Rachel Rothman Help Kids Healthy Relation with Food

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We all want to help our children build a healthy relationship with food, but that can be easier said than done. Many of us are still repairing our own relationship with food. Add changing nutritional data, emotional elements, as well as comments and advice from family and friends, and this topic can become a minefield.

I invited Rachel Rothman to share her expertise and help us navigate this complex topic. Rachel is a dietitian and expert in children’s nutrition with a background in food science.

Our conversation not only focuses on what to give your children to eat (although we are talking about that), but also includes solving the challenges and burdens related to picky eaters, meal times and sweet snacks and desserts.

Since this is such a large topic, we have divided the episode into two parts so that you can take some time to reflect on what you have learned. Make sure that you are subscribed to the Podcast so that you know when the next episode will be published.

You’ll want to listen to this episode if you’re interested…
What made her do what she’s doing today [5:22]
What is a food scientist [8:38]
How to talk to children about food to maintain a healthy relationship [11:40]
How to deal with sweets and treats [19:20]
Questions about the dinner [28:34]
Do you need to finish dinner if you want dessert? [36:00]
How Rachel Rothman became a pediatric nutritionist
Rachel Rothman first saw her relationship with food at the age of nine when she was told to go on a diet. This proposal made her feel like something was wrong with her body, which led to low self-esteem, poor body image and an unhealthy relationship with food.

Becoming a pediatric nutritionist was her way of helping children and families action negative experiences and maintain a healthy relationship with food from the very beginning.

After a bachelor’s degree in food science and a master’s degree in nutrition education, Rachel describes the difference between the two disciplines. The science of nutrition is the science of food before eating it, and nutrition is the science of what food does to the body after eating it.
Rachel founded Nutrition in Bloom five years ago to combine her extensive training and practical experience to help families change their relationships with food, trust their bodies and enjoy the food they eat.

Building a healthy relationship with food starts with conversations at home
Many of us grew up with the negative messages surrounding food that stem from the food culture of the 80s and 90s. Even though we know better now, it can still be difficult to overcome our deep-rooted way of thinking about food.

Our relationship with food affects our entire life. Food not only provides food, but it also affects our mood, immune system and quality of life. That is why it is important to give our children the best start by encouraging them to establish a positive relationship with food.

Rachel recommends maintaining a positive discussion about food by putting all foods on an equal footing and eliminating the stigma of labeling foods as good or bad.

Create healthy discussions around food by talking about the sensory properties of food – taste, feel, smell and appearance. Instead of looking at food and nutrition from a fixed mindset, open up and approach the topic from a growth mindset. Remember, it’s never too late to change the conversation about food.

Don’t put as much pressure on yourself to get meal times right
Under Ellen Satter’s division of labor, parents are responsible for what, when and where to eat. The children are then responsible for deciding how much and if they eat. This gives children a say in the choice of their food.

A nutritious relationship with food begins at mealtime. We put such a lot of pressure on ourselves and our families to prepare dinner well, but dinner is only one meal of the day and not necessarily the most important.

Dinner can be a difficult time-family traditions, culture and exhaustion can create a stressful atmosphere at the table. It may not be realistic to create an ideal family meal at this stage. Not everyone is hungry or ready to eat. One way to improve the atmosphere around the dining table is to release the pressure.

Listen to what Rachel thinks about dessert and snacks – it may be different from what you would expect from a pediatric nutritionist.

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