I am very excited to introduce you all to Heidi Geiger! She's funny. She's cool. She's REAL. She's a mom of 2. Even cooler, Heidi is also a health coach. Check out her blog and read below for an interview and a quick healthy lunch recipe she is sharing with PURE Mamas readers today.
Juli: Tell us about yourself and your web sites.
Heidi: I have been a Montessori teacher for 10 years in the suburbs of Chicago. Currently I teach 2 and 3 year old's in a half day program. I have been working directly with teachers to provide healthier options for snacks such as more vegetables and fruits. We prepare whole foods from scratch with the children once a week in the classroom from smoothies to zucchini pesto and beyond. In November of 2011, I gave my first raw food class to adults and from there I started a blog
www.heidisrawhub.blogspot.com - which is basically a tool for me to share recipes and my journey with raw/vegan foods. These classes motivated me to learn more, so I enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition last May and am halfway through the program to become a health coach.
Besides those amazing careers, I am also a single mama of two beautiful little people...my daughter, Vivian and my son, David. They are the reasons I became a Montessori toddler teacher and a conscious consumer of food.
Juli: Today you're sharing one of the easiest, cheapest and quickest healthy vegan lunches. Tell us more about your diet. Any quick tips you have to keep us healthy.
Heidi: My diet has changed over the past 4 years, but I have been pretty consistent on one thing...whole foods based! When my daughter was 16 months old, I started doing a raw food diet. I noticed that my "chronic" health issues were a big fat zero after one month. That was enough to convince me and then I became hooked.
Since then, I started taking classes in nutrition, it's opened the door a lot of different theories that are out there. So needless to say, I've been experimenting more with food, especially cooked food.
Now that the weather is getting colder, it's nice to have a warm meal. I used to make fancy meals...the more complex the better. I liked to "WOW" people...but that doesn't work very well with my lifestyle. What I've come to find out is that I don't have to sacrifice health for simplicity.
Basically I stick to some of my staples like quinoa, beans and occasionally rice. Those are prepared and put in the refrigerator for easy pull out whenever. I also make sure I have some raw goodies like kale chips and nut bars prepared for the week. There's always fresh fruit and cut up veggies for easy snacks. I peel about 8 bananas at the beginning of the week and put them in the freezer for smoothies. This is fun for the kids to do as well. I also make snack mix for on the go made of almonds, raisins, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and whatever else I can find.
Juli: How old are your kids? How do you keep them healthy? Does he eat well? Any tips you'd like to share with us?
Heidi: My daughter is 4 and my son is 16 months. I am a huge advocate for extended breastfeeding to keep children healthy. I nursed my daughter until she was 2 ½ and my son is still nursing strong. That's the most important foundation to keeping them healthy...for a lifetime. I keep my kids healthy by giving them whole foods at every meal. Even if they don't like it, I keep trying. It takes at least 10 times for a child to accept a new food...sometimes longer if they're really stubborn. When they say, "Mom, I'm hungry." I always respond, "What fruit or veggie would you like?"
Juli: A lot of people say their kids don't like veggies. Or they have very picky eaters. Any tips or thoughts for those mamas?
Heidi: My daughter started to become a little picky with foods lately. There were even times when she'd out right refuse to eat dinner. I remember growing up with 3 other siblings...we all ate as a family...the same meal.
I am not sure where this mentality came that we as parents must make a different meal for each child, but somehow it has happened in many households....including my own. I was becoming that kind of parent and it was exhausting.
I finally just decided that I was done with that and it's been bliss ever since. This is where my Montessori teacher background really came in handy. I prepare dinner, serve it, and if certain members choose not to have it, then they can sit at the table and socialize with the rest of the family....but the kitchen is closed when dinner is over and opens at breakfast time in the morning.
t's amazing how cooperative children become when there are some guidelines.
As far as being picky, well, I believe that we must always present the options of healthy foods. Prepare zucchini several different ways knowing they will more than likely reject it. I also invested in a product through Today I Ate A Rainbow. It's a chart for the refrigerator and when the child eats from the different colors of the rainbow, they place a rainbow magnet on indicating such. It REALLY motivated my daughter. Honestly, it's one of the best tools that entered my home. I also talk a lot about food and health with my children and how things affect our body. They may act like they are not listening, but then they start repeating it days later. Those are the best moments.
Below you'll find a simple recipe I make quite often for lunch. Easy, healthy, simple and quick! Couldn't be better.
This recipe took me less than ten minutes to put together (with quinoa cooked already).
All you need is a bowl and the following ingredients:
- cooked quinoa
- one avocado diced
- ¼ of yellow pepper diced
- handful of garbanzo beans
- cherry tomatoes
- sea salt & pepper
- 1-2 tbsp. flax oil
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
All you have to do is MIX. It's light, delicious and takes away the "hungries" later on in the day. Make a large serving, store in the refrigerator and bring out in a pinch. Avocado seems to compliment this super pseudo-grain the best.
This meal costs less than $5 to make. My children really enjoy this dish minus the yellow pepper (that's for me).