Category Archives: Nutrition

Product Review: Quaker Overnight Oats

Hi friends!

With back to school time, we are all trying to get into good routines in the morning. There’s plenty of information out there showing that a good breakfast helps kids at school. But getting that good breakfast in before school can be tricky.

Recently, I heard about these Quaker Overnight Oats cups. They were on sale so I gave a couple flavors a try. This review is unsponsored. I bought these on my own. Quaker has no idea I exist.

We tried two flavors: Toasted Coconut and Almond Crunch; Blueberry Banana and Vanilla.

Overnight Oats

The instructions are very straightforward. Fill to the line in the cup with milk (or non-dairy milk substitute). Close the lid. Let steep in your fridge overnight. In the morning, you get this:

Steeped Overnight Oats

You can eat them cold or the package has instructions for how to heat it up.

Our rating (mine and my husband)? Neither of us were very fond of them cold. I liked the blueberry one cold more than the coconut. Warmed up, they were pretty good. These were very easy and made for a fast morning.

I think overall I give them a 3 out of 5 stars. Maybe I would have liked a different flavor cold more (it does come in 6 total flavors). The biggest downside is I don’t really see the purpose or cost effectiveness. It is very easy to make your own cup of cold overnight oatmeal like this. I have recipes here for that. But even on the webpage for this product, Quaker gives directions of how to make your own.

As for cost, each of these cups cost me $1.50 on sale. Normally they are $1.79. A big container of oats is less than $5 and will give you 15+ servings of oatmeal. You save a little time on measuring the oats themselves. They have thought out the fruit for you.

So in the end, I’m not going to judge you if you like these and use them. You are getting a healthy breakfast. And they are tasty (although in our family’s opinion more tasty if warm). But if you like the idea, you can make them pretty easily on your own for much cheaper.

Cold oatmeal not your thing? Oatmeal in the crockpot is also super easy and makes your house smell delicious when you wake up: Slow Cooker Overnight Oatmeal

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Back to School Refresher

Hi all,

Sorry to have gone on hiatus again. Summer has been crazy around here. Lots of travel, lots of home repairs, lots of cleaning from said home repairs…. My oldest started school this year, and I’ve honestly been looking forward to an enforced schedule to regulate our days.

Many people feel like this time of year is almost like a New Year’s, a time for resetting and making goals. Hopefully, you are trying to get into a groove with menu planning, eating healthy, etc. Here are a few tips that have been helping me lately.

1. Find something you WANT to cook. We all need lots of quick meals in our arsenal. But, I think it is a good idea to find something that you really want to cook/make that maybe takes more time. For example, I recently grew my own sourdough starter. I’ve used it to make bread, waffles, pancakes, and pizza crust. Does it take time? A little, but actually not that much active time. The key was I WANTED to make it. So I didn’t mind the time. Think outside the box: homemade nut butters, jam, curing/smoking meat, bread, sauerkraut. Maybe it is taking time to stock your freezer with items. But think of something you’d be willing to spend time cooking. I bet you’ll find the time.

Sourdough Bread

2. Think through all the food you need when making your grocery shopping lists. Most kids need to take a snack to school. Maybe you’d have a better day if you took a snack with you to work. Make sure you have accounted for these in your shopping. If you don’t buy healthy snacks, they won’t magically make it into bags. It seems like a no brainer, but it’s important to think about it. One box of crackers and one package of string cheese isn’t going to keep you all going for a week.

3. Try to eliminate decision making. Planning a menu can be a lot of work. Try to streamline or simplify where you can. We always eat breakfast for dinner on Wednesdays. Tuesday is leftover night. Maybe every Tuesday can be taco tuesday. Pizza Fridays. Meatless Monday. These systems either remove or simplify the decisions when planning your menu. Help yourself out!

4. Pick one day for a fancy dinner. Our family recently started having a more formal dinner on Sundays. We sit at our nicer table, use a tablecloth, kids get real dishes, use cloth napkins, etc. We are hoping to break out candlesticks. I try to make sure food makes it into serving dishes rather than putting pans on the table. I often try to have a special drink. Taking this time to enjoy food as a family has been great for our relationships. My kids love it and are SLOWLY improving in table manners. And even if the dinner isn’t super complicated, it feels fancy because of our surroundings. Try it!

