Tag: Healthy

Fresh City Is Providing A Healthier Way To Do Groceries

“Fresh City makes it simple to eat a healthy and seasonal diet. Working with some of Ontario’s best farmers and makers to deliver fresh produce and healthy local + organic groceries right to your door.”

They are a city farm and are proud to work with some of Ontario’s finest growers. From sourcing from organic farms, to packing in reusable bags, to delivering with electric bikes, their operations respect both people and planet. They are a Certified B-Corp and have been featured in several documentaries for their pioneering work in farming the city.

Located at Downsview Park, they organically grow on two acres and in a greenhouse. It’s where they run farm tours and events as well as many of their workshops.  The 3,000-square foot greenhouse is fully self-contained and off-grid, the greenhouse boasts rainwater capture and irrigation system and uses solar energy to power the fans.

Fresh City has created a Member Farmer Program as a way to connect urban farmers to land, facilities, and a supportive learning community. Today the program supports over 20 farmers as they pursue self-sufficiency and farming business dreams. Fresh City farmers grow vegetable, herbs, and flowers for them to sell.

Sounds like an amazing operation, doesn’t it?! Well, it just got better with the recent launch of the baby/toddler category.

I had the opportunity to recently try their services and products to see how it would work for my amazing community of readers.

Firstly an account would need to be set up on their website where you would put in all your information and then you can begin to follow the instructions to order your groceries online.

There are many things that can be ordered and I just didn’t know what I wanted to try first but I did manage to put a good list of things from a variety of the different categories but especially from the baby/toddler category.  My order was inputted with a simple click of the mouse and my delivery was scheduled for the following week on a Wednesday. It was very simple!

The delivery date arrived and I was excited to receive the package. It arrived promptly on the Wednesday and was neatly packed in a great reusable bag which can be returned or you may leave it at your door for the next order delivery date. I would call this environmentally friendly!

The baby and toddler products that I received were some fruit snacks, Hugga Bear Chocolate chip cookies, pasta with different shapes (dino and farm ones which are super cute!) and we also got the sensitive unscented baby wipes. We also got ourselves some neat things too.


The products all looked so great and they are high quality food. The fruits we got are fresh and taste great! Everything that we got we have loved.

Therefore, for this #MelandNikkiReview we give Fresh City 5 Kiwis out of 5 for the quality of food, prompt delivery, simple to use service, environmentally friendly and offering healthy options for families in the Greater Toronto Area. It’s a mouth full of great qualities but all worth mentioning. It’s a service that is great for families who want healthy options and it is convenient at its finest.

There is more with Fresh City that you will need to check out such as the prepared meal, recipe kits and so much more.

As a special offer to Momma Braga readers you can receive $20 off your order as a first time customer by using promo code: FRESHREADER. What a great offer – thank you Fresh City!

Make sure to follow Fresh City on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as I am sure there will be so much more to come from them.

Special thank you to Kim from Fresh City for giving Momma Braga the opportunity to review their great service and keep up the great work!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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Empowering Parents to Raise Happy, Healthy Eaters

This month’s “Mom of the Month” is an inspiring woman who is changing the way we parent in the kitchen. She is providing resources to empower parents to raise happy, healthy eaters. This change maker is Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP and I am thrilled to have her as this month’s Mom of the Month. Melanie is an international speaker, author and certified speech language pathologist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of feeding disorders, including picky eating.

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I had the opportunity to connect with Melanie to get to know more about this great mom.

  1. Tell me a little about yourself.

“I love kids, food and families. There is nothing more I would rather do than sit by a campfire with my two daughters and my husband and talk the night away while eating way too many s’mores (make mine with dark chocolate and gluten free graham crackers please. I’m a s’more snob). My career as a speech pathologist took a unique turn when I started working in the NICU with premature babies, helping them learn to breast and bottle feed. I began to understand that feeding is a developmental process, and that many kids need support in learning to try new foods. In fact, 25% of typically developing kids will have significant difficulty and become hesitant or selective about trying new foods. That led to my career as a feeding specialist, which in turn led to writing three books on the topic (2 released in the past ten months!) and creating my second website with my co-author pediatrician Nimali Fernando. It’s called Parenting in the Kitchen.com. Parents want to know how to raise healthy eaters and I want to help them do that.”

