Nat shares her tips for mealtime on the go with twins, sponsored by our friends at ZoLi. Check out what she has to say!
Mealtime on the Go with Twins
It is Nat. We are live on this beautiful summer day and we are going to talk about meal time on the go thanks to our friends at ZoLi. I'm gonna give everybody a minute to log on. Thank you for your patience. If you were here waiting and you were like “Where's Nat? Where is she?” I was here. I was having some technical difficulties as always. I have a very weird internet connection out here – but I always get it to work.
I want to know first of all if you have attempted to have mealtime on the go. There is a lot of stuff that I want to talk about today. I'm pretty stoked about it. I have a ton of tips we are going to talk about. We are going to give some prizes away. As always, our mom squad is on with us too. Good afternoon – everyone is so official, so formal.
Please say hi to each other. Make a friend. You should definitely make a friend. We are going to talk about that in a little bit later in our live feed.
I am giving you a little bit of the lay of the land, showing you how this goes. I am here, but I have my laptop sitting next to me. You can see the light that I have on my face, and that is why I am melting. I have my laptop over here and I am able to see some of your comments. The good news is the comments come up so quickly because you guys are so excited. But, then I sometimes miss your questions and I do not want to miss you questions. I have it over here on the side. I have it on mute. I get to see stuff. Also, Julie is on with me today, we call her the wizard behind the curtain, so she is back there and she will be shooting me any questions that come out. That's what's gonna happen.
I don't know if you guys know who ZoLi is. ZoLi has been a part of the Diaz family for a very, very, VERY long time. I'm actually going to date myself and show you a product that I had for when the kids were younger and what I do with it now. This is my own personal ZoLi product. You can see it says ZoLi, it is unbelievably well loved. My kids are now 12. I have been using this for very long time. I have some ZoLi items with me right here in this region.
This is the Pow Dine. This is what my kids use all the time for lunches still. I know that a lot of people think that ZoLi is a company for younger kids, but these items have lasted us for years. We actually have the Toki versions of these now, my kids use them now for mac and cheese and stuff. When they were little we certainly used them for different items. This is one of the thermoses that they have. This is the Pow Dine.
This is one of my faves, this is called a Sumo. The Sumo is a three part – like a bento box. I think we learned last time that these could be interchangeable. So, this is a 3-part bento box. The Sumo holds 8 ounces each. That's what it is…8 ounces each piece. This is definitely bigger so that when you are on the go, this is not only good for your twinnies, but I find that this is good for me. You know when you go out with your kids, you always pack snacks for them and stuff. What about for us? I'm not saying it should all be about us, but I am saying that we often forget to pack stuff ourselves. This is fantastic and it gives us the opportunity to pack stuff for ourselves. Those are just some of the items. We are going to talk about more stuff as the day goes on.
We already have questions coming in. Guys, this is great. “What is a good go-to on-the-go meal for one-year-olds?” Okay, so for on-year-olds they're still having finger foods…big, chunky things because you have to chew on them. Let me think about what we used to have at one-years old. My kids loved pasta. The absolutely loved pasta. Having pasta is definitely for on the go. Guys that have one-year-olds, what are some of your favorite little finger foods that you are giving your twinnies right now?
Of course anything smooshable is really helpful. Those pouches that are either yogurts, or literal GoGurts by Yoplait, and then there's the GoGo squeeZ applesauce. If you take those items and you put them inside of the freezer, then you go to the park, by the time you are out and about – the yogurts or applesauce, or whatever you have in the pouches will defrost. They also act as a little cooling element. This might also be helpful too – remember when we did our whole live feed with the stuff from Sage Spoonfuls – they had those pouches, the refillable pouches. Those would be good to have in your lunchbox.
This is the Nom Nom. This is an insulated bag. This is made by ZoLi and is unbelievably washable. When you are buying an on-the-go lunchbox, what you have to do is make sure you are buying something that is insulated. If you don't get an insulated bag and you put in something that is cold, you get condensation that is going to get stuck in the bag. Here is the gross part. If you do not dry it properly – not this, this could easily be washable – but if you use a bag that is not an insulated bag. The moisture is going to get into the fabric and then the fabric is actually going to smell super gross.
