Monday, September 12, 2016

Guest Post: Erica with Real Food Fixes

Hey momma,

You’re job--providing everything tiny humans needs to grow and survive thrive--is no easy day job. It’s a lifelong career, a mission, a purpose, a calling (covered in cheerios).

I get it. I see you.

I’ve always cared about health, but I never cared as much or worried as much as when I started growing a baby and then feeding a baby.

Did you feel the same way?

I felt the pressure of a thousand eyes, and most importantly my baby’s eyes, staring up at me and trusting that I knew what to do to give her the best life.

Gah. I’m choking up. Being a parent is amazing, but pressure can really get to you and rob you of joy.
I bet you’re doing awesome, and that you’re doing so many good things when it comes to feeding your family.

I have a few suggestions that may help you feed with more joy and less mom-guilt (ugh, that word even feels gross to write).

Involve your child
I remember learning in business management class in college that employees always feel more valuable when they’re included on decision making. Duh. I think we all learned the “it feels better to be included” lesson in middle school, right?

I think our kids feel the same way at home too. When you’re included you feel invested and you’re more interested in what is going on. Your little one will probably eat better, and you will have precious one-on-one time making memories.


As soon as my little girl could stand she would pull at my pant legs and beg to be “up” in the action of cooking. I literally threw in the towel and let her.


I never got into sensory bins (don’t judge me Pinterest), but the kitchen counter was a great substitute. She became curious about food textures and tasting. She wanted to dig her hands into things, and stir things, and cut things. She started commenting on smells of foods in public and tastes of new dishes.

I was in mom heaven; my kid loved food and I didn’t have to stress too much about feeding time.

Enjoy (or tolerate the messiness)
It was messy when my daughter cooked with me as a tiny tike, but now with my 2 year old son it’s 10x worse. I embrace it… somedays.


I think the teaching process can be so rewarding, but home is a place for practice and progress, not perfection. Whether we’re talking about cooking or eating, the same idea applies.

Remember how my daughter was such an engaged foodie? All she wants to eat right now at age 4 is buttered bread. Every meal. Everyday.

It’s totally normal. And it’s totally normal for me to hate it.

But I trust that she’ll grow out of it, and she’ll come around and remember what she once enjoyed. Did you used to hate something you now love? I didn’t eat onions or bell peppers until I was 17 and now they’re my go-to veggies. Go figure.

If we set our expectations up for messiness and imperfection and look instead to enjoy and trust the learning process we’ll be much happier at the dinner table.

Ditch food fears & guilt
There are 101 ways to eat healthy and so many ways to do it right. Here are two main goals to work for in feeding your kiddos (and yourself!):

  1. Eat foods that you supply you with enough nutrients (vitamins, minerals, energy)
  2. Develop a healthy relationship with food; which means a relationship where you’re not obsessing about food or how it affects your body 24/7, a healthy dose of curiosity to try new foods instead of fearing them, and a respect for food’s ability to affect your health.

Everything else will fall into place in a rhythm that works for your family. Organic foods can be great choices, but if they’re too expensive or inaccessible, you can eat a healthy diet without them. Sugar is in everything and we eat too much of it, but if you want to use jarred pasta sauce that has added sugar in it for dinner, don’t fret. Raw vegetables are great, but if your kids like cookes ones, that is fabulous (and sometimes better)!

There is always a cost to be paid in the food choices we make, and some costs are worth more than others. Most of the time when you’re choosing between two nutritious foods, small issues like a teaspoon of extra sugar or an organic label aren’t worth your worry. (Seriously, the worrying is probably worse for your health)!

Feeding a family can be frustrating and unrelenting but it can also be incredibly rewarding, entertaining, and even joyous!

What helps you find joy when feeding your family?

Hey there! I'm Erica Hansen, a registered dietitian with a Master's degree in nutritional science. I am all about getting back to the basics of eating whole food in simple and tasty ways. Nutrition can seem confusing and worrying about eating right and feeding your family can be discouraging. I'm on a mission to help mom's feel confident, smart, and joyous about their food choices in a real-life, no-judgement approach.

I teach free nutrition classes and run challenges at You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. Don't be shy! I'd love to hear from you! Let's connect :) 


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