A Parent Playbook Resource
Live Q & A with Allison Madigan
Recorded August 11, 2021
Allison Madigan, DHN
Allison Madigan is a Holistic Nutritionist, founder of The Vitality Formula, a facilitator of The Wild Collective and mother. She helps overwhelmed women prioritize themselves and regain their energy and vitality. Her purpose is to empower them to lead a holistic, healthy and mindful life.
Recorded August 18, 2021
My name is Alison Madigan, and I am a holistic nutritionist with the parent playbook.
My whole mission and what I do is really trying to simplify nutrition, simplify health, and wellness, particularly for the women. I mainly work with women. I do work with men, but a lot of the people I work with are women and their families.
I think it, a lot of times can be really over complicated because there’s so much information out there and we can just kind of get bogged down. So I try to strip that all away and really just get back to simplicity so we can all be healthy, but we can all feel our best. And when kids are involved, it adds a whole extra layer of complication.
When we get into picky eating and trying to format family meals, that can be a real struggle for people and even just scheduling meals. So I try to help my background. Actually, I spent 15 years in the marketing world and then after having my daughter, I wanted a change. And so I actually decided to go back to school and follow a passion in nutrition.
And that’s how I have ended up here. So I have now been doing this for about five years and I have a lot of personal experience with food and how it can actually help us work with our bodies and just feel better. And my daughter had a lot of digestive issues, so we’ve certainly gone through a lot of food, kind of removing foods from her diet and kind of figuring out what worked best for her,
with her symptoms. So I have a lot of familiarity with how hard that can be to kind of try to identify what might be triggering some things. So if you have any questions at this point, I would love to answer them. This is a Q and a session, so it’s not a kind of an educational talk. So if you have questions,
please pop them in the chat now so that we can kind of dive in and get to them. Anything at all, anything you want to ask? So I’ll start I’ll, I’ll tell, I’ll talk a little bit about one of the common questions I get and then maybe that will spark some questions on your end. But I often get asked about how to best structure kids’ meals.
People seem to struggle a lot. And certainly I did as well with kind of family meals and child meals. And a lot of people are trying to feed their children food to satisfy what they want to eat, but they’re not eating the same foods as a family. And it becomes a lot of work for everyone involved. So what I always recommend doing is having one meal for the entire family.
It is so much easier for you. And it also is really good for the child because you’re not just feeding them kind of kid food all the time. So if you can make balanced meals and by balanced, you want to have some protein. So you want to have chicken fish, yogurt, eggs, those types of foods at each meal. And then you want to make sure that you’re getting healthy fats,
both for you and your children. We all need healthy fats that are essential and really, really important to kids’ brain health too. So we want to make sure that we’re feeding them things like nuts and seeds. If they can have the nuts, make sure that they’re getting some, all of oil in the cooking, make sure they’re eating avocado. Those are all really,
really great, healthy sources of fat egg yolks also have fat in them. That’s an easy way to kind of top it up. And of course, they’re going to be getting like dairy fats if they’re eating dairy products as well, and then you to have carbohydrates. And the important thing to remember about carbohydrates is your fruits, your vegetables, those counters carbohydrates,
and they’re really good carbohydrates. And most kids do like fruit, not so much vegetables sometimes depending on the vegetable, but that’s a really great way to give them kind of some energy. That’s going to be longer lasting than giving them a slice of white bread. So really being conscious of the type of carbohydrates you’re feeding your child is important. So you can put together a family meal,
maybe you’re putting in FA a meal that is going to be chicken. You’re going to have some rice. You’re going to have some vegetables. And it’s fine if you’re doing sauces that your kid might not really like, you can always introduce them to the sauce, but have some plain chicken on the side, but really, really try to get away from feeding them certain foods and yourself other food,
because it’s going to just cost so much extra work for you. And I see a question just came here from when fee. I hope I am pronouncing your name, right? The question says, how do I ensure baby is getting sufficient iron? My child is seven months right now. I find it very difficult to fit in the required amount into his meals.
