Why do a wellness group for moms, you ask? Let me explain…
As the mama of 2 little kids, I feel the weight of my need for support and connection with other moms daily. I find that this is especially true when it comes to my own health and “wellness.” I am in a season of life when I don’t always get to put my needs first. I’m okay with that…I am trying to drink in all these moments while they’re young, while they still need me this much, while they still WANT to sit in my lap or read books together. It’s such a blessing and such a fleeting season of life. Ugh. It makes me tear up just thinking about it.
AND in all of that good, sweet, tender stuff is this tension of wanting to be what "they" (husband, kids, dogs, EVERYONE) need and still wanting to be...just me. Myself. Runner. Dancer. Baker. Dog-lover. Hiker. So many of my former passions, hobbies, outlets have been put on hold because of pregnancy-related joint pain, time constraints, bedtimes, bath-times, wiping spaghetti off the walls, etc. So much of the good stuff and the tough stuff is rolled up into one short period of time. It is refining, and good and normal, I know, but with the blessing comes a challenge nonetheless.
As moms, we set the tone for how our families relate to food, physical activity, mental and social health, and body image. We are influencers. Powerful forces in our kids, husband’s, or partner’s lives. And yet, we are bombarded with messages that make us second guess our role and question the value we have as women and moms. And sometimes in all the chaos and exhaustion that is, at times, necessary in this season of life, we just get a little lost.
As moms, we set the tone for how our families relate to food, physical activity, mental and social health, and body image. We are influencers. Powerful forces in our children's, husband’s, or partner’s lives.
My hope for the “Charleston Mom Bod Squad” is that it will be a safe landing place for you. It will be a place where we take time to be mindful of our own needs, while being honest about what a struggle it can be to feel healthy, balanced, and confident as a mom. (Tell me that's not just me!) I want to help you cut through some of the shame and guilt-laden messages you hear about food and your body, so that you can experience freedom to feed yourself and your family well.
Our time together will include a nourishing snack, discussion of a weekly nutrition focus, time for setting realistic goals for you and/or your family, and a group walk. We will work to build a community of wellness minded moms, supporting one another in our journey to raise healthy families. No diets, no shame, no guilt.
When moms feel empowered to embrace the body they have, enjoy the food they eat, while fueling their body in the way it needs, then we will see healthier families, kids with improved body images and coping skills, and stronger communities. The deadline to register for the Charleston Mom Bod Squad is in 7 days (April 7), and we still have a few spots left! Would you join us? Email me here for more information.
*Charleston Mom Bod Squad will meet weekly for 6 weeks, beginning April 14 through May 19. The group will meet in Mt. Pleasant on Saturday mornings from 9-10:30 am.
We’re getting personal today. We are going to spend some time talking about YOUR relationship with food and how that might be affecting how you feed your kiddos. I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve met who have this sense of impending doom that they will “screw up their kids” with their own hang-ups about eating or body image. Before you immediately start judging, blaming, and shaming yourself, PLEASE know that we ALL have our own hang-ups…even (maybe especially) dietitians! And no parent will be perfect. But we want to learn, and grow, and do the very best we can to raise our kids well.
Here it is:
Maybe you have been a chronic dieter and, for you, food is a cause of stress and anxiety. The last thing you want for your kids is for them to deal with the same body image, restrictive eating, out-of-control eating (or whatever other) issues you have dealt with in your own life.
Maybe you tend to be a picky eater yourself, so to you the idea of your child actually eating and enjoying a variety of foods feels impossible.
Maybe your child is strong-willed and mealtimes have become a battleground.
Here are some tips and thoughts to help:
This isn't going to be perfect and it doesn't need to be. Remember, if you are loving your child and caring for their needs, you are doing SO well. You've got this.
