064: Feeding Kids Beyond Nuggets and Fries: A Your Child Explained Episode

Today, in this Your Child Explained episode, where we always get into the mind of our kids’ heads, we’re looking at exposure to new foods from the perspective of our kids.

March has been – and continues to be – all about food here at We Turned Out Okay, and today’s episode pertains to two interviews from this month: my conversation with mom and author of The Lost Art of Feeding Kids Jeannie Marshall in episode 60 (click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/060 to listen) and my conversation with mom and author of the cookbook My Kitchen In Rome Rachel Roddy in episode 63 (click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/063 for that one). Those were two fantastic conversations, I learned so much about kids, food, and the interactions of one with the other while talking to these two great women! I know you’ll love our chats, so if you haven’t yet, go back and take a listen – that said, neither episode is a prerequisite to today’s.

Jeannie and Rachel are friends who live in Rome, Italy; each has a son in the Roman school system – and both are quick to note the differences between the school lunches they remember growing up in Canada and England respectively, and school lunches their sons enjoy each day.

Click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/064 for further notes from today’s Your Child Explained!

Similar to the school lunches that you probably remember, Jeannie and Rachel ate a lot of frozen pizza, French fries, and limp salads in school. In Rome – as in most places in Italy – each school has a chef, who makes fresh and extremely varied dishes each day, serving them family-style and eating with the children and teachers! Kids are exposed to foods in Italy that we’d never dream of sharing with them here in North America or England; in fact Rachel’s 4 1/2-year-old son Luca came home the other day talking about how he “didn’t like the car coffee” served at school. Rachel thought briefly “they are giving my son coffee?”… and then realized that the phrase car coffee is a phonetic pronunciation of the Italian word for artichokes. Luca may not have liked them, but he was exposed to artichokes in school that day!

And that is how kids get out of picky eating, become more adventurous and able to handle different foods. We can’t expect our kids to be exposed to only the same nine or 10 foods in their young lives, and then suddenly become adventurous (or even less picky). It’s up to us parents to change their exposure at home – to make nuggets be the treat and variety be the norm.

I know how difficult that is; episode 59 from the first week in March was all about how my own picky eater turned adventurous (listen here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/059). Through our experiences in my own family, I know that it can be done; I hope as you listen to today’s episode you gain some ideas and some hope in moving from nuggets and fries to other great and yummy foods out in the world!

Key Links

Click here to sign up for the “5 Ways to Handle Your Picky Eater” Free Guide!

Click here for my conversation with Jeannie Marshall in episode 60, and here for her website, JeannieMarshall.com.

Click here for my conversation with Rachel Roddy in episode 63, and here for her weekly food column in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/059 for my story about helping one picky eater become… well, less picky!

My forthcoming book, Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics, is for you if you need a toolbox of tools to handle every tantrum, keep your cool, and enjoy life with your young child! To get your free, printable, fridge-worthy anti-tantrum infographic, as well as to be notified immediately when the book launches in Amazon – it will be free for three short days! – go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com.

063: How to Approach Feeding Our Kids – and Ourselves; A Conversation with Mom and Cookbook Author Rachel Roddy

RachelRoddy_July2015_ElenaHeatherwick-12Continuing in our month-long series about feeding kids, today I have the privilege of talking with award-winning author and blogger Rachel Roddy.

Before visiting Italy a decade ago, Rachel enjoyed a great career as an actress. At 32, however, she found herself in Sicily – with no desire whatsoever to go home to England. Rachel wandered around Sicily and then Rome, learning the language, loving the culture, and recognizing that her approach to food and eating needed to change.

She’d never thought of herself as a writer, but before long Rachel had started the blog Racheleats.wordpress.com. She’d also rented an apartment in a quirky, fascinating neighborhood in Rome, fallen in love and had a child; choosing, in effect, a tranquil, homey life in which food plays a nourishing and delightful part rather than the life she left behind of an actress “with many eating disorders.”

Along with her partner, Vincenzo, and her son’s father, Rachel is raising 4 1/2-year-old Luca; our conversation ranges over what it’s like to raise a child in a culture that is not your own, food and the young child, and also about Rachel’s own childhood and the part food has always played in her own life.

Click here to read the full notes on this podcast episode at weturnedoutokay.com/063!

Rachel’s beloved Roman neighborhood is often called the Fifth Quarter, and when her first cookbook came out in 2015 in England, Rachel gave it that name; just last month – February 2016 – this cookbook arrived in the States, now with the name My Kitchen in Rome: Recipes and Notes on Italian Cooking. It took me about three seconds while checking it out on Amazon to decide that I needed this book! I promise you, I have never looked back; it’s a great resource for someone like me, part Italian and raised with both the culture and food.

Rachel has led such an interesting life, and over the course of it has given a lot of thought to food. She shares:

  • why every time we put a home-cooked meal on the table we instigate a “quiet riot”

thoughts on how, even in a place like Italy where people pride themselves on the quality of their food, corporate greed is having an influence

  • great advice for parents who are struggling to get healthy food on the dinner table: learn about where your food comes from

Having started life in London, England, Rachel has a delightful British accent. I know that is just one of the many things you’ll love in listening to this episode!

Key Links:

Connect with Rachel at her blog, racheleats.wordpress.com, and by reading her weekly column, Kitchen Sink Tales, in the great British newspaper The Guardian.

My Kitchen in Rome, the American addition of Rachel’s cookbook, is available in Amazon; click here to check it out (I bet that, like me, you will not be able to resist purchasing it 🙂

Friend-of-the-podcast Jeannie Marshall, author of The Lost Art of Feeding Kids, initially connected me with Rachel; listen to our conversation from We Turned Out Okay episode 60 here, and here is a link to her amazing book in Amazon.

Rachel brings up a favorite book of hers, What to Eat by Hattie Ellis, as part of her advice about getting healthy food on the dinner table and into our young kids; check that book out here.