Soy-Free Candle Round Up

I love candles. They seem to immediately make my home feel so much home-ier and welcoming. I like how relaxing and calming they can be. Recently I heard a story of a family that would turn off all the lights when the sun went down and the older kids would go around the house and light a candle in each room. This helped the family begin to relax and get ready for the night. I can see how it would be such a good transition for the whole family (adults included) to take a break from television, iPads, and just the general hustle that comes with our modern life.

For years candles have given me headaches. I’d light them and enjoy them until I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I always thought it was all the crazy fake scents that were in it, but when I switched to organic ones it didn’t seem to make it difference. It wasn’t until I got diagnosed with a soy allergy that I realized it was the fact that it was made from soy!

I went without candles for a while, but I missed the warm candle in the kitchen or the cozy candle as I read a book, so I started researching soy-free candles. I discovered beeswax candles and coconut oil candles. Since beeswax and coconut candles are not readily available in most stores, I thought it might be helpful if I did a round up of all the ones I’ve tried! All the companies below graciously sent me a candle in exchange for my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Even if you don’t have a soy allergy, I think you will love these all natural candles. Beeswax candles are so fantastic for cleaning the air and helping with asthma. I love that I know that my candles are not only enjoyable but benefiting my family as they burn.

Queen Mab Alchemy

Essential Oil Peppermint Votive

This peppermint essential oil candle smells amazing! It’s so pure and clean smelling. I think it would be the perfect happy to give a pregnant mom. It’s very calming and I am sure the smell would help with nausea.

Early on Queen Mab Alchemy made the decision to use coconut wax rather than soy and has since added beeswax to many of their blends. Integrity and honesty are core values for Queen Mab Alchemy and they choose only the best ingredients for their candles. Their new EO line of aromatherapy candles are made in small batches using all natural waxes and pure or organic essential oil. Queen Mab Alchemy is offering my readers 10% discount with the coupon code  (valid now until May 21, 2017) The code is 17SPRING10.

Epic Beeswax

Soy- Free Candlesticks

Soy-free candlesticks, votives, decorative candles, and birthday candles.

You guys, I kind of squealed when I opened this box. To be honest, I thought I’d need to give up decorative candles such as candlesticks and birthday candles (could you contaminate food anymore?). The first thing that stuck out to me was how nice they were made. There is a definite difference in beeswax candlestick and the cheapo soy candlesticks. I had a blast using Epic Beeswax’s birthday candles on this cake. If you’d like to purchase one, Epic Beeswax has offered you guys a coupon for 15% off just type in REALFOODIEFAM in the coupon field.

WickFix

Spicy Cider and Sigh of Relief Candles

So the  Sigh of Relief candle is my new go-to candle when I get a sinus headache. It reminds me of the essential oils they use when giving massages and it’s crazy relaxing. It’s the perfect candle to light as you unwind from your day. The Spicy Cider reminds me of a cozy fall day. During fall I LOVE to burn pumpkin spice candles and I am so happy that I’ve found a fun fall replacement!

Each scent is blended to not only smell nice but provide a beneficial aromatherapy effect which is why they call themselves Wick Fix. An example is the Sigh of Relief candle that is a blend of lavender, mint, and eucalyptus that has a calming effect while helping to relieve sinus congestion. Wick Fix believes you breathe what you burn so they don’t add anything extra like dyes; instead, they make by hand one of a kind stained glass piece that represents the oils inside the candle. For 10% off use the coupon code “piper” in the coupon field box.

Rt1home

Organic beeswax, organic coconut oil, and lavender essential oil

First off, how cute is the packaging? It looks like something right out of Urban Outfitters. I think it would make a great gift. It smells amazing! My son was having a tough day unwinding, so we curled up on the couch and read a book and enjoyed the scent of the lavender candle. It really did help him relax! Check out RT1home’s shop and get a 10% off discount with the coupon code “WELCOME053117” and it expires May 31, 2017.

