Filed under: children’s nutrition
Meet Registered Dietitian Nicole Meadow

Meet  Registered Dietitian Nicole Meadowo of The Honest Company

Describe a day in your life at work.

My day starts early with a quick run on the treadmill (I am training for my first full triathlon in September). After getting ready, making lunches, and, of course, making coffee, I help my two kids get ready for school. Then I head to my office (NutritionWise) or to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

I spend my workday seeing patients/clients, teaching classes, and staying up to date on the most current information on my practice as a clinical dietitian and lactation counselor. In the evening after my little ones go to sleep, I write reports and articles and check in with social media and emails. It’s a long, but exciting day without a dull moment. Usually, I wish there were more hours in the day. I love what I do!

If you can only share one insight, what’s the best nutrition advice?

Making changes to one’s diet can be very overwhelming, especially if you try to do too much at one time. I find that the best advice is to make small attainable goals for yourself.

Most of the time, these small changes have very large impacts on your health. Instead of being frustrated by not being able to stick with a plan that involves too many large changes, you will be motivated to continue after you are successful reaching your first goal. Try this and I guarantee success! Remember, we must walk before we run.

You advocate moderation in eating and want people to enjoy food and life. What’s your favorite indulgence?

I love food and think that eating should be enjoyable. It’s one of the great pleasures of life. One of my favorite indulgences is a good piece of dark chocolate…that and a great cup of coffee. I love my morning coffee!

What are three simple steps you can take to ensure you + your family are getting the best nutrition?

  1. Plan your meals/snacks to help save time (and money) throughout the week. By making a grocery list and sticking to it, you’ll find that making meals at home takes less time than picking up dinner at a store or drive through. And remember you don’t have to cook every night! Cook for two nights and have leftovers the next day. Use convenience appliances like a slow cooker to help with meal preparation.
  2. Try to buy fresh products as much as possible and limit processed foods. Shop on the perimeter of the grocery store for the bulk of your items (fruits, veggies, dairy, meats, poultry, fish) and only go down the aisles for specific items from your list.
  3. Drink water and limit sugar sweetened beverages. ‘Nuff said.

What is your must-have Honest product?

Honestly (no pun intended), this is a hard one. I use and LOVE so many. I am seriously addicted to the shampoo and the conditioning mist. I can’t get enough of them. Sometimes, I don’t share them with my kids if we are running low—but that’s our little secret ;) .

Is My Child’s Appetite Normal?

Hungry all the Time.  Eats like a bird. These phrases are uttered quite frequently by parents when describing their children’s appetites.  Like adults, children’s appetites vary from day to day, or even from meal to meal.

Let’s start from the beginning. In the first year of life, infants do the most significant amount of growing that they will do in their whole life.  Most (but not all) infants triple their birth weight by their first birthday.  Between 1 and 5 years of age, many children normally only gain 4-5 pounds per year.  Children in this age range normally can go 3 to 4 months without gaining any weight and then have a growth spurt.  Due to the decreased growth, they have decreased caloric needs and what looks like a poorer appetite.

Infant and Toddler Eating Habits

What your children are doing is actually healthy and good—they are listening to their bodies and eating when they are hungry.  How much your child eats is determined by the appetite center in the brain, and healthy children usually eat as much as they need for growth and energy. There are many factors that influence the appetite but the most important job for you, as their parents, is to keep meal and snack times relaxed as possible so that your children can listen to their internal cues of hunger and fullness, which is a great habit for lifelong health.  Your job also includes deciding what foods to offer (try to have at least one preferred food at meals) and planning regular times to eat.  Most children do best when they eat every 2-3 hours (3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day).  Your child is responsible for deciding how much to eat and if they will eat at all!  Have them be involved in meal preparation and menu planning which helps encourage tasting. 

While sometimes it’s hard to wonder how he’s not hungry, resist talking about child’s “small appetite” or limited food selection in front of him. The more that they hear they “don’t eat” or are “picky,” the more often they become these things—it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can help your children work through these issues by realizing that it is a phase that will change and pass. (If mealtimes are extremely unpleasant, your child is having chewing/swallowing difficulties, or eats less than 5 foods, speak to your child’s pediatrician.)

To help you and your child along the way, here are some positive eating tips:

  • Have your child self-feed once he is capable to avoid forced feeding.
  • Serve small portions. Children are overwhelmed when given portions that they can’t possible consume.
  • Offer at least 1 preferred food in addition to new/challenge foods at meals to increase possibility of acceptance.
  • Offer many eating opportunities (but not TOO many).  Children have small tummies and do best with a structured meal “schedule.” Offer 3 meals and 2-3 snacks daily. This gives them plenty of opportunity to receive the nutrition that their body needs to grow and develop.
  • Have fun!

A few important points to remember: Your children are watching you. Be a good role model by eating healthfully and mindfully (listening to your body, eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full), and by being physically active. Try not to talk about dieting and body image (unless it is positive) in front of your young children; it starts to affect them at a very young age.  Involve them in food shopping and cooking. Teach them that eating healthy is not only good for them, but fun too!

Be Well, Be NutritionWise.

~ Nicole Meadow, MPN, RD of NutritionWise

This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary changes, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.