Episode 5: Healthy Food Habits for Your Family – Interview with Amanda Beatty, Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach

In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa speaks with holistic nutrition and health coach Amanda Beatty about creating healthy food habits for the whole family, how to get picky eaters to try new foods, and the importance of modelling good food habits in the home. In addition to being a mother of two little ones, she is a self-professed science nerd, food aficionado, lover of fitness and embracer of all things natural. 

Powerful Mama Advice from Amanda:

It is not your job to stop your kids’ crying all the time. Crying can be an important release of stress and tool for processing of emotions. You can be a safe space for your children when they need to cry.

When her daughter was 6 months old, Amanda realized that her daughter was a big deep feeler like her mama. Her daughter didn’t sleep well during the night if Amanda acted to stop her daughter’s crying with nursing. Her daughter would be able to sleep peacefully at night when she started helping her daughter to navigate her early emotions by telling her she was safe. Managing her newborn’s crying was easier the second time around!

Mealtime can be difficult for your family! 

Challenges around food can include:

  • Trying new foods
  • Kids unhappy about being taken away from playtime
  • Kids not wanting to sit at the dinner table
  • Not enjoying different flavours and textures

How do you create healthy habits for your family around food?

The earlier, the better! But don’t worry, it’s never too late!

Strategy #1:

Amanda recommends staying focused on the long game, developing habits over weeks, months and years instead of worrying about each meal or each day. Trust your child’s instincts (within reason!) and pay attention to what your child eats over 4 or 5 days, instead of expecting all macronutrients to be balanced in one day or the same volume of food eaten every day.

Leave your child’s unfinished meal plate on the table in case they are hungry and want a snack an hour after they said they were done eating. 

Strategy #2:

While not always possible, try to eat together as a family as often as possible. Also eat the same food, instead of cooking multiple meals for different family members. Adjust the parents’ meal instead of adjusting what your children eat, especially when you are still introducing foods to your little ones. Have your favourite foods or treats when you’re not with your kids or after your kids are in bed. 

Strategy #3:

Avoid using bribes, rewards or punishments around food. As a result, you can prevent your child from associating their goodness with clearing their plate or ignoring their own innate understanding if they are hungry or full. Bribes tend to become less and less successful over time. Watch what words you use. 


  • “First lunch, then popsicle” instead of “If you finish your meal, you get dessert”
  • “It’s not time for cookies” instead of “Cookies aren’t healthy for breakfast”
  • “That’s ok, maybe when you’re older” when your toddler says “I don’t like that”

Strategy #4:

Involve your kids as much as possible in growing their food in a garden or choosing their food at the grocery store or farmers market, especially veggies. Amanda’s daughter got really excited about eating salad after helping to make a yummy salad dressing of honey, frozen strawberries, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Letting her lick a spoonful of honey really helped.

Amanda started her daughter on salad by using her favourite vegetable, cucumber, as a base with diced greens on top. She then gradually added more and more veggies over time. She now eats the exact same salad that Amanda does!

Strategy #5:

What you do is way more important than what you say. You have to model the behaviour you want to see. Amanda and her husband Jon see raising kids as an opportunity to check in on your own habits and your own biases. 

Identify what you want your kids’ health habits to be and what your own health habits are. If you identify as a picky eater or are biased against having veggies as breakfast, you can’t expect your children to not have those same habits and beliefs. Consider repatterning or retraining yourself and your own food habits.

Quick hacks for expanding the horizons of picky eaters:

  • Serve vegetables at every meal
  • Let your kids see you eat vegetables at every meal
  • Create a Share Plate – let your kids pick their favourite food from a large plate of a variety of foods that the whole family eats and add new foods over time (shout out to @holistic_leigh on Instagram for this awesome tip!)

Today’s tip: Visit Amanda’s blog at amandanaturally.com and @amandanaturally on Instagram for recipes and other family food hacks. 

Today’s Mama Must Haves:

Amanda loves a book called, “French Kids Eat Everything” to balance out her scientific, clinical approach to nutrition.

Find the book HERE on Amazon.

Dr. Lisa’s favourite brand of spices is Simply Organic. There’s a lot of great variety of high quality of spices that you can use to get your kids acquainted with different flavours without worrying about pesticide residues.

As an Amazon Associate Dr. Toni earns from qualifying purchases, which helps to keep this podcast up and running! 

Thank you for joining us today! 

Have any comments, suggestions or burning questions? Email us or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5 star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Episode 4: Sleep Solutions for Perimenopause

In this episode, we cover:

  • The importance of sleep for weight loss, appetite control, blood sugar balance, immunity, energy and balanced mood
  • The impact that a poor night’s sleep has on your hormones
  • How to maximize your natural melatonin production
  • Which teas, tools and bedtime practices can enhance a good night’s sleep
  • How alcohol and caffeine impair sleep; how you can still enjoy these with minimal effects on sleep
  • What our sleep routines look like

While it can be a challenge, sleep is crucial for mood and hormone balance. There is a reason that sleep deprivation is a torture technique!