3SistersVintageCo

Lavender Tea Cup Beeswax candle

Isn’t the tea cup candle adorable? The lavender scent is the perfect companion to a good book and hot cup of tea! Burning 3SistersVintageCo candles produces an air-cleaning quality due to the negative ions released when heated, bonding with toxins and removing them from the air. I love that (and it’s true for all the beeswax candles). A fun fact about these candles is that they are made by a twelve-year-old. Impressive, huh?

To get a 10% discount applied to any total after $10 enter 3sisters in the coupon field box.

zax beeswax

The beeswax candle purifies the air and is totally made of beeswax, but it is more similar to the traditional scented candles you may be used to. The MuffinBerry scent seriously smells like blueberry muffins baking in my kitchen. If you want a stronger scent than an essential oil, I recommend this one. If you are more sensitive to stronger smells, then go for their essential oil blends. Don’t you love the mason jar? Definitely, check out Zax Bees Wax.  They offer 5% off daily on their website and are offering my readers a free shipping coupon if you head over to their Etsy site and spend over $50. Just type in “FREESHIP17” to get your fresshipping.

beeluxe

beeLux

Aren’t these candles gorgeous? They’ve been on my kitchen table and are so bright airy that they remind of the beach. beeLuxe candles are only lightly scented by the natural smell of beeswax, which is softly sweet. They are the perfect ambiance candle that won’t compete with dinner smells during your dinner party. beeLuxe has all natural ingredients and their containers are meant to be recycled and made food safe. How cool is that?

For 10% off order (valid through May 22, 2017) use the coupon code “realfoodie” and use “freeship” for free shipping for orders over $125.00.

Healthy Sweet Potato Nachos

Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Meal

So I started not to share this with you guys, because it’s not exactly a recipe, but then I thought that sometimes those types of meals are my very favorite to make! Here is my “recipe” for healthy sweet potato nachos.

We struggle at dinner. My kids are still at the age where the witching hour is the real deal. You know that thing where everyone starts falling a part at 5 o’clock? I’m always watching the clock while desperately texting my husband asking him when he’s coming home. I’m at least telling myself that I am not the only one here!

Anyway, sometimes *quiet* dinners are nice (and rare)! This meal was so yummy that the kids didn’t seem to remember to fall a part. 🙂

So here’s how you make it, but be sure to put you own style into it. Think about what your family likes! My kids strangely don’t mind spice, so we can do mildly spicy stuff.

The fresh lime makes it taste so light and fresh! Like the sippy cup in my picture? I promised you real life and my life is filled with lots of sippy cups 😉

  • Grab a bag of sweet potato chips (a mix of sweet potato and corn). I bought mine at sprouts and they were soy-free.
  • Make your taco meat. I used ground sirloin, but you could do ground beef or turkey.
  • Throw in some chopped (frozen if you are in a hurry) onion, garlic, and bell pepper.
  • Season with chili powder, cumin, onion, powder or an organic taco mix.
  • Dump your chips into 9×13 pan.
  • Top with meat mixture.
  • Sprinkle cheese on top. It doesn’t have to be cheddar. I used mozerella here and it was still delicious.I
  • Bake at 400 for 6 minutes or so. You want the cheese melted.
  • Top with avocado, salsa, pickled jalapeños,, and lime juice!
  • Drizzle plain greek yogurt on top.

 

Eating Together is Family Glue

Guest post by Elizabeth at What Mama Knows

IT’S ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

Meal times in our house are noisy, and getting noisier. There are more people to join in the conversation these days! Our 5 year old talks pretty much non-stop; our 3 year old twins have a lot to say, and now our 1 year old is making her voice heard.

The questions are fast flowing. Here are 3 questions lifted directly from a recent meal, asked consecutively without drawing breath:

  • What is grace?
  • How do babies come out of mommies tummies?
  • What does Uncle Chris have a big beard?

Some are easier to answer than others. It’s chaos, but we’re trying to instigate some ‘rules’.

You know, things like:

  • Don’t speak with your mouth full
  • listen to one another
  • don’t deliberately fall of your chair (we can’t be the only family with this problem)

IT’S A POWERFUL THING

Eating together is like family glue. I think so many of us intuitively know this. As much as possible, we have breakfast and dinner all together. The beginning and the end of the day is punctuated by sharing food. 

