Lifestyle

Artificial Food Dyes and Toddler Aggression

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I love being a mom to my 2-year old son. The name of this blog is the Food Tracking Momma and although I mostly write about counting and logging calories to lose weight, I don’t want to lose the “momma” aspect of this blog. So today I wanted to share my family’s struggles with finding the source of my son’s dramatic mood swings and early signs of ADHD. After months of trials, my husband and I found that artificial food dyes were the source of his behaviors.

Food Tracking Momma Extreme Toddler Aggression and Mood Swings with Artificial Food Dyes

For more information on counting and logging calories to lose weight (food tracking) or for recipes from the Food Tracking Momma, please CLICK HERE to subscribe to this blog and let me help you live life more healthy and abundantly (John 10:10). You will receive the FREE eBook LOSING WEIGHT WITH FOOD TRACKING.

food tracking momma ebook losing weight with food tracking

Also like my Facebook page and Follow Me on Pinterest. For more support on calorie counting and food tracking, join my Facebook group, Losing Weight with Food Tracking.

Background

We adopted our son when he was 15-days old. This was an open, family adoption so we knew the history of his birth parents very well. Both of his birth parents struggled with severe ADHD. Subsequently, we committed to provide our son with a calm, stable home. My husband and I aren’t perfect (far from it), but we are older parents who are committed to loving our son as much as possible. We believe in the mantra, “A calm home produces calm children.”

Observed Behaviors

We started seeing problems around his second birthday. He was so moody! At first, we attributed his mood swings to the “terrible twos” and just kept on going. Then around 2 ½ he began manifesting extreme behavior swings. He was often such a gentle, go-lucky kid. But for no apparent reason he would become an angry, aggressive toddler who was unable to sit still.

We mostly recognized the behavior swings when he would take a nap. We never knew which personality would wake up. In fact, we started to jokingly call the aggressive personality, “Mr. Hyde.”

The number one symptom was aggression. For instance, he would hit and bite and would just be mean. The other main symptom is what we called, “Ants in his pants.” He couldn’t sit still. He couldn’t focus on anything. In the early stages we joked that he would “lose his mind.” But near the height of these problems, the appearance of “Mr. Hyde” was far from funny.

Food Sensitivity

Because of the dramatic mood swings, we began to consider an environmental source of the problem. He would have eaten breakfast and lunch before his nap, so we started to suspect that some type of food sensitivity was the cause. We were able to narrow this down because he almost never presented with aggression after waking in the morning.

To begin with, we removed sugar from his diet. It seemed logical that a ‘sugar high’ or a sensitivity to sugar could cause these behaviors. We saw some improvement and so we told family, church, and sitters to not give him anything with sugar. But there were still inconsistencies. First, he would still occasionally present with the symptoms. Second, he never reacted to any natural sugars (like those found in fruits). And third, his Grandma would give him homemade cookies and he didn’t have a reaction.

We decided to let him participate in the Halloween Trunk or Treat at our church, with the thought that we would only give one candy a day from his stash. I am a lover of chocolate, so I tended to give him the candy that I liked (chocolate, miniature candy bars) and he didn’t react. This continued for several days after the Trunk or Treat.

Artificial Food Dyes

Everything changed the night we gave him a Jolly Rancher candy from his Halloween stash. He had been great all day and we decided it would be fun to sit down and watch a movie as a family. That night I gave him a single, blue Jolly Rancher’s hard candy. We were sitting together when we saw the change in him. He literally transformed right in front of us. He began to hit the dog, hit us, and hit his head on the carpet. This was not in reaction to anything or having a fit. He just started to be aggressive. He then started to have to move around and climbed on top of an end table and then on top of the couch. He became defiant and extremely aggressive. And he couldn’t stop moving.

We were in shock, but we knew immediately he was reacting to that piece of candy. The candy had the following artificial food colors: Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6. From that moment on, we removed all artificial food dyes from his diet.

Life Without Food Dyes

The result of removing the dyes is dramatic. It has been four months and he no longer exhibits aggressive, ADHD-like behaviors. We have stabilized his moods and things are much better.

