Expert Interview Series: Jennifer House of First Step Nutrition About Better Nutrition For Your Entire Family

Registered Nutritionist Jennifer House with First Step Nutrition helps you nourish your growing family with confidence! We had a chance to chat with Jennifer about nutrition for babies, tips for dealing with picky eaters, and the advantages of meal...

Better nutrition

Registered Nutritionist Jennifer House with First Step Nutrition helps you nourish your growing family with confidence! We had a chance to chat with Jennifer about nutrition for babies, tips for dealing with picky eaters, and the advantages of meal planning.

Why did you decide to start First Step Nutrition?

There is a lack of easy access to dietitian services for pregnant women, and there can be long waits for babies and children in my city. After my experiences working at the children's hospital, I decided to open up my private practice after having my first child so that I could enjoy flexibility with my own family, but still have the ability to work with a population I love: pregnant women and young families.

Since you are both a registered dietitian and a registered nutritionist, how would you explain the difference to a layperson?

In my province of Alberta, "nutritionist" is now a protected title along with dietitian. Most areas do not protect the term "nutritionist" though, so anyone can use it. In that case, a dietitian is the only regulated nutrition professional.

All dietitians have a 4-year university degree, have completed a competitive year-long internship, and complete continuing competencies yearly to a professional college. And all of them are committed to providing evidence-based information.

Since you have experience in helping moms deal with children who are picky eaters, could you tell us one thing that parents of picky eaters can do tonight to help them with this challenge?

Parents cannot force/bribe/pressure their children to eat. Provide the food, and let the child choose if/how much to eat. Battles over!

In your work with picky-eating children, you request that parents record their kids on video eating a meal. How does this help you diagnose and approach the child's picky eating?

This helps me to see what is happening in the home during the meal. How are the parents following the division of responsibility in feeding? Is there pressure? Catering to the child? How do the parent and the child deal with this?

Do you have a favorite mealtime recipe that tends to appeal to most kids (even picky eaters) but is also healthy for them?

I like making meal salads like this Quinoa Bocconcini Salad because they're so flexible. You can use any grain (rice, pasta), any meat or bean, any veggie, and any cheese! You can make a creation that your whole family will like (or can pick out what they like!), and it's great to keep in the fridge during the week for lunches or to pack for school lunches, too.

Since you're also an expert in baby nutrition, could you tell us about some of the most recent research and studies in this area that new moms might not be aware of?

I'm very excited that the BLISS (BabyLed Introduction to Starting Solids) results are starting to come out! This is a randomized control trial of traditional "starting solids" methods compared to Babyled Weaning (with extra instruction for the parents about how to do it safely).

The first study released shows no increased choking risk with BLISS starting solids methods vs regular pureeds. I love to teach Babyled Weaning, and have developed an e-course to help parents use it safely and nutritiously.

Since you also provide meal planning services for your clients, could you tell us about some of the benefits of meal planning that might surprise families who have never done it before?

It can save a ton of money to have a plan! You're not stopping at the drive-through or grocery store every day. And you're not throwing out wasted food that didn't get used up during the week, because you have a plan for everything!

For someone who wants to try meal planning, what are some of the essential utensils, tools, gadgets, and/or storage containers that should be in their kitchen?

It's helpful to have a Crock Pot, especially if you're out all day and want to come home to dinner that's already made! Some larger freezer-safe containers are also a must. That way, you can double up your recipe and throw half in the freezer for another night.

If you're looking for a slow cooker or any other electric kitchen item, check out our wide selection today!