Often the day involves different places and activities for different members of the family, but as you come together and get stuck into the same feast, pass each other the applesauce, pour each other cups of water, you’re a team again.

And when the eating together is done, the family members trot off, a little bit stronger and feeling restored.

IT’S A PROFOUND THING

I find mealtimes are a natural point for family devotions, learning the Lord’s Prayer together, praying for our friends and neighbors, as well as hearing each other’s stories.  So many things flow from eating together.

But it’s more than convenience and it’s more than just a nice thing to do. It’s a heavenly thing to do. Just like many other wonderful aspects of being human, it’s a reflection of an even greater God-ly thing to do.

It’s how the Lord relates to His people. Again and again, eating together crops up in Scripture. Bread provided from heaven, a table prepared in the presence of enemies, the great feast God makes for us and eats with us, and the ultimate wedding banquet. And so many times we read how Jesus ate with sinners.

IT’S ABOUT RESTORATION

The story that often catches me the most is when Zacchaeus met Jesus. Come down, Zacchaeus! I must come to your house for tea! I must. It’s been providentially decided that you and I will eat together, and by the end of that meal, you’ll have repented, and our relationship will be beautifully restored. Now hurry up and climb down from that tree.

It’s nearly Easter, and I can’t help but think of the Passover and the Christian family meal that Jesus started. Our eating together at the Lord’s Supper is exactly that kind of glue. A grace given to us by Jesus, because we belong to him, and shared with our Christian family, because we belong to each other. It’s simple, just bread and wine, but it speaks of a restoration that will last forever.

No wonder eating together is so powerful. That’s how we’ve been made to relate.

IT’S ABOUT FAMILY GLUE

Sharing a meal requires a certain degree of peace and friendship. You know if you want to deepen, or heal, or celebrate a relationship with someone, you invite them over and sit down at the table with them. It’s something so simple, but sharing food is special.

It’s the same with our little families. Eating together is like family glue; it knits us together, tetchy moments of the day are put aside, we look after each other, and tired people get a boost of energy. It’s a designated time when we know we’ll regroup and start afresh.  And every day and without great drama, children absorb that they are loved, provided for, secure and full.

WHEN WE’RE WEARY…

Of course, family meal times with little people can be exhausting, demanding, even dare I say a little relentless in the frequency with which they seem to come around. I know that, really. I’m grateful for true foodies like Sophie who keep us inspired and interested in what we’re cooking and eating, because it’s a huge undertaking.

So for encouragement, I want to keep the bigger picture in mind. Eating together as a family is achieving something much more than we can see just from empty plates and sticky faces. It’s family glue.

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and also blogs at whatmamaknows.com. She’s a mom to 4 little ones, including twins. She’s passionate about encouraging moms in their Christian faith.

REAL foodie Family: What We’ve Been Up To

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So I’ve meant to do posts all a long about our family. How we are indeed real. In fact, we are SO real that I’ve broken my own personal rule of going to bed with the kitchen clean every night….yet again.

I go through seasons of keeping a clean house and it feels great. But everytime my family gets sick, I fall behind. And this month has been a month (or more!) full of sickness. Good grief! We have passed strep back and forth. I didn’t know adults could get it, but I’m on my third round of antibiotics.

I became a crazy lady. Driven with the desire to END this ridiculously long bout  of sickness, that I religiously disinfected my entire house (multiple times). When our pediatrician told me that strep doesn’t live on surfaces (except wet things like toothbrushes), my entire face must have dropped. I made our house smell like those disgusting yellow bottles of lysol for no reason? So here’s to hoping everyone stays well this time!

When my kiddos throats were hurting, I had a harder time finding things they would eat that would be both comforting and semi-healthy.

I pulled out my old Baby Food Maker  (glad I kept that thing on the top shelf and didn’t get rid of it) and made homemade apple sauce. I knew it would probably taste better than the jarred stuff, but had no idea what a hit it would be. My husband declared, “this is more like apple pudding.” The baby food maker did a  great job of  making it super smooth.