Our little guy is still a toddler. He is still easily prone to a fit and will get mad just as quick as any other toddler. The toddler temper and fits don’t bother us too much- this too shall pass. But we are thankful that his aggression and ADHD-type behaviors are gone.

Since removing the food dyes, he’s only had three episodes of the Mr. Hyde behaviors, each time when we’ve messed up and accidently given him an artificial color (our little guy even reacted to caramel color). But life is so much better knowing that our little guy is navigating toddlerhood in a much healthier way.

Learning to Remove Artificial Food Dyes

It has not been that difficult to remove food dyes from our diet. It just takes a little bit of time and effort. Some dyes are very easy to spot. If a processed food has color, we generally don’t eat it. When I buy a new food item, I always inspect the ingredients to see if there are any artificial colors listed. They are easy to spot because they are usually one of the last ingredients, and they have a number listed after the color. We’ve found them in surprising food items, like ketchup, cream cheese frosting and snack crackers.

Eating out at restaurants is a little trickier. If you suspect the restaurant is using processed foods (and most do), then you must ask before ordering.

Medical Guidance

When we were in the height of these behaviors, we did consult with his pediatrician. His pediatrician has over 20 years’ experience in a busy practice. Yet he never helped us discover the problem. He only stated that it was good we were limiting sugar, because kids shouldn’t have much sugar anyway.

Conclusion

To any parent who is struggling with toddler behaviors that are too extreme to be overlooked, I would recommend you remove all artificial food dyes. The change in my son has been so dramatic, that I want to help spread the word that artificial food dyes are impacting children’s behaviors. Take some time to search the Internet for “Red 40 ADHD”. Educate yourself.

The good news is, consumers are driving the food industry to remove artificial colors from products. But because the FDA continues to approve the artificial food dyes, it’s up to individual companies to remove it themselves. Kraft has removed artificial food dyes from its macaroni and cheese, and Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins has removed artificial dyes (effective at the end of 2018). I expect more companies will follow this trend as consumer refuse to buy products that contain artificial food dyes.

You are the expert when it comes to your child. You know what is normal (for them) and what is abnormal. Be your child’s advocate. Be willing to remove environmental causes if you suspect it. And never give up! As we stumbled upon the source of my toddler’s mood swings, so I pray you will also.

Thanks, Andrea
The Food Tracking Momma

Related articles:
17 Healthy Habits to Successfully Lose Weight
10 Ways for Maintaining Weight Loss
How I Lost 70 Pounds by Counting Calories

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

Recipes

Charleston Shrimp and Grits

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My husband and I lived in the Charleston area of South Carolina for 11 years. We loved the low country and especially the cuisine. Every year, for our anniversary, we would go downtown for some authentic shrimp and grits at a fine dining restaurant. So good!

Food Tracking Momma Charleston shrimp and grits

It has been a challenge to create a Charleston shrimp and grits recipe that is not high in fat and calories. I believe this recipe is very close to the authentic style, yet comes in at just 500 calories per serving. The recipe has protein and carbs so it can be served as a complete meal with just a salad as a side. The biggest way I saved fat and calories from a traditional shrimp and grits recipe was by swapping andouille for turkey sausage and heavy cream for 2% milk.

For more information on counting and logging calories to lose weight (food tracking) or for recipes from the Food Tracking Momma, please CLICK HERE to subscribe to this blog and let me help you live life more healthy and abundantly (John 10:10). You will receive the FREE eBook LOSING WEIGHT WITH FOOD TRACKING.

food tracking momma free ebook

Also like my Facebook page and Follow Me on Pinterest. For more support on calorie counting and food tracking, join my Facebook group, Losing Weight with Food Tracking.

