Bringing Family Mealtimes Back Into Our Homes
“Food is love, in so many ways.”
The moment I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter, I was thrilled! Of course, like many new moms, I read many books regarding motherhood and some were good but none really stood out for me until now.
I had the recent pleasure of reading, Raising A Healthy, Happy Eater, by Pediatrician Nimali Fernando (Dr. Yum), MD, MPH and feeding therapist Melanie Potock (Coach Mel), MA, CCC-SLP. This book provides a stage-by-stage guide to setting your child on the path to Adventurous Eating.
It was an easy and enjoyable read from beginning to end. The book provided advice tailored to every stage from newborn to school aged children; real-life stories of parents and kids that have been helped; wisdom from different cultures across the globe on how to feed children; helpful insights on the sensory system, difficult mealtime behaviours, and everything from baby-led weaning to sippy cups; And seven “passport stamps” for good parenting: joyful, compassionate, brave, patient, consistent, proactive, and mindful. This and more can be found in this incredible book. They cover many different challenges that can occur at meal time and offer creative solutions on how to overcome them. My favourite is the four tips on how to get toddlers to interact with familiar foods by making “same old” foods more appealing and “new” which were: Change up the color; miniaturize; serve samples; and play with food.
I couldn’t just do this review without actually trying one of these tips out. So I did! I took two of the four tips above and created the serving of samples. I took a six mini-muffin tin and placed small foods in each slot. I used some strawberries, blueberries, and cantaloupe to introduce my daughter to some new fruits. The result was priceless! My 1.5 year old was super excited to see these miniature fruits (I did cut them up tiny for her) and she was willing to try each one. This was a big step for her and one that we will continue to do in our home.
This book also provides great recipes to try and the neat part is that the recipes are from around the world. The two recipes that are currently on my counter is the Crêpes from France (pg. 155) and Friteeni Frittatas which is an oven baked omelet where you can use it to introduce new veggies into breakfast (pg. 178).
Throughout, Raising A Healthy, Happy Eater, there is a lot that they touch upon and as you read this book you may learn new things that you never knew before. I know I learned a great deal and two learning highlights for me were to use your words wisely. It is better to say that your child is an “exploring eater” or “learning eater” instead of the famous “picky eater”. Now when people ask, my toddler is an exploring eater. Sounds much more fun for me and her! Secondly, I learned that school-aged children who eat a fiber-less diet of the usual “kid-friendly” food such as pepperoni pizza and hamburgers can lead to chronic constipation, which can lead to bedwetting and urinary tract infections. That was great to know!
At the very beginning of this book, the authors articulate what they will walk you through in the book and they truly do fulfill it. You will learn the developmental process of how children learn to eat food of all kinds over time; help you expand your child’s diet; and how to use parenting strategies that work both in and out of the kitchen.
The message is very clear and important in this book and that is to bring back family dinners and to teach children (and us) a culture of wellness. With all that we hear of how society’s poor eating habits have led to epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and even cancer, this book would be a great addition to all households for parents who want to raise healthy children.
I give this book 5 nuggets out of 5 in this “chicken-nugget” world!
To purchase this book please click here.
For more information on the authors, please check out their websites and twitter handles listed below:
Melanie Potock (Coach Mel)
Nimali Fernando (Dr. Yum)
– Momma Braga