You want to make sure that when you were looking for a lunch bag – whether it is for your school age children or your toddlers – for anytime on the go you definitely want to make sure that you get something that is insulated similar to this. This is the Nom Nom like I said, and this not only is going to be good for little twinnies because it fits immense amounts of goodies in here. But you could use it for when the kids are school aged.
It's funny because what I love about ZoLi and why we are talking about this today is because we have a lot of families that have older kids. They are like, “All the live feeds are about babies”, today it is not. Because feeding your twins on the go whether they are one-year-olds or 15-year-olds is pretty much the same. Although maybe when they are 15 you're grabbing a little bit more food on the go.I still love a good old school picnic so make sure you have something like this.
We are talking about all of our great lunch ideas. Instead of talking about specific food ideas, I want to talk about literal things or hacks. We always call them twin mom hacks. Things that you could do while on the go.
Before we do this, I know some of you guys have already started; I would like you guys to tell where you are from and find a matching twinny mom. Find a partner for today's live feed because today at the end of this live feed we're going to have a prize that's for both of you. I love that ZoLi is on with us! It makes me so happy.
Some of the things that I wanted to talk about while you are finding your partner are just…when you are planning to have meal time on the go sometimes it is very spur of the moment. We are outside. If that is the case you should always be prepared. If it is a beautiful summer day and you are like “You know what, I really don't want to go home”…I cannot tell you the countless times that I would be out with the twinnies and just say I'm not going home again. Not like I'm never really going home again, but sometimes it is so nice and let's say they are even big enough that they could take a little nap in their carriage. If they took a little nap in their stroller I would always have food ready.
So, when you are packing your food for the go. What if let's say I came home or let's say what if I didn't end up eating it? That is why it is so important to have good containers because we don't want that stuff to go to waste. If I just threw some mac and cheese into a Rubbermaid container let's say – not saying that wouldn't work if I knew they were going to eat it. But let's say they took a nap. And now instead of it being 10 minutes until I am going to feed them, now it's going to be an hour and a half. I don't want that food to start to get super gross. That is why I love the items from ZoLi so much. That is genuinely the truth as you can see from some of the old school items that I have behind me that are my own.
One thing is to plan ahead and you can if you are like, “I actively want to have a picnic today”, plan the best time of day. This is usually around their naptime. I would not recommend you go during the highest heat of the day, but if you want to at least know where you are going to sit, under a tree or whatnot.
You also want to check the weather. Just because it is beautiful now doesn't mean that it is going to be beautiful in an hour and a half. I know that when I go down to Florida – for all of my Florida moms that are with us today – you guys know! I feel like the saying should be if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes. Especially when you are by the coast, the weather changes so often that I can make the best beach day plans and then it rains torrentially for 25 minutes. Then everything goes back to normal.
What foods do you recommend staying away from? Okay, we are going to talk more about tips…but we got a great question from Andrea. The foods that I recommend you stay away from when you are traveling outside. The number one is cheese. Cheese, I don't care what kind that I would stay away from.
In general, I would stay away from anything that requires utensils. If you do mac and cheese – make sure you have plenty of napkins and make them finger sized pieces. Ok, maybe not mac and cheese – it's not the best idea. Like little sandwiches, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables – anything like that. Having to deal with the additional element of a fork or cutting or anything like that – no! I would try to stay away from that as much as possible. That tip goes for toddlers and it goes for teenagers. Does your kid really want to start breaking out a knife when you're packing them a filet mignon…wouldn't it be really funny if somebody actually did that. I'm going to do that to my kids one day. I am going to pack them a random piece of steak and not give them a knife and just see how they do!
Is that mean of me? Does that make me a mean mom? Those are the things I would stay away from. Also, anything super juicy doesn't work. You know what's crazy that does work? Soups! As nuts as that sounds. Say I have soup in my little sumo, what my kids so is drink it. It can't be chicken noodle soup where it is super chunky, but it works if you pureed a soup like cream of broccoli or cauliflower soup.
Here's a secret tip guys. This is a super secret Natalie Diaz Twiniversity tip. If you guys have little kids, get them used to having those items early on. Because, then it doesn't become weird. Like, if they never met cauliflower soup and then all of the sudden they are four and you whip out some cauliflower soup they are going to be “arghh”. When they are little, you guys have the opportunity to create their flavor palates. This is the time that you can introduce them cauliflower soup and edamame – that is a great bean. High protein, super-duper packed with great everything…vitamins and stuff. Getting them used to having items like that makes it easier when they are older.
