Fearless Feeding: The Definitive Guide to Feeding Children

May 14, 2013

When people find out that I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and the mother of twins, they automatically assume that I know exactly what and how to feed my children. While it’s true that I have strong opinions on what to feed them, pediatric nutrition was never my area of specialty. So when my girls started eating solid foods at 6 months and progressed from purees to all types of table foods, I pretty much had the what part of the equation figured out, but I found myself fearing the how: How do I get them to eat using a spoon? How do I make sure they ate enough when they’re throwing food off their highchair trays throughout the meal? How do I transition them to different textures of food? In the course of my work as an RDN, I have read a lot of Ellyn Satter’s advice on feeding children, but for years parents have complained that there is no definitive guide to feeding children through different stages. Until now!

My fellow dietitians Jill Castle and Maryann Jacobsen, two women who have provided me with a lot of guidance over the past 16 months, just released Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School. This is the book that all parents need to buy and keep close at hand as long as children are under their roof (you may even want to get it before your children are even born!).

Fearless Feeding book

Jill and Maryann are both pediatric and family nutrition experts and have been working on building the Fearless Feeding community for the past few years. Based on the most recent research, they provide such a wealth of information in this book that will help take the fear out of feeding your family. Fear may seem like a strong word, but raising children is a scary, fear-filled journey – at least from my experience so far I can say that it’s one thing I really want to get right! And when it comes to food, that’s what Jill and Maryann help you do. The first chapter of the book is an explanation of the three fundamental components of the Fearless Feeding strategy  that must all be in place to raise healthy eaters:

  • WHAT to feed your child: This is the part that most people refer to when they ask for help feeding their kids. Do a search online and you’ll get a multitude of answers, but you may end up more confused and potentially misinformed.
  • HOW to feed your child: This is the part I found myself questioning the most – it’s about your attitudes, actions, and structure at mealtimes. Your approach to feeding is a key to preventing eating issues like picky eating, obesity, and eating disorders.
  • WHY your child behaves that way: This is the part that gives you an understanding of who your child is, where he is developmentally, and what is normal behavior for your child.

The rest of the book guides you to fearlessly feed your children at different life stages: infants to young toddlers; toddlers and preschoolers; school-age children; and teenagers. There are also chapters about specific nutrition problems like food allergies and eating disorders, meal planning and shopping strategies, and “The Parent Trap,” which is all about how your food history and attitudes impact your children – this is such an important topic, one I recently wrote about on Wee Westchester. There’s a whole lot more information in the seven appendices as well as recipes throughout the book.

I don’t think it’s possible for me to express any more enthusiasm about Fearless Feeding! All parents need guidance when it comes to feeding their children, no matter what age, and this is the book to get it from. Jill and Maryann have been so kind as to offer one lucky reader a copy of Fearless Feeding. Below are instructions and rules to enter the giveaway.

Fearless Feeding Giveaway {GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED}

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment on this post and tell me what your biggest challenge is when it comes to feeding your kids.

You will also be entered each time you do the following (and leave a separate comment letting us know you’ve done it):

  • “Like” Nutritioulicious on Facebook and/or share the giveaway news with your Facebook fans and friends with a link back to the post
  • “Like” Fearless Feeding on Facebook
  • Follow me on Twitter @JLevinsonRD
  • Tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post

The giveaway will end Friday May 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm EST and a winner will be chosen using random.org. Please leave a link to your blog, a twitter name, or some other way to contact you in case you win. You must be 18 to enter. Products shipped within the US only. Good luck!

For more about Fearless Feeding, check out these posts by other nutrition bloggers:

Mom’s Kitchen Handbook — Fearless Feeding: The Book Every Parent Needs
Tribeca Nutrition — Fearless Feeding Review and Giveaway
Elisa Zied — How to Fearlessly Feed Your Teen
Meal Makeover Moms — Tips for Feeding Kids from High Chair to High School

Disclosure: Nutritioulicious received a complimentary copy of the book. Opinions expressed are my own. This page contains an Amazon Affiliate link. If you purchase a product through this link, your cost will be the same but I will receive a small commission to help with operating costs of this blog. Thanks for your support!

