Food Smart: Nutrition Labels

This week, I revisited my healthy lifestyle goals and I went to workout for the first time in a year (gasp).  The workout got me thinking about what I eat.  I have to be honest with myself, I don’t know much about nutrition. With a toddler, I am more thoughtful with food.  I meal plan, stay away from processed food much more than I have before, but that doesn’t guarantee a balanced diet for our family.  I don’t really know what a true balanced diet would look like.

I have decided to get my food act together.  I am determined to get myself food smart.   To start, I need to understand those darn labels on the back of food packages.  Now, at least, when I’m munching on my Pirates Booty, I will know what I’m doing to my body.  Good or bad.

I found this helpful video explaining how to read nutritional labels. Take a look. Maybe you’ll learn something new. I did.

Mommy and Me Out and About #3 Lunch Date

A lunch date? You must think I’m crazy, with a newborn, you hardly have time to shower somedays right?  Well, as difficult as it can be to get things together enough to take a trip outside, once you feel your little one has settled into a somewhat predictable routine, I encourage you to plan a lunch date. My first lunch date was with my sister, who at the time was visiting from beautiful, sunny, San Diego.

#3 Lunch Date

For this trip out with the little one here are some tips:

  • Schedule the lunch after 1:30, when the lunch crowd has died down a bit and the restaurant you go to won’t be so crowded or busy
  • Choose a casual restaurant that you have seen families dine at.  Make sure they have enough space for your stroller or car seat.
  • Consider the menu.  Does it have food options you can eat with one hand?  You may have to hold your little one while you eat.
  • Have lunch with a friend that is understanding of a crying baby.
  • Be flexible.  This could mean having to cancel your lunch date, move it to a later time, change the location, or cutting it short.  It all depends on what your little one needs at that moment.

For those of you living near downtown Chicago like me, below is a list of some locations I have gone to with my little guy.  I consider these places baby lunch date friendly.

  • Macy’s on State Street.  Their food court has many options.  Lots of space for your stroller.  Keep in mind, the food court closes at 3pm.
  • Melis on Halstead.  This restaurant has always been a favorite of mine.  It is usually very busy, so I make sure go after the lunch crowd and have lunch at 1:30 on a weekday.  The crowd is much smaller then.  Consider leaving the stroller at home, they don’t have much room for a stroller.  I brought my little guy here in his infant carseat.
  • Protein Bar on Washington.  This place is a great place for a healthy lunch.  I have had lunch here with my little guy several times.  The wraps are easy to eat while holding a baby.  Protein Bar’s downtown locations are closed Saturday and Sundays.
  • India House on W. Grand Ave.  I love Indian food.  This place offers a great lunch time buffet.  Since all the food is already prepared, it is a quick meal with lots of options.  Their lunch buffet ends at 2:30pm.
  • Atropolis on Halstead.  This cafe is roomy, has delicious sandwiches and tasty pastries.  It’s a great place to meet a friend for lunch.  There’s plenty of room for your stroller.
  • Perez on Randolph. For the Mexican food lovers out there, this restaurant is a great option for lunch.   There’s room for your stroller.
  • Whole Foods in the South Loop.  With their many food options, you could meet a friend here.  Maybe your friend could even help you do some quick grocery shopping.

Do you have any restaurant suggestions for other moms out there?  If so, please share.