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  1. What is your business all about?

“I have three businesses: 1. My therapy practice, where I treat kids with feeding difficulties; 2. My Munch Bug, which is the platform for my speaking engagements and book promotions; and 3. Parenting in the Kitchen, the only online video resource for parents and professionals created by a pediatrician (Dr. Nimali Fernando) and a certified speech pathologist who specializes in pediatric feeding (that’s me)!”

  1. When did you start your business?

“My Munch Bug launched in 2010 and Parenting in the Kitchen launched in 2016, after the release of one of my books. Raising a Healthy Happy Eater: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating. I am honored to have co-authored that book with Dr. Fernando (A.K.A. Doctor Yum) and created a five hour video course that parents and professionals can take at their own pace over the course of 30 days. It’s been a hit and we now have members from all over the globe!”

  1. How did you come up with the idea?

“Like all modern friendships, Dr. Yum and I met on Facebook. We teamed up to create The Doctor Yum Preschool Adventure, a preschool curriculum that teaches both kids and their parents how to introduce new fruits and vegetables and explore new foods! That led us to write “Raising a Healthy Happy Eater” together and it’s been a top seller in Children’s Health on Amazon since it was released just nine months ago!”

  1. How did you come up with the business name?

“My Munch Bug was easy for me, because I affectionately call the babies and toddlers that I work with “munch bugs.” A young child learns to munch before learning to master the more mature, rotary chew. Parenting in the Kitchen was just as easy to come up with! In our book, Raising a Healthy Happy Eater, we teach parents seven different principles: Parent Joyfully, Parent Compassionately, Parent Bravely, Parent Patiently, Parent Proactively, Parent Consistently and Parent Mindfully. When these principles are practiced at mealtimes, cooking and “parenting in the kitchen” they easily spill over to the rest of our day.”

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  1. What do you hope your business accomplishes?

“I’d like to take both businesses to an international level, expanding my media presence and providing expert advice to professionals such as Dr. Oz and other health or parenting-focused television shows.”

  1. As a busy working mom, how do you find the time to balance it all?

“I get better at the balancing act each year, but I am already preparing for 2017 to have a nice mix of family time and business opportunities. The key is to say “no” to anything that doesn’t feel like the best fit for me and my brand. There are always plenty of opportunities, but it’s important to pick and choose what will be most helpful to the company’s mission. For Parenting in the Kitchen and for My Munch Bug, our mission is to help parents raise healthy, happy eaters and get the information to families in the most effective manner.”

  1. Lastly, what inspired you to write two amazing books?

“The inspiration comes from my husband and my daughters. They don’t just encourage me to follow my dreams, they pitch in too! Whether I need help making dinner or creating a website, they always have time for me so that in turn, I have time to write.”

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Momma Braga is extremely proud to feature Melanie of My Munch Bug as this month’s “Mom of the Month” as she is such a humble, kind and outstanding woman who is making a difference in lives of children (and their parents!). Melanie is providing knowledge, tips and resources to help, inspire and empower parents. This alone makes her awesome and our Mom of the Month. Of course she never forgets to spend time with her family as well which is so great!

“Take the time to make parenting in the kitchen a priority. The benefits of raising kids that love healthy foods is life-long – it’s a gift you’ll give to your children and to yourself. The whole family deserves it – and you can do it!” says Melanie. Beautifully said by an amazing mom!

To follow Melanie Potock (Coach Mel) and learn how to raise adventurous eaters, follow Parenting in the Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. To learn more about feeding therapy and extreme picky eating, join Coach Mel at My Munch Bug on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Make sure to check out our book reviews on her amazing books, if you haven’t yet: Baby Self-Feeding; and Raising A Healthy, Happy Eater.

Thank you Melanie for your time and wishing you many years of success!

Until next time……Happy Parenting!

–          Momma Braga
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Taking the Mess and Stress Out of Mealtime

Family meal times are great moments to spend some quality time together but if your home is anything like mine, then it can be hectic and really messy! Sometimes food lands on the floor or better yet the whole plate does.

Well Lindsay Laurain (ezpz’s founder) had the same issue in her home but with a family much bigger than mine with three boys under the age of four. So they decided to invent a solution – the ezpz Happy Mat.