I eat a balanced diet, my stuff, and still suffer from any Mia. How do I make sure baby doesn’t when he eats so little, any other particular element I should watch out for as well? So that’s a great question. At seven months old, your child likely isn’t eating a ton of solid food at this point. I’m not sure if you’re still breastfeeding your child or you’re feeding your child formula,
but either way they are going to be getting iron in that way. The foods that most seven month olds eat. I mean, this is a common concern in terms of iron requirements, but likely your child will be getting if you’re feeding them green, I don’t know, seven months old. I mean, broccoli is something that does have some iron in it.
Seven months old is really hard to be looking at the iron rich food apricots. I’m trying to get citrus them as well. When they’re eating the iron rich foods with again at seven months, that’s a really hard age. So I don’t know if you want to give me a little bit more background in the chat in terms of what your child is eating because at seven months or so many things that they’re not quite eating yet.
And you’re just starting to introduce, but there’s a lot of iron fortified. If you’re giving them cereals at that age, right? Iron for fortified cereal, I would say is a great thing to go with. And that’s probably going to be your best option as a way to try to bump up the iron. I hope that answered the question, but if you want to put more specifics about kind of what you’re actually feeding your child,
please put it in the chat and we can do a follow-up. So the next question is my four year old is starting kindergarten. This September, oh, that’s such a fun and exciting time. I’m looking for tips on lunches. She’s not used to eating packed lunches. This is a great question. And certainly a common one. So, so school lunches,
what I would do, we’re in August now we’re in the middle of August. So you have a bit of time to get your four-year-old used to eating that way. So what I love, I love the bento box kind of lunch style, where you have, you know, you could fit a sandwich. Like Jambox makes one that I quite like, but you could fit a sandwich in it or something bigger.
And then there’s three or four other compartments, and maybe you could start getting your child used to that at home and try it put in some foods that they would maybe normally eat for lunch at home. So they’re familiar to the trial. So then when they go to school, they’re not suddenly faced with new things. So if they’re not used to eating sandwiches,
I would say, don’t start adding sandwiches the first day back at school. Maybe get them used to them some sandwiches now, but I find kids, especially with school lunches, variety can be really good. Plus there’s the snacks that you have to pack. And I just feel like that bento system kind of allows them to pick and choose what they want to eat.
And then you’ll see when they come home, what they’ve eaten and what they haven’t. So again, trying to cover off all of those different categories of foods. So give them some veggies and fruit. Maybe you give them some yogurt. You could do a sandwich with some meat in it, or you could even do if your child likes just eating cheese and some Turkey,
you could do it separately. You could roll the cheese in Turkey. If their child who doesn’t like a sandwich and then maybe have some crackers on the side, I think the more variety you can give them. And then they feel like they have a little bit of control over the lunch as well. And you will probably find that some days eat more of one thing than another and that’s okay,
but you’ll start to figure out kind of what they like and what they don’t like for lunch. And remember when they go to school, they’re going to be seeing what all the other kids eat as well. And sometimes you’ll be surprised at the things that they will suddenly start eating because another child is eating them one fee. Okay. So there’s the follow-up to the question on the iron.
So this is a followup to the question we had earlier about ensuring a seven month old baby has sufficient iron. The followup is that he’s breastfed. I feed him cereal veggies, liver fruits. It’s just the amounts that are small. So when feed, I think it sounds like you are doing a great job, trying to get those iron rich foods in.
And I am sure that as he grows, he’s going to eat more. He or she grows. He is going to continue to eat more of them. You were doing all of the, the things you need to do. The fact that he, his liver is amazing. And I, I thought that age, the quantities are going to be small,
right? If you can get him ever to eat any citrus fruits, fruits at the same time as an iron rich food. So maybe when you’re doing cereal, would he ever have like a little bit of, you could really kind of cut up the orange and almost get it out of the skin that can help with the absorption of iron. So that’s a tip that you could use,
but otherwise it really sounds like you’re doing a fantastic job. And as he continues to grow, things will just kind of continue that way. If you can, if you’re feeding him that type of diet, Hopefully That answers the question for you. Are there any more questions out there? I think the interesting thing with the back to school, it gets them on a really nice eating schedule because one of the things I try to kind of recommend people avoid is having that grazing all day.
