What’s Good This Week

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I love Easter in Sweden

I made an impulse purchase this week: a new pair of running shoes. I used to run regularly and have even done a half marathon before, but in 2013 I broke my ankle and never started running again after. I always intended to, but my hip had atrophied quite badly after six weeks on crutches and I didn’t take the time to rehab it. Then I had a baby, and another baby, and well, excuses excuses. 

Now, after, what? 300 weeks of working from home? I’ve realized that doing online yoga classes in the same room where I work all day which is the same room where I sleep isn’t doing anything for me. I need to get out. 

I bought the same running shoes I always used to use (these ones, which are expensive but I’ve always found them to be the best shoes for my feet), but ordered them online and just hope I’ve converted the EU size correctly and that they actually fit when they arrive. My plan is to download a Couch to 5K app (or something similar) and actually get my butt out of my home/office/gym/sanitarium in the middle of each day.

We shall see how that goes.

We got Niko a pedal bike this weekend (a belated birthday gift from his grandparents) and man, that kid is a rocket on it. He was riding a strider bike up until now and was really skilful with balancing it, so it was only a matter of minutes before he figured the pedals out and was biking around the park* like an old pro. 

*Our parks (and schools and restaurants and everything) are still open. All good. 

First time on a pedal bike! That handle was a waste of money.

I’ve been having a hard time talking about anything other than the thing that everyone is talking about but that I’m also really sick of talking about. Surely we have other things to say? But maybe not. It’s hard.

Last week several of you mentioned that you enjoyed the super quick nutrition post I did within WGTW about ways to help reset a stressed out gut, so I thought I’d do something similar this week. I had a email from a reader named Inge who said that her three-year-old daughter is a picky eater and she worries that she’s not getting all the nutrients she needs.

So what advice do I have about dealing with picky eaters?

First and foremost, don’t make a big thing out of it. Choosing what to eat or whether or not to eat is one of the only things toddlers can control in their lives, and control it they will. If you decide to engage in a battle over food, you will lose. 

Second most important, do not bribe them to eat or to finish a meal with sweets or other rewards. All you’re teaching them to do is override their satiety cues, and potentially teaching them that healthy food is to be endured to get to the good stuff on the other side. This, by the way, is a frequent cause of tension between my husband and I (and apparently it is common for dudes to not be able to let go of the food battles) as he is very inclined to use dessert as a motivator for finishing dinner. Drives. Me. Nuts. 

So what to do? There is a concept called “The Division of Responsibility” that was developed by child feeding expert Ellyn Satter, RD, which goes like this: Your job is to decide:

  • What food to serve
  • Where food will be served
  • When food will be served

Their job is to decide:

  • If they want to eat
  • How much they want to eat
  • What foods they want to try

The recommendation is also to continue serving foods they have rejected over and over again. Put teeny tiny non-intimidating portions (like the size of a pea) of new, unfamiliar, or disliked foods on their plates so they get used to seeing it, and just keep trying. 

My older kid was extremely picky when he was smaller, and often didn’t eat anything at his evening meals at home (they get lunch and two snacks at daycare). But he was always growing well and had lots of energy, so I didn’t stress about it. Now he’s a much better eater, and is very willing to try new things. 

My younger kid is a tank who will out eat his big brother at most meals and eats pretty much everything. Interestingly, he’ll often reject things that are labelled as “kid friendly” like chicken nuggets and pizza. Obviously his tastes will change as he grows, but that’s how it is for now. 

So my biggest recommendation about dealing with picky eaters is to just relax. Serve balanced meals, and don’t engage in battles. 

This guy, though

Speaking of feeding kids, another blog reader (hey-o, Kimberly!) reached out to me and asked about the stools we have for the kids. They’re Stokke Trip Trapp chairs and they are awesome because they grow with your kid. 

