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I Help Moms Blog

5 Ways To Find Your Calm As A Busy Mom

A great podcast from our CEO on 5 strategies to regain calm in motherhood!
https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/5T9HxKU3Yub

5 Tips to Level up Your Kiddos Nutrition Game

My favorite meals are when I spend loads of time planning, preparing and executing a great meal and nobody eats it…said no mom anywhere! Let me be real, getting our kids to eat amazing well-rounded meals is extremely difficult. I have 4 kids and even when I think I have their taste buds figured out, it all changes. I am here to give you some hope and encouragement because mealtime can be challenging. 

1. If you have littles, start introducing all kinds of veggies prepared in different ways. This way you can discover new foods they like. Make a game out of it and make sure YOU are eating them too. Your kids are watching.  Even cutting veggies in a fun way will spark their interest. 

 

2. Offer small amounts of only 2-3 different foods. Serving big portions can feel overwhelming to them. You can always give them more if they ask. Make sure you always offer a protein and a veggie. After a while, this will become their norm.

 

3. After 4 kids I have realized that small, more frequent meals, just makes life better. My biggest switch was feeding the kids dinner right after school. This avoids a LOT of issues. They are always so hungry so instead of giving them a snack, I just feed them what I had planned for dinner. This also helps them power through after school activities.  You can then offer a healthier snack before bed. My favorites are plain yogurt, peanut butter and apples, or a banana. This routine after school has saved us from many a meltdown and fights over dinner. There are no rules as to what time “dinner” must be served :)

 

4. Keep offering veggies to your kids. Make a small plate with cut up veggies and leave it out. Kids love grab and go snacks, and this is a perfect way for them to try without being told.  You can even make a kid style charcuterie board with cheese, raisins, veggies and crackers. Your kids will LOVE this! 

 

5. Get your kids involved in planning and making meals. I know it’s messy but getting your kids in the kitchen helping you, sparks curiosity to try new foods. It promotes confidence as well when they produce a meal for the family. It also helps them become more independent in making their own meals.  Invest in a kid’s cookbook with lots of pictures and let them pick a few meals throughout the week with the expectation that they have to TRY what they make! 

Your kiddos are watching you so be sure you are also eating the foods you are wanting them to eat. My kids started asking me if certain snacks had protein in them. I asked my 8-year-old why they keep asking and she said, “Because Mom, you talk about eating protein ALL THE TIME!!” I didn’t even think they were listening. Even if you do not see the results or shifts you want right away, keep going! They are watching, listening and learning. 

 

BONUS TIP for steering your kids towards better food choices is simple: do not bring junk food into the house. This way there won’t be temptation to fall back into to poor health habits. If the goldfish are not in the house but apples are, they will be more likely to grab an apple. You got this!

 

Check out I Help Moms favorite vitamins our kids love! 

 

Pws.Shaklee.com/ihelpmoms  

Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond - Gestational Diabetes

THE DIAGNOSIS

 

This was something that really wasn’t on my radar prior to diagnosis, I’m positive many women out there are feeling much the same way. I’m 5’3” all of 105 lbs without pregnancy, eat pretty healthy and exercise regularly. Furthermore, at the time of my diagnosis I had no known diabetes history in my family. However, my father was recently diagnosed with T2 Diabetes. So, when my 1 hour glucose screening came back high and I was told I would need to go through the 3 hour test to see if I would have a definitive diagnosis I was devastated. However, my professional experience told me that MANY women fail a 1 hour and go on to have a completely normal 3 hour. So, I rested in that until I was able to have the 3 hour test done. There is no “sugar coating” that test, it’s pretty horrible. You have to FAST the night before. Come in, have your fasting blood sugar drawn, drink that awful drink and then proceed to sit there for 3 hours while having your blood drawn an additional 3 times at 1 hour increments. 

The day I got my results, my doctor pulled me aside on a Saturday while I was working to tell me my sugars were high for the 3 hour and therefore I would be labeled with Gestational Diabetes. I was instructed to make an appointment with the diabetes counselor, would get a glucometer to start checking my sugars four times a day and needed to watch my carbohydrate and sugar intake. I was also told I would have additional scans towards the end of the pregnancy  to check to make sure the baby was not too big and that a conversation would be had around 38-39 weeks about possible induction/delivery instead of riding out to my due date or beyond (which is most common for first time moms).  I immediately felt devastated and defeated. I was doing everything in my power to be as healthy as possible for the baby and for a good delivery outcome and I was mad at my body for failing in this way. I immediately started thinking about what it was that I had been doing that could have caused that (was it the fruit smoothies I had been enjoying?!). Now, I know better than that type of thinking. Sometimes, yes women COULD be stressing their body constantly in the way that they eat or lack of exercise that could be causing their bodies to fail to keep up with the sugar intakes and be weak in this way but also, the truth is, many times it is our genetic makeup that causes our bodies to be weaker in this way during a time of stress (AKA pregnancy). I spent the majority of that day crying. In hindsight, things could have been SO MUCH WORSE. This diagnosis is not everything in fact by pregnancy number  3 it was old news and I just assumed I would have it again. I would have even felt UNCOMFORTABLE had I been told I didn’t and checking my sugars was unnecessary (I would have done so regardless).  I was able to see the silver lining in all of it! I was forced to ignore all those wicked, wildly unhealthy pregnancy cravings and always, always opted for the healthier option. My motivation, I would do anything IN MY POWER for my baby and to keep them healthy and I was ultra-motivated for a good birth outcome (small babies=easier births). This caused me to have minimal weight gain (easier to lose post pregnancy) and ultimately caused me to have a reasonably sized baby (easier to birth!) and helped me to create better eating habits overall OUTSIDE of pregnancies. It also allowed me to use what I personally learned in coping with GDM to help many other women who will go on to struggle with the very same diagnosis (family, friends and YOU!).  I ended up being able to control my sugars just fine using diet and exercise methods and although trickier towards the end of pregnancies I always had reasonable sized babies (5,6,7 lbs). While this may not always be true for all, some women despite all BEST efforts will have to go on insulin to control sugars (ALONG with good diet and exercise) and some women will grow large babies (because genetics!)  I felt as long as I gave my best effort at controlling everything that was IN MY REALM OF CONTROL I could rest easy in that and you should too…

