Title: It’s Not About the Broccoli: Three Habits to Teach Your Kids for a Lifetime of Healthy Eating
Author: Dina Rose, PhD
After watching her mother struggle with her weight and eventually die from obesity, sociologist Dina Rose determined that her daughter would have a better “food life.” Applying the principles of sociology, Dina taught her daughter healthy eating habits. She has since helped countless families in their quest to eat better and avoid dreaded food battles. Her teaching approach is based on three habits: proportion, variety and moderation.
Parts I Liked Best:
One of the book’s ideas that really struck me was how focusing purely on nutrition actually leads us to make poor eating choices. Ironic, right? But it’s easy to say that chicken nuggets have protein, ice cream has calcium and that pretzels are better than potato chips.
While all of these statements may be true, they cause us to zone in on one or two aspects of a food while ignoring their “sum total.” I liked how the author grouped foods into three categories:
Growing foods: foods you know are fresh and healthy and should eat frequently.
Fun foods: foods that are in between healthy and junky like pretzels and chicken nuggets. You should eat these less frequently.
Treat foods: foods you know are junk, like cookies, french fries and ice cream and that you should eat the least frequently.
After exploring how our parenting habits influence our children’s eating habits, Rose introduces what she calls the “Big Fix.” This is a fast and easy way to begin teaching proportion, variety and moderation to our children. The Big Fix is based on three rules:
Establish eating zones.This allows you to decide the times of day your family will eat meals and snacks.
Use rotation. Never serve the same food two days in a row. This sets the basis for teaching variety.
Give children control. Within the framework of the first two rules, you give your children as many choices as possible.
The remainder of the book goes into greater detail on each of the three eating habits (proportion, variety and moderation) and how to implement them more fully into your children’s life.
How This Book Made an Impact In My Life, Especially as a Mother (or why I just really liked it):
This was one of the most unique books I’ve read on the topic of children’s eating. I like how the author used the principles of sociology to focus on habits we need to teach. It’s one thing to harp on the virtues of broccoli and force our children to eat it and quite another to teach them healthy approaches to eating that they will apply long after they have left our homes.
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Love the concept and want to learn more! Thanks for the heads up about this book!
One of my favorite books as a registered dietitian on feeding your children well is “Secrets to Feeding A Healthy Family” by Ellyn Satter. She is a dietitian as well as a therapist. There are many concepts that overlap from this book. It is excellent!
Mothering From Scratch says
I think this makes sense. And most of what I read doesn’t. It seems like a great resource for moms (and families) to stop looking at food as a moral choice but rather as a social choice.
It is not that easy to feed a child healthy when they are scared of food..there are no easy way outs..plus it is hard for working moms to put this into place..another book for the perfect moms out there that seem to do it all
Aubrey Degn says
You are so right, Kristi. With some kids, it’s not that easy, and the author does address that in the book. My son struggles with sensory problems and we’ve had to do therapy to overcome some of his issues with food.
I can see how it would be hard for working moms to be in control over what their kids eat all the time. If I’m gone for a while, I’m surprised at what they get away with 🙂 I think if you do the best you can, teaching your kids correct principles, that in the end, they’ll have the right attitude about food.
As for perfect moms…I’ve never met one 🙂 and I’m sure you’re doing great!
You are right Aubrey. I was just having a bad day when I wrote the above comment. My son is extremely picky and I blame myself thinking I am not a “PERFECT” mom when you are so right..none of us are perfect. He doesnt eat pizza, mac n cheese, hot dogs..all they typical kid foods and when we are around other moms I get the “What? He doesnt eat this or that..is he o.k. ?”. He does eat chicken nuggets, raw broccli, carrot sticks, apples, graham crackers and peanut butter and other snacks..but that is about it! I have shed many tears because I just dont understand why he is so scared to try new foods..but I just have to keep trying. Sorry if my message came off course..it wasnt meant too..I am just a frustrated working mom. Your book sounds amazing..I can use all the help I can get! Thank you Aubrey!!!
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