Author Archives for Mama Knows Nutrition

Healthy Halloween Treats for Trick-or-Treating

I will admit…I’m not much of a Halloween person. I don’t really like dressing up, I don’t like showering kids with sugary treats, and I’m not big on Halloween decorations, besides pumpkins. Although I do LOVE dressing up my son and wish I could do it more often. His first Halloween he was the CUTEST KOALA BEAR IN THE WORLD. I’m not biased at all. 

Last year we experienced our first Trunk or Treat with my son’s pre-school. When I got the email about the event, I kind of panicked. These teachers and other moms knew I was in graduate school for Nutrition…surely I couldn’t go handing out SUGAR to their sweet little children. And if I did, they’d be like, “WHY IS THE HEALTHY LADY GIVING OUT CANDY?!” Am I right?? 

So a google search for healthy Halloween treats told me I could hand out raisins or pretzels instead. I know these kids are only 2 years old but I would definitely forever be labeled the uncool mom if I gave out raisins on Halloween. Any other day, a box of raisins is totally cool. But on Halloween?? Um, no thank you. (Unless the raisins are covered in chocolate, which would be totally acceptable to me. My husband, however, still says two thumbs down.)

No Sugar Halloween Treats

My solution? Forget about the sweet stuff and give them a totally cool non-food treat instead. Last year I gave out cute fruit face stickers and farm animal face stickers. Hopefully no one thought I was making a statement against Halloween candy with the fruit stickers, ha! I just cut the rolls of stickers up so each kid would get a sheet with a few stickers.

This year, I’m taking a similar approach. I have a big bag of leftover party favors with paper airplanes, stamps, bendy figurine things (I don’t know how else to describe these!), bouncy balls, and foam animal stickers. I’ll let the little ones pick out 2 or 3 items.

Even though I plan to give out non-food treats, I am not totally against Halloween candy. I’m not going to take it all away from my son and tell him he can’t have any. I don’t want him to totally miss out on the experience. I prefer not to give it out myself to toddlers, none of them is going to complain that I didn’t give them candy!


Tell me– do you give out candy at Halloween?

What’s your opinion on non-food or healthy Halloween treats?

Kid Friendly Hidden Veggie Dips

Is your kid a dipper? Lots of moms tell me that their little ones will eat almost anything if they can dip it in something. My son has not gotten on board with dipping. But I keep serving dips to him anyway since every once in awhile he surprises me and tries something new. The one thing he will dip food in is maple syrup–surprise, surprise. Haha!

I thought it would be fun to branch out from the usuals- ketchup, ranch, bbq sauce, hummus, peanut butter, etc.  Not that there’s anything wrong with those! And, I supercharged these new dips with hidden veggies. A lot of times my son just doesn’t like the way something looks. So, I try to either make his foods look fun, like with fun colors or shapes, or try to make them look like something I know he already likes.

Toddlers are complicated little creatures, I’ll tell ya!

Give these hidden veggie dips a try if you feel like doing some kitchen experimenting. Worst case is that your kids don’t like it, but you now have a veggie-packed snack for yourself. 🙂

These recipes require a little more work than just opening a bottle and pouring, but I promise, they’re worth it!  Continue reading

The #1 Food To Eat in Your Third Trimester

One of my best friends is pregnant and our due dates are just one day apart. It has been so fun to be pregnant at the same time as her, even though she lives far, far away in London. We were talking on the phone a few weeks ago and she asked me if I knew anything about the benefits of eating dates during pregnancy.

And honestly, I didn’t know a thing about it! Have you ever heard of this? Since I was driving, I made her read me results from the studies she found online. I was skeptical at first. You hear so many things about what is good and bad in pregnancy that I’m at a point that I question everything.

The research on dates during pregnancy is actually really interesting and compelling! The only drawback is that there is not a TON of evidence. But the evidence that does exist is enough to make me eat dates every day these last few weeks before the baby comes.  Continue reading

How to Stock Up on Healthy Freezer Meals and Snacks

My husband loves to tell people the story about the morning I went into labor with our son. My water broke around 8am, but my contractions were several minutes apart. So I didn’t feel any rush to get to the hospital. For some reason, I decided that I HAD to make a lasagna before we went to the hospital. I think I was anxious (I KNOW I was anxious)…and just trying not to think about what was ahead of me that day. So there I was, in my kitchen, making not one, but two, pans of lasagna in between contractions. Oh and I sent my husband to the gym! I said you might as well get in one last workout before our life turns upside down. When he got back home I was still making lasagnas. At that point he decided to pry the kitchen utensils out of my hand saying, “OK Kacie…I think it’s time to go to the hospital now…”

But I’ll tell you, I sure was glad to come home to a lasagna in the fridge a few days later and another one in the freezer. I made a bunch of freezer meals in the final weeks of my pregnancy. I plan to do the same this time!  Continue reading

5 Ingredient No Bake Nut Butter Bars

YOU GUYSSSSSS. These no bake nut butter bars SAVE me on mornings I don’t have my act together.

Which is basically every morning right now, since pregnancy insomnia has been keeping me up from about 2:30 to 5:30 am. It’s the weirdest thing. It doesn’t matter what time I go to bed. I routinely just wake up around 2:30 or 3 and then am WIDE AWAKE for 2 to 3 hours. It’s not my favorite.

So having breakfast for my son already made is a HUGE help on zombie mornings. One of my favorite tricks for keeping healthy breakfast and snack options on hand is to make things in big batches and then freeze them. It’s just as easy to reach into the freezer as it is to pull a package of something out of the pantry. Continue reading

It’s Official – Kacie Barnes, RDN

In case you missed it on social media yesterday, I passed my Dietitian exam!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am finally, officially, Kacie Barnes, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist!!!!

I can’t begin to tell you how excited, relieved, overjoyed, and grateful I feel. I filled these past few years with countless hours of studying, going to classes, 1200 hours of internship rotations, and a few breakdowns along the way. I am so proud of earning a Master’s in Clinical Nutrition and becoming an RD! (RD and RDN are the same thing, but more people are switching to saying RDN these days.)

Preparing for the RD exam has been a huge weight on my shoulders the past few weeks, especially since I knew I was on a major deadline. My 2nd baby is due to arrive October 4th, and I did NOT want to be taking the exam within a few weeks of my due date! No need to stress about going into labor while taking one of the most important tests of my life…seriously.  Continue reading

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