We bought one when Niko was a tiny baby with all of the accessories (by “we” I mean it was a generous gift from his paternal grandparents) so we were able to use it right from beginning with the newborn attachment, which is great because you can have the baby at the table with you rather than on the floor in a bouncer or something.

When Odin was born we just bought a second base (again, by “we” I mean the grandparents bought it for us), and we’ve been able to re-use all the accessories. 

Once the kids were able to sit unassisted we switched to the baby set along with a tray, but it can also be pulled up to the table without the tray (this is how we use it now for Odin). Niko now uses his without any accessories, and since the foot rest and the seat are both adjustable, it’ll probably be his chair for several years to come. 

It’s also sturdy enough that it works well as a platform to stand on when the kids want to help in the kitchen. I know some people use those learning towers which are probably safer, but we live in a small apartment and don’t have space for that kind of thing, so the Trip Trapp chairs do the trick just fine.  

This is not in any way sponsored by Stokke (however, those are affiliate links so I will earn a commission if you click on them and then purchase *anything* on Amazon) I just think they’re really great chairs for having kids at the table at the right height for many years. A great investment if you’ve got small ones, if you ask me. 

Experiments in bread baking… not going very well so far

Housekeeping

A couple housekeeping notes this week. First, I want to let you know that there may be some changes to the types of links I’m sharing in What’s Good Around The Web each week. 

For the past few months I had an assistant who was helping me to curate the links that went out each week, but she gave her notice a few weeks ago and since I lost my job and ad revenue is way down I decided not to replace her just yet.

But when I go looking for links to share I’m finding that I’m spending hours and hours sifting through mostly terrifying articles all on the same subject and not finding anything that I feel is relevant to this site. It’s understandable, for sure, but it’s also not a good use of my time and not good for my mental health. 

So instead of weekly curated nutrition and wellness articles, you’ll find a selection of tasty recipes I’ve been cooking, fun reads from other blogs, and the occasional wellness article thrown in when I come across something good. And if *you* come across an interesting article please send it my way so I can share it!

Also this: People have been making a great effort to support small businesses in their communities that are struggling as a result of the situation at hand, so I wanted to remind you, since you’re my favourite people, that blogs are small businesses too.

For many of us in the food space traffic is up right now, since people are cooking. But at the same time, ad revenue is dropping more and more each day. I’m earning at leat 50% less than I was at the beginning of March, and it’s set to keep dropping more by the looks of things. 

The good news is that there are several easy ways you can support your favourite bloggers (whoever they may be) for free. That’s free-ninety-nine, which is a heck of a good price. First of all, all you need to do is show up! Visit our sites, poke around in the recipe categories, and see what you can find. 

If you like something, share it with a friend! Literally just email or text them the link so they can check it out. Don’t print recipes out (save paper! be sustainable!) rather, visit the site each time you make a recipe. Share your favourites on Facebook, pin to one of your food boards on Pinterest, and just spread the word!

If you’re doing a lot of online shopping (who isn’t these days?) click on affiliate links on a blogger’s website before you make any purchases. For example, if you click on a link to the Stokke chair I talked about above and then in the next 24 hours you make ANY purchase on Amazon, I’ll earn a commission. You don’t have to buy the thing you click on either. You could click on the Stokke chair and then buy a 6lb tub of peanut butter (I’m not here to judge) and I’d get a small percentage of that. 

It costs me nearly $1000 USD each month to keep this site running between web hosting, tech support, and premium plugins that make the site what it is. I’m hoping to not have to dial back my support services (I don’t want their businesses to suffer just because mine is), and truly, ever little bit helps. 

And please, visit my friends too! Want to know who some of my favourite bloggers are?

Sarah (aka my blog wife)  from Sustainable Cooks needs no introduction. 
Christine from Happy Veggie Kitchen has great vegetarian recipes and baby food too.  
Cassie from Cook It Real Good has easy, tasty, recipes and lots of vegetarian options.
Trish from Rhubarbarians has great vegetarian recipes.
Kiersten from Green Plate Club for vegetarian recipes and amazing meal plans.
Kylie from Midwest Foodie gorgeous photos and lots of veggie options.
Kellie from Food to Glow is a cancer nutrition educator who shares mostly vegetarian recipes.
Vanessa from Maple and Mango is just starting out, and her stuff is gorgeous!

ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK

We kicked off this week with everyone’s favourite post of the month… Just Between Us

And next up, a recipe! This recipe for 10-Minute Vegetable Ramen Noodles has been keeping me fuelled and sane lately. And it’s so delicious to boot!

overhead photo of vegetable ramen noodle bowls on a white background

WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL

Yeah, yeah, we all know that Mung Bean and Coconut Curry is in number one. So let’s look at what else is trending.

1. Peanut Butter Oat Bars. Snackers gonna snack.

2. Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry. This time calls for comfort food and this is that. 

3. Turmeric Latte Mix. No need for coffee shops these days anyways.

4. Red Lentil Dal. Long live the lentil!

5. Fudgy Adzuki Bean Brownies. Welcome back to the top 5!

COMMENT OF THE WEEK

Emily left the following comment and 5-star review on my Carrot Apple Smoothie with Ginger recipe: 

This really hit the spot! I love how the hemp seeds make the smoothie a little creamy without needing to add milk. I did use half of a very large apple and only one carrot and it made plenty for me. I also subbed in frozen strawberries when I ran out of apples and that worked too (although your original version is the best)!

Mmm, gonna have to try that strawberry trick!

two carrot smoothies in clear glasses, an apple, and a white tea towel on a grey background

WHAT’S GOOD AROUND THE WEB

icon of globe with text "what's good around the web" 1. The best free virtual cooking classes to fill your time. 

2. The next threat: Hunger in America

3. Making your own face mask? Some fabrics work better than others, study finds

4. Some thoughts on cooking these days. 

5. Did you know that you can roast frozen vegetables?!

Comments

  1. Cassie says

    Excited to hear how the running journey goes. I went for a run around the block a few months ago and I don’t want to admit how long it took me to get my breath back haha. And thank you for the shoutout my friend 🙂 here’s hoping that income picks back up soon!

    • Doug Baker says

      Keep at it; run…walk…run….walk, until very soon it’s run…run…run. You’ll be impressed how quickly you build up distance and endurance.

  2. Doug Baker says

    PS: how do you feel about Sweden’s approach to Covid19? I know you hate talking about it, but we’re getting news in Canada about Sweden and whether or not the ‘light touch’ approach is working. The sense here is that maybe it isn’t? Norway, next door, apparently has lower numbers (but the Swedish authorities, I think, say it’s not a valid comparison?)
    I’d be interested in your view and experience.
    Thanks, and best wishes.

    • Katie Trant says

      Yes Doug, I do hate talking about it. And I particularly hate having to repeatedly defend Sweden’s approach to friends and family in Canada, but it’s come up frequently enough that I suppose I should address it. 

      Of course, I am one person and this is only my experience and opinion, but honestly, I am completely comfortable with how Sweden has been handling things. The decision making has been left to medical experts and epidemiologists rather than politicians. They’ve been made based on facts, not fear, and they have been exceptionally transparent with daily press conferences to keep people informed and up to date.

      In the beginning it felt a bit uncomfortable to have our schools and borders still open while neighbouring countries closed them down, but this is an evidence-based approach. They’ve said that there isn’t good evidence that closing schools would stop the spread, and that closing them would mean losing more than 25% of the workforce, which they can’t afford in the healthcare sector. 

      People have been asked to work from home where possible, but restaurants, parks, gyms, and recreation facilities remain open. They did close down all of the ski resorts in Northern Sweden ahead of the Easter holidays, as those are smaller communities with reduced ICU capacity and an influx of cases there wouldn’t be good. So they’re shutting things down where it makes sense to, but avoiding disrupting the economy as a whole. 

