You know that quote about how the shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot? In a way, I’m a lot like the shoemaker. Let me explain.
Hi, I’m Laura. I’m a full-time Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, a social savvy New Yorker, and most importantly, a mom of two fabulous kids. Two fabulous, very picky kids who are tough to please come mealtime!
Professionally, I specialize in eating disorder prevention and recovery, weight management, family health and diabetes. So as you can imagine, I’m constantly helping moms much like myself to understand how they can make small behavioral changes in order to raise children who appreciate the value of nutritious, fulfilling foods—at least most of the time.
My husband and I do the best we can to foster this same mindset in our own household. Our philosophy is simple. In so few words, food is just that—food. An apple is an apple, and chocolate is chocolate. “Good” and “bad” foods don’t exist in my home or office, nor do right and wrong, or perfect and imperfect body types. (Beware: The word “fat” is practically taboo; all who enter know this.)
But let’s be honest here. Instilling these ideals is no easy task in this fast-paced, image-obsessed world, even for a mommy RD.
Which brings me to why I decided to start this blog:
Reason 1: My three-year-old son, Billy, won’t eat bananas unless they come from a fruit vendor on the city street. He prefers hummus with spelt pretzels for dinner and dried mango to snack on. While this sounds like a well-rounded toddler, Billy rejects pasta, meat and a lot of typical “American” foods. While, in true New Yorker fashion, he’ll never reject a slice of pizza (yes, my kids are allowed pizza in moderation), he’s nearly impossible when dining out.
Reason 2: My five year old son, Bobby, was every mother and RD’s dream. He seriously ate everything. I made him homemade organic baby food; and he loved grown-up flavors like sweet potatoes, ground turkey and beef, tomato sauce and oatmeal. Now, he won’t eat any of this. Like many finicky five-year-olds, Bobby loves macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jam, and only two flavors of ice cream. Chips, cake and crackers are verboten—that’s his choice, not mine.
So there you have it. These are my kids, and this is my family. We are far from perfect and, despite my professional insight, every day is a new culinary adventure.
What I’ve come to realize is that, whether you’re a New York mom or a Midwest dad, raising a child to have a neutral mindset toward food and body image can be a struggle for any parent. The line of “moderation” is a fine one to walk, and yet it’s one of the most important responsibilities we have as parents.
My hope is for you, my reader, to be able to learn from my own experiences in the kitchen—the successes, the challenges and the comedic anecdotes—as a dedicated RD and mom. Follow along, and keep a notepad handy. Eventually, I hope that you can find it easier, more fun and less overwhelming to nourish your own children. Because, at the end of the day, it’s about working together to explore the best ways that we can all raise healthy and happy eaters.