A lot of kids, you know, they’re constantly walking around with their little cup of the goldfish and they’re just kind of snacking and grazing out food all day. And that’s not really the best way for us to eat because it, it, every time you eat, you’re having a blood sugar response. And so their blood sugar is going to be going up and down,
up and down all day. And the other thing with that is that if you’re feeding them constant snacks, when it’s not really eating time, then when it comes time for lunch, when you have that really nutrient dense meal, they might not be as hungry. So the great thing about school is that it’s going to get them on that routine. If you,
if you aren’t already, where they’re going to have the morning snack, they’re going to have an afternoon snack. And then they’re going to have their three meals and likely when they get home from school, they’re going to be hungry. So that’s another great time to offer them a small snack because that will tide them over until dinner. And then I would recommend once your child starts kindergarten and gets on that schedule,
try to stick to that eating schedule on the weekend as well, because that can be really helpful just to establish that as healthy eating habits. So do you guys have any other questions and drop them in the chat if you do? I would love to answer them. Okay. And help you out here. Anything else you’d like to kind of learn a little bit more about,
I feel like food and children, we really do. We overthink it a lot and there’s a lot of information over there and it can be really, really overwhelming to try to figure out what should I be doing. And really at the end of this day, I think taking how you’re eating, looking at yeah. What the principles are of kind of healthy eating,
and then following those, passing them down to your children. That’s the best thing you can do. And as long as the diet is varied, that’s kind of an important factor too. You want to have a lot of variation in the diet as adults. We don’t want to be eating the same thing every day. We don’t want our kids to be eating the same thing every day.
And with kids, it can sometimes be a little bit more complicated, but you definitely want to try to get a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in eating the rainbow, whether it be with the actual, if you’re doing the kindergarten lunch and you’re doing a bento box kind of style, try to make sure there’s lots of different colors and maybe each day or every two days,
you switch up those colors a little bit. Cause that’s going to really help make sure that you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients. Smoothies are a great way to do that too. You can hide a lot in a smoothie if the kids don’t like certain vegetables, but cauliflower, zucchini greens, like baby spinach, all work really, really well in smoothies.
So if you do frozen cauliflower, if you do frozen zucchini gives creaminess to this movie, but it doesn’t add any taste. So that’s a great tip in terms of getting some extra veggies in. I actually really like smoothies as an afterschool snack. I find they work really well to offer. You can put some veggies in some fruit in, you could do yogurt in there if you wanted to.
I love putting in hemp hearts because they are really good source of healthy fats. And then of course the fruit is going to sweeten it up, but it gives them a snack that has the protein from the yogurts, the healthy fats, and then the carbohydrates that they need from the fruit. And it’s going to hold them until dinner and it’s not giving them kind of empty calorie crackers.
Thank you, Joe. I’m glad that that tip was helpful. The bento box is great. It really is. My daughter is going into grade six and we still use the bento box. And I just find it to be really easy. And for an another after-school snack ideas, even putting out almost like a jacuzzi tray, but with vegetables and cheese and again,
some nuts or seeds, if that’s something your household can have, but doing that can just be a really great way. You can sit the kids down and they can kind of pick and choose what they want to eat. And I find that can be a really good way to get them to have a nutritious snack as well. Okay. So Greg has a question here.
My two year old is allergic to eggs, P N N T N. I’m running out of ideas for breakfast. She’s getting bored and isn’t eating breakfast any more grace, can you clarify what P N N T N is for me. Okay. Peanuts and tree nuts. Okay. So I’m just going to repeat that again. So my two-year-old is allergic to eggs,
peanuts and tree nuts. I am running out of ideas for breakfast. She’s getting bored and isn’t eating breakfast anymore. Okay, great. So for breakfast, that is a tough one for sure. In terms of the allergies. But what I would say is you could do something like an oatmeal, maybe an overnight oats, perhaps, which is something I love to do.
