Welcome back to our Nourish & Nurture blog series where we find out the inside scoop on how dietitian parents raise healthy eaters. Today we are honored to have Sarah Krieger, registered dietitian nutritionist out of Saint Petersburg, Florida. I first learned about Sarah when I stumbled upon her video series online called SarahRD.tv – a fun online show that she does with her kids that provides practical tips for families. Already a fan, I was super excited to learn that she was also a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition of Dietetics, so when I joined that group in June of last year I got the opportunity to get to know Sarah. I’ve been wanting Sarah to join me for this blog series because I know she would have a lot of good tips to share.
Welcome, Sarah! For our readers:
1. What are the ages and gender of your children?
I have two boys and a girl ages 10, 7 and 4 years of age.
2. Tell us about any feeding challenges you have had with your child/children and how you overcame them.
With my daughter, she was fairly stubborn when it came to eating a variety of foods on the plate. For example, if I made a plate of turkey, cucumbers, grapes and graham crackers, she would eat the crackers first and then want more of the same. I offer the sweet with the meal and kids get it, but she took the longest to grasp the concept, but she gets it now.
Me: Isn't it interesting how kids approach eating so differently? It looks like repetition really helped her get the hang of things.
3. Brown bag or school lunch? Why?
Preschool years=brown bag for 4 year-old class (VPK), so this coming year, the youngest will take lunch (aftercare is from noon to 2p!) 5 days a week. The older 2 prefer to buy lunch. I am proud of our district’s public school lunch program. I know the menu writer and what she a challenge it is to work with the budget and the nutritional guidelines at the same time. The quality of the lunches are superior to the lunch boxes I see my children’s friends eating. I aim to eat lunch with my one of the kids at least every few weeks. If parents could really taste the meals their kids are offered without forming an opinion before trying the food…..they would be surprised. My personal favorites are the honey chicken (Baked chicken thigh or legs) over brown rice with cooked broccoli on the side or the pork barbeque on a whole grain bun is great too!
Me: That is such great advice! And I agree with you about the school lunches. They provide the variety that you typically don't see in a brown bagged lunch.
4. In reference to feeding children, what are things that you learned as a mother that might not have been in the nutrition books?
Sarah: Let go of control of what the kids eat when they are in someone else’s home—especially a family member (grandma, aunt, cousin). Arguments with family members aren’t worth it and it is more important to teach the kids how to eat in their home and how to handle “social eating” when they are bit older and can communicate for themselves when mom may not be there.
Me: Yes! Like I say, kids are in training at our homes. If you make all the decisions for them, they won't know how to deal with real life once they are thrust out there on their own!
5. What are your top 3 practical tips you can provide mothers in feeding children that you use in your home?
Sarah: Tip #1: When you want your kids to try a new nutritious food (usually a vegetable or fruit), make sure they are hungry! No snacks AT LEAST 2 hours before a meal
Tip #2: Dine outside the home only when traveling. I live by this and when my oldest was a toddler I would bring lunch to the park while the other mothers took the kids to fast food. Guess what happens? They can’t drive by the restaurants without a child whining or demanding it---it’s a slippery slope that easily becomes a habit—a habit that is difficult to break when the kids are older—past age 5 or so.
Sarah at home with her children and new chickens that provide their family with fresh eggs daily.
Tip #3: Let the kids pick out fruit and vegetables, seafood and lowfat yogurt choices—basically give them a little control when selecting nutritious foods. When kids are part of the shopping, and then part of the preparing of the food…..they are more likely to taste the food and make it part of their diet.
Me: Yes!! I like to say give your kids choices within parameters where anything they choose would work well.
6. What are your favorite family nutrition resources (websites, books, cookbooks, gadgets, tools, etc.)?
Sarah: I have always adored cookbooks and food/cooking magazines: Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, Eating Well, Vegetarian Times….and then the websites along with fatfree.com and allrecipes. But in the past 6+years (once baby 2 came along), sometimes I will search an ingredient on a few of those sites and be inspired to make up own recipe—eggplant as example.
Me: All great websites!
7. Tell us about any current nutrition initiatives you are working on that might assist parents and families in balanced nutrition and wellness.
For the past 10 years I have worked “part-time” for All Children’s Hospital in St Petersburg, FL—leading the Fit4AllKids and Fit4AllTeens weight management for children and their families program. I am passionate about not just teaching families with overweight and obese children to eat the most nutritious they can, but any family that is willing to make a few changes for the better. In the past year we finally launched the Fit4AllKids website, which had been a micro-site from allkids.org. Even though we only offer in person group programs, the info on the site is great for any family, anywhere.
Two years ago my husband and I launched SarahRD.tv, a short nutrition-education television channel that can be viewed from the actual site, but is also found on Blip, Vimeo, Boxee, iFood.tv and Youtube and other social media sites. The mission for the t.v. show is to educate anyone that may be searching for a nutrition topic (packing school lunches, for example) and then know to rely on the channel for factual nutrition information from a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).
Me: Well, best to you in all your endeavors, Sarah! Keep up the great work you are doing for families everywhere.
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