In perimenopause, common sleep issues include:

  • Problems falling asleep
  • Problems staying asleep
  • Not getting a deep, restorative sleep

When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you produce more stress hormones that has you:

  • Get sick more often
  • Gain weight and hold on to fat around your middle (creating the dreaded muffin top!)
  • Experience more sugar cravings
  • Make unhealthy food choices
  • Reach for more refined carbs and comfort foods
  • Eat more food than you need throughout the day

Hormones related to your weight and metabolism:

Leptin is a hormone released in your body that tells your brain that you’re full. Levels of leptin decrease in your body when you get a poor night’s sleep.

Ghrelin is a hormone released in your body that tells your brain that you need to eat more food. Levels of ghrelin go up when you don’t get enough sleep

If you’re consistently not getting more than 6 hours of sleep, research shows that you can eat around 200-300 extra calories every day. As a result, those extra calories can mean a weight gain of 10-15 pounds over a year! Also, a night of interrupted sleep can result in high, pre-diabetic blood sugar levels. Physical activity can help to reset these hormones, blood sugar, mood and energy levels.. 

As a perimenopausal mama, Dr. Toni gets sleep whenever she can. She depends on naps to aim for a total of 8 hours when sleep is inconsistent. For a long time, she tried to follow the rule “mama sleeps when baby sleeps”. She wasn’t always successful, finding that poor sleep hygiene habits of checking Facebook and working on her computer before bed impacted the quality of sleep. She often found that she needed to listen to a guided meditation track or podcast to quiet her racing mind and shut down her brain enough to fall asleep.

Dr. Lisa’s sleep patterns have been ever-changing. She found that she was waking up in the middle of the night and unable to fall back asleep, especially 2 weeks before her period. Sometimes she needed to read and make a relaxing tulsi, lemon balm, chamomile or lavender tea to calm her overactive mind. 

Journaling before bed can help you to process your day and act as a brain dump. Using a journal can help to take thoughts out of your head and put them on paper so that they don’t roll around in your head and interfere with your sleep

Are you too hot at night?

As a perimenopausal mama, you might be dealing with hot flashes and night sweats. They can impact sleep significantly. Research shows that your body needs to cool down in order to make enough of your sleep hormone, melatonin. Therefore, using less sleep clothing, thinner blankets on your bed, and lower thermostat setting in your home can help your sleep. 

Blood sugar balance is also important. Eating too much before bed can increase your body temperature and interfere with your sleep patterns. Going to bed hungry isn’t always a good idea. Sometimes a small snack with some protein is needed, especially if you’re breastfeeding.

Hormone imbalances related to hot flashes include:

  • High cortisol from stress
  • Cortisol reducing progesterone
  • Low progesterone compared to estrogen

Are you trying to do too much after the kids are in bed?

So often, we want to get all the things done before we go to bed at the end of the day. However, if you want to clean up, do laundry, watch your shows AND spend time with your partner, you are probably depriving yourself of sleep to get it all done. In reality, you’re probably better off picking one or two things to focus on each night. 

Even if you’re relaxing in front of your TV, phone or computer, the light from your screen can be stimulating your stress hormones and interfere with proper melatonin production. Blue light blockers are available, although they don’t always block that light 100%. 

Time to cut out the wine?

Having a glass of wine or beer might feel relaxing, but it can be too stimulating later in the evening and interfere with sleep. Pick and choose the time to have a drink. Often, the earlier, the better. Having a drink with supper can be better than on an empty stomach. If you’re having hot flashes or night sweats, it can be incredibly helpful to cut out alcohol completely.

To coffee or not to coffee?

There isn’t a right answer that fits for everybody. Why? The answer is in your genes. Like Dr. Toni and Dr. Lisa, you might be a slow metabolizer of caffeine. This means that your body breaks down caffeine more slowly over the day compared to a fast metabolizer of caffeine. This is why some people find coffee in the morning can still interfere with sleep

Some ideas for creating the ideal bedtime routine for sleep quality and hormone balance:

  • Eat 2-3 hours before bed
  • Cut out or cut down alcohol intake
  • Exercise no later than 2 hours before bed
  • Dim lights
  • Read a book
  • Reduce screen time or use blue light blockers
  • Practice deep breathing or meditation
  • Review your day with a journal
  • Use relaxing tea or supplements like magnesium, melatonin, passionflower

Today’s tip: Try out a few of the above ideas to create your own ideal bedtime routine. You deserve more than just a random good night’s sleep!

Today’s Mama Must Haves:

Dr. Toni likes to have echinacea on hand at home for her and her family to manage cold viruses and support immune system function.

Find one of Dr. Toni’s favourite brands of echinacea online HERE.

Dr. Lisa uses the Insight Timer app for different meditations to help sleep and relax.

As an Amazon Associate Dr. Toni earns from qualifying purchases, which helps to keep this podcast up and running! 

Thank you for joining us today! 

Email us or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5 star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!