Shrimp and Grits Steps (Recipe below steps)

food tracking momma shrimp and grits- cheddar grits

There are many steps to this recipe but the most important thing is you MUST prep your ingredients before you start cooking the main part of the recipe. Start with making the grits by bringing to a boil the water, salt and grits. Then add the milk, lower the temperature to low and cover, stirring occasionally and simmering until cooked (15-20 minutes). While the grits cook, prep the shrimp (season and drizzle with lemon juice), slice the bacon and sausage, and chop the vegetables. Once the grits are cooked, remove from heat, stir in the cheddar cheese, and cover to keep warm. I LOVE these cooking utensils!

food tracking momma shrimp and grits sausage and bacon

In a large skillet (I use a dutch oven), cook the sausage and bacon until the bacon is almost crisp and there is color on the sausage. Stir often while cooking. Once done, remove the meat and set aside leaving a tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan.

food tracking momma shrimp and grits vegetables and roux

Add the vegetables to the bacon drippings and cook until they are soft. While the vegetables cook, take a small saucepan and combine the butter and flour, whisking often (medium heat). Cook this until the roux become medium brown in color.

food tracking momma shrimp and grits vegetables and shrimp

Once the vegetables are cooked and the roux is ready, add the meat, the seasoned shrimp and the roux. Cook all until the sauce is thick and the shrimp is done (pink in color).

Serve shrimp over grits.

Recipe: Charleston Shrimp and Grits

Charleston Shrimp and Grits

Charleston Shrimp and Grits recipe
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Shrimp and Grits
Servings: 8
Calories: 500kcal
Author: Food Tracking Momma

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashioned grits
  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups 2% reduced fat milk
  • 2 pounds uncooked shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 pound low-fat turkey kielbasa cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 slices bacon cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese shredded

Instructions

  • In a saucepan, prepare the grits by bringing water, grits and salt to a boil. Stir in the milk and simmer until grits are thickened and tender (15 to 20 minutes). Stir as needed. Add the shredded cheddar and set aside covered.
  • Remove shell and de-vein shrimp. Sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper (to taste) and drizzle with lemon juice. Set aside.
  • In a heavy skillet, cook bacon and sausage until bacon is near crisp. Remove meat and set aside, keeping 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan.
  • In the same pan with bacon drippings, add peppers, onion and garlic. Cook on medium high heat until vegetables are soft and onion is translucent.
  • While vegetables cook, in another saucepan, melt butter and flour on medium heat. Whisk and slowly cook until roux becomes medium brown in color.
  • To the vegetables, add the shrimp and the bacon and sausage and stir all together. Add the roux (butter/flour mixture), chicken broth, and Worchestershire sauce. Cook on medium heat until the shrimp are pink and the sauce thickens.
  • Serve the shrimp mixture over the cheese grits.
food tracking momma charleston shrimp and grits nutritional facts

Recommended Recipes:

food tracking momma chili con carne

Instant Pot Chili con Carne

The Food Tracking Momma Skinny Corn Muffins

Skinny Corn Muffins

Food tracking momma ham balls

Ham Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Recipes

10 Surprising Low-Calorie Dinner Ideas

This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Beef Stew? Chili? Chicken Enchiladas? These 10 dinner ideas are not only delicious, but surprisingly are less than 400 calories per serving! I am always on the lookout for recipes that will please my family yet fit into my food tracking lifestyle.

food tracking momma 10 low calorie dinners

For more information on counting and logging calories to lose weight (food tracking) or for recipes from the Food Tracking Momma, please CLICK HERE to subscribe to this blog and let me help you live life more healthy and abundantly (John 10:10). You will receive the FREE eBook LOSING WEIGHT WITH FOOD TRACKING.

food tracking momma free ebook

Also like my Facebook page and Follow Me on Pinterest. For more support on calorie counting and food tracking, join my Facebook group, Losing Weight with Food Tracking.

1. Instant Pot Chili con Carne– 285 calories per serving

food tracking momma instant pot chili con carne

This is a delicious chili made with ground beef and beans that is easily adaptable to the tastes of your family. The recipe calls for 90% lean ground beef and the beef flavor is enhanced with bone broth. And because it is cooked in the Instant Pot, this low-calorie meal is ready in a short time and infused with great flavor. Click here for the recipe!

