Tag: Picky Eater

Empowering Parents to Raise Happy, Healthy Eaters

This month’s “Mom of the Month” is an inspiring woman who is changing the way we parent in the kitchen. She is providing resources to empower parents to raise happy, healthy eaters. This change maker is Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP and I am thrilled to have her as this month’s Mom of the Month. Melanie is an international speaker, author and certified speech language pathologist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of feeding disorders, including picky eating.

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I had the opportunity to connect with Melanie to get to know more about this great mom.

  1. Tell me a little about yourself.

“I love kids, food and families. There is nothing more I would rather do than sit by a campfire with my two daughters and my husband and talk the night away while eating way too many s’mores (make mine with dark chocolate and gluten free graham crackers please. I’m a s’more snob). My career as a speech pathologist took a unique turn when I started working in the NICU with premature babies, helping them learn to breast and bottle feed. I began to understand that feeding is a developmental process, and that many kids need support in learning to try new foods. In fact, 25% of typically developing kids will have significant difficulty and become hesitant or selective about trying new foods. That led to my career as a feeding specialist, which in turn led to writing three books on the topic (2 released in the past ten months!) and creating my second website with my co-author pediatrician Nimali Fernando. It’s called Parenting in the Kitchen.com. Parents want to know how to raise healthy eaters and I want to help them do that.”

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  1. What is your business all about?

“I have three businesses: 1. My therapy practice, where I treat kids with feeding difficulties; 2. My Munch Bug, which is the platform for my speaking engagements and book promotions; and 3. Parenting in the Kitchen, the only online video resource for parents and professionals created by a pediatrician (Dr. Nimali Fernando) and a certified speech pathologist who specializes in pediatric feeding (that’s me)!”

  1. When did you start your business?

“My Munch Bug launched in 2010 and Parenting in the Kitchen launched in 2016, after the release of one of my books. Raising a Healthy Happy Eater: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating. I am honored to have co-authored that book with Dr. Fernando (A.K.A. Doctor Yum) and created a five hour video course that parents and professionals can take at their own pace over the course of 30 days. It’s been a hit and we now have members from all over the globe!”

  1. How did you come up with the idea?

“Like all modern friendships, Dr. Yum and I met on Facebook. We teamed up to create The Doctor Yum Preschool Adventure, a preschool curriculum that teaches both kids and their parents how to introduce new fruits and vegetables and explore new foods! That led us to write “Raising a Healthy Happy Eater” together and it’s been a top seller in Children’s Health on Amazon since it was released just nine months ago!”

  1. How did you come up with the business name?

“My Munch Bug was easy for me, because I affectionately call the babies and toddlers that I work with “munch bugs.” A young child learns to munch before learning to master the more mature, rotary chew. Parenting in the Kitchen was just as easy to come up with! In our book, Raising a Healthy Happy Eater, we teach parents seven different principles: Parent Joyfully, Parent Compassionately, Parent Bravely, Parent Patiently, Parent Proactively, Parent Consistently and Parent Mindfully. When these principles are practiced at mealtimes, cooking and “parenting in the kitchen” they easily spill over to the rest of our day.”

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  1. What do you hope your business accomplishes?

“I’d like to take both businesses to an international level, expanding my media presence and providing expert advice to professionals such as Dr. Oz and other health or parenting-focused television shows.”

  1. As a busy working mom, how do you find the time to balance it all?

“I get better at the balancing act each year, but I am already preparing for 2017 to have a nice mix of family time and business opportunities. The key is to say “no” to anything that doesn’t feel like the best fit for me and my brand. There are always plenty of opportunities, but it’s important to pick and choose what will be most helpful to the company’s mission. For Parenting in the Kitchen and for My Munch Bug, our mission is to help parents raise healthy, happy eaters and get the information to families in the most effective manner.”

  1. Lastly, what inspired you to write two amazing books?

“The inspiration comes from my husband and my daughters. They don’t just encourage me to follow my dreams, they pitch in too! Whether I need help making dinner or creating a website, they always have time for me so that in turn, I have time to write.”

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Momma Braga is extremely proud to feature Melanie of My Munch Bug as this month’s “Mom of the Month” as she is such a humble, kind and outstanding woman who is making a difference in lives of children (and their parents!). Melanie is providing knowledge, tips and resources to help, inspire and empower parents. This alone makes her awesome and our Mom of the Month. Of course she never forgets to spend time with her family as well which is so great!