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  1. Getting the hang of breast feeding is my biggest challenge! But I know 6 months will be here fast and I’m also clueless on how to feed my baby at that point!

    1. Breastfeeding is a challenge – hang in there and don’t fret if you need to supplement. You’ll love Fearless Feeding – it’s such a great book. Thanks for entering the giveaway!

  2. I have been eying this book since it came out & would love to win a copy 🙂 My biggest challenge feeding my kids, is knowing when to back off with my pre-teen kids. My daughter is 11 and I can see that “roll of the eyes” when I say, “Why don’t you have a piece of fruit or some veggies with that snack.” I know that she will definitely be eating some less than healthy food in her teenage years, but I just have to trust that I have set a good example for her on what healthy eating is, and that all will be good in the long run. Still, a challenge to do 🙂

    1. EA, that is definitely a challenge that I can see myself facing in 10 years! I’m hoping by then I’ve read and re-read parts of Fearless Feeding enough times to know how to get through it! Thanks for sharing!

  3. It’s disappointing when I fix something that I think my four year old is going to love and he won’t even taste it.

    1. Dana, that is a frustrating situation, but very age-appropriate. Food preferences change so much from day to day around that age! I know Fearless Feeding can help you with that kind of problem!

  4. My biggest challange is getting my kids to really enjoy eating vegetables. They love fruit and eat a lot of it, but they don’t love to eat a lot of vegetables. The ones that they do like to eat, each one prefers it cooked a different way. For example, my daughter likes raw carrots, but my son will only eat them if they’re steamed. It would be a lot easier on me if they liked the same thing prepared the same way.

    1. Ah, the short-order cook dilemma! Jill and Maryann definitely discuss this in the book, and one thing is for sure – the more you accommodate personal preferences, the more unsuccessful mealtime will be!

  5. I am currently in the nursing stage but have already started some research for the eating solid stage. Looking forward to it. We are also hoping to prepare our own food as much as possible.

  6. I liked Nutritioulicious and Fearless Feeding on FB.
    My biggest challenge is the time spent cooking dinner takes away from limited time with kids!

    1. My motto: Prepare in advance. Do as much as you can when the kids are napping or down for the night, this way it doesn’t take away time when the kids are awake.

  7. My 2.5 yr old is actually a great eater, he even loves salad just like his mom but getting him to use a spoon or fork is impossible! Now that my 6 month old is starting solids, I really need him to stop making a mess and start using utensils like a big boy, but that pitch doesn’t seem to do the trick.

  8. I’d love to win a copy of this book! Currently my biggest difficulty in feeding my baby is balancing his reflux & vomiting with giving him solids & timing of meals.

  9. My biggest challenge in feeding my two 3-year old boys is meeting all their nutritional needs in food they like. It is difficult for me to meet all the basic nutritional requirements when all they want is carrots one day! What about protein or fruit?! Argh!

    1. Sandi, my best advice for this, and something I have learned from Jill and Maryann, is to look at the whole week, not just one isolated day. If they are getting balance throughout the week they’ll be great!

  10. Right now, my biggest challenge is getting my youngest to stop throwing food. As soon as he’s done eating, or if he is not interested in something on his plate, he chucks it across the table! So frustrating!

    1. Joann, how old is he? Throwing and playing with food is a normal part of development – as frustrating as it is to clean it up, let him do it!

  11. my two year old was a choker. He would gag and choke any time he ate anything that wasnt the consistency of mush. Now I have a newborn that I know I have to teach how to eat in a few months and I am scared to death!

  12. My biggest problem is trying to get my 4 year old to eat more than just carrots for veggies. Thank you for hosting this contest.

  13. And the winner is….Joanne! Congratulations! Stay tuned for an email from me.

    Thanks to everyone who participated! Have a great weekend!