If you want to make your own just throw in two apples peeled and cubed. Steam it in the babyhood maker (I poured in water to the first line).

After it’s cooked, pour out about about half the juice and dump the apples into the container. Blend (we added a teaspoon of coconut sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg). Henry LOVED helping at this stage.

In other news, we are trying to create a few routines (Bill and I are both big picture people, so we have to be intentional with this stuff) to create anchors in our week for both us and the kids. Bill and I don’t rest well. We’ve known it for a while, so we are trying to make Friday’s a day that relax and unwind.

On Fridays I work to get the house clean with the kids. We enjoy (or I enjoy depending on the day) getting the house clean and restful for the weekend.

Fridays are now grain-free pizza night. Everyone loves it and most of the time it means I don’t cook unless I make our Real Foodie Family’s Grain Free Pizza. Typically we head to sprouts and grab Against the Grain Pizza. We love the pepperoni!

What traditions do you enjoy as a family?

Since we’ve been sick so much. We’e been reading a good bit. Right now I am reading The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ’s Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children and loving it. It’s been offering such a sweet reminder to be intentional with my kids. I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s not one of those books that makes you feel guilty for what you are not doing. She’s so real.

For fun I am reading A Portrait of Emily Price and it’s fun fast read. So far I’ve enjoyed Katherine Rae’s other books a bit more, but I am still enjoying this one

I am about to start reading Little House in the Big Woods to Henry and I am super excited. The Little House series was my all time favorite as a little girl. Henry loves for me to read to him and I am looking forward to sharing this story with him. I think we will read either when Ella naps or before bed. He loves time with me before bed. Sometimes I am so wiped that I have a hard time coming up with a good bed time story that is crazy enough to keep up with his imagination. Hopefully this will help!

I’d love to hear any book recommendations you may have! Leave me a  comment

Make These Grain Free Cinnamon Rolls For Your People

Wahoo it’s Friyay! As I alluded to earlier this week has a been a bit crazy and I am SO happy to see the weekend. We’ve come to love slow Friday evenings with grain free pizza as a family and a special breakfast Saturday morning. I try to have something really yummy and grain-free  for Saturday morning. Sally Clarkson, who I adore, recommends having simple routines in our lives that our children can cling to as guideposts. Bill and I have found that we love these simple traditions/ routines as much as the kids.  I’ve started her book The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming and can’t wait to get more ideas!

Last Saturday these Cinnamon Rolls were our special treat and I think it’s safe to say they will frequent our kitchen table. We ate every last bite.

Frankly, I was dubious. I am still new to developing grain free recipes and I’ve yet to try a gluten-free cinnamon roll recipe that that was a win. Henry, my four year old, would quickly clue me in, “Hey, these aren’t real cinnamon rolls!”

That certainly didn’t happen with these cinnamon toast bites! They were melt in your mouth perfect and shockingly refined sugar free. They were also Henry approved. We all fought over the last one 😉 If you need help finding these flours check out my Grain Free Pizza post where I point you in the right direction.

P.S. I made the grain free pizza on Friday and while the pizza cooked I whipped up the dough for these. Then while Bill gave the kiddos their bath, I rolled them up and put them in the refrigerator for the next day.

Cinnamon Toast Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 2 tablespoons of avocado oil (or refined coconut oil)
  • 1 package of fast acting dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • 1 cup of almond flour (finely ground or blanched)
  • 1 cup of tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons of arrow root
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • Icing:
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • 14 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Dash of nutmeg and salt

Instructions

  1. Mix water, yeast, and oil in an electric mixer.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients blending on medium high for five minutes with a paddle or dough hook.
  3. Cover dough with a cloth and let rise for an hour in a warm space.
  4. Grease a circular baking dish.
  5. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of a cutting board.
  6. Place the ball of dough on top.
  7. Use another piece of plastic wrap to spread out the dough entirely.
  8. Remove the top layer of plastic wrap.
  9. Using the under layer of plastic wrap gently roll the bites together. See picture.
  10. Slice into 1 in bites and place into greased pan arranging in a circular motion leaving a 1/2 in between each bite.
  11. You can either cover and refrigerate for the next day or bake them.
  12. Preheat oven to 350.
  13. Bake for 20 minutes.
  14. Combine all of the icing ingredients in a small sauce pan.
  15. Cook on medium heat and stir until it comes to a boil.
  16. Remove from heat.
  17. Cover baked bites and serve!
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Meal Planning 101

