We are glad to be back for another spotlight interview and today’s spotlight belongs to Jennifer Stimson, MS, RD, the founder of Jennifer Stimson Nutrition.
Jennifer has been a dietitian for about 15 years. In all the years as Registered Dietitian, she has been involved with nutrition for children in various capacities and it is something that she is very passionate about. Jennifer believes that it is vitally important for children to develop good eating habits since these habits last a lifetime. Except for Jennifer's expertise in nutrition science, she also has a degree in Psychology. This is hugely beneficial since behavior change is a key component to improving health.
In the last eight years Jennifer has worked with hundreds of families helping them to improve their nutrition and eating habits. Her own experience with her four-year old combined with professional experience and education has given her a combination of tools to help families with their health and well-being.
As a Professional Nutritionist, one of her greatest achievements is seeing the “light bulb” go off in a patient’s head after she taught them something new or just seeing the relief in a parent’s face when they realize they are not doing anything “wrong” as a parent of a picky eater.
As a mom, her greatest achievement is watching her son growing up to be a healthy eater. Seeing him respects his hunger and fullness cues. She feels proud when he nibbles on carrots while waiting for dinner to be prepared. And although her son is somewhat picky it astounds her that he will eat mussels but does not want marina sauce on his spaghetti noodles.
When asked what are the biggest misconceptions she see parents make with regard to their children’s nutrition, she stated that a lot of parents worry too much and are spending too much on unnecessary supplements, etc. Parents really worry about picky eating which she can completely understand. If a child has a normal BMI and/or following their own growth-curve then usually there is no problem. So she suggests to try and make the meals enjoyable. Relax a little. Ellyn Satter is a well-known dietitian who contends that it is the parent’s responsibility to offer health food and the child’s responsibility is to eat it, and she completely agrees with this philosophy.
Successful as she is in her field, she also has personal and professional experience with lactation, unfortunately she does not have the credentials to work in this area professionally so her goal for this year is to pass the IBCLC exam in April so that she can work with families on newborn nutrition.
Speaking of newborn nutrition, we asked Jennifer to share her best nutritional tip for pregnant women, breastfeeding moms and toddler nutrition, and here it is:
“For pregnant moms: try not to eat for two! The extra calories needed are only about as much as one healthful meal (300-400 calories tops), so keep this in mind.
For breastfeeding women: get all the help and support possibly available to you. If you have challenges seek out help immediately from a qualified professional such as an IBCLC.
For toddler nutrition: parents keep your sense of humor, don’t force-feed, and be willing to expose your child to a new food 15-20 times before they may try it – patience is key!”
To end the interview in a very positive note, Jennifer noted that she understands and empathizes with today’s parents. "There are a lot of demands both personally and professionally and oftentimes they don’t have enough support. Also there is a tremendous amount of health information available that in many times both misleading and confusing. I'm here to help busy parents sort through the clutter so that they can provide the best for their families".