Calling all mamas! On April 14, I will be launching a 6 week group session I’m calling the Charleston Mom-bod Squad…because let’s not be too serious. This will be a place for mom’s to come connect with one another, indulge in a little self-care, and learn to rock their amazing mom-bods! Each Saturday morning we will spend time discussing nutrition-related topics like making peace with your post-partum body, meal planning, healthy snacking, and more. We will connect with each other over coffee, have a built-in time to be still and quiet (WHAT IS THAT?) and then get moving as we walk the beautiful Shem Creek park in Mount Pleasant. Come as you are and leave with practical knowledge and goals for making the most of the body you have. You are amazing, mama. You’re strong, beautiful, gentle but fierce, and so giving. You are valuable and needed for the long-run. This is your time. Come connect, support, and appreciate yourself and your “squad”. This group will be small, so grab a girlfriend and grab a spot!
I've been on a mission: Find healthy snacks to feed myself and my kids without breaking the bank. I have some hungry little dudes around my house. Cue comment about waiting until they're teenagers. Yes. Yes.
I stumbled on this recipe on one of the food blogs I follow. These whole wheat apple muffins are not only delicious, they come together quickly and can double for breakfast or a mid-morning pick-me-up. Top with some peanut butter or almond butter for protein, and voila! You have a balanced, affordable snack. I also love that these contain the extra fiber of whole wheat flour, a staple in my pantry. I added some ground flax seed for even more fiber and healthy fat. All that fibery, fatty goodness will help keep you feeling full for longer, and help keep your gut healthy!
Whole Grain Apple Muffins
(recipe adapted from Cookie and Kate)
1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground flax
1 cup grated apple
1 cup apple diced into ¼” cubes
⅓ cup canola oil
½ cup honey
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp brown sugar for sprinkling over top
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds for sprinkling over top
In today's day and age you can make "noodles" out of anything...zucchini, sweet potato, carrots...anything, people! I found a recipe for Carrot "Noodle" Salad in a kid's cookbook I was given for Christmas, and thought it would be a really fun dish to try. I'm always looking for ways to encourage my kids to try vegetables, especially raw ones. Somehow making food into fun shapes just makes it WAY more appealing. So...carrot "noodles". I'm also a sucker for a good non-lettuce salad. It's nice to change it up sometimes. We saw, we made, we ate...raw carrots!
4 large carrots (multi-colored carrots are even more fun!)
2 scallions, chopped
⅓ cup dried berries or raisins
½ cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice from half of a lemon
½ tsp local honey
Salt to taste
*This is delicious even made a few hours ahead of time. Store any remaining leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
We decided to make chocolate covered strawberries this week. I can’t think of anything much yummier and it’s festive for Valentine’s day. It’s important to include some decadence in your diet with no guilt and no shame. I like to enjoy dessert with friends, and in moderation regularly! This helps me stay motivated to maintain a healthy way of life day in and day out.
This recipe will work well with whatever chocolate chips you have on hand, but I will be using Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips which are free of the 8 main allergens. These chocolate chips are so good and I can really tell no difference in the flavor and texture from conventional chocolate chips!* Hooray. Chocolate covered strawberries for everyone!
This is so easy and so decadent! First, we wash *and dry* our strawberries. Having dry berries will help the chocolate stick. And we WANT the chocolate to stick. This is making me really ready for strawberry season. These berries are so much better during the Spring months when you can get them fresh and locally grown. But...this will do for today!
Next, we make a double boiler by simply pouring an inch or two of water into a medium sauce pan and placing a heat-resistant, glass bowl over top. We pour the chocolate chips into the glass bowl and heat over a medium-high stove, stirring continually until the chips are melted. I had some help...
Working quickly, dip the clean, dry strawberries into the chocolate and place on a baking sheet to cool. You can place these in the refrigerator to help them set more quickly. I put a little waxed paper down on my baking sheet to make it easier to get the strawberries off when they've set. It's also easier to clean, which this mama is ALWAYS in favor of!
Once the chocolate has hardened around your berries, share and enjoy! Happy Valentine's Day!!
*I am not affiliated with Enjoy Life brand at all...I just use them often. :) I pass on brands that work for my family in the hope that they will work for you!