Here's a crazy thing. For the first five years, my kids never had white bread. Now, I may say that my husband only has white bread; he refuses to eat whole wheat bread because he likes to make my life difficult and I like to buy a lot of different breads. My twins were always used to eating whole wheat bread. When we went someplace that had a whole wheat bread they weren’t like “Arhh whole wheat bread that's gross”. They just got used to having those things.I feel like every parent should do it.
Now, remember, when Twiniversity started the kids were already in kindergarten, so anything that I had done previous to kindergarten wasn't a hack that I had read online. It wasn't like it is today where you can easily find me! Going back to the whole wheat bread and getting them used to items. If they are used to have broccoli or cauliflower soup or kimchi, or whatever it is that you eat in your family, if you get them used to having that when they are little then it is never weird later.
I blame the school system for my children's issue with white bread. For whatever reason when they went to kindergarten and they were having school lunch they had white bread. That was when I had it with public school lunches. I started packing our own lunches and life went back to normal.
Let's talk about some other great things that you could pack when we are talking about food on the go. In this I would have my favorite snack of all time – hummus. Have you guys ever made your own hummus? If you haven't made your own, I will give you my recipe. I make a lot of my own stuff. Not because I went to culinary school, which I don't know if you guys know this, but, I did!! That is a secret Natalie fact that I actually grew up being bred to work in a restaurant and then threw it all to the wind for Twiniversity.
What I do is take a can of chickpeas. I drain them but I keep the juice. I put the chickpeas in a food processer. I throw in some lemon juice, a little garlic, and a little splash of olive oil. If you are trying to go low fat there is actually plenty of fat in the beans, so you don’t need the olive oil. However, my Italian roots require me to put olive oil into almost everything that I make.
I add in the olive oil and I am done. If I find that it is not juicy enough and I don't want to add more olive oil, I add some of the bean juice that was left in the chickpea can. I use that same exact recipe I make cannellini bean hummus, I make black bean hummus, I make red bean hummus. I make it out of everything. My kids always used it as a dip when they were little because it is an extra punch of protein.
That's all it is and it is just beans. I would give them slices of zucchini, slices of grilled chicken, pieces of toast, little bits of crackers, whatever. Having something like that on the go is fantastic because if the kids don't finish it, I'm going to scoop this up and just eat it. You can even use edamame.
I made it for years and years and I still make it. I made it two days ago because I always have to have it in the fridge.
Also, I have been trying to watch what I eat. I find that if there is junk around I am going to eat the junk. If I have some things that are more whole foods, vitamin packed; if they are ready I am going to eat them. The same thing goes for you kids. If you have foods prepped ahead of time, whether you are on the go or not, you could store this stuff in your fridge.
Okay people, what time is it? You know what time it is. Shout out what time it is people.
We have something special that we are going to give away. Do you want to see what it is? It is this right, we are giving away the “On the Go”. This is not only stackable containers. It is the perfect formula container because the top portion has a spout. If I am going to be making formula on the go, I can pre-measure the formula. When I am ready to go I could just pour it out. When I am ready for a bottle it is already pre-measured and I am done.
This is what we are giving away. This has four different portions; the top is a formula top. If you would like to win one of these for your twinnies, all you have to say is “I want an On the Go”, and we will pick a random winner.
Let me show you how we use this now. Like I said, it is super-duper old. You can see the writing on it. What I use this for now is I use it for spices when I am on the go. So if I go to a timeshare, to somebody's house, or a hotel that I know has a kitchen. Let's say when we go to Disney for example I always rent something with an efficiency kitchen because I don't want to spend $9000 on chicken fingers when I could just whip up something in a kitchen.
You do not have to go to culinary school in order to whip up stuff. I travel a lot. I don't usually take this when I travel for work, but when I know I'm going to cook. Like when I come here to my family's lake house. I come out here for weeks, but I'm not about to go spend a billion dollars on new spices. They are expensive. One thing that I am particular about is curry powder. I like a particular curry powder and I'm a little bit crazy about it.
