Tales From a Dietitian MomPosted on September 29th, 2017
The first question that I get asked when people discover I am a mom and a Registered Dietitian is- you guessed it- “Do your kids eat healthy?” Of course they do! My son did not try his first Cheeto until he was three years old! But, let’s be real- that is mostly because I didn’t want to clean up the unavoidable orange mess. The introduction to the Cheeto was shocking to my family and friends, who all know my stances on nutrition. I try to practice what I preach but may have gone a little overboard with my kids’ diets in the beginning.
Healthy nutrition is a way of life at my house. I do not buy pop for the household. Pop is a special treat reserved at Grandma’s house or on rare occasions. I always keep the kitchen stocked with fresh fruit and yogurt. Actually, my boys enjoy fruit as dessert! Additionally, we do not consume meat every night of the week and I try to get in whole grains and dairy when I can. But, you can bet as a working mom of two rowdy boys that the Crockpot is one of my most coveted kitchen appliances. This Crockpot recipe for Chicken & Dumplings is one of my all time favorites and allows for leftovers as well. (Although I LOVE butter, I omit it in the recipe. It is rich even without it)
“Hands down, one of the keys to instilling healthy habits in my children has been involving them in the cooking process, starting with the shopping down to the food preparation.”
Allowing them to help pick items from the store means they are more willing to try them at home. Although they do have some say in the meals, I still have meal-time rules: You get what you get, and don’t throw a fit. I also require that they at least try what is made for each meal. I admit: if I won’t eat it they don’t have to, either! This rule came about after a few Pinterest fails. I’m not prone to wasting food, but I distinctly remember throwing out a Hawaiian Pork Roast recipe that went oh so terribly wrong!
As my boys have gotten older, they have become more willing and able in helping with dinner preparation. My oldest, who is 12 years old, is great with meal preparation. My youngest, age 8 enjoys slicing tomatoes and being the designated, “Helper”. They’ve enjoyed helping make homemade ravioli and pasta. We actually put mushrooms into the ravioli filling. My boys don’t generally eat mushrooms, but because they were involved in the cooking process, they knowingly ate them in the meal.
Although I want my kids to develop healthy eating habits, I am first and foremost a mom before a dietitian. Like most parents, I am thrifty and love to save money, especially when it comes to food. Produce is a big portion of my shopping list, and it can be one of the most costly of my list as well. But, shopping in season, looking for the items on ad and purchasing frozen are the best ways to make produce work with my budget. Frozen fruits and veggies are often more economical than fresh, and are actually picked at their peak and flash frozen, locking in their entire flavor and nutrition! Plus, when you can buy them pre-sliced, that’s all the more helpful for meal preparation. Those tips combined with coupons and taking advantage other saving apps are a double score on the savings!
All in all, my kids do eat relatively healthy. But, aside from being a mom and a dietitian, I am human. I want my meal time to be as tasty and affordable (as well as healthy) as the next person. I promote balance- because you can probably bet my kids will have a brownie sometime this week.
Sarah Cortese, RD/LD is a Reasor’s Registered Dietitian. She is a mom to two boys that love to eat. Each has unique eating habits. She enjoys baking with them in the kitchen and sharing their stories when educating customers. Sarah is located at the 41st & Yale location and also offers dietitian services at the Brookside (41st & Peoria) and 15th & Lewis locations.
Information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle. Reasor’s Registered Dietitians’ opinions and recommendations are their own; they are not paid to endorse any products or services.