Hope these three tips help you as you go back to school. I’ve got some fun recipes coming soon!

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Spring has sprung

Spring has finally arrived! It’s so nice to have more regular warm temperatures and sunshine. I was able to plant some of my garden last week. I put in strawberries this year. Fingers crossed it works out.

The great news with changing seasons is that new fruits and vegetables are in season. You often can spot what is season based on the price at the store. And depending on where you live, that may vary. For example, corn on the cob won’t be ready around me (in Colorado) for months. But fresh corn on the cob was deliciously cheap coming in from California. Thank goodness for different climate areas within the US.

Fruits and Veggies More Matters is a great resource for seeing what is in season and how to cook it. Here are some fruits and veggies they list for “spring”:

Aspragus
Peas
Snap peas
Lettuce
Artichokes
Apricots
Fennel
Strawberries
Rhubarb
Honeydew
Corn
Green Beans
Broccoli

Granted you can get most of these all year round. But prices and flavor are usually best when they are in season. Rhubarb in particular is hard to find out of season. Asparagus is much thinner and more tender (and much cheaper) when bought this time of year. So go enjoy some spring produce. My lemon vegetable risotto is one of my favorites this time of year. Happy eating!

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Q&A: Ketogenic Diet

Q: Is the ketogenic diet helpful for brain health, remembering, clear thinking, etc?

A: Thank you as always for questions. I love hearing what nutrition topics are concerning everyone. With so much in the media, it is very hard to know what “real” people are focusing on.

The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet. Our body actually wants some level of carbohydrates for energy. Some organs, such as the brain, actually greatly prefer carbs to fats. If there are not enough carbohydrates, the body will burn fat and produce something called ketones. The brain can then use these ketones as a source for energy.

The ketogenic diet has been part of the treatment for epilepsy for many years. There are proven benefits for people whose epilepsy is not controlled well with medication alone. However, the diet needs to be closely monitored by a dietitian to ensure overall nutrient adequacy.

The ketogenic diet most people using it under generally “healthy” circumstances is really just another low carb diet like Atkins or South Beach. There are no proven benefits for weight loss or mental health or clarity. Many people do succeed with weight loss, but as with most diets, it is not sustainable when they go back to their traditional eating pattern.

Sorry this won’t give you the memory recall you hoped! Thanks again for the question.

Don’t forget you can always ask questions in the comments here or email me at kimberlykmarshgmail.com!

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Snicky Snacks

For a period of time when she was younger, my now almost 5 year old loved to call snacks “snicky snacks”. It was equal parts endearing and obnoxious, as many things with toddlers are.

Are you a snacker? For most people I’ve met, there is a clear divide here: those who snack and those who don’t. I am generally a moderate snacker – if it is available, I’ll snack. I LOVE snack foods and enjoy occasionally just making a meal of snacks. However, when I am pregnant and breastfeeding, my snacking is at Olympic training levels.

While to some of you that sounds delightful, sometimes it is hard. The trick with snacking is not over doing it and finding something “healthy”. And thinking about it as much as I have to in these scenarios is draining. I’ve been hearing a lot about decision fatigue lately, and I definitely get snack decision fatigue.

In honor of that, I thought today I’d share a list of some of my go-to healthy(ish) snacks. I hope they help you in any snacking ventures you are experiencing.

– Lowfat cottage cheese with fruit. Drained peaches canned in juice is my absolute favorite.
– Trail mix. I try to find one with plenty of dried fruit and maybe yogurt chips, no outright “candy”.
– Yogurt. With fruit, with granola, plain, I’m an equal opportunity eater. My personal favorites right now are Light and Fit Greek or Noosa.
– Popcorn. Home popped with a little Parmesan or the store bought white cheddar.
– Triscuits. Please try the fig and honey flavor.
– Veggies with hummus
– Cheesesticks with lunch meat. I try to keep this one sporadic as it is a bit of a salt bomb.
– Clif Zbars. Yes these are the kid versions. But I love them.
– Fig Bars.
– Leftover smoothie. If I can hide it from my kids, I usually make too much smoothie in the morning and love to save the extra for later.
– Muffins. I like to make big batches of 2 or 3 kinds of muffins and store them in my freezer.
– Avocado or almond butter toast.
– Tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole. This one definitely has to be in moderation. And I try to find salt free chips.

