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Healthy Eating & Raising Vegetarian Kids

Skip Hop High Chair
This post is sponsored by Skip Hop. All opinions are 100% my own and I only partner with brands I truly love. Thank you so much for supporting my blog!

Okay, so let’s jump right in to this whole healthy eating topic. My husband and I are not experts in nutrition, nor do we have any educational background on the topic, so this is solely based on our experiences alone. Both he and I have experimented with various meal plans, workout routines, supplement combinations, etc. through personal trial and error, and some a lot of research over the years. This has brought us to where we are today with our diets.

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I’m not going to say we are vegan- because we’re not. Is it a goal of ours? Absolutely. We’ve made many changes in our eating habits along the way and are proud of where we are today, but there’s always room for improvement. Our basic rule is *If it’s overly processed or there are ingredients in it that we don’t know, we opt for something different.* As with most things, the key to achieving a healthy lifestyle is balance. Now that we are parents, it is incredibly important for us to instill these habits into our children so that they can be as healthy as possible and grow up with healthy eating habits too.

 

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At the moment, our fridge and pantry are stocked full of healthy foods, with a few exceptions mixed in. During the week you can usually find us drinking homemade green smoothies, eating bowls of brown rice concoctions, or even stealing a few of our daughters Annie’s Organic Cheddar Bunnies for a snack. We definitely do not deprive ourselves of food we have cravings for either. If we’re craving pasta, we make a big pot of Red Lentil pasta (great source of protein) with homemade tomato basil sauce.  If we crave a burger, we make Beyond “burgers” with lettuce, tomato and avocado on an organic multigrain roll. I swear the meat alternatives on the market have us fooled.

Once a week, typically Saturday (or Sunday during football season) we have our “cheat day.” This is when we let loose and enjoy everything we can think of, while still choosing healthier alternatives, and we always steer clear from fast food.  I’m not here to preach or convince anyone to adopt our eating habits though; I am simply sharing our experiences and what led us here.

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So what does a vegetarian diet look like for a high energy toddler? Besides eating air? When she wants to actually eat food, her meals consist of large portions of fruit, some vegetables scattered in (her favorite are green beans cooked in olive oil and garlic and baked cauliflower seasoned the same way). We also eat smoothies, oatmeal, beans (black beans & refried) wrapped in tortilla with melted almond cheese. Since our daughter is a typical 2 year old finicky eater, we’ll find something she really likes by trial and error, and ride that wave as long as possible.

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Breakfast typically consists of organic whole grain waffles with agave syrup, fruit, a little coconut milk whip cream, and a green smoothie (spinach and apple).

At the moment, a few favorites are Orgain Kids Protein drinks (a great way to get in some protein, calories, and vitamins for the day). They also make an adult version which I drink typically once a day.  She thinks it’s a treat and when all else fails, I ask her if she wants a “chocolate milk.” Sneaky mama, I know.  She also loves Whole Foods Organic Apple Cinnamon Waffles, and of course me and my husband’s secret weapon: Halo Top. We go through about six pints a week between myself, husband and daughter and don’t feel one bit guilty about it because it’s only 240 calories per pint and has a decent amount of protein in it. Think of it as a protein shake, but frozen. It’s not another one of those fake ice creams that tastes like frozen cardboard. Some of our products have dairy in them, such as the Halo Top, but for the most part, we cut out most dairy when we can. We haven’t had milk in our house for at least 7 years now – we use almond milk. Olivia used to eat cheese sticks, greek yogurt, and scrambled eggs but recently she has declined all of them on her own. Her grilled “cheese” sandwiches are made with almond cheese. We plan to continue raising her on a “vegetarian lifestyle,” but at the same time remaining flexible and open to her requests. If she ever wants to try meat again, that is of course 100% her decision and up to her.

As mentioned earlier, I prefer not to put labels on our lifestyle, such as vegan or pescatarian, because as health conscious as we are, there are still many items we eat that are not solely plant-derived. Ideally, I would love for our family to become vegans and maybe one day we will get there. There are so many different types of non-meat eaters. For example, an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet includes both eggs and dairy products, an ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs but not dairy products, and a lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products but not eggs. A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including eggs and dairy. You get the point! 😉

With labels, I think people tend to stereotype or judge. People may assume I’m a crazy animal person that shares every single view with PETA. I mean, I am definitely a crazy animal person and love them all, but I have some differing opinions. My love for animals runs deep. I’ve always had a dog growing up, and I studied abroad in Australia with the pre-vet program. We went to the biggest sheep farm in the world, witnessed a cattle sale (tears); I even captured a gigantic spider in our study abroad house and set him free. I’ve kissed a kangaroo and held giant snakes. I’ve fostered dogs, and have two of my own and a cat. Before I had children, I used to go to the local animal shelters on my free time (something that I don’t have much of lately) to make sure I pet each dog there and give them some love and attention.  Will I wear fur? No. Will I judge you for wearing fur? Only if you’re educated and aware of the process but still choose to wear it anyways. Do I care if you’re eating potato chips that aren’t organic? Heck to the no. I can eat a hefty bag of Twizzlers every now and then and although “vegan,” they certainly aren’t healthy. Ha!

We have found that focusing on a healthy lifestyle has so many benefits but it’s constantly a learning process. We love eating locally grown foods. Our food has expiration dates, and usually they don’t last very long. We avoid chemical combinations disguised as foods that are labeled as “healthy.” We focus on the ingredients in the food. “You are what you eat” is such a valid statement. And we want to teach our children to have compassion for animals.

Lastly, the goal is to help our children understand that you only get one body and to treat it well, while making it as fun and enjoyable as possible along the way so that they never feel like they’re missing out on anything.

I plan to start sharing more of our recipes and what we eat on a weekly basis.  If you’re curious about the high chair in the photos, keep reading for my review. Skip Hop just released their new Tuo high chair. I’ve partnered with them in the past and I am so happy to partner with them again because I truly believe in their products. They are always designed with ease of use, while maintaining design and style.

 

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Now, can we just talk about this mini #girlboss right here overseeing her Daddy’s work? I think he would get an A+ because this high chair was one of the easiest products we’ve ever put together. No exaggeration. And gosh does it make life easier, especially with limited time having two little ones. Baby sis has another month to go before she can use the high chair, so big sis has completely taken it over put it to good use! 😉 Looks like we will be ordering another one soon.

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One of my favorite features is that the high chair converts into a toddler chair! When I said this was the only chair you ever needed to buy for your little one, I meant it. It is so versatile, stylish yet classic, and useful from 6 months old to 5 years old.  One of my favorite things about the Skip Hop high chair is that the white tray can pop off and is easily washed in the dishwasher, it has a reversible seat pad, and easy to wipe clean seat.

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Every little detail on this high chair was thoroughly thought out. I can easily unlatch the clips with one hand. Moms usually only have one hand free so this was important to me.  Skip Hop has truly thought through every single detail when they designed this high chair.

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Skip Hop will forever be one of my favorite brands. Some of my other favorite products from them beautifully designed are listed below:  Forma Diaper Backpack, grey Duo Signature Diaper BagPlayspot Geo Foam Tiles in grey and cream, or these neutral floor play mat tiles, and the Explore  & More 3 Stage Activity Center.

I hope you enjoyed this post and thank you! As always, your support means the world to me!!

xo,

Nicole

 

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  • Reply This Lovely Life - 4 Ways to Get Plant Based Protein as a Busy Mama | This Lovely Life

    […] you’ve read my posts before like this one, we are raising our daughters vegetarian. As parents, we would like to practice what we preach, so […]

    May 23, 2017 at 1:14 pm
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