Valentine’s Day can be such a fun holiday for kids to celebrate with friends and classmates. Let’s help keep it fun and safe for those children who have food allergies. Here are 5 tips for keeping Valentine’s day safe and inclusive for our kids!
1. Communicate. Talk with your child’s teachers and/or room mom(s) about your child’s specific allergy needs. Have them send out a note to other parents alerting them of the allergens to avoid when sending Valentine’s treats. Because my son is allergic to milk, we’ve asked that his classmates send only non-chocolate treats for his class Valentine’s party. With his type of allergy, we feel fairly confident that avoiding chocolate treats alone will allow him to stay safe.
2. Use non-food treats. There are loads of fun little toys, arts and craft supplies, tattoos or other non-food items that kids will love in place of candy. This would be an especially helpful way to handle the holiday if your child has multiple food allergies.
3. Read labels. Be sure to check the label of any food or candy your child receives for his or her allergens. If your child can read, encourage them to do this before they eat any food-based treat.
4. Look out for homemade goodies. While homemade treats are a kind and generous contribution, items sent from someone’s home kitchen do pose a risk to kids with food allergies. Teachers and students may not know exactly what ingredients homemade foods have in them, and there is the risk of cross contamination with foods not made in an allergy-friendly environment. Some schools have started putting limits on homemade items allowed in the classroom. If your child’s school still allows homemade treats to be sent in, offer to send something yourself that you know will be appropriate for your child to eat. You could also ask that parents label foods really well or include a recipe or ingredient list.
5. Practice the language. Give your child phrases to use when asking about the ingredients of a food and politely but firmly refusing items that could cause a reaction. This empowers the child and also helps keep them safe.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Enjoy the ones you love!
Mealtime with little ones…oh the joy…oh the mess…oh the frustration. Amen? You’re trying to eat together, so great job. Your presence at the table is SO crucial to a child’s life and development. I’m so happy that you’re having a meal together as a family.
But you sit down, and then it’s messy. And it’s awkward. And what do you say? And everyone is looking at a screen…and then it’s over.
How do you make meal time pleasant? A time that is enjoyable and valuable to everyone? Here are some tips.
You’re rocking this parenting thing. It won’t be perfect, but keep up the good work.
I love trying to eat locally sourced foods as much as possible. Eating locally grown and sourced foods not only helps bolster the economy of your town, but it puts you in tune with what naturally grows in your area seasonally. It also encourages you to try foods you wouldn’t necessarily have access to or choose otherwise. And there are some real, yummy nutritional gems out there waiting to be discovered, folks!
I recently started volunteering with an amazing local business called Lowcountry Street Grocery (LSG). LSG is a mobile farmers market which offers not only amazing local foods and produce, but they bring it to your area! They are part fun, hip farmers’ market and part mission. By converting an old school bus into their mobile market, they are able to take fresh, nutritious, well-sourced food into areas where people may not otherwise have access to fresh food. We call these areas “food deserts” because often the only place community members have to purchase food is the local convenience store. So LSG rolls in with a bus full of beautiful, nourishing food for our neighbors to purchase. It’s amazing. I’ll probably be talking a good bit more about them and their impact in coming months, but today…a recipe!
So I was putting together a nutrition education newsletter for the guys at LSG and one of the items of produce they currently offer is Kabocha Squash. Maybe you have heard of it, and I’m just behind on my squash varieties, but I never had. So I started looking into it. Kabocha squash is much like the other varieties of winter squashes (like butternut squash, acorn squash, and pumpkin), but a little sweeter. It’s loaded with beta carotene, potassium, magnesium, and fiber, which makes it great for digestive health, heart health, and great for protecting your body from inflammation and cellular damage. I'm a sucker for winter squash. Check it out and give it a try!
Roasted Kabocha Squash
My name is Emily Funcik, and I am a registered and licensed dietitian in Charleston, SC. I am also a stay-at-home mama, a wife, a foodie, and a dancer. I have a passion for healthy living, entertaining, and a deep-rooted loved of all things delicious.
|Emily Funcik Nutrition||
Emily Funcik Nutrition