Feeding Children

Feeding children can be challenging.  How can one ensure one’s child gets the nutrition they need, while enjoying a harmonious meal?  Luckily we have Ellyn Satter to the rescue!

Ellyn Satter, MS, RD, CICSW, BCD in widely recognized by parents and professionals as an authority on nutrition and feeding of infants and children.  She is a registered dietitian, psychotherapist,  author, and lecturer with over 40 years of experience.  Her books include Baby of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense.

Satter’s Division of Responsibility For Toddlers through Adolescents:

  • The parent is responsible for what, when, where
  • The child is responsible for how much and whether

Parents’ Feeding Jobs:

  • Choose and prepare the food
  • Provide regular meals and snacks
  • Make eating times pleasant
  • Show children what they have to learn about food and mealtime behavior
  • Not let children graze for food or beverages between meal and snack times
  • Let children grow up to get bodies that are right for them

Fundamental to parents’ jobs is trusting children to decide how much and whether to eat. If parents do their jobs with feeding, children will do their jobs with eating:

  • Children will eat
  • They will eat the amount they need
  • They will learn to eat the food their parents eat
  • They will grow predictably
  • They will learn to behave well at the table

General Tips from Satter

Eat together as a family.

Offer a variety of foods, including healthy options as well as family favorites at meals.

Keep foods neutral.  Kids do best with no pressure to eat.

Serve a single serving of dessert as just part of the rest of the meal, like vegetables and meat.  Have a day when portions of sweets are unrestricted.  These practices make sweets not such a big deal.

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