2. Oven Baked Chicken Breast– 286 calories per serving

Recipe Tin Eats oven baked chicken breasts

This recipe is a new favorite of my family. My toddler is not a picky eater, but he tends to eat less animal protein than anything else on his plate. Well, he gobbled up this chicken! The spice rub is sweet with just a touch of heat. And the chicken breasts were the most moist oven-baked chicken breasts I’ve ever eaten! Click here for the recipe (photo credit: www.recipetineats.com)

3. Instant Pot Ham Balls– 359 calories per serving

food tracking momma instant pot ham balls

This recipe is so delicious and only takes 10 minutes of pressure cooking time! The ham balls are salty and moist while the sauce is sweet and sour. It’s the perfect combination of flavors. This low-calorie recipe always brings back good memories of my Grandma who would always make them for family gatherings. Click here for the recipe.

4. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Veggie Burgers– 380 calories for burger and bun

cookie and kate veggie burger

When my family first tried a veggie burger, we made it to “be good” and eat a healthy meal. But after tasting the burger, we were amazed at how much we enjoyed it! In fact, in the summer (although it can be any time), veggie burgers make a regular appearance at our house. This recipe is 180 calories for the veggie burger and I allotted 200 calories for a large hamburger roll. Click here for the recipe (photo credit: www.cookieandkate.com)

5. The Best Crockpot BBQ Chicken– 342 calories per serving

family fresh meals best crockpot bbq chicken

I love, love, love this recipe. It is so quick and easy to make. You will have it put together in your slow cooker in less than five minutes! The picture above shows it as a sandwich, but this bbq chicken is just as good served straight with a side a vegetables. The calories are for the bbq chicken only (no hamburger roll). Click here for the recipe (photo credit https://www.familyfreshmeals.com).

6. Shrimp Tacos with Creamy Taco Slaw– 158 calories per serving

well plated shrimp tacos with creamy taco slaw

My husband and I like fish tacos, but even more we love shrimp tacos. I do have to admit, my toddler won’t eat the spice in these, but I am able to adapt his serving so his shrimp and sauce is not spicy (simply saute in butter and ranch dressing for him). This low-calorie recipe is so delicious and the calories are so low, I know you will enjoy it! Click here for the recipe (photo credit: www.wellplated.com).

7. Chicken Enchiladas– 194 calories per serving

skinny taste chicken enchiladas

Chicken enchiladas make a frequent appearance as a dinner entree in my house because they are a great, low-calorie meal. The seasonings add dimensions in flavor and the part-skim (low fat) cheese and sour cream help cut calories. Serve with a side of Spanish rice and you have a complete meal for under 400 calories! Click here for the recipe (photo credit
www.skinnytaste.com).

8. Pumpkin Sausage Lasagna– 332 calories per serving

food tracking momma pumpkin sausage lasagna

The first time I had pumpkin ravioli, I was at a fine-dining restaurant and it was so delicious! I committed to finding and replicating that recipe. Although I love to cook, I’m just not a fan of making homemade ravioli. Enter this recipe! The sausage balances the taste of the pumpkin which is then smoothed with the cheeses. Add in the taste of sage and you have the perfect Autumn bite that even your children will enjoy. My toddler ate his entire piece! And you can enjoy it knowing that this lasagna is less than 350 calories! Click here for the recipe!

9. Slow Cooker Tangy Beef Stew– 364 calories per serving

food tracking momma slow cooker tangy beef stew

This is the slow cooker beef stew recipe I pull out whenever my family is hungry for a hearty, all-in-one beef dinner. Yes, it is possible to eat beef stew yet stay under 400 calories. The beef is just enough to satisfy and the additional veggies help fill you up. The highlight of this low-calorie recipe is the sauce! It is so good and my family has to be served bread with this stew just to help sop up the sauce. Click here for the recipe.

10. Spinach Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce– 234 calories per serving

pop culture spinach stuffed shells with meat sauce

I love anything pasta (I get my love for carbs from my mom). So I allow myself to eat carbs but still stay within my daily calories for the day. This recipe is perfect. The slight bitter of the spinach is balanced with the creaminess of the cheese. And then top it all with the tang of the meat sauce and you have a balanced dinner. And you get to enjoy your carbs too! Click here for the recipe (photo credit: www.popculture.com).

