Food, Feeding, Fun and Frustration Print

Top lessons learned from a dietitian momma

We are excited to share this blog post from the newest member of the Health Stand Nutrition team, Lindsay Rieger, RD. Her full biography can be found here: Lindsay Reiger bio

Lindsay’s energetic personality, encouraging temperament and small town charm won’t expect you to be perfect. Instead she will inspire you and your family to work towards better eating habits while navigating a wide range of health challenges in a straightforward manner. She offers a refreshing, patient and honest approach to nutrition counselling for time-crunched and overwhelmed people that want nutrition and meal planning simplified for success.


Being both a Dietitian and a Mother is an interesting combination and by far the most entertaining aspect of this blend is the assumption of how meals go in our home. “You’re a dietitian. I’m sure your kids love vegetables, devour everything on their plates, don’t eat sugar, and have no idea what Timbits are…”

Awkward pause… Ummm, sort of.

Becoming a parent has taught me a lot, mostly about myself. And as luck would have it, many of these valuable eye-openers have gone down at the dinner table. So for that reason, I would like to take a minute and share what I feel are the top lessons I’ve learned while feeding my three children.feeding kids, fun and frustration

Lesson #1. Choose your battles. 

Parenting is hard. Bloody hard. I constantly have to remind myself to respect my children’s food likes and especially dislikes. I also constantly have to remind myself that food can be overwhelming for kids. That said, feeding children can also be overwhelming FOR US. There is nothing like the frustration of begging your child all week to eat one little nibble of meat only to sit down and watch your friend’s toddler plow through a steak. Truth be told, kids are all so different. And realistically, if your child doesn’t like mushrooms or whatever it may be, oh well. Life will likely go on without a deep love for mushrooms. I’ve learned that it just isn’t worth the blood, sweat and tears. What we can do as parents is work on the tried and tested strategies towards children’s food acceptance, choose our battles and then learn to let it go.

Lesson #2. Skip praising and scolding during meals.

If I make it an issue, you can be certain they’ll make it a bigger issue – especially at the table. When talking to parents as a Dietitian about this concept they are always quick to tell me that if I saw their child in action I would understand why they go to battle daily during meals. Some are even so kind as to bring in videos of their little angel in action- always wildly entertaining! I completely understand how frustrating some kids are during meals, my own little animals included. However the truth is that they are almost always reacting off our emotions – positive or negative. Yes this sounds fluffy and cliché but it’s true.  I have learned that both praising and scolding during meals often comes back to haunt me. SO, if a celebration is in order because my stubborn, vegetable-hater of a child ate a brussel sprout – I best do it in the other room. Alternatively, if smashing something in frustration and/or a tear or two is needed after my child flat-out refuses the Pinterest-worthy meal that I poured hours of love and preparation into, well I also best do that in the next room.

Lesson #3. Overall balance matter most.

By far the biggest, most important lesson I’ve learned while feeding my children is to focus on the big picture, the overall lifelong nutrition lessons, not the day to day. When my first child was little I avoided giving him absolutely any hot dogs. In my mind, if he didn’t have them he wouldn’t develop a taste for them. Oh the glory days when I knew it all! Fast forward several years to when my son finally tried them. Under his Grandfather’s very watchful eye, he happily chowed down four consecutive hot dogs. FOUR! When informed of this special moment, my first thought was “Hmmm, well that didn’t go according to plan”. (Which ironically pretty much sums up the majority of my parenting experiences). This was a glorious reminder that yes, I certainly can focus on single foods and little details however often, more like always, my children will have a different agenda.  I have realized that the most valuable lesson I can teach my children is OVERALL balanced eating – what a plate should look like, why we need a variety of different foods, and finally why delicious foods that we eat for pure enjoyment are equally important – EVEN hotdogs. Maybe just not four of them. 

As much as I enjoy making light of the train-wreck scenarios that come with feeding little ones, I am also very aware that there are children that have more serious issues that should and need to be addressed by professionals. Almost always there are strategies that can help improve the situation. Possibly not to what we have in mind as parents, but none the less improvement. Don’t be afraid to reach out and contact a Registered Dietitian for help, guidance and support. It takes a village.

 

Struggling to find ways to feed your family? Feeling like you need some inspiration at mealtime?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lindsay Rieger

Lindsay is a Registered Dietitian in Calgary, Alberta.

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. Andrea and her team really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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