Guest Blog: Elyse Falk

Hi, I’m Elyse Falk and I am a registered dietitian in Westchester, NY and a mom of 3 wonderful, energetic boys, ages 11, 8, and 4. I initially decided to become an RD because I love good food—you know, the kind that makes your body healthy and strong—and immediately knew I wanted to raise a family that would grow up appreciating good, wholesome food as much as I do.

Through my education as well as my professional and personal experiences, I have learned that both parents and their children must play active roles in cultivating a healthy relationship with food.
As a parent, I am responsible for determining the types of food that are in the home and preparing these ingredients in a way that my family will actually eat and enjoy. In order to do this, I am always planning a day ahead and thinking about how to serve meals that include at least 3 to 4 food groups. Looking at my childrens’ diets as a whole, I ask myself: Did they get their fruits and vegetables for the day? What about lean proteins and low-fat dairy?

But it’s not just about what they eat; I am also in charge of structuring their meals and snacks throughout the day, deciphering how they eat too. My ultimate parental role is to educate my children so that they understand the difference between when to eat foods that “do good things” for the body versus when to eat “sometimes foods,” otherwise defined as those products or ingredients that don’t offer much nutrition for the body.   
Something I’ve discovered is that “sometimes foods,” like cookies (my boys love chocolate chip cookies), don’t necessarily need their own place and time. Instead, I find that they should be neutralized in order to eliminate the notion of treats. If they ask for cookies, for example, I allow my boys to eat them with their dinner, a decision which neutralizes dessert so that it is not necessarily the highlight of their evening intake. When I first started combining dinner and dessert, I was fascinated that my son actually went back and forth between eating his veggie burger and cookie at the same time, finishing both without an issue. This also proves how insignificant dessert really is to children; all they’re really hoping for is a “sometimes food” at some point during their meal.

All parents, myself included, need to serve as a role model for healthy eating. One way I accomplish this is by sitting down for meals with my children and showing them how I enjoy consuming delicious, wholesome food. As for the kids, at the end of the day, they are the ones who are in charge of how much food to eat and whether they want to eat certain kinds or not. While I encourage them to try new foods, I won’t ever push them to the point where it becomes an issue. (I do expect them to say, “no thank you” and “please,” though. Manners are important too.)

Photo Credit: ….Tim via Compfight cc

As my boys get older, they seem to be developing more adventurous tendencies. If one tries a new food, the others seem to want a taste too. (This is incredibly funny to watch as an outsider.) As they’ve grown, I’ve also learned a thing or two about their eating habits. For instance, I don’t celebrate if one of them tries a new food, because as soon as they see my contentment, they’ll stop eating it (it has to do with control). I’ve also discovered that some days they can eat me under the table whereas other days they’re just not as hungry.

Being an RD and working with clients with disordered eating habits has made me particularly sensitive to the way my boys experience food at home. As a mother of 3, I know that food can be both necessary and fun, and yet I’m also aware that it can cause stress and concern at times too.
Laura, my friend and colleague for 10 years, has asked me to join her efforts on Mom Dishes It Out and to contribute my experiences and expertise to give her readers yet another perspective on finding joy and balance in moderate parenting and feeding. I am happy to be a part of this project and hope all the feeders and eaters out there know that it is a constant balancing act, but it is one that is worth every minute.

4 Replies to “Guest Blog: Elyse Falk”

  1. Great post! I am also an RD, and first-time mom to a 7-month-old. We recently began experimenting with home-made fruit and vegetable purees, and I am excited & nervous to move on to more solid foods. I sometimes find myself a bit too anxious about feeding her–now and moving on to table food–because of my career, and my desire to set a good example and encourage a balanced approach to healthy eating. I love the approach of this blog, and will bookmark this post and others to look back on as the baby gets older.


    1. Jen,
      Thanks for your honesty. Being a RD and or just a mom does create pressure to do things right. Following our instinct, our family values and recognizing when we need to make change is of utmost importance in raising kids esp. in terms of feeding and eating. Perhaps one day you can guest blog and share your experience. Let me know if you are interested! Congrats on being a mom.

  2. When James was a baby, I couldn’t wait to see what the doctor would introduce to him…and so I always looked forward to bringing him to the doctor and when he would be on solid foods…it was alot of fun, feeding him the prunes, or pears or apples….because I knew he was getting a the vitamins…..I tried to keep him away from Chocolates and anything fattening but:: I remember when James was a year old….I knew he had a tendency to put weight on because of his dad….so, he did not know about Chocolate….and I also made sure he didn’t have a toy gun…….wellllllll when he was about 5 I would say….the friends finally came into the picture….so walllllllllllla ma what is this? I want to taste and Dave is playing with guns……………………so he was thin for along time….and then after chocolate…it was hard to keep him away… I didn’t have to worry about the guns because, thank God, he isn’t interested in his adult life..
    Am I nuts or what…???? I wish I had this newsletter from Laura, then, tho as it helps me now, I would used it alot for James…

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