Happy and HEALTHY Holidays!

With my family being in the Toronto area, I’m in full packing and planning mode around this time of year in preparation for our annual trek to visit my family for four nights, and than up to John’s family cottage for three nights.

The holiday season is notorious for being heavy on the sugar and light on the sleep – a recipe for weakening the immune system and getting sick. With this in mind, I come fully prepared with healthy homemade snacks and the necessary vitamins to try and avoid the dreaded Christmas cold.

We usually leave early for our drive to Toronto so most of the boys meals and snacks are in the car. I pack and prepare as much “real” food as possible: fruit, boiled eggs, cheese and I also bring some homemade breakfast and snack options. This year I made my Raw Granola Bites – chock full of healthy fats, and 2-Ingredient Pancakes – gluten-free and high in protein!

When it comes to vitamins that help strengthen my kids’ immune system, I add Webber Naturals Kids vitamin D drops to their water, they get a daily omega-3 (Progressive is my favourite brand), and I mix Progressive probiotics powder into their smoothie or yogurt. I’ve also started to add echinacea drops to their water at the first sign of a cold, which helps to shorten the length of the cold.

Feeling a bit confused about probiotics? Basically, it’s important to get as many different strands, from as many different sources as possible (great probiotics article here). A probiotic supplement is always a good idea (I like Jamieson for myself), I also add kefir to our smoothie, and have made kimchi a part of our holiday meal plan (perfect pairing with my Pulled Pork!). For myself, I also like to add 1000 IU’s of vitamin C and a B100 vitamin during times when I’m feeling run down to keep my immune system strong. It sucks when your kids are sick, but it’s even worse when you get sick and can’t take care of them!

It’s inevitable that you and your kids will probably eat more sugar (us adults will drink more wine!) and get less sleep than you’re used to over the holidays. In addition to the treats, try and incorporate fruit and raw veggies any chance you get, take your vitamins, and despite the chaos and busyness of the season, try to live in the moment and enjoy.

Raw Granola Bites

3/4 cup instant oats, uncooked
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup agave or unpasteurized honey
1/4 cup natural peanut or almond butter

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine honey and peanut butter (microwave to soften if necessary).

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir to combine (this may take a bit of elbow grease to incorporate all the oats). Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge, and form into balls (about 1 tbsp. size).

Store in the fridge or freezer. These balls are a great source of healthy fats, protein and whole grains; making them a perfect healthy snack on the go!

2-Ingredient Pancakes

1 ripe banana
2 eggs
Optional additions:
2 tbsp. almond flour
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.

Mash banana in a bowl, and whisk in the eggs. If you choose, stir in optional additions now.

Before each batch, scoop a dollop of coconut oil into your pan to prevent pancakes from sticking. Add about 1 tbsp. of batter per pancake (I usually cook 4 at a time). Let cook for 1 minute, flip and cook an additional minute. Continue cooking until all the batter is used.

Allow pancakes to cool and store in the fridge or freezer. Reheat in microwave and top with real maple syrup or unpasteurized honey. Enjoy!

About Lauren

Welcome! I’m Lauren Follett. A couple years ago, while working in the corporate world of downtown Toronto, I decided to pursue my passion for healthy living and enrolled in the Distance Education program with The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. I studied on my lunch breaks, after work, on the weekends, and while travelling through South America. The world of health & nutrition can be confusing. There are a lot of mixed messages out there when it comes to health: low fat, low calories, sugar-free, low-carb, gluten-free…leaving you confused, frustrated, and wondering where to start. That’s where I come in. As a Registered Nutritionist, my goal is to help you accomplish your health & wellness goals. I don’t believe in diets or quick fixes. I believe in living a healthy lifestyle, which requires you to get educated, and learn how to make healthy choices. I’m dedicated to working closely with my clients to teach & motivate them to make healthy choices, discuss healthy living strategies and create customized nutrition programs that fit with their life.

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