 

MANAGEMENT

 

Honestly, mindset! Mindset is everything when it comes to changing the way you eat. Pregnancy lasts maximum 9 months and this diagnosis generally doesn’t come until around 28 weeks or so (sometimes earlier if it’s a subsequent pregnancy with history of GDM but in that case like I mentioned, old news). So, for most 28 to 40 weeks that is 12 weeks of STRICT control and dedication about what goes into our mouths coupled with physical exercise (something as simple as going for walks after meals) regularly (for best outcome!). This is temporary, but if you’re smart this will give you PERMANENT habits that will last beyond pregnancy and hopefully dodge a diabetes diagnosis later in life (which you will likely be told you are now a higher risk for). The thing about diabetes is you constantly have positive reinforcement for how you are doing. If your sugars are mostly all good, you can assume you are doing a good job. Towards the end the demands on your body peak and it will become slightly more difficult to achieve good control. This is the natural progression of things, to be expected. What I did for my diet was I found what works and stick to that with one mystery meal (usually dinner). I inserted snacks between meals and one before bed. 

 

Sample meal plan as follows:

 

Breakfast

2 eggs 1 small piece of wheat toast (feel free to insert avocado onto piece of toast as well for some good fats) 

 

Snack 1

 

Lunch

Salad with chicken (pick a good dressing with no added sugars) ranch worked for me! I could sprinkle a few croutons on top of salad with no issues. Tip: Sundays grill some chicken tenderloins and you have salad for your chicken for the whole week!

 

Snack 2

 

Dinner

My mystery meal where I would try to “spice things up” so I’m not eating the same thing everyday all day long! Example:Fajita Bowls- ground meat (turkey, sausage, beef, etc) , peppers and onions over top of riced cauliflower with some fajita seasonings.  

 

Bedtime snack

 

Snack List

  1. Apple with PB (green apples have less sugars and use natural PB with NO added sugars)
  2. Kind bars (if picking bars read the nutritional facts and try to stick to one 5 g or less)
  3. Plain yogurt (again read labels and compare sugar contents amongst diff brands, I used Siggi’s) with berries on top (blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) sprinkled with cinnamon (helps control sugars..)
  4. Cheese stick

Also, I found 2 separate KETO recipes for lb cake and blondie brownies I would alternate between for occasional “special treats” (super easy to search and find on pinterest!)

Please keep in mind that this is a sample meal plan. Maybe you might not like what I did but if you want we can set up a meeting and talk about your likes and dislikes and come up with a meal plan that will work. Also, this is about trial and error and well because everyone’s individual thresholds are different and may need to be slightly tweaked as pregnancy goes on. Again, feel free to set up a chat and we can talk about your own individual needs! 

 

OUTCOME/LOOKING BACK-

 

Nine times out of ten you will have a good outcome. Once that baby and placenta are out you can go back to business as usual. The silver lining is you might find that you learn good eating practices that will help you avoid T2 diabetes in the future, down the road, you can help out friends and family that might get that same, scary & potentially overwhelming diagnosis and you’ll see that it’s so much easier to lose that baby weight postpartum when the only weight gained was “within a healthy range”! Good outcomes all around! Furthermore, if you have subsequent pregnancies dealing with it will be a BREEZE! Now go enjoy that healthy baby you worked so hard to grow :)!

 

 

Being a Lead Learner in any Educational Setting

As a public school educator, I was given a manual and asked to teach what was in that manual. Did I add in my own content? Yes. I did. I was able to research above and beyond what was in that manual according to the ages of my students. As the lead learner, my goal was to broaden their horizons beyond what was in the manual. I wanted to model what research and curiosity look like. In a private school setting, I was also given a manual on what to teach. Again, I would go above and beyond what the manual said and find out some more interesting facts pertaining to the topics. Why would I do this? Wasn’t it more work for me? Did I stay after school extra hours to research? The answer is yes. Whether I stayed at the school or went home and did it, it did “cost” me extra time and energy. It’s not like I got paid for the extra. I did it because I thought it necessary to model what good research and lead learning looks like and what curiosity in seeking more information on a particular topic can add to your life! When we take the time to model the good things, we can instill a sense a pride to our children, students, and others who are watching. We want to be models. We should all want to keep the wonder alive in our minds and in our lives. There is so much out in the world for us to explore and I guarantee we are only seeing a small snippet of it in this lifetime! 

 

As a homeschool educator, I am the lead learner in my home and in our school community. What does this mean? I am not the teacher up front with a manual. I am learning with the kids as well as guiding them when asking thought provoking questions and steering the conversations around like a car on a well-worn racetrack! I do not have all the answers. I do not have a set manual most of the time. We are all learning material that has us asking why did it happen? Where did it happen? Who was there? When did this occur and was there any other events happening at the same time as this? How do you think George felt when Martha did this, that, or the other? We can stop in the moment and research! We have freedom in education. In whatever way you choose to school your children, just know, you can be the lead learner in your home and add value to the material by modeling! Research, ask questions, and learn all you can! You got this mama!