I’ve been practicing intuitive eating for the past year and it’s completely changed the way I listen to my body. I’ve been looking for ways to help my kids eat from a more intuitive place—to better advocate for when they’re full and what they like—and to help them enjoy mealtime a little bit more.
Because of that, I was really looking forward to talking with Jennifer Anderson of Kids Eat in Color, which provides advice and tools to get your kids eating (and enjoying!) a wider variety of foods, specifically vegetables. Jennifer is our guest on this week’s episode of The Wit & Delight Podcast, and in our conversation, we talk about food rules and picky eaters. We dive into all of the ways we impose different kinds of behaviors onto our children, ourselves, and other people in our lives about how we eat, what we eat, and how much we eat.
You can subscribe and download the podcast on iTunes (or wherever you get your podcasts!) and read through Jennifer’s answers to questions about her background, a typical day in her life, and career advice she wants to share with others below.
P.S. If you’ve found yourself enjoying the podcast, I would *love* for you to leave us a rating and review? This is one of the best ways for people to find us on iTunes, and I’d really appreciate your support and feedback. THANK YOU in advance.
1. Tell us a bit about your career background. How did you get to where you are now?
I started out my career after college as the youth nutrition program coordinator at a food bank, not really knowing that I was interested in nutrition yet. Soon I realized that I wanted to learn more about nutrition and use it to help people, so I went back to school. I studied cultural anthropology for my undergraduate degree, so I didn’t have any nutrition prerequisites.
Fast forward six years, and I had finished a Master of Public Health in nutrition and was a registered dietitian. I began working as a consultant to the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed—the nutrition education arm of the SNAP program). My own sons came along during this time and I learned how feeding kids can be tricky. I specialized my knowledge in feeding kids who don’t naturally take to eating well.
Three years ago I started @kids.eat.in.color as a way to help other moms also struggling with feeling their little ones!
2. What’s one of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned over the course of your career?
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that all experience can be used to help people and to open more doors. For me, learning to build a website when I was twenty-four got me my job consulting for the USDA. Having a picky eater gave me empathy to help other moms without judgment. Experiencing infertility enabled me to connect with so many couples experiencing their own struggles.
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that all experience can be used to help people and to open more doors. Learning to build a website when I was twenty-four got me my job consulting for the USDA. Having a picky eater gave me empathy to help other moms without judgment.
3. Walk us through your day! What does a sample weekday look like for you?
My kids are early risers, so the boys are usually up between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. I get the kids ready for preschool and school, feed them breakfast, and make sure they have their lunches and everything ready to go. I start working when my husband takes the kids to school.
I work until I go pick the kids up (it takes about an hour). We come home, I make dinner, and I start on their lunches if I can. My husband comes home and we all sit down to dinner together.
Then it’s straight into the bedtime routine—reading, brushing teeth, and bedtime snuggles. I spend the rest of the evening finishing prepping food, cleaning the kitchen, or working, and I read a few pages of a book (often something technical about nutrition or child feeding).
4. What is the first piece of advice you would give to parents who are struggling to get their kids to eat veggies (or other food groups)?
My first piece of advice is to use the phrase “You don’t have to eat it” instead of engaging kids in a battle over whether they have to take a bite of food that they find repulsive.
5. How do you unwind when you have free time?
I love a good Epsom salt bath and a bike ride with the kids!
Hear my conversation with Jennifer Anderson here.
FREE Resources from Kids Eat in Color
Additional Resources from Kids Eat in Color
Kate is currently learning to play the Ukulele, much to the despair of her husband, kids, and dog. Follow her on Instagram at @witanddelight_.