If you enjoyed this post or tried any of these recipes, let me know! I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks, Andrea
The Food Tracking Momma

Lifestyle

Using Online Grocery Services for Weight Loss

This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Online Grocery shopping is a convenient and modern way to shop for groceries. I use Walmart Grocery and I will write this article from my experience with their service. The price for items is identical to those inside the store, the service is free for orders over $30, and the app is friendly and easy to use. For those who are committed to a low-calorie lifestyle, online groceries offer ways to help you resist impulsive buying decisions of high-calorie junk foods and you may even save money! Remember, low-calorie meals plus food tracking results in weight loss.

food tracking momma online grocery to lose weight

A few weeks ago, I made a rare trip into my local grocery store. I just needed a couple of items and my goal was to run in and run out with just those few necessities. As I approached the end cap of an aisle, I spotted the new Cinnamon Bun Oreos which were strategically placed so I would have to pass by them. Oh… Oreos. And in a moment of lost impulse control, they were placed in my basket for me to consume later.

Grocery stores are counting on all of us to make impulsive purchases. It’s big business and it not only impacts our wallet, but it impacts our weight loss and weight control strategies. As the Food Tracking Momma, I am here to help you lose weight by counting calories and logging them in a food diary. One way to lose weight is to limit the junk and high-calorie foods that you purchase.

I have been using Walmart’s Online Grocery and pickup for six months now. You will find many positives to online groceries, but the one I want to emphasize most in this article is your ability to limit impulse buying of processed/high-calorie foods.

For more information on counting and logging calories to lose weight (food tracking) or for recipes from the Food Tracking Momma, please CLICK HERE to subscribe to this blog and let me help you live life more healthy and abundantly (John 10:10). You will receive the FREE eBook LOSING WEIGHT WITH FOOD TRACKING.

free eBook Losing Weight with Food Tracking

Also like my Facebook page and Follow Me on Pinterest. For more support on calorie counting and food tracking, join my Facebook group, Losing Weight with Food Tracking.

Impulse Buying Equals More Calories

According to a CNBC report, consumers pay an additional $5400 a year on impulse purchases. In the survey, 70.5 percent of respondents identify food as their biggest impulse purchase. That is a lot of money a year. But how many additional calories does this represent? That is the problem for all of us living a food tracking lifestyle. Impulse purchases equal extra (and unnecessary) calories.

The physical layout of a grocery store is designed for impulse buying! One way to combat this is to go in with a grocery list and have a ton of willpower so that you do not deviate at all from that list. Oh, and leave your husband and toddler at home because you can guarantee there will be many extra items if you bring them along.

When you walk in the store, you smell the bread and cookies. You see the enticing products strategically placed on the end caps of the aisles (Oreo cookies anyone?) The meat and dairy are placed in the back to force you to walk through the store to obtain those essential items. Even the music played in the background has been researched to influence you to buy more items! For more information into the science of grocery shopping, please reference this link.

Positive Aspects to Online Grocery Services

There are many positive aspects to using an online grocery service. Let me summarize my favorites:

Little to no impulse buying
I summarized above the tactics grocery stores employ to entice you to make impulsive purchases. By never entering the store, you completely remove most of the marketing tactics that influence you to make an unplanned purchase. At the time of writing this article, the Walmart app does offer product suggestions when you are ready to close out your order, but they are based on previous purchases, not random advertisements of junk food.

Convenience
It is convenient to input a grocery list into the easy to use Walmart Grocery app, pay electronically, and then about six hours later go pick up the bagged and completed groceries. If it’s raining you don’t have to get wet. You don’t have to take grumpy children into the store. If you are limited on time, you only expend the time it takes to input your items into the app and then drive to the pickup area. It is a modern way to grocery shop and it is an epitome of convenience.

Adding needed items as you go
As I type this article, I know that I just ran out of eggs and brown sugar. In the past, I would keep a separate list to track the kitchen items I need. Now all I do is open my online grocery app and quickly add the items as they run out. This way I don’t worry about keeping multiple lists, and I don’t have to worry about forgetting to add any essential items. The Walmart app allows you to track your needed grocery items throughout the week.

