Real Life Perspective from a Dietitian Mom

Hello, Scoop on Food readers!

My name is Sally Kuzemchak. I'm a registered dietitian and mom of two school-age boys who talk non-stop about Star Wars and Minecraft. I'm so happy to begin blogging here every week about kids and food, taking the baton from Elisa Zied, who wrote this blog for the last year and a half. (As usual, you'll see Parents staffers and other guest posters here as well.)

I've written for Parents magazine for many years, about everything from how to pack a better lunchbox to whether artificial food dyes are safe for kids. I also blog over at Real Mom Nutrition, where I share tips, recipes, and rants about all the cupcakes on the pee-wee soccer fields. I named my blog Real Mom Nutrition because I'm firmly grounded in reality. I don't pretend that feeding kids is always easy, that I have all the answers, or that you can solve your picky eater problems overnight in three easy steps (because if you could, you better believe my kids would eat avocado). And speaking of misconceptions, there are quite a few of them when it comes to dietitians and food. In the interest of time, here are the four most common questions I receive:

Q: Since you're a dietitian, are your kids amazing eaters?

A: If by "amazing", you mean can they can sing the praises of chicken pot pie one week and yet be repulsed by it the next week, then yes, they are amazing! But if by "amazing", you mean do they eat perfectly balanced meals every day and prefer quinoa to cookies, then no. They love a lot of healthy foods, but they are also very typical kids.

Q: Do you eat all organic food?

A: No. I like to support organic farming whenever possible but I'm on a food budget (I'm going to assume most of you are too) that doesn't allow for all organic. But I firmly believe you can eat a healthy diet of fresh, whole foods without eating all organic.

Q: Are any foods off-limits to your kids?

A: No. There are foods and drinks we don't typically keep in the house (I'll write more about that in future posts) but a little bit of junk food when we're out or at other people's houses doesn't phase me too much. And by the way, you will never catch me labeling a food as "toxic" or "poison" or implying that you're putting your children in great danger because you let them drink soda at a birthday party.

Q: Wow, really? You eat that? (pointing to the ice cream cone/slice of pizza/potato chips in my hand)

A: Why yes, sometimes I do!

I'm excited to be here and look forward to sharing news, views, and tales from the trenches when it comes to feeding kids. I have lots of opinions--and I welcome yours too, whether you agree with me or not. I love to get feedback from fellow parents and hear different points of view, so I hope you'll chime in with a comment or send me an email at realmomnutrition@gmail.com.

Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, educator, and mom of two who blogs at Real Mom Nutrition. She is the author of Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide, a cookbook for busy families. In her spare time, she loads and unloads the dishwasher. Then loads it again. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Healthy eating is the foundation of a healthy life. Here is how you can raise nutrition-smart kids.

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