So doing overnight oats, essentially you would take some oats. You would take a milk of your choice. You would add in some flax seed, some chia seed. I love to put blueberries in there, but you could really use any type of fruit that your child likes. You can even add some yogurt in there if you want. And you basically put it all together in a container in the fridge overnight,
and then eat that in the morning. I find that to be a really good one. And the fact that you can make it the night before is a huge bonus. So from a portion perspective, when you make it, I tend to make a big batch and I’ll kind of add a cup of milk, a cup of oats. And then I kind of just throw in like tablespoons of all the other stuff,
I don’t really measure it out. So you could do that. Another option would be to do a, a two year old could do smoothie if they were open to it or even a smoothie bowl. So making it a thicker smoothie in a bowl, and then maybe putting some granola On top, You could do a pancake and you could use an egg substitute in there,
right? So if you could find a oat based pancake recipe, and I have some recipes that we can share, but you could certainly do like a pancake and just use the egg substitute and easily, keep it not free for her. Hopefully those ideas help. It does take a little bit more work. I know the food allergies can be really challenging when it comes to figuring out meal time.
So I hope that those ideas help for you. I have another question here from Joe incredible idea. My daughter’s 17 months is cutting for Mueller’s yikes and loves food, but is not loving veggies while they are cutting. Usually no issues, but she is still eating everything else. Smoothies are an idea. Any other ideas? Yeah, this is the tough one.
It’s a tough when they go through that phase and they start to get those teeth and they’re in pain, it’s really, really hard. So you could do this time of year, especially today when it’s 40 degrees out, I feel like soup is a ridiculous idea, but soup can be a really great idea as a way to get the veggies into kids.
I also love doing a sauce. So doing like a bowl Inez or some type of tomato sauce and trying to get some veggies in there, you can kind of grape them up. Carrots work really well as you Kenie works really well. And it kind of hides it a little bit in the sauce. So your daughter won’t know that they’re there. Another thing to do is in baking.
So, you know, doing some zucchini bread or do Keeney muffins, there’s a lot of recipes out there now that aren’t super high in refined sugar, but have the vegetables in them. And she won’t really be able to taste them. And I think the other thing here to note is also knowing that it’s a phase and it will pass. So even if she goes through this period of time and she’s not eating as many vegetables as she normally does,
that’s okay. Get them in her when you can and try not to worry too much that she’s not, you know, getting them all because she’ll come back to eating them. Right. And I would just keep offering them. Cause hopefully as the Mueller’s cut, you know, one day it will just kind of click over and she will go back to,
to eating them and to enjoy them. That’s great, Joe. Yeah. Keep on. Just keep, keep offering them. And she’ll eventually take them and even, you know, doing like cucumber with cream cheese on it, maybe just a cucumber with a slice of cheese and then you can put a little Turkey and then another cucumber on top and make it like a little cucumber sandwich.
Maybe that’s something that would appeal to, but just kind of trying different ways to present some of the foods. And then Joe has commented to grace that they love breakfast bowls with yogurt, granola, chia, seeds, berries. Yes. Breakfast bowls are great. And I’m, I find the biggest challenge with the breakfast bowl is the consistency in the blender.
So I usually recommend whatever recipe you’re using. It will usually give a range of liquid quantity, kind of start with the low end of the liquid quantity and blend it up and then add more. If you need more, you don’t want to start the other way or it will very quickly become a smoothie. I just find the bowls. The overnight oats and smoothies are such great ways to pack nutrition in to one meal.
And I find that to be just easiest way for kids when you’re just trying to really get them to, to eat more, getting as much as you can into one thing is always a bonus to me. These are all great questions. Does anyone have anything else to ask? It’s all navigating new times. I feel like kids go through phases too. They’ll go through a phase when they don’t like something and then suddenly they like it again.
It’s a tough time. So favorite kids snack? So question from Joe is coming in. What is a favorite kid’s snack? So my favorite kid snack. Oh, that’s a tough one. There’s so many of them. I love to do the platters. As I mentioned, to give them a really great variety and options so that they kind of pick and choose what they like to eat.
I love to try to incorporate nuts and seeds. So at home I would do like nuts, a little bit of cheese and maybe some vegetable or fruit. I liked doing baked goods as well if I bake them myself. So I love to bake. I will do like banana breads or zucchini muffins. Peaches are in season right now. There’s a peach muffin that I love to make.
