Real Mom Spotlight is an opportunity for me to introduce some of my fabulous readers. These are moms who believe in feeding their kids Real Food – which is why they read my blog – but who are also living busy lives (balancing mommy-hood work, relationships etc), which can often get in the way of this goal. In other words, these are Real Moms. I thought it would be great to get some insight and advice on how other moms are finding ways to incorporate Real Food into real life. Here are their stories.
In today’s Real Mom Spotlight, I have the pleasure of introducing a good friend of mine. Caitlin came into my life through her husband, a long-time friend, and we really connected. We both had babies within the same year so of course we bonded further over playdates and discussions about sleeping (or lack thereof) and the intricacies of baby poop. Caitlin has been a big supporter of mine and has been a reader of the blog from day 1 and I know this is because she is so passionate about raising her daughter Chloe to love and appreciate Real Food. She really believes in leading by example and has even influenced her husband to start eating healthier (apparently he loves my overnight kale salad). Over to you Caitlin!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your kids?
I am a 29-year-old (for life) wife and mother of one amazing little girl, aged 16 months. Currently I’m working part-time in the geriatric recreation field, which can be difficult to balance with a very busy and inquisitive little person (how do people have more than two kids!?) We live in a wonderful new neighbourhood close to parks, swimming, trails and wildlife.
We love the outdoors, when the weather isn’t SO cold. She’s at a fun age right now and really keeps me on my toes.
Most days are spent playing with little friends, running errands and mommy – daughter dance parties! (her favourite)
What is your favourite food and why?
Hmmmmmmmm favourite food??? I can’t possibly choose! I do eat a lot of plain Greek yogurt. Its great for breakfast or a snack. I mix it with granola or fruit and its a awesome base for dips. Not to mention a good source of protein, since we don’t eat a lot of meat. Chloe isn’t so keen on it yet but I haven’t given up hope that one day she will love it like I do.
Why is it important to you to feed your family as much Real Food as possible?
I’m trying to keep my family as healthy as possible and the food they put into their bodies plays a major role. The biggest contributing factor to our real food philosophy is Chloe. We decided a long time ago that we wanted to provide her with as much real food as possible. Somewhere along the way we realized that the benefits that real food provides would also have a positive impact on our lives as well.
What challenges do you face in this mission?
Time is my biggest challenge by far. Sometimes I just want to fill my freezer with grocery store dinners and be done with it and to be honest we do have one or two last resort processed dinners lingering in the garage freezer but that is a huge improvement from two years ago, when we probably would have relied on them regularly. I’ve learned the freezer is my friend and perfect for non processed home-made meals as well.
How do you approach sugary/processed treats in your family?
We try our best to keep treats/junk out of the house, which is hard because I have a sweet tooth!
If we do indulge, it’s kept to a minimum. Chloe won’t be exposed to sugary/processed sweats anytime in the near future. She is happy having a piece of apple, pear or grape for dessert instead (so why mess with a good thing?)
What is your family’s favourite meal?
It really depends on the day and meal but my favourite dish would have to be tacos. You can put almost anything into that little shell! I often don’t even have the shell and just put the taco ingredients on top of some salad greens. Its a great family meal and easy to adapt for the little one. I love all the fresh ingredients that can be used, avocado, tomatoes, peppers etc. It helps that its a favourite for my husband as well, hopefully with the early exposure Chloe will learn to love them too.
What is your favourite “time-saving” strategy/tip when it comes to food preparation?
Like I said previously, I’m learning to make large meals in advance and put them in the freezer. For those days when I know that time will not allow me to cook a homemade meal. I prepared as much as I could before I went back to work and things got really busy, so that we wont fall back into old habits (processed meals).
What is one short-cut you take when it comes to food preparation for the sake of ease or time?
I make Chloe’s oatmeal for the week on Sunday. She loves it and no matter what will eat it. So while we’re still exposing her to new and different foods, oatmeal is our time saving breakfast of choice. It’s also perfect for an add on like fruit or cinnamon to change up the flavor.
What does meal-time look like in your household?
It can be pretty hectic trying to prepare our meals and Chloe’s at the same time but now that she is moving out of the puree stage we can adapt our meal to her needs. We have to be more cautious now when we plan a meal since to be able to feed it to Chloe as well. We make sure we sit down together at the table for every meal. (at least when we’re at home)
What do you wish for the future of the food industry?
I would have to say more organic vegetable/fruit options at the grocery store. I struggle to find a simple cauliflower head from time to time and if I do, I better be willing to pay top dollar. Until the grocery stores catch up with the times, we have found a better alternative. We joined Grand River organics (local organic growers) and they have more than enough options to feed our growing family.