News & Events at Wesbrook Preschool

November Parent Ed Highlights

Our first speaker of the year was registered dietitian Alexandra Inman from Vancouver Dietitians, on the topic “Feeding your Toddler and Preschooler”. This proved to be a very engaging talk, with lively Q&A throughout.

First covered was the difference between dietitians and nutritionists. Anyone can call herself a nutritionist, while dietitians must have a university degree from an accredited program and are required to adhere to ethical standards and complete annual professional development. 

Next discussed was the new “Canada’s Food Guide”.  Introduced earlier this year, it replaces the concept of a food pyramid and other such classifications you may be familiar with. Key concepts are:

  • Have plenty of vegetables and fruits (aim for half your plate)
  • Eat protein foods (aim for a quarter of your plate)
  • Choose whole-grain foods (aim for a quarter of your plate)
  • Make water your drink of choice

You can find more details at www.canada.ca/foodguide.

From there, after an overview of which foods best provide important vitamins and essential oils, we moved on to the concept of helping your child become a ‘competent eater’ via the ‘division of responsibility’ for feeding. The core idea is that as a parent you are responsible for whatwhen, and where your child eats, while your child is responsible for how much is eaten, and even whether he or she eats.

This was the subject of much discussion, as we questioned its applicability in various scenarios. After fulfilling the responsibility of providing what to eat within the guidelines outlined above, pressuring children to eat specific foods from this offering was strongly discouraged, as was pressuring them to eat more or less, or even at all.

These concepts and other related ones covered in the talk were developed by dietitian Ellyn Satter, and Alexandra assured us that they are supported by extensive research. They are outlined in far more detail at https://www.ellynsatterinstitute.org/. I encourage you to take a look, especially at the discussion of “forbidden” foods (spoiler: you shouldn’t strictly forbid them).

All in all an informative and thought-provoking first talk; a big thank you to Kathryn for arranging Alexandra to come.

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