goes on about.

So here’s what I teach – an orange is better than the juice itself.  It has all that fiber that you are missing by having the juice. This helps to slow the digestion of all the components in the orange making less (natural) sugar spikes as well as keeping you fuller for longer. Nature made things more “perfect” in my opinion than whatever concoction we can come up with in a lab or factory or with a (juicing) machine.  And juice is better than an orange “drink” or “beverage” or “snack” that is not 100% juice.

image

We live in a world where there is convenience and products being marketed to us constantly.  I don’t see fig trees promoting themselves as the new best thing – they grow, they exist, they are not the only food in the world.  They have great things in them even if there isn’t enough funding for massive studies, promoting the figs themselves or assisting the farmers to, or we haven’t discovered yet or “know” what beautiful benefits nature has in those juicy, sweet and delicious treats this Canadian-Italian girl has stolen from the ants in her dad’s garden after the mulberries were snatched before the birds ravished the tree’s harvest.

Figs Fig tree

Listen to your body.  Eat whole foods.  Let’s get back to the basics.  Back to nature.  And oddly enough, we might have to do a bit of cooking as well along the way. Everything that is old is new again (and I don’t mean Kraft Dinner 😉 ).

Me & Mulberries

Stay tuned for my solution to “juicing” leftovers with my “worst client” 🙂  Post coming this week!

(For more info on ‘NSTEP please visit http://www.nstep.ca)

Posted in Uncategorized

I’m a single mom and I cheated; here’s why I continue to…

Did I catch your attention? Ha ha! I knew I would.  ME? CHEAT? How could that be true my friends and family would say???!!!

Ok…. the truth is I cheated on my values of whole foods, four food groups, cook everything from scratch, and to minimize pre-packaged food and processed foods.

And I still do!

Why this confession you might be asking?

Because it’s the truth!  And I think that even though my professional life and personal life is almost one in the same based on values, I am a human living in the year 2014.  And honestly being a stay at home mom is just as difficult as being a single mom. Even when the kids are gone.  I am shocked that two years after separation (hmmmm interesting coming up on the anniversary in 4 days actually), I am still not always reaching my daily healthy living goals.

My values and daily goals towards holistic health (mind, body, soul) are just that.  Goals.  Sometimes I reach them, and other days I fail miserably.  Most days are somewhere on that continuum.

But really what I want in this confession is to tell you that even though I am a Professional Home Economist with a degree in Nutritional & Nutraceutical Sciences as well as re-certifying to be a Registered Dietitian, I can only do my best.  And sometimes it is this:

Single mom dinner / linner.
Single mom dinner / linner.

And even in my idea of confessing my “sin” I realize now I forgot to show the bag of pre-prepared shredded carrots that I had swiftly shoved back into my fridge (future post I’m going to do about my fridge!). So also please forgive me for not even getting the picture “right”.

But yes, three acute illnesses (none of them the flu or a virus by the way….yet… knock on wood!) in my family within 5 days sent my home into the “bare minimum”.  Have you ever had that — just hanging on for dear life and honestly just getting through the days.

So please notice the pre-cooked protein chicken (meant as a treat for my daughter’s lunch this week) and the pre-packaged lettuce field mix.  I did end up cutting up a cucumber and putting some in (guilt had set in) and I, with a bit of exhaustion, cut up the rest and put it into a lock’n’lock container (hoping that it would not turn to mush before I can get to it later).

The salad dressing (poured directly on top and then a pour from the EVOO bottle on top to make it improperly) and cheese (leftover – used it up after I took the pic) and ta dah!  GOOD ENOUGH!

In this world, we are all busy.  All of us – including us: the people that are supposed to be these more “perfect” people at doing it.

But really, I forgive myself for doing it. If you truly knew all the happenings in my life, you would too.  What do you expect of me – single mom, student, home owner (leaves today!), charity worker (managing the Ontario portion) teaching, volunteering at community kitchens and writing a local column, a basement flood recently, a broken car, a great dane and a crazy cat….. oh wait…. fun… yes please – I fit that in too as well as being a daughter who lives 2 hours away from her parents and tries her best to visit.

So list all of the things you do in a day…. but list all the good stuff.

So I looked at my meal and saw the good stuff:

Single mom dinner / linner.
Single mom dinner / linner.
  • I had a complete meal – veggies (dark green & orange is recommended EACH day!!), meat/protein (chicken), milk food group (cheese), and a healthy fat/oil – EVOO
  • I fed my recovering body
  • I tried my best
  • I stuck with my values
  • I took care of myself (many moms and dads don’t!)
  • I ate a real meal when my kids were gone (single adults – young or old can relate to this!) and no one to share a meal with
  • I gave myself a pat on the back instead of “should”ing on myself (say that out loud…. 😉
  • I used my personal life in my professional life to teach/lead/inspire (hopefully) even in a little way
  • I had fun having this idea and making an instant project
  • I promote and honor single parents

So with that, my “linner” (lunch/dinner in the afternoon) is done, the insurance construction crew is gone, and I am about to go run errands and attend an orientation meeting for another volunteer position 😉

But just so that we can be clear, the guilt can always set in…. and so I thought I’d leave you with the fact that balance is necessary – even in our judgement of each other and our own lives.  Whether you are the newest expert in nutrition and health, or the person who doesn’t know where to start.  The best thing is to keep trying your best and know NO ONE is perfect and everyone cheats!

Balance is everything…. so I finished my meal off with dessert: carrot muffins me and my daughter made this week for “family night”.

Homemade carrot muffins.
Homemade carrot muffins.

I think that was the “guilt” setting in…. 😉 Kidding – just proud of the times I can do it.  And it’s better because I was baking in the kitchen with my younger daughter.  That’s the life I want…. family in the kitchen – just loving the basics and enjoy the messiness of it all!

Signed without apologies,

The Nutrition “Cheater”