What I do, before I travel, is I take my ZoLi container and I fill the top piece with curry powder. Then I fill the second portion with garlic powder, the third portion with onion flakes, and the fourth portion with chili powder. These four spices get me a million meals. I love a good curry, my kids love a good curry. I love to make Indian food. Also, if you have heard of Chicken Diane, or Chicken Divan, something like that. It requires curry powder.
The garlic – hello I'm Italian! I have to give you a secret trick. I have never once made a meatball in my life without garlic powder. Whenever I use fresh the kids hate it. I don't know why. My secret meatball recipe is garlic powder, eggs. I don't put in cheese because I will add it on top. And whatever bread I have left in the house. A great mealtime on the go recipe is meatballs. I can put it together for you. I always use garlic powder.
I use the onion flakes when I make chili instead of chopping onions. When I go to Disney, I don't want to start buying fresh produce but I want to make something great. You could use the onion flakes instead of real onion, I have been known to put this even in eggs. I even have been known to put the curry on eggs.
Then, of course, the chili powder. Chili powder you could put in the hummus if you wanted to kick it up a notch as Emeril Lagasse would say. I love having my on the go ZoLi container. It really travels well. It has never leaked. The powders have never come out. I don't smell this stuff. That is a big deal. That is how you know that a container is made well – I can have curry powder in here and pack it with my clothing. If this was another container, it would come out smelling like curry.That has never once happened.
I have refilled this at least 2-3 dozen times in my kids' lives. I really REALLY really love this container. I want you guys to love it too. You know that I am cautious about the products I recommend to you. I think about this because what if the person who was watching only literally had twenty dollars left to spend. What should they spend it on? When I recommend a product I always think is this worth your last 20 bucks?
I am going to tell you that I do think that the On-the-Go is because you are going to use it for the next 15 years. You could use it for anything. I have friends that put their jewelry in this when they travel. I'm in the baby biz, and when I go to trade shows, I am often with a lot of different people that do similar things to what I am doing, except in the singleton world. I have seen people put earrings, put necklaces, regular rings and any little things like bobby pins. This is not limited to food. You could use this for years to come. ZoLi, I don't know if you know that we do this…but when you give us samples we use them forever.
Let's go back to mealtime on the go. We gave away a prize. I would love to give away another prize if that is okay with Julie. I would love to give a copy of my book away. If you do not have a copy of “What to do when you are Having Two”, if your kids are under 6 months or even a year, I would love to send you a copy. I could autograph it, do whatever you would like.
Just say “I want a book”. We would love to give you a copy.
The other things that I want to tell you about mealtime on the go. We talked about planning ahead. We talked about having different dips. I also want to talk about packing good stuff. A lot of people pack like a set meal. Ok, we are going to have crackers, hummus…you have to find a balance between packing too much and packing too little. I would rather you pack a little bit too much because I have always loved to share. We would be at the picnic at the park – out impromptu picnic because I always had all of my snacks with me.
When I packed extra the kids that my kids were playing with, we could say “Why don't you join us?” If I had packed just enough for my twinnies we would have missed out on a lot of good friendships. We make a lot of good friends by breaking bread at the playground. We never literally broke bread, but we would share grapes, and strawberries, and I always brought a little extra. I theory I brought the extra for myself and I'd be like “While they are on the money bars for the 97th time today I am going to snack on this.” Bring a little extra. Pack a little more than you need to, but don't go crazy.
The next thing that I don't want you to forget is to pack a garbage bag. When you have fantastic containers like this there really is not waste so you don't have the ziplock bags to throw your garbage in. Please make sure that you pack a garbage bag. Because, things like banana peels, you don't want to just throw them in the bottom of your diaper bag. That is going to get super gross.
The next thing I want to remind you is to stay hydrated. ZoLi has some fantastic containers. This is called the Pal Squeak. We do use the Toki ones as well every day. This is an insulated container so it will keep the cold stuff cold. When the kids are little you could start using this I would say by about 7 months, because they should learn how to drink out of a straw pretty quickly. I am not saying it is going to work one hundred percent of the time. I love the way that this straw is angles. It just makes it easier for the little ones to drink out of. My favorite part of course is this top. A lot of times there is a top that goes on top of it. I lose those all of the time. This one is attached. With a quick flick of a button your puppies could have their little beverage.