You guys I am so excited about this: I have two great guest posts coming your way. I know that meal planning is a crucial part of making eating healthy a reality. I also know that what works for one person might not work for you. I wanted to give you some other people’s perspectives. I hope this gives you inspiration!-Sophie

 Meal Planing 101 by KYlie

Start with Your Family’s Calendar

The first inclination for most people when sitting down to meal plan is to set up something to cook every night of the week. While this is the goal, this kind of “plan” can actually just set you up to throw away a lot of groceries. Before you plan your meals, talk to your spouse and children to create a clear picture of the week. This will help you plan for any events that might interrupt your cooking or meal time. On these nights, plan for leftovers, meals that can be prepared with little or no prep time, or a quick trip eating out. For example, my husband and I have a church life group we attend every Thursday. We plan for leftovers that night for dinner. Sometimes, if we have plenty left in our restaurant budget, we enjoy a quick trip to Chick-Fil-A!

Take Stock of Your Freezer and Pantry

 Be sure to take a look at what you already have before you plan out your weekly meals. Did you stock up on pasta during a sale last week? Sounds like you need spaghetti one night! Do you have a 6lb pound bag of frozen chicken in the freezer that you bought from Sam’s Club? Check out a fun new recipe, like Cleaned Up Chicken and Broccoli Casserole! Using the ingredients you have on hand will prevent food waste, create room in your pantry/freezer, and cut down your grocery bill.

Plan Your Meals

Now comes the fun part – plan your meals! We keep a running list of anything and everything we like on a spreadsheet. Each week, I create a new column on the spreadsheet and fill in what we’ll cook that week. Some families have themed nights (Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, etc) to help easily choose their meals. Find the method that works for you, and write it down! Use the computer, a meal planning printable, a cute chalkboard in your kitchen, or even a pad of paper on your refrigerator. Just have your plan where your family can access it to cut down on the ever repetitive “Mom, what’s for dinner?”

Grocery Shop with Plenty of Time to Prep

Now that you have your plan, create your grocery list! Make sure you have everything you need for each meal in order to cut down on midweek grocery trips. Basic meal prep (as we’ll see in the next step) is important, so be sure to shop early enough that you’ll have time to get everything ready. We actually choose to order our groceries online and pick them up most weeks. Online ordering to pick up on Saturdays frees up precious weekend time, helps us stick to your budget, and gives us plenty of time to prep on Sunday.

Prep Ingredients to Set Yourself Up for Success

Make time on Sunday to prep your dinners so you have minimal prep time on the weeknights. Some simple steps? Brown up any ground meat, season and bake chicken breasts, wash vegetables and store them to prevent spoiling, and cook enough rice to cover what you need for the week. If we’re planning a casserole or dish that requires more than 30 minutes of cook time, I will make it start to finish on Sunday so that it only requires reheating before dinner. Be realistic about your weeknight expectations, and plan accordingly!

Meet Kylie the author of this guest post and blogger at http://www.keepcalmandcarrieron.com:
 My name is Kylie, and I live in Chesapeake, VA. After a lifetime of health issues that peaked in early adulthood, I’ve embraced a more natural lifestyle. I try to enjoy a gluten free life by eating plenty of delicious food, and I’m learning to phase out chemicals and additives in my beauty and cleaning routines. I hope you will enjoy following my journey, and chime in with your ideas and experiences! 

Budgeting Money and Time to Eat Healthy

 

I received an email with a really fantastic question, so I thought I’d just make a post out of it.