Toddlers!
I love my little guy. He brings joy to my life. And he is just shy of three years old and is asserting his new found will, usually in the form of a screaming fit. God bless him! So, the thought of taking him into the grocery store makes me a little queasy right now. Don’t worry, we are working on this and he is improving, but to make life simpler on this stay-at-home mom, I love that I can complete my grocery shopping without ever taking the little guy into the store. Thank you online grocery! Your other customers who don’t have to observe a toddler fit thank you also.

Limiting impulsive purchases
If you don’t go into the store, you don’t smell the bakery goods (donuts!) and you aren’t tempted with the newest junk foods. Using Walmart Grocery reduces impulsive purchases that costs money and adds unnecessary calories.

Meal Planning
Meal planning is having a menu (low calorie and healthy, of course) for however many days you are buying for and creating a grocery list based on that menu. I encourage you to meal plan before you grocery shop. This way you can plan out your low-calorie meals and shop only for the ingredients needed for your menus. Once you have your meal plan completed, then simply open your grocery app and quickly input the ingredients. This is convenient and supports a low-calorie lifestyle. Do you need some low-calorie meal options? I recommend Instant Pot Chili con Carne and Slow Cooker Tangy Beef Stew. Yes, you can eat beef as part of a low-calorie lifestyle.

Negatives to online grocery services

So, I’ve mentioned the positives, are there any negatives? I can only assess Walmart Online Grocery but for me, the negatives are far less than the positives. First, there is a $30 minimum purchase. I completely understand this restriction. It would drive them nuts to have to shop every time someone needed a cup of sugar. Another problem I’ve experienced is that their app lists an item in inventory, but it runs out before the associate can shop for it. You can help negate this problem by allowing substitutions, but even then, sometimes they just don’t have an item that you’ve purchased (you will be refunded the cost of the item but now you must run to another store if the item is essential). This is an error between their app and their live inventory software. Hopefully in the future they will include a warning that the item is low in stock, so you can choose something else. The final negative is, you are allowing someone else to make subjective choices for you. If you are a control freak, this may not work for you. For me, I’ve been satisfied, and I think they put much time and effort into making great choices.

Online grocery services have many positive aspects. As the Food Tracking Momma, I am most grateful for the ability to reduce impulsive purchases of high-calorie junk foods. By only buying the ingredients that support my low-calorie lifestyle, I can lose weight. Therefore I recommend using an online grocery service to help you lose weight.

If this article was helpful to you, please comment and let me know. I understand that online grocery services are not available everywhere. Hopefully they will come to a location near you soon.

Related Articles:
17 Healthy Habits to Successfully Lose Weight
10 Ways for Maintaining Weight Loss
New Year’s Focus Word- Identity

Recipes

Instant Pot Ham Balls

This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Jump to Recipe

I previously posted my Grandma’s recipe for Ham Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce. Oh, I wish she was here so I could share this new preparation of her recipe! My Grandma would wait one hour for the traditional recipe to cook in the oven. But now, with the beauty of the Instant Pot, I am happy to share with you a new 10-minute cook time for ham balls!

food tracking momma instant pot ham balls

As with all of my recipes, the nutritional information for this dish is listed just below the recipe. A serving of 5 Instant Pot Ham Balls comes in at 359 calories and 14.7 grams of fat. If you are on a low-sodium diet, let me say “I’m sorry.” This is pretty high in sodium.

For more information on counting and logging calories to lose weight (food tracking) or for recipes from the Food Tracking Momma, please CLICK HERE to subscribe to this blog and let me help you live life more healthy and abundantly (John 10:10). You will receive the FREE eBook LOSING WEIGHT WITH FOOD TRACKING.

Free eBook Losing Weight with Food Tracking

Please like my Facebook page and Follow Me on Pinterest. For more support on calorie counting and food tracking, please join my Facebook group, Losing Weight with Food Tracking.