Here is why it is awesome. Number one – fine motor skills kids. You know me, I am always thinking. So, fine motor skills. They learn how to kind of push the button in. Another thing, cause and effect, I push the button and the top come up. Next thing. It is definitely very sweet. A little silicone straw, I am super into it. I love this stuff. I really do. I love all ZoLi stuff.
I want to remind you to stay hydrated because a lot of people often will pack what the kids want to drink. Let's say right now we're super into pear juice, or cherry juice, or something…please don't ever forget to pack water. Not only do you need water for you, but you need water for the puppies as well. I would not pack the water in this. I would pack it in something that could come out quicker. Because, not only are we going to use the water to drink, but we are going to use the water to clean ourselves.
The other thing I forgot to tell you about this. Can you guys see that? When you close the top there is a little wedge here. What the wedge does is it pushes the straw down so it could never leak. That's not genius? I just want to this all day.
I also want you to bring a few things with you. Here's a great twin trick, a twin mom hack that I have often done. If you are going to go to the playground and you are going to sit on concrete…you may find that there are a lot of ants around. Pack a piece of chalk. What is Natalie talking about?! Have your kids draw a circle around where you are going to have this picnic. They can play with the chalk, chalk is super fun. But, have them draw a circle around the area where you are going to have a picnic. Did you know that ants will not cross that chalk line? So you could just get rid of the ants that are in your little circle, but you would never have to worry about ants crawling on top of your strawberries or into the hummus and stuff. Yeah! So many people don't know this. We do this all the time. We just did it because the kids would always play with the chalk. We would buy the big boxes of chalk. The kids can draw a circle or any shape they want to. If they draw it around the area we are sitting in…ants never come in and ants never eat our food.
It works also if you have an ant problem in your home. If you find where they are coming in you can just make a line. They won't cross it. Go outside today with the kids and just play a game called find an ant and then just draw a box around it. He's going to freak out. It might be a little mean. I don't know how passionate you feel about ant's emotional security, but you will see that it totally works.
Let's talk about baby powder. You guys know if you are going to have a picnic at the beach bring baby powder with you. Baby powder is your best friend when you are trying to get sand off of your feet or your hands or your clothes. If you sprinkle baby powder on any area that has sand on it, including their little nether regions, because my son always has an issue because he likes to sit in the surf. After everybody is on the drier side just toss a little baby powder on and it comes right out.
Next thing that I want to tell you about when you are traveling outside, if possible, try to have your picnic close – but not TOO close – to a public restroom. I know that when we go to our backyard in New York City, our back yard is what I like to call Central Park. In Central Park there are not a million restrooms. Find where the restrooms are. The restrooms may not even be like public restrooms. They may be like a gym, or a deli that always lets you use the bathrooms. It could be a Starbuck's or a McDonalds. It could be any public place that does allow you to use the restrooms.
I have two Nat's hack bathroom places. Number one – gyms. If there is a sports club or a Pilates place I find that those places are so sweet. I run in with my double stroller and I'm hey guys can I use the bathroom. I have never once had a gym tell me no. Restaurants have told me no multiple times or they are like you need to make a purchase or whatever. In gyms you can't make a purchase.
The other place is wherever you are traveling, it's not a Nat's hack, it is just something that we have always done. If you are in a walking city, hotels always have bathrooms in the lobby. People check in and they go. I just walk in to a hotel lobby and use the bathroom I don't know technically if you are allowed to do this or if it is really only for guests. I have never once ever been stopped. I'm not kidding you. When we go to Central Park, I will go to the Plaza Hotel and use the public bathroom. My favorite public bathroom in Manhattan is the Marriott Marquis in Times Square because we take the elevator that goes all the way to the rooftop bar. The whole rooftop of the building rotates so me and the twinnies just stand still and watch the city rotate, then we go back down to Times Square.
No matter where you are using a restroom at a hotel is always good. Even if you are on the road. If you have a major diaper explosion just take the babies out. No hotel is going to tell you no. I think it is one of those things like…you have to make a purchase…what purchase am I going to make?
