Back in August I was very happy to attend Ellyn Satter’s workshop in Sydney.  Ellyn’s division of responsibility model and research has seen her established a predominant researcher in children’s feeding.  Ellyn has also developed a model all about the competence of eating.  Her research shows that to raise a competent eater, you need to be a competent eater.  You teach your child to eat by sitting with them at a family meal.  When you sit by him/her and eat as much as you need, they will too.  When you take an interest in unfamiliar foods and learn to eat them, he or she will too.  When you show your body respect by feeding it positively and well, so will he or she.  At this Sydney workshop, Ellyn presented a model that helps care givers understand their own eating competence, where competence is broken down into the following areas:

  • Eating attitude
  • Contextual skills (ie. How you manage and orchestrate food in the household – yep, even cooking with one hand while the other toddler wrangles or nurses bub)
  • Food acceptance
  • Ability to internally regulate and understand your food intake needs

Ultimately your ability to “teach-your-kids-to-fish” can be improved by having regular family meals and making sure you take note of how you feel about your food too.

A family can, by understanding and playing out their roles effectively in family meals, raise children to be competent, healthy and joyful eaters. Ellyn Satter | Play with Food

How do you feel about your eating competence?  Is there anything you would like to improve?  What about if the root cause of eating woes for your child is medical, sensory, pain related etc?  How do you feel about Ellyn’s quote here?

In the new year, I will be launching an affordable eCourse with some practical ways to improve your own eating competence, embrace “happy meal planning” and it will include a range of easy-to-read modules, exercises, webinars and professional support for your happy mealtimes.  If you like the sound of this eCourse, please sign-up to the newsletter as more details will follow in the next few weeks.

Happy eating,


You may also love these practical activities (tips) for help with a fussy eater:

Simpple Fish Soup by Play with Food

Encouraging Self-Feeding of Soup

Super Sensory Smoothie by Play with Food #spinace #raspberry #chia

Step-by-step activity for oral sensory aversions

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