So when I was introduced to the Happy Mat by ezpz, I was super excited to try it out! The Happy Mat is an all-in-one placement + plate that captures kids’ messes. It suctions directly to the table, making it nearly impossible for tiny hands to tip over. It is designed for infants and toddlers (9 months+) with a variety of different colors (blue, coral, gray & lime) and styles available (happy mat, happy bowl, and mini mat).

My daughter Nikki picked the lime happy mat and I love it as you can never miss it!

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We have been using the happy mat for about two weeks now and we simply love it! It is so easy to use, clean and store. The happy mat is 100% silicone; dishwasher safe; BPA free; PVC free; Phthalate free; hypo-allergenic; and does not harbor bacteria. Sounds great, doesn’t it?!

But it gets better! The happy mat promotes self-feeding and it helps children develop their fine motor skills. It also helps children with special needs such as autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and low vision. I think this is my favourite part of ezpz and how they are making a difference in the lives of families. Lindsey has dedicated resources to make proper eating techniques and awareness of appropriate developmental milestones a focus of the company. She has even hired, Dawn Winkelmann, M.S., CCC-SLP, as the Special Needs Program Coordinator and Feeding Specialist. Therefore, ezpz’s products are tested and approved by Ms. Winkelmann and other therapists to ensure that neurotypical children as well as kids with special needs, can use their products. To learn more about how they are making a difference and to read some beautiful testimonials, please click here.

Nikki and I also love how creative we can be with the happy mat. We can position the food in the three compartments and even on the mat to create fun designs. I find these fun designs help make mealtime fun for everyone. You don’t need to be an artist to create them and I am sure your little one won’t notice if it doesn’t look like a masterpiece. Using the happy mat has made mealtime more enjoyable and less messy. Nikki also enjoys her meals more as she loves the three compartments on the plate and the ability to place food on the mat. The company motto is “take the mess and stress out of mealtime” and that is exactly what this product does!

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Now if you have not yet connected on why this business name, let me help you out. Lindsay wanted to make life and mealtimes easier for parents, so a little more “ezpz”. Love it in every way!

Nikki and I give the Happy Mat 5 happy smiles out of 5. The only downfall for us, is that we didn’t get this product sooner! 😉 We highly recommend this product to any family and this would make an excellent baby shower or even first birthday gift!

To purchase a happy mat, please click here. If you are located in Canada, you may visit http://hipmommies.ca/quality-products-for-health-and-baby/ezpz or http://www.snugglebugz.ca/happy-mats.html, just to name a couple.

Make sure to follow ezpz on social media as I am expecting much more from them! Stay tuned for ezpz Pets products that are coming soon – exciting!

Website: http://www.ezpzfun.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ezpzfun
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ezpzfun
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ezpzfun/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ezpzfun/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyrHrN-7yp6AtkcO1JxwO-w

Until next time…..Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga
#MelandNikkiReview
#ezpzfun

Motivated Mom on a Healthy Mission

Being a mom, we tend to forget about ourselves as we are always busy taking care of others and ensuring that everyone else is ok. So it can be difficult for us to find the time to take care of ourselves and maintain a healthy lifestyle in the process.

This is why my “Mom of the Month” goes to Michelle who is a coach with BeachBody.

Michelle is in her 30’s who juggles a lot on her plate. Michelle works full time as a retail manager, is a wife, mother to a 4 year old daughter and in her spare time is a coach for Beachbody. This Torontonian also loves to sing and to dance but admits she is not very good at either one. She also loves to workout, especially with choreographed routines.

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I got a chance to catch up with this busy mom to find out more about her mission to motivate others for a healthier life.

1. What is BeachBody and what does it do?

Beachbody is the #1 home workout provider with amazing programs such as P90X, Turbo Fire, Insanity and 21 Day Fix. It offers accessible ways for everyday people to get fit, have fun and change their lives. By being a Beachbody coach, I am an extension of the company as I have used many of these programs and have seen great success. You want to lose weight but hate burpees, like me? We’ve got a program for that. Love to dance, like me? We’ve got a program for that too. You want to workout in a puddle of your own sweat while cursing at the trainer on the TV, we can offer you that. Beachbody isn’t for everyone but there is a program for every type of goal, fitness level, interest, etc. And don’t forget about shakeology. It’s like liquid gold. It packs all my nutrients in one scoop which is great for someone like me who forgets to take their vitamins.