      And yes, it’s true that Norway has lower numbers. Both countries probably have wildly inaccurate counts as they’re not doing extensive testing, but the numbers to look at are the death rates (which are much higher in Sweden) and number of ICU patients. As far as ICU patients go, Sweden’s curve is fairly flat.

      Death rates are higher in Sweden, which has been attributed to the fact that the elderly have been disproportionately affected here as the virus has gone through several care facilities. As a result of this there is now a state-wide ban on visiting care facilities, and they are starting to test all staff. In one hospital they tested an entire department and found that more than 10% of the staff were asymptomatic carriers, which points to the need for more wide-spread testing.

      Immigrant communities have also been disproportionately affected due to crowded living conditions and poor communication (in the beginning they were only communicating about social distancing and hand washing measures in Swedish. That has since changed).

      They are saying that it looks as though Stockholm has reached a plateau, but other parts of Sweden are still 3-4 weeks behind. A military hospital built in Stockholm with 600 beds remains unused, and the ICU still has empty beds. They’ve done rapid re-training of laid-off airline staff to work as medical support, made it even easier for people to take sick time from work, and put many other initiatives in place to support people during this difficult time. 

      I get the sense that people around the world are watching the Swedish approach and willing it to fail, since it validates the stricter measures taken elsewhere. But, look at places like Italy that have been on lockdown for nearly two months already and are still being ravaged by the virus. Really, we’re all part of a giant uncontrolled experiment right now, and nobody knows what the best approach is.

      I feel like each country is uniquely poised to decide what’s best for themselves, but I also wonder in places that have taken more drastic measures, for how long can they expect to keep people locked up? And at what cost, both to the economy and to people’s mental and physical health. I’m proud of the way Sweden has handled things so far. I’m also acutely aware that things could change and this could all blow up in our faces, but for now, we just keep calm, wash our hands, and carry on.

      Mostly I just look forward to (realistically) sometime next year when this is (hopefully) behind us. 

      • Doug baker says

        Thanks very much for your response. One cavil: I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but in current times and circumstances I doubt that anyone wishes Sweden (or any other country) “to fail”.

      • Christine @ happy veggie kitchen says

        In the U.K. we started with a similar approach to Sweden for all the same reasons – but in our case the modelling quickly showed our healthcare system getting overwhelmed so we went into stricter lockdown shortly after. While Sweden is an outlier that’s maybe because the disease is spreading in a way where those measures are enough, even if they aren’t elsewhere, maybe in part because of the demographics and social patterns unique to the population of Sweden. I was reading that you have very low average household sizes, far fewer multigenerational homes and more single occupancy homes than is typical in Europe, and socialising tends to be in smaller groups than say Italy. I think we are all doing some things right and some things wrong but our starting points are different too.

        Everyone here is obsessing over what other countries are doing and it’s just getting old. Even in lockdown the tendency here is to assume stricter countries have it right and we are too relaxed. Sigh.

  3. Doug Baker says

    Really good, smart suggestions re: picky eaters. My wife handled it really well, I thought, with our 4 kids. You have to understand that, sometimes, they’ll NEVER like a particular food (hey, adults: admit it- there are things you still don’t like). I think she required they try 3 bites of whatever they didn’t like and they could leave the rest. But even that was never fought over. If they didn’t like veggies, we just buried that in tomato sauce/lasagna/pizza and didn’t stress it.
    And you’re right – if they’re active, growing, and aren’t getting a lot of junk food—what’s the issue?

    And great shoes, btw: you can’t go wrong with Asics (ran on them for years) or Mizunos (my current shoe). And the exact same thing happened to me 30 years ago; ran a couple 1/2 marathons, was getting ready for something bigger, twisted my ankle (playing with the kids) and never really got back to it with that commitment. Not to worry; I’ve been off for a few years at a time and got back in; start with short runs (run – walk – run – walk) and you’ll be up to 7-10 kms before you know it.

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