Instant Pot Ham Balls- Steps (Recipe below steps)

One of the first challenges when making this recipe is finding ground ham. You have a couple of options. First, if you live near a grocery store that sells ground ham, then it will be easy. For me, it’s difficult to find ground ham. So the second option is to ask your grocery store to grind some ham for you. The final option is to use a food grinder or a food processor to chop the ham to mimic a ground ham. For this recipe, I had my meat department grind the ham for me. Also, I crushed up Ritz crackers (about 10 of them) in a sandwich bag.

food tracking momma instant pot ham balls ingredients

Combine the first five ingredients in a large mixing bowl. To shape them into meatballs, I used a large cookie scoop. This step took me about 20 minutes. Set the uncooked ham balls aside.

In the Instant Pot (or whatever electric pressure cooker you use), add the remaining four ingredients. Whisk together to combine. The mustard wasn’t fully mixed for me but it cooked up just fine. Don’t worry about it.

Add the uncooked meatballs (it’s OK if some don’t get down in the sauce).

food tracking momma instant pot ham balls in the pot

Close the lid and set the valve to seal. Pressure cook (manual) for 10 minutes. When finished, go ahead and do a quick release. Gently stir or re-position the ham balls so all of them get glazed.

Instant Pot Ham Balls Recipe

Instant Pot Ham Balls

Instant pot ham balls with sweet and sour sauce
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Ham Balls, Instant Pot
Servings: 7
Calories: 360kcal
Author: Food Tracking Momma

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds smoked ham (ground)
  • 3/4 cup cracker crumbs
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup (10 3/4 oz)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Combine the first 5 ingredients and shape into ham balls. Set aside.
  • Add the remaining 4 ingredients into the Instant Pot and whisk to combine. 
  • Add the ham balls and secure the lid. Turn pressure valve to seal and set to pressure cook (manual) for 10 minutes. When finished, do a quick release and carefully stir to coat all of the ham balls in the glaze.
food tracking momma instant pot ham balls nutrition facts

I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you make it, please let me know by leaving me a comment and a rating!

Thanks, Andrea- The Food Tracking Momma

Related posts:
Ham Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce
Instant Pot Chili con Carne
Slow Cooker Tangy Beef Stew

Lifestyle

Food Tracking to Gain Weight

This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I asked my sister Michelle to share her story of using food tracking to help her maintain and even gain weight as she lives with the disease of gastroparesis. As the Food Tracking Momma, I know that counting and logging your calories will help with many different issues including losing weight, maintaining your weight, and even gaining weight if you are an athlete or in the case of my sister, fighting a medical condition.

Continue reading “Food Tracking to Gain Weight”
Lifestyle

Lose Weight For Free

This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

As a weight loss blogger, I am often on many different social media channels researching information and supporting the followers of this blog. Currently, as I spend time online, I am inundated with various weight loss programs advertising their programs to help people lose weight. Most of these programs are subtle variations of counting calories and logging your food in an electronic diary (food tracking). Food tracking doesn’t have to cost you money. You can lose weight for free by counting calories!

Continue reading “Lose Weight For Free”
Recipes

Ham Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce

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Jump to Recipe

There are a few recipes that I always associate with the person who made them for me in the past. This Ham Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe was a specialty of my Grandma. She grew up in the farm country of Western Maryland which was heavily influenced by many of the traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch. This recipe was a favorite to be enjoyed at our many family gatherings and I’m happy to share it with you. I am sure you will love it as much as we do.

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Lifestyle

Non-Scale Victories

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I am pleased to again introduce my friend Robin as a guest writer for the Food Tracking Momma blog. She is going to teach us today a new way to measure weight loss success. Non-scale victories (NSVs) are a way to focus our weight loss process onto more than weighing ourselves and having the scale dictate our response and mood.

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Lifestyle

10 Ways for Maintaining Weight Loss

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I don’t want to discourage you, but I must be honest. Losing weight is great, but it’s only half of the battle. Equally important is the process of maintaining weight loss. When I lost 70 pounds, I was determined to not gain it back. Below are 10 ways I have used to successfully maintain my weight loss. I have included professional sources to support that these ways are applicable to most anyone for maintaining weight loss.

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