Tag Archives: feeding kids

Confessions of a dietitian. My kids eat doughnuts.

My children surprise me time and time again with their eating and their ability to hone in on their own needs and internal cues… if only I give them a chance. 

With my oldest turning 8 this week she is exposed to different foods in places outside our home. Sweets at youth club, biscuits for sale at school (yes really in the playground), cake at groups. Totally a time for her to put into practise all her intuitive eating skills and experiement away from me. 

With Miss K being my first child, she is also the one that I weaned first and did all the things wrong with first! Parenting is the hardest job for sure and there is no manual. So I was clear on limiting her biscuit intake and on keeping the sweets up high and on a pedestal. The sweet issue I had to totally back track on, explain I had dealt with this badly and it was time to try a new approach. The result is my kids eat sweets, regularly but they savour them and we have small amounts after a meal or as part of a snack. Today they have both had half an iced doughnut.  I don’t see restriction as the answer, I don’t want my children to grow up sugar-free or feeling cake is only for special occasions, but to appreciate all foods and know some things we eat less of.  I certainly don’t dish out cakes and sweets daily but I do have them around and part of life, Children need to learn how to eat and how to be around foods at home. Home is the training ground, the place to experiment, get things wrong and then try again. 

This weekend I was on a course and my parents looked after my kids. They all did a fabulous job at looking after each other. One thing I noticed was how well the mealtimes went. My mum was worried the smallest one especially had not eaten well and recounted the day to me, she had eaten well just not in what we would percieve to be a normal meal pattern. That’s toddlers! The kids had also convinced my mum to buy them doughnuts (grandparents prerogative) and where I would have cut these in half they had a whole one each…. my boy ate part of it and then gave it back when he had enough. Now this is the boy who I think could pretty much eat a whole chocolate cake – turns out I am wrong, again 😉 and very happy to be. 

So why am I writing all of this?  To show other parents that there is hope. That your children can be trusted around food, that they have an intuitive sense of what to have and how much. It may be that like me, you haven’t been perfect in your approach to food, well it’s not too late to change that and have a conversation with your children.

Here are 3 of my top tips:

  1. No foods are off limits or restricted. However as a parent you decide when to offer a food and what to offer. Your child decides what to eat from that selection and how much. If you have a cupboard of snacks like we do, then it is totally going to happen than you get asked for specific foods items from there, which could be totally fine but it’s working with your child to work out their hunger and what to put with their snack.
  2. Involve your children in the shopping and let them choose some of the foods, even if they are high sugar options you would prefer them not to have. It’s about learning how to have those foods safely, at home. 
  3. Let your children choose what to eat from a selection of food, without judgement. This is HARD. If you have provided a range of food then it is up to them to choose what to have and not up to you to tell them. Sometimes stepping back can allow your child to shine and show their independance off.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences and problems. Do get in touch via social media, a blog comment or email.

Messy Home, but Top Nutrition Tips.

When the BBC ask if they can come and film you in your home what do you do? 

Firstly –  Say Yes.

Secondly  – Flap about in panic at the state of your house and kitchen. People who know me well will know that my kitchen is rarely tidy and usually full of our home life. Pictures from the kids, plates ready to go in the dishwasher, toys on the floor. ARGH. 

Thirdly – Wonder what on earth they are going to ask your to talk about. Oh well, that can wait, I have a house to tidy.

So, when the crew turned up, their first statement was “Wow lovely kitchen, it’s very lived in” which I read as “It’s certainly not pristine and clean”. SIGH. I did tidy, I promise. 

Then when they ask to look in your freezer…. OH MY GOODNESS. Really? I can’t say No, but I didn’t see that coming. My freezer is outside the house and definitely NOT TIDY or video viewing. 

So you have been warned, this is a “lived in”, mum with 3 kids, messy life video. Or maybe I should say it is REAL LIFE.

Love to know your thoughts. 



How to really have a more contented baby ;)

This being our second baby I’ve been a teeny, tiny bit wiser to a few things… and a bit slacker on other things! I’ve thrown out all the normal baby books for one and let baby lead the way, so much easier, he naturally showed me his routine. I also bypassed the puree route and went straight for baby led weaning – which I would highly recommend, much less stress and cooking.

Something I noticed with Miss K is how frustrated she would get when trying to communicate. Around a year I started using some basic signs with her and it made a big difference. So with J-boy I’ve put signing in from the instant we started weaning (5.5 months). It is lovely to see him now happily signing away. He does also use words with some of the signs too, however More, Milk and Moo are all very similar sounding so the signs are of big advantage. 

At age 2 toddles apparently recognise around 200 words but can only say about 50. I would be frustrated if I wanted something and couldn’t communicate it. Many times the reasons tantrums occur is due to frustration, so using signing can help with alleviating this.

Now I’m no signing expert, but hubby knows a fair bit of Makaton, so I’ve stolen signs from him and from groups I’ve been to. We use…





Please and Thankyou



I like this free chart of signs: 




So at 15 months J-boy was using eat and drink and at 16 months he was using more and toothbrush. He doesn’t sign milk but says it. Now I plan to build in “nappy” and “sleep”. If he is potty trained and sleeping by 2 I’ll be a lucky mummy, ha ha!

It’s ok to play with your food

I was brought up to eat with my knife and fork, not to sing at the table, to keep my elbows well away and to definitely not play with my food.

My how things have changed! I’ve followed baby led weaning with my littlies so both have learnt to eat with their fingers…. Miss K (almost 4) still prefers fingers over cutlery and I can’t always argue as I eat some meals with my fingers too, for example rice and curry… It’s the only way.

I now often find myself slipping into song at the table. Part of that is having kids and part of that is just me… I sing a lot around the house.

Playing with food is part of what I do as a dietitian. I like my kids to feel the texture of foods and to get involved in cooking and preparing foods. So we keep mealtimes fun. It can be messy but the result is they eat almost anything and love learning about food.

So here are my little foodies in action.

Who wants manners when you have cuteness?

P.S – Very bad sound I know…. I NEED a new phone 😉