So I’ll, I’ll often give that. And in combination with that would do maybe some extra fruit depending on what that snack was. I do try to make sure that I have lots of stuff readily available. That is pad. You use packaged snacks. So made good. It’s very easy to send to school. If you’re not going to be making that brand is free of everything from a school perspective,
active it’s safe. It has some veggies in there and the kids really liked the way that it tastes. So from a packaged kind of snack perspective, that can be really good to have on hand. There’s also a brand pro bio by Wello. I believe it is. And they may kind of probiotic bars for kids that have some probiotics added to them.
Again, really easy to throw in the bag to go to school. And then at home, I always try to have kind of muffins or the bread, the loaves, that kind of stuff in the freezer so that I can pull them out as needed. And then I’ll go to kind of the
tins, like in each muffin cup, you can put a different little food item. And I liked that and I liked the smoothies. I would say those are really good ones. Grace, are there any food tips for thyroid? I have thyroid and always work in front of a computer and feel like I lack energy. So that question grace is kind of a tough one to answer in this forum because I’d need to know a little bit more about you.
And so I, Roy does depend, obviously some people need to take medication for their thyroid to kind of keep it stable and where it needs to be. So I would say that is a bit of a tricky question for me to answer right here, because there’s a lot more that kind of goes into what might be affecting your thyroid and then the suggestions that I would make on how to kind of support it better.
So, unfortunately that’s not a question that we can really get into on here from a food perspective for thyroid. There aren’t really any foods that I would say are going to help give you more energy and kind of boost up that thyroid. So for most people who are lacking energy in general, the few things that I would look at and I mean, I’d say this to you as well,
look at this because it will make a difference to your energy is kind of, are you eating every three to four hours really important for all of your hormones, including thyroid hormone. So looking at, are you eating kind of waking up eat within that first hour and then eat roughly every three to four hours after that? So that would kind of look like breakfast,
lunch, and afternoon snack and a dinner, making sure that every meal has protein, about 20 to 30 grams of protein is really great to help stabilize your energy. You’re going to have a bit of healthy fats and then you’re going to have some carbohydrate in there. So that’s the first thing I would look at to kind of obviously deal with the thyroid from a doctor perspective,
a medical perspective, or you can certainly book appointments to kind of figure out what might be going on. But from the energy perspective, balancing the hormones is huge. And also if you are working at a computer every day as a lift, so many of us are more than we want to be right now, but making sure you’re trying to take conscious breaks.
I’m just getting up, even if it’s to stretch and go get a glass of water in the other room and come back, but trying to give yourself a few little breaks throughout the day can really make a big difference versus just staring at the screen all day long. Joe has a question, Joe, can you please send me the, send the peach muffin recipe?
Yes. I will figure out how to share that with the parent playbook. Absolutely not a problem. The energy piece is really hard. It’s hard for a lot of people are low on energy. And oftentimes it’s really just looking at all of those basic habits, like the water you’re drinking, the times that you’re eating, how much sleep are you, getting your stress level,
all of that is going to have such a huge impact on your energy. And then when you layer in the thyroid, absolutely, they need to look into kind of how to properly support your thyroid. But if you can for now just look into all of those other things, they can make a really big difference to help and increase your energy. So do you guys have anything else you want to ask?
I’ll just wait another minute or two here and see if any other questions pop up. Feel like there’s so many, so many questions about health and children show here. You have been incredibly informative and given me a lot of new food inspiration for the kids. I appreciate it. Thank you, Joe. I appreciate that so much. And I’m so happy that you were able to join tonight.
There will be more of these in the future, so that’s exciting and I’m excited to be able to come on here and answer questions for you. So thank you all if there are no other questions here, thank you all so much for taking this half-hour out of your day. And joining me here, I will be uploading new course material onto the parent playbook over the next kind of month or so.
You’ll start to see more courses and I’m happy to be a resource and help for you. So thank you again for joining. It was great chatting with you all and I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening. Thank you so much.