What better way to keep the week going than to give the spotlight to Alex Lane of Well & Wholesome Nutrition! Alex Lane is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, but before diving into details regarding her line of work, let's talk about how she got involved with this work. Alex stumbled upon nutrition as an elective course during her freshman year in college. She was originally a journalism major, but things got a big turn when she quickly became fascinated with nutrition. She grew up playing sports, and she loves cooking, so nutrition was kind of the combination of both. Now, she enjoys it also from the prevention aspect. She believes that Nutrition is an important topic for communities to discuss, as it plays a key roles in growth, development, school performance and maintaining a healthy weight. For her, it's really simple, "Dietitians are your best resource!"
Alex worked in a WIC (Women, Infant & Children) clinic, providing nutrition education and breastfeeding support to moms and kids up to the age of 5. This taught her a lot about the following:
- How to eat healthy and well during pregnancy.
- The benefits and difficulties of breastfeeding.
- Different stages of introducing new foods.
- Strategies to resolve picky eating.
What separates her from other Nutritionists? We asked her this and she confided, that being relaxed and approachable is what gives her the charm. She understands that being a parent requires a lot of flexibility - so she tries to approach healthy eating for kids from that angle. Although, not yet a mother, her experience and work with parents and kids has taught her a lot about what works and what doesn't work when trying to achieve healthy nutrition for parents and children.
Starting her own business has always been Alex's goal, but she wanted to first spend time gathering experience doing the more traditional roles of a dietitian. Now, she feels prepared to take on clients and help them succeed. In her eyes this is her greatest achievement as a Nutritionist.
When we asked her what's the biggest misconceptions she see parents make with regard to their children's nutrition, she immediately thought of working with picky eaters. "It's frustrating as a parent, because you want your child to be well nourished, but it is difficult when they refuse to eat new foods, or even foods they used to like but suddenly don’t", she explained.
The main thing Alex recommends NOT doing, is forcing a child to eat new food. "This can create an aversion to certain foods that is sometimes carried over for a long time (even on through adulthood)". On the other hand, parents should'nt try to get stuck in a rut of only eating foods you know your child enjoys (they might end up being that adult that only eats chicken nuggets and potatoes). Instead, parents should try offering their child new food (one at a time, maybe alongside a food they enjoy), and ask them to just take a bite. Kids need to try new food more than 10+ times to really decide if they like it or not.
Another main tip from Alex is to NOT require your child to finish his or her plate. "When we require a child to finish their plate no matter what, we are not teaching them to listen to their internal hunger and satiety cues, which is an important tool for maintaining a healthy weight as an adult".
Lastly, Alex wants to remind us that you as a parent, are not a short order cook. According to her, "The meal you provided is the only option- don’t offer to make a peanut butter sandwich, etc. Let them know this is the meal they’re eating tonight. It may be difficult, but in the long run, the result will hopefully be adventurous eaters".
Alex hopes to see her new business start to take off this year. She would like to better establish herself as a nutrition resource for her local community and she hopes to become a better public speaker - which she believes will be really useful in the future.
Alex shared with us her best nutritional tip for pregnant moms that tend to think they should "eat for two", a saying that can cause them going overboard on the quantities or kinds of food that they eat. Dealing with pregnancy, it is recommended to eat an additional 300 calories/day. Average recommended weight gain for pregnancy is 25-35 pounds. This is important, not only because it's associated with fewer complications, but also because it will be easier to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight in a reasonable time.
Finally, before ending this interview, some things we should know about Alex's expertise as quoted by her: "Dietitians are human too! I think it helps our clients to realize that yes, occasionally we do eat a piece of cake, fries, or pizza. It’s all about balance. I’m not surviving on just chia seeds and kale! I try to frame healthy eating as a realistic approach that everyone can follow."