“Take the time to make parenting in the kitchen a priority. The benefits of raising kids that love healthy foods is life-long – it’s a gift you’ll give to your children and to yourself. The whole family deserves it – and you can do it!” says Melanie. Beautifully said by an amazing mom!

To follow Melanie Potock (Coach Mel) and learn how to raise adventurous eaters, follow Parenting in the Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. To learn more about feeding therapy and extreme picky eating, join Coach Mel at My Munch Bug on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Make sure to check out our book reviews on her amazing books, if you haven’t yet: Baby Self-Feeding; and Raising A Healthy, Happy Eater.

Thank you Melanie for your time and wishing you many years of success!

Until next time……Happy Parenting!

–          Momma Braga
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Bringing Family Mealtimes Back Into Our Homes

“Food is love, in so many ways.”

The moment I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter, I was thrilled! Of course, like many new moms, I read many books regarding motherhood and some were good but none really stood out for me until now.

I had the recent pleasure of reading, Raising A Healthy, Happy Eater, by Pediatrician Nimali Fernando (Dr. Yum), MD, MPH and feeding therapist Melanie Potock (Coach Mel), MA, CCC-SLP. This book provides a stage-by-stage guide to setting your child on the path to Adventurous Eating.

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It was an easy and enjoyable read from beginning to end. The book provided advice tailored to every stage from newborn to school aged children; real-life stories of parents and kids that have been helped; wisdom from different cultures across the globe on how to feed children; helpful insights on the sensory system, difficult mealtime behaviours, and everything from baby-led weaning to sippy cups; And seven “passport stamps” for good parenting: joyful, compassionate, brave, patient, consistent, proactive, and mindful. This and more can be found in this incredible book. They cover many different challenges that can occur at meal time and offer creative solutions on how to overcome them. My favourite is the four tips on how to get toddlers to interact with familiar foods by making “same old” foods more appealing and “new” which were: Change up the color; miniaturize; serve samples; and play with food.

I couldn’t just do this review without actually trying one of these tips out. So I did! I took two of the four tips above and created the serving of samples. I took a six mini-muffin tin and placed small foods in each slot. I used some strawberries, blueberries, and cantaloupe to introduce my daughter to some new fruits. The result was priceless! My 1.5 year old was super excited to see these miniature fruits (I did cut them up tiny for her) and she was willing to try each one. This was a big step for her and one that we will continue to do in our home.

This book also provides great recipes to try and the neat part is that the recipes are from around the world. The two recipes that are currently on my counter is the Crêpes from France (pg. 155) and Friteeni Frittatas which is an oven baked omelet where you can use it to introduce new veggies into breakfast (pg. 178).

Throughout, Raising A Healthy, Happy Eater, there is a lot that they touch upon and as you read this book you may learn new things that you never knew before. I know I learned a great deal and two learning highlights for me were to use your words wisely. It is better to say that your child is an “exploring eater” or “learning eater” instead of the famous “picky eater”. Now when people ask, my toddler is an exploring eater. Sounds much more fun for me and her! Secondly, I learned that school-aged children who eat a fiber-less diet of the usual “kid-friendly” food such as pepperoni pizza and hamburgers can lead to chronic constipation, which can lead to bedwetting and urinary tract
infections. That was great to know!

“In our fast-paced lives, it’s easy to allow our children to overindulge or rely on unhealthy options, because we know they’ll enjoy them and, importantly actually eat them. Reality bites: It’s a chicken-nugget world out there, and it’s unlikely to change overnight.”- Raising A Healthy, Happy Eater

At the very beginning of this book, the authors articulate what they will walk you through in the book and they truly do fulfill it. You will learn the developmental process of how children learn to eat food of all kinds over time; help you expand your child’s diet; and how to use parenting strategies that work both in and out of the kitchen.

The message is very clear and important in this book and that is to bring back family dinners and to teach children (and us) a culture of wellness. With all that we hear of how society’s poor eating habits have led to epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and even cancer, this book would be a great addition to all households for parents who want to raise healthy children.

I give this book 5 nuggets out of 5 in this “chicken-nugget” world!

To purchase this book please click here.

For more information on the authors, please check out their websites and twitter handles listed below:

Melanie Potock (Coach Mel) http://www.mymunchbug.com/ @MyMunchBug

Nimali Fernando (Dr. Yum) http://www.doctoryum.org/ @Doctor_Yum

– Momma Braga
#MelandNikkiReview