2. When did you start your hobby business?

I finally decided to sign up to become a coach just over two months ago. I have been using their programs and products since 2008 but have never made the decision to be a coach. Under great guidance and support over the past few years from my own personal coach and others I have met along the way, I finally decided to do it.

3. What inspired you to start this venture?

It’s not about the money for me. Sure, it does not hurt, but it’s more about helping people. I love making people’s days. I do it every day at work, and wanted to inspire people the way I was inspired. I am not perfect. I don’t always eat 80% healthy, 20% not, I’m not good with meal prep and I hate burpees but….I am a compassionate, realistic working mother who is making the time to get her health together. I have always been chubby and looking back at pics from my early 20’s, I was a lot heavier than I remembered. I have yo-yo’d a lot. I lost a lot of weight with BeachBody’s Turbo Jam from 2008 to 2011 before I became pregnant with my daughter. My energy levels dropped, my nausea and appetite increased and I ate myself into a 70 pound weight gain. I made excuses after her birth and didn’t bother to take the weight off until 2013 and ever since then I’ve worked out and came into my own. I hope to share my story and reach out to those looking for help in getting on the right healthy path.

4. What do you hope to accomplish through your business?

I want to help people find their motivation, be their support and hold them accountable as it’s so difficult to do this on your own, which I’m sure is one of the reasons as to why Beachbody introduced coaches into their programs. I hope to be able to reach out to people, inspire them in some way and build new relationships and friendships. Through my personal workout groups, I have forged bonds with women who would otherwise be strangers. We support and encourage, and offer friendship, guidance and sometimes a good kick in the butt. We laugh, we cry and we sweat. I want to be able to offer that to so many people out there.

5. How do you stay motivated to get and stay fit?

There are many motivators, some better than others. Obviously family is my number one. Everything I do is for them, I want to be there for my daughter every step of the way, be with my husband until we are in the 100’s and show them all about a healthier lifestyle. Health is a huge one. Being fit keeps me out of harm’s way so to speak. Also, it is a little superficial if I’m completely honest but I want to feel good in what I wear. It’s not necessarily about looking good because I can be 15 pounds overweight but if I’m killing my workouts, eating 80/20 and feeling confident, it doesn’t bother me. I’ve always compared myself to others, and have been picked on for my weight a lot, which can be very damaging, and unfortunately that doesn’t always go away. So staying fit and feeling confident helps to fight those old demons.

6. As a busy working mom, how do you find the time and balance it all?

It is all about priorities for me. Family, work, health, faith, personal development, friendship, these are all my priorities. When something is of great importance to you, you will find the time to give it the attention it needs. I love fitness and I love social media, so I schedule my life around getting it done. I have mad respect for those who can get their behinds to a gym to do their workouts, but I would never find the motivation in that, so I pick programs and workouts that I can stick to, motivate me and inspire me to make the time. My life is all about balance now, making sure that my career and family are taken care of, and taking the time I need to take care of myself and my health.

7. For the everyday mom, what tips would you give them to help them start the path to fitness?

Honestly. First thing for me and the first step is setting a goal. An attainable goal with a specific timeline and work from there. Such as, “I want to lose 20 pounds in 6 months.” How can you get to that goal? Will it be by increasing activity, or making a dietary lifestyle change? Who can help me, support me, challenge me, hold me accountable and motivate me to stick to it? What does success look like?

I’m no expert but I know having a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Sensitive) for me, written down is a great way to start. It won’t be easy or free, but anyone can start, it just takes that first step.

8. How can people connect with you?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MotivatedMamaMichelle
Twitter: @misha_57
Instagram: @coach_turbomisha

Website: http://www.teambeachbody.com/en_CA/member/sn/turbomisha
Email: coachturbomisha@gmail.com

Michelle’s journey to a better and healthier lifestyle is a true inspiration. Her drive and mission to help others is amazing even with her busy schedule. This is why this mom is our “Mom of the Month” on Momma Braga.

