Shaping Your Kids Eating Patterns
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Shaping your kids eating patterns

Listen to my QR77 Radio Program here:

Every monday at 4:15pm on QR77 Radio join me and Angela Kokott host of Calgary Today with our segment “You are what you eat” to get the goods on healthy eating. If you missed my segments I will be archiving these audio discussions on my blog here.

Episode 9 – Shaping your kids eating patterns

Listen to Episode 9 here: Shaping your kids eating patterns

WHO is in charge of what?

When it comes to healthy eating, childhood nutrition expert Ellyn Satter suggests the best way to set your kids up for healthy eating is to understand the division of responsibility for caregivers and kids. Parents should provide structure, support and opportunities. Children should choose how much and whether to eat from what the parents provide.

What this means is that from the time your kids are toddlers all the way through to a teenager, your job as a parent is to determine what, when and where to eat. Your children will be responsible for how much they will eat and whether they will eat at all. Once you accept this, feeding your family will become a whole lot easier.

How should parents handle sweets and treats with kids?

Recently my sister baked a fresh batch of cookies and four year old Matthew who doesn’t get treats every day was ecstatic to have such a decadent treat for his snack. He loved them so much that after lunch he was allowed to have one more cookie. My sister declined his polite request to have a third cookie and while she wasn’t looking little Matthew snuck a cookie under his chair. Christa firmly said no and that they would have some more cookies tomorrow even after the little negotiator asked “if I have fruit first then can I have another cookie?” While his question was valid, it brings up some important lessons when it comes to eating with young children.

My sister did the right thing in offering well balanced meals but still leaving room for some treats so her kids will learn to enjoy all foods and respect that there are no good and bad foods. She did however structure what would be offered and when. This made sure that Mathew didn’t fill up on too many cookies which may interfere with his ability to eat other meals or give him the idea that he could determine what to eat at meals and snacks.

Remember who is in charge. A four year old or even most teenagers do not have the wisdom to determine what to eat. They do however have exceptional intuitive insight into how much to eat when you offer them the food.

What else can parents do to help their kids become healthy eaters?

Your kids see everything, even when you think they are not watching. If you don’t want to eat veggies at supper or choose fruit as a healthy snack, why should they? If you skip breakfast yet tell them it is the most important meal of the day, can you see this disconnected mixed message?

Parents who model eating healthy foods as well as hold a philosophy that there are no good and bad foods set the stage for having kids with balanced eating habits. Preparing food together, sitting down for meals as a family, keeping physically active as a family and having a healthy attitude to your own body are some of the most important ways you can boost your child’s body image and overall health for life. If you are chronically dieting, have a poor relationship with food and unsatisfied with your body weight you are fooling yourself if you don’t think your kids pick up on this. It is your job as a parent if you are struggling with food, weight and body image to seek help so you don’t pass these issues on to your children.

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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. They 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. Excellent teaching and motivation. 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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