A Few Thoughts on Budgeting to Eat Healthy:

  • Eating healthy costs a lot. It just does. There’s no way around. It’s sad but eating pb and j and frozen pizza is cheaper. I’ve heard the argument so many times, “You will make it back in doctor bills.” While I believe that can totally be true, I know it doesn’t really help  in the immediate or make it any easier.
  • Do not believe the lie that’s it all or nothing! I don’t believe that for a second. If you can’t buy organic, do not worry about it. Seriously, don’t even sweat it. Now, I am no doctor, but if I bet money I’d feel pretty confident saying that if you stop eating processed junk and copious amount of sugar, but move to a more whole foods type diet your body is going to thank you! If you can afford some, do your own research. Consider the dirty dozen.
  • Find your family favorites and make them cheap. Not every meal has to be a production. Find a family favorite that makes your family happy, but is cheap. Make it regularly! It may take experimenting to find that meal, but I am sure you will find it. Shoot for at least one vegetarian meal a week. That will absolutely lower your bill. Two of my family’s frugal favorites are black bean burgers and cauliflower pizza.
  • Cut your costs in non-food categories. Since eating healthy does cost more find ways to save in other areas. For example, we don’t have cable but have Netflix. I buy my diapers at Aldi instead of using pampers. You get the idea!
  • Shop at different stores, but not all in the same week. I’ve found that certain stores have much cheaper healthier options, but no one store is overall cheaper. However, when I go to more than one store a week I lose valuable time and energy and I am more tempted to buy things I don’t need. Instead, I stock up on the cheaper items and rotate between Aldi, Walmart, Kroger, and Costco.
  • Slowly stock up. Always walk by the organic aisle and if something is marked down, grab it! Eventually your pantry will be stocked with healthy ingredients. Tailor this to your family’s needs. If you don’t have a soy allergy in your family, you probably don’t need to go out and buy the pricey coconut aminos, but choose the healthiest soy sauce you can find. If you are trying to lower your family’s intake of refined sugar start with honey, since it’s the cheapest low glycemic sugar. Eventually you won’t be buying this stuff every week, but will have slowly replaced your unhealthy items with healthier options.

Shopping and Cooking Healthy without Losing Your Mind:

  • If possible don’t cook three meals in a row. You think I make everything homemade, right? I don’t. I can’t. My kids like to see me, you know, occasionally not in the kitchen. We typically do Lara bars and fruit for breakfast. Yay for no clean up! Lara bars are pricey, though. Try these filling breakfast cookies that cost pennies. My kids love them! And if I am really winning at life, my gluten light kids eat a healthy sandwich and veggies and I eat left overs from dinner the night before. This also really helps with the budget!
  • Give yourself grace as you figure things out! It takes time. It’s basically like learning how to cook and shop all over again. Find what items are cheaper at each store and stock up on them when they go on sale or when you are there.
  • Get your entire family on board. Having your spouse’s support will help tremendously and will really help keep you on track with both eating healthy and saving money in other areas.
  • Cook in Batches. Make your time and money count! It’s usually cheaper to make more of one thing than than a whole bunch of different things. I love making a lot of shredded chicken and putting some in the freezer for later. This is great if chicken is on sale one week!

I’m planning some posts about my favorite (cheaper) healthy items from different stores! I hope this helps and I’d love to hear other people’s tips. I know we can all learn from each other!

Divorcing Chocolate: How We (Mostly) Gave Up Sugar

The last couple of years I’ve experimented with sugar and how it made me feel. You guys, I looooooove chocolate and I’ve always taken dessert seriously. Its an important part of life.

I decided that I had to kick my sugar habit because I was addicted. Seriously addicted.

Saying no to sugar wasn’t a decision I made because it was easy or I am not a sweets person. I mean, one time my dress caught on fire at a wedding and I didn’t notice at first because I was holding a slice of chocolate silk pie. Priorities, right?

I could never just have one bite of chocolate. I felt like I needed chocolate after a tough day. I wasn’t able to say no to it. The more sugar I had, the worse I felt. I have an autoimmune disease and sugar sure doesn’t help my pain levels. I can almost always see a link between how I feel and what I’ve eaten.

Finally, my husband and I had a conversation about “living to eat” versus “eating to live” and how the food we choose to fuel our body with matters. We wanted to set the foundation for our kiddos and give them healthy food patterns.