Michelle states, “No matter how you plan to achieve your goals, just stick to it. It can be rough and discouraging but everything you do, is in the right direction.”

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please feel free to contact Michelle using one of the social media platforms mentioned above.

“I feel it’s my calling and what I’m meant to do…..help people”, says Michelle. I couldn’t agree more with you Michelle and I wish you continued success!

You have already motivated this momma and now I am off for a walk! 😉

Special thank you to Michelle for taking the time to contribute to this piece.

Until next time…..Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

Bringing Family Mealtimes Back Into Our Homes

“Food is love, in so many ways.”

The moment I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter, I was thrilled! Of course, like many new moms, I read many books regarding motherhood and some were good but none really stood out for me until now.

I had the recent pleasure of reading, Raising A Healthy, Happy Eater, by Pediatrician Nimali Fernando (Dr. Yum), MD, MPH and feeding therapist Melanie Potock (Coach Mel), MA, CCC-SLP. This book provides a stage-by-stage guide to setting your child on the path to Adventurous Eating.

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It was an easy and enjoyable read from beginning to end. The book provided advice tailored to every stage from newborn to school aged children; real-life stories of parents and kids that have been helped; wisdom from different cultures across the globe on how to feed children; helpful insights on the sensory system, difficult mealtime behaviours, and everything from baby-led weaning to sippy cups; And seven “passport stamps” for good parenting: joyful, compassionate, brave, patient, consistent, proactive, and mindful. This and more can be found in this incredible book. They cover many different challenges that can occur at meal time and offer creative solutions on how to overcome them. My favourite is the four tips on how to get toddlers to interact with familiar foods by making “same old” foods more appealing and “new” which were: Change up the color; miniaturize; serve samples; and play with food.

I couldn’t just do this review without actually trying one of these tips out. So I did! I took two of the four tips above and created the serving of samples. I took a six mini-muffin tin and placed small foods in each slot. I used some strawberries, blueberries, and cantaloupe to introduce my daughter to some new fruits. The result was priceless! My 1.5 year old was super excited to see these miniature fruits (I did cut them up tiny for her) and she was willing to try each one. This was a big step for her and one that we will continue to do in our home.

This book also provides great recipes to try and the neat part is that the recipes are from around the world. The two recipes that are currently on my counter is the Crêpes from France (pg. 155) and Friteeni Frittatas which is an oven baked omelet where you can use it to introduce new veggies into breakfast (pg. 178).

Throughout, Raising A Healthy, Happy Eater, there is a lot that they touch upon and as you read this book you may learn new things that you never knew before. I know I learned a great deal and two learning highlights for me were to use your words wisely. It is better to say that your child is an “exploring eater” or “learning eater” instead of the famous “picky eater”. Now when people ask, my toddler is an exploring eater. Sounds much more fun for me and her! Secondly, I learned that school-aged children who eat a fiber-less diet of the usual “kid-friendly” food such as pepperoni pizza and hamburgers can lead to chronic constipation, which can lead to bedwetting and urinary tract
infections. That was great to know!

“In our fast-paced lives, it’s easy to allow our children to overindulge or rely on unhealthy options, because we know they’ll enjoy them and, importantly actually eat them. Reality bites: It’s a chicken-nugget world out there, and it’s unlikely to change overnight.”- Raising A Healthy, Happy Eater

At the very beginning of this book, the authors articulate what they will walk you through in the book and they truly do fulfill it. You will learn the developmental process of how children learn to eat food of all kinds over time; help you expand your child’s diet; and how to use parenting strategies that work both in and out of the kitchen.

The message is very clear and important in this book and that is to bring back family dinners and to teach children (and us) a culture of wellness. With all that we hear of how society’s poor eating habits have led to epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and even cancer, this book would be a great addition to all households for parents who want to raise healthy children.

I give this book 5 nuggets out of 5 in this “chicken-nugget” world!

To purchase this book please click here.

For more information on the authors, please check out their websites and twitter handles listed below:

Melanie Potock (Coach Mel) http://www.mymunchbug.com/ @MyMunchBug

Nimali Fernando (Dr. Yum) http://www.doctoryum.org/ @Doctor_Yum

– Momma Braga
#MelandNikkiReview