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Jessica Siegel's Healthy Family Blog - Gelson's

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Healthy Families is Back!


I’m thrilled to be returning to this blog about feeding my family!

For readers who are new to my blog, let me tell you a little about my feeding philosophy and my clan: I have two daughters, whom I refer to as Big J and Little J, ages eight and five respectively. I started this blog nearly eight years ago when Big J started eating solid foods at six months of age. At that time my husband and I resolved to commit to having daily family meals. We started with breakfast and added on dinner as Big J incorporated more solid foods into her daily meals. It hasn’t always been easy to stick with family meals since my husband often works past dinnertime, and I sometimes have early morning commitments, but we have worked out a system where at least one of us sits down with the girls to share two family meals a day. Family meals have become second nature, like brushing our teeth--a non-negotiable part of our day. Twice a week, we also have family dinners with my parents, my brother, his wife, and their two daughters, ages eight months and three years old. Needless to say, family meals are often eventful and I’m never at a loss for anecdotes to share in this blog!

Being a parent has made me better at my job because I can relate to the challenges of planning meals, getting dinner on the table after a day at work, providing a variety of foods, keeping a family healthy, and taking care of myself with eating. Blogging about feeding my family as my children grow has made me a better parent because I’m more present at mealtimes and always thinking about how my approach to eating and feeding affects their attitudes about food.

I’m a registered dietitian, but not a food cop. I believe that everyone has the right to enjoy eating and feel good about food. I’m here to help you be healthier in all senses. That means I work to help you make healthful dietary choices and have a healthy relationship with your food because how you eat is just as important as what you eat. This blog focuses mostly on the how part of feeding and eating, while my monthly Nutrition Notes newsletters, recipe cards, and in-store programs and appearances mostly center around what to eat.

I use and teach Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding (DOR) which states that everyone has a clearly defined role in the feeding and eating relationship:

  • The parent or caregiver decides the what, when, and where part of meals and snacks
  • The child is responsible for deciding whether and how much to eat from what is being offered

Regular family meals support families in doing their jobs in this process of becoming competent eaters. Research shows that family meals are a key to health for children and adults. Children who eat meals with their families perform better in school, eat a better diet, have better mental health and verbal development, and are at lower risk for obesity, substance abuse, and other risky behaviors. Family meals help children learn to like new foods by exposing them to variety and adult role models who hopefully eat and enjoy an array of foods. Adults who eat with other people tend to have better mental and physical health, stronger social connections, and have a lower risk of high blood pressure and obesity.

For all of these benefits and more, I hope that you will join me here as I continue writing about my parenting journey through feeding my healthy family!

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