I’d love to hear some of your go to snacks. I’m always looking for variety. Happy snacking!

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Diets to Avoid in 2018

It is the end of February. That is crazy to me! Time is flying by. I hope you are doing well on any health (and other) goals you made for this new year.

I realized I forgot to post these earlier in the year. But a list of fad diets to avoid is always timely. Especially as I think we are all re-evaluating what has or has not worked for us in the last 2 months. If you are looking for a change-up in your eating routine, the British Dietetic Association (and I agree) suggest you AVOID these five diets: raw vegan, alkaline, Katie Price Nutritional Supplements, Pioppi, and ketogenic diet.

Here’s why:

Raw Vegan Diet: A vegan diet can be consumed safely if you are conscientious and take supplements for vitamins B12 and D. However, it is not going to magically make you lose weight. Calories are calories. And there is no benefit from consuming all foods raw. Some foods cannot be digested raw – like potatoes.

Alkaline Diet: The whole premise behind this diet is flawed. Our body has multiple processes that balance the pH of the blood. If you pH was off, you would be in the hospital. Changing your diet CAN change the pH of your urine, which is what you check in this diet. You may lose weight, but because you are eating more healthy. Not because of pH changes.

Katie Price Nutritional Supplements: Bottom line is you don’t need supplements to lose weight.

Pioppi Diet: This is an altered version of a low-carb Mediterranean diet. Save yourself time and money by following a traditional Mediterranean diet (which I talk about here).

Ketogenic Diet: This is a real diet that can be followed and helpful for people with epilepsy. However, it should be done under the guidance of a dietitian. For weight loss, it is basically a very low carb diet. In the short term, it may help you lose weight. It isn’t sustainable in the long term, which means the weight loss likely would not be either. Over restricting one food group is generally not a good idea.

For more on these diets, read the British Dietetic Association’s review here. Happy eating and not dieting!

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Eating in Real Life

A few weeks ago, postpartum hormones had me feeling a bit down. And I realized that I was semiconsciously getting depressed by comparing myself to bloggers I follow online. Guess what? Their lives aren’t my life, so comparing is pointless and painful.

In the spirit of being real, I have two shares today. First, here is a real meal from our house last week.

Call it Good Dinner

Pictured: two different kinds of pasta that I needed to finish boxes of, jarred spaghetti sauce, a random salad, and breadsticks I froze back and Halloween (hence the “bone” shape).

Not every dinner is scratch made at pretty much anyone’s house. And that is ok. We have a couple nights a week that are a little bit hairy at dinner around here. So I have to schedule things that are easier and faster. But that doesn’t mean I can’t make them as healthy as possible.

For this dinner, I sautéed onions, bell pepper, and carrots that I cooked into the sauce. I also threw in some Italian sausage. I love having big bags of Costco produce, so I can always at least have a salad at dinner. And when I make breadsticks, I always make a big batch if not a double big batch so I can freeze them. Then whole wheat bread is a few minutes in the oven away. Little planning and additions make the difference.

My second share is an unsponsored product review. Quaker doesn’t even know I exist to sponsor a post. Although I do admit to hearing about these in a sponsored post elsewhere. When I saw them on sale last week, I decided to try a couple to tell you guys about.

Quacker Overnight Oats

Quaker has a new(ish) product of these individual overnight oats containers. There is a fill line on the container. Put in milk (or a nondairy milk substitute) to the line, put in the fridge at night, and you have breakfast in the morning. Here’s what it looks like when you pull it out in the morning.

Quacker Overnight Oats

I got two flavors: Blueberry Banana Vanilla Bliss and Toasted Coconut Almond Crunch. My husband and I both ended up heating ours up, which is optional. My husband is a warm oatmeal eater. I wanted to try mine both ways. We both thought it took longer than suggested 30 seconds in the microwave. We both thought they tasted fine. But at the sale price of $1.50, to us, it isn’t worth it. We can make something as good or better on our own. It is fast and the taste is good. But I’ve posted before how you could make your own breakfast that is similar. Just without a cute container. A little more effort in measuring, but I think the overall taste and texture is worth it. Would I judge you if you bought these? Absolutely not! It’s a healthy breakfast. Go for it!

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