Normal Eating Defined

In 1999, I attended a 3 day workshop called “Treating the Dieting Casuality” lead by Ellyn  Satter, RD. This workshop in addition to the wisedom of Ellyn Satter has forever changed my relationship with food as well as the way I teach my clients. Ellyn Satter defines normal eating:

What is Normal Eating?

Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it -not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.

In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.

For more about eating competence (and for research backing up this advice), see Ellyn Satter’s Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook, Kelcy Press, 2008. Also see to purchase books and to review other resources.

Copyright © 2010 by Ellyn Satter. Published at

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Going Green

Beet greens, broccoli raab, collards, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and turnip greens are considered the “greens.” They are the leaves and stems of plants. They are high in Vitamin A, calcium, iron and potassium. My favorite greens are collards, kale and Swiss chard. Sauté greens with a small amount of olive oil and plenty of diced garlic. Then add to whole wheat pasta or serve along side fish.

What's for dinner?

Last night my husband and I had such a delicious and simple meal. You too, can create this healthy fast meal for dinner this week. This recipe serves 2-3 adults. Modify for your family size.

Sole over Lentils with Heirloom Tomato Cucumber Salad

You Need:

A white fish – we used Filet of Grey Sole 3/4ths – 1 pound, 2tsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Lentils – we used Melissa’s Steamed Ready to Eat Lentils (you can purchase at Whole Foods or Trader Joes)

1 large container of mixed small heirloom tomatoes, halved; 5 mini seedless cucumbers, peeled/sliced and olive oil based balsamic vinaigrette dressing

What to Do:

Lightly sauté the fish on medium heat until the fish is opaque and flaky. Heat the lentils and plate. Combine the tomatoes and cucumbers. Mix with dressing as desired. Serve the fish over the bed of lentils aside the tomato cucumber salad. Cheers to your health!

It's National Nutrition Month – Set Some Goals

In honor of National Nutrition Month, set 2 new nutrition goals to keep moving forward on your health journey. When setting these goals be sure to make them small and realistic. Say “I will do” something rather than “I will try” to do something. To ensure your goal is realistic, set a goal you are confident in achieving. For instance, if you don’t exercise, I recommend setting a goal of walking around the block for 5 minutes daily.  A goal of walking 45 minutes a day for a non-exerciser would be unrealistic. Finally, make sure your goals are measurable such as “I will eat leafy greens with dinner three days a week.”

So get going and set 2 nutrition goals tonight!

What not to say to your child.

As adults, teachers and or parents, we must carefully choose the words we use when talking to children. This is especially important when discussing their food and their bodies (in addition to our food and our bodies). Don’t make your food /body issues, your children’s misfortune.

Avoid using the following words to describe food: good, bad, junk, treats. Instead, consider words such as nutritous, nutrient dense, high in antioxidants, necessary,  less nutritious, and or a sometimes food.

Please avoid descibing bodies as fat, chubby, skinny and or perfect.  Rather bodies can be described as beautiful, different, physically capable and individual.

Try calling it MOVEMENT.

Physical activity should not be for the sole reason of burning calories. In doing so, we take the enjoyment out of the activity and make it seem like a chore.  Rather than say exercise, try calling it movement. This helps to decrease the psychological barriers that prevent you from engaging in physical activity. Movement should be fun.  Moving is like brushing your teeth – we all need to do it regardless of age, size and or health.  The flavor toothpaste you choose is up to you. Therefore, you can do yoga, pilates, zumba, walking, spinning, basketball, swimming, boxing… The list goes on. Move to increase your energy, to increase your “feel good hormones” and increase your self confidence. Motivate and move.

What are you hungry for?

There are three types of hunger: Physical, Behavioral and Emotional. Physical hunger is when you are truly in need of food. This is the belly and brain telling you it is time to eat. It has been 3-4 hours and you may feel hunger pangs, less able to focus on your task at hand or even a slight low in your blood sugar. Behavioral hunger is eating at noon because you always eat at noon. It can also be eating with your friends because they are eating. Emotional hunger is eating to soothe, comfort or even celebrate.

So think “Am I hungry?” Identify why you are eating and what are you hungry for. You could be hungry for food, or perhaps companionship or attention. If you are not physically hungry, but find yourself eating, ask yourself why.
Be mindful. Engage in eating for physiological reasons. Decide whether you want to be eating for behavioral and or emotional reasons. This is your choice.

New York City Style Rice

NYC rice means Instant Rice. Try these different types of quick rice to get more variety and nutrition in your intake.

  • Organic Seeds of Change Tigris – a mixture of seven whole grains – microwaves in 90 seconds.
  • Lundenberg Quick Wild Rice – cooks in 25- 30 minutes (this is fast for wild rice)
  • Whole Foods Frozen Brown Rice – frozen fully cooked rice that just needs to be quickly heated.