To sum up our time for today. We are going to give away another On-the-Go. First of all you know my love when you say prize time. If you would like to win an On-the-Go for your twinnies, just say we want an On-the-Go. If you want a fantastic container that is going to last you 20 years at minimum, just say you want an On-the-Go.
I do want to sum up some things that we talked about. If you are going to be having a lot of mealtimes it is not a bad idea to have some extra condiments on you. So, little packs of mustard, little packs of mayo, ketchup, relish, think about that when you go into a store like a deli or a 7-eleven.
I think I gave away the wrong prize. We were supposed to be giving away a Sumo. I keep losing all my boxes. This is the Sumo – this is the prize we are giving away. If you would like to win a Sumo, just say we want a Sumo. This is the Sumo. Three pieces, one for you, one for baby A, one for baby B. They all screw in; this is the 8 ounce cup. Good for soups, chip and dip, maybe some veggies. I love this.
To sum up what we talked about today is if you are going to have mealtime on the go you want to plan ahead. What time are you going? Plan around nap time and don't forget to check the weather. Dips are fantastic on the go for your containers like the Sumo. The insulated containers are fantastic for soups. Pack some dips. Pack good stuff and pack enough of it that if you like to share you can make some friends. Don't forget to pack your garbage bags. Make sure that you stay hydrated – pack water even if your babies are drinking other things, bring water for yourself. Also bring baby powder for the beach.
We are going to give away two Nom Noms! Remember at the beginning of the feed I told you to find a partner. This is what you will both win. So, you and your partner are going to win the Nom Noms. Which, by the way, I don’t know if you noticed – it has 2 side pockets for beverages. You could put two baby bottles and then additional snacks or two sippy cups in addition to snacks. If you and your partner would like to win a Nom Nom all you have to say is Nom Nom and tag your partner. If you found a partner, even if only one portion of your partnership is there…say you want a Nom Nom and tag your partner. That way you can both get it.
Also, did you guys notice that this has a little clip? You could put this onto a backpack. Or you could put this over your stroller handle. You could attach this to your diaper bag as an additional outside thing. I love this. A little pocket back here. What do you think I would put in this pocket? Because you guys know I'm neurotic, first aid kit. Don't forget your first aid kit. Whenever you are traveling bring a first aid kit. You guys will win 2 Nom Noms.
Bring wet washcloths is a really great tip to clean up easily. Bring chalk to make a circle around your picnic area. Bring food that does not need forks. Pre-cut as much stuff as possible. Prep it in any way – if you are bringing oranges peel them ahead of time. If you are bringing a veggie like zucchini and the kids don’t like the skin cut that off ahead of time. Frozen yogurts or frozen apple sauces are not only a fantastic snack, but act as a cooler. When I get home I put them all in the freezer. Also any yogurt that does not have to be mixed I put in the freezer. The kids peel off the top and they eat it like ice cream, we have been doing that since back in the day.
The next thing is stay near a public restroom. Don't forget napkins or baby wipes or anything of that sort. Those are the tips that I give you. Oh, and don't forget your camera and don't forget to take pictures. I regret so many times that we did something fantastic and I did not take a picture. I know, I want you to live in the present and experience the now, but please do not be me and then realize that you didn't take a picture for a month. If your kids are 1 day old or a hundred years old.
You can tell by my Instagram feed. I am not only at Twiniversity, I am also at Nat's Real World on Instagram. You can see that I am not so good at remembering to take pictures of stuff. I really want to. I wanted to past a picture yesterday but I hadn't taken a picture in like a week. Please don’t do that Make sure you take a picture. Take a picture with the kids, all of you. A family selfie. If you have an iPhone you do not have to hit the shutter button on the screen. You can just hit the volume up button and that will take the picture. You don’t even have to worry about holding the camera and how to do it.
Those are my quick tips. Thank you so much, I really mean it, thank you so much to our friends at ZoLi. They have been a part of the Diaz family for a long time. I am honored and humbled that they are a part of our Twiniversity family now. They are a genuine twin mom favorite. If there is something that you are going to get, really look into products from ZoLi. They wash fantastically. They keep the food really warm or really cold, whatever it is. They don't leak. They last forever. We are going into our second school year with our Tokidines that we got last year. We are going to be using these again this year. Thank you so much to our friends at ZoLi. I thank you, my Twiniversity watchers, for joining us today.