NDSU Extension - Sargent County

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Mealtime Blues

Mealtime with my three and one-half granddaughter is delightful. She's what most people would call, "a good eater." But such was not the case when my own children were little. In fact, as I remember it, mealtime during those early years was most often a pretty miserable experience, and often became a power struggle and a battle of wills. I didn't know then what I do know now, but I sure wish I had. Instead, I fretted constantly and pretty much did all the "wrong" things at the time.

The concept of "the division of responsibility," as it relates to feeding infants and children, had not yet been brought forth. It is a concept that has been pioneered by Ellyn Satter, and it has become the gold standard for feeding children. Ellyn is a registered dietician nutritionist, family therapist, founder of the Ellyn Satter Institute, and author of several books, including, "Feeding with Love and Good Sense," and "How to Get Your Kids to Eat - But Not Too Much." Basically, "the division of responsibility" emphasizes trust, rather than control, which would have been a great help to me back in the day, if only I had known.

As a young mom, one of my problems was not having any idea of how much food I could reasonably and appropriately anticipate that my children might eat. Two of the big helps for that problem today can be found at the Ellyn Satter Institute, http://www.ellynsatterinstitute.org/, and the USDA website for food guidance, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/.

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