Before you think we are crazy hard-core and that this is not something you could do, there are two things you need to know:

  1. We have exceptions! I rarely say no to a sweet treat when my kids are at a birthday party or a social event. I don’t want them to feel deprived or not enjoy activities. We have special planned treats too. Life is too big and too fun to say no always. I plan for these times, and not having sweets at home helps with overindulgence.

Note: I do keep my own (not the kids’) treats gluten-free and soy free because I don’t want to pay for it later.

  1. We have unrefined sugar in our house. Bring on the fruits! Some A lot of mornings I am wiped. It feels like no one slept, and I don’t want a cup of black coffee. I want to see that half and half swirl around know I have sweet coffee waiting for me.  I mix in a teaspoon of coconut sugar or honey and choose to enjoy my coffee. Yes, we use these sweeteners. They still aren’t great for you, but they don’t spike the blood sugar as much and have some nutritional value.

For example: coconut sugar has vitamins, potassium, and magnesium. Take that, white sugar!  I’m learning to use them sparingly and still make better-for-you treats for my kiddos.  For us, it’s balanced and sustainable. If we had total removal, I’d feel like my kids were left out of fun things like waffles and a warm chocolate chip cookie.

Why We Don’t Eat Refined Sugar in Our House

  • Sugar creates inflammation
  • Sugar causes brain fog
  • Sugar creates a yoyo effect with your energy level. You get an initial rush and then have less energy than before you enjoyed a sugary treat
  • Sugar does not contain anything we need nutritionally and it is crazy addictive

I chose the blog name Real Foodie Family for a reason. We are real people with real kids and a “real” life. While my husband and I have made the decision to not eat refined sugar in our house, my kids totally have it from time to time. They also get special treats! Here’s how it looks in our house and what seems to be a good balance for us.

Tips on Taking Sugar Out of Your Diet:

  • Read labels…and read them again. I don’t want us getting extra sugar in things that have no business having sugar in them anyway (like pasta sauce).
  • Think through snack food. We eat a lot of Larabars  in our house.  Even though they have natural sugar (dates!), they have healthy doses of protein and fiber. My kids have learned to like these as much as the sugar-laden granola bars. I love them because they stick with you much longer.
  • Plan your treats and make them healthy. Friday night was our movie night (my kids watched Cinderella for the first time), and we needed brownies of course. I made these brownies, and they were a huge hit. No one complained once that they weren’t Duncan Hines.
  • Don’t keep sweets in your house. Throw out your holiday candy out or give it to a friend.
  • Don’t buy juice or sodas. (with the exception of Capri Sun Roarin’Waters  – so handy to grab on the way out to the park or the zoo and my kids love them). Instead, we love La Croix. Don’t tell my four year old that it’s not Sprite!

Removing sugar from your diet is hard, and if you’re like us you’ll fail.  And then fail again.

Stick with it. I am really thankful for this change in our diet.

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Healthy Snacks Kids Will Actually Eat

Snacks are tricky. Haven’t we all texted another mama friend, “what on earth do you feed your kids?” Goldfish and pirate booty are always a win, but I try to give them food that will work as good fuel for their little bodies. And then there are times we just survive the day. It typically comes down to how well I’ve prepped for the week and what all we have going on.I’d love to hear what your kids favorite snacks are. I think the snack rut has to be universal!
Snacks I make for them when I have a little more flex in my week:

Here’s the grain-free chocolate muffins! We love them.

Snacks they can grab themselves:

  • Cashews (my kids don’t have nut allergies and cashews are easier to chew)
  • Pamela’s Whenever Bars
  • Low sugar cereal
  • Lara Bars
  • Low sugar cereal

Easy Prep Snacks:

  • Grapes
  • Bananas/ Apples/Celery with peanut butter
  • Kiefer (my kids enjoy the plain favor but you could add honey to it)
  • Dates with coconut oil (My kids call these cookies. They are super high in potassium, so they are great during growth spurts).

I did my homework and asked my four year old what his favorite snack food is and he promptly said, “grilled chicken” so there you have it. So maybe skip snacks altogether 😉