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Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook Paperback – October 1, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A philosophy of moderation and common sense that fosters good health, good eating habits and, most of all, a loving relationship between parents and children. -- The Washington Post

A uniquely comforting, now-I'm-on-the-right-track approach... warm, sensible, professional and expert advice about what is, after all, a universal set of situations. -- Family Journal

I am going to try your recipe for Yellow Spaghetti, which will give me an opportunity to revisit bacon, a banned food item for longer than I can remember. I appreciate your good-humoured and thoughtful work. -- Recovering Enthusiast

I love your book and I am having so much fun planning menus and learning to cook! I have never planned menus unless I was on a diet, but I am now and I am enjoying my food and feel safe because I know what is coming next. -- Recovering Dieting Casualty

It's wonderful when she says, "the secret of feeding a healthy family is to love good food, trust yourself and share that with your children." Encouraging people to eat well is far better than laying on all the rules. -- Nutrition Educator

When Satter says, "a family is what you are when you start taking care of yourself," it makes it OK to go to the trouble of feeding myself. Secrets was written for me, as well as for people with children. -- Reviewer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

Why did I write this book? It's part of my mission to revolutionize eating and feeding. But like any worthwhile project I have ever done, I backed into it. I thought I had a clear direction but what I hadn't anticipated is that, like a spirited child, Secrets has been a most willful book! In response to reader request, I started out to write a short and simple primer about child feeding following my golden rule, the division of responsibility in feeding: The parent is responsible for the what, when and where of feeding, the child is responsible for the how much and whether of eating. The problem that soon became apparent is that the cornerstone of that division of responsibility is family meals, and today's families have extraordinary difficulty getting meals on the table. It's not for lack of commitment or trying. There are too many barriers: lack of time and food skills, guilt and anxiety about eating and, not the least, all the rules that have taken the fun out of eating. Thus, Secrets turned into a book about reclaiming the family meal for the enjoyable, connecting, soothing and energizing backbone of the family. We all absolutely depend on knowing we are going to be fed. To do well with eating, we have to have meals. We must make meals a priority or we will scare ourselves and our children, whether we know it or not. We'll grab at not-so-good food, and end up feeling hungry and unsatisfied, both emotionally and physically. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Kelcy Press; 2nd edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967118921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967118925
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ellyn Satter, MS, RD, LCSW, BCD is an internationally recognized authority on eating and feeding. A family therapist and feeding and eating specialist, Satter has a private psychotherapy practice in Madison, Wisconsin. Her books, journal and magazine articles, teaching materials, seminars and media interviews have made her well-known to the lay public, professionals and the media as the leading authority on nutrition and feeding of infants and children of all ages.

Satter's stated mission is to revolutionize feeding and eating. Her unconventional advice? Do what comes naturally. "As long as adults do their jobs with feeding, children do a good job with eating. They intuitively eat the right amount of food to grow well. They naturally push themselves along to learn to like new foods. We did too, at one time. We did, that is, until it was educated out of us by well-meaning adults and misguided, puritanical rules about eating." Satter knows whereof she speaks, given her 40 years' experience helping people of all ages with their eating and with feeding their children.

Satter's clear and vivid explanations of normal and distorted eating and feeding have made her a popular interviewee and speaker. The author of the Division of Responsibility in Feeding (parents are responsible for the what, when and where of feeding, children are responsible for the how much and whether of eating), Satter has led nutrition, health and mental health professionals as well as the general public to adopt wise and emotionally healthy approaches to feeding and eating.

Satter's books are valued by both professional and lay readers as authoritative, practical, humorous and entertaining. Your Child's Weight: Helping Without Harming (Kelcy Press) recommends solving the problem of children overweight throughout the growing-up years by "doing the opposite of what seems right...feeding children rather than restricting them." Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense (Bull Publishing) helps parents observe and understand their children and translate that insight into good feeding. Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family (Kelcy Press) teaches fast, efficient, delicious and nutritious food management for the "thinking cook." How to Get Your Kid to Eat...But Not Too Much (Bull Publishing) details feeding and solving feeding problems, birth through adolescence.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ellyn Satter seems to direct this book at parents with minimal cooking experience or desire. This is probably justified based on her topic, but I am a happy and experienced home cook and I really enjoyed the book too. She explains useful tips for adapting foods for little eaters and how to round out meals with appealing vegetables and desserts. I love this book! A great companion to Child Of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense, because it provides lots of recipes to help apply the very sensible eating principles from Child Of Mine.
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Format: Paperback
I LOVE this book! Here are the Chapter headings:

Ch 1- THE SECRET IN A NUTSHELL- The secret of feeding a healthy family is to love good food, trust yourself, and share that love and trust with your child. When the joy goes out of eating, nutrition suffers. [I have tried some crazy things w/what I feed my family. I was SO happy to find someone who is common sense and not extreme about foods we should eat.]

Ch 2- ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE- Competent eaters enjoy food and eating and they are comfortable with their enjoyment. They feel it is okay to eat food that they like in amounts they find satisfying. [YES!!!!]

Ch 3- HONOR YOUR APPETITE- Appetite is a natural and life-giving inclination. Appetite is compelling, but it can be satisfied. It is normal to get enough and to stop eating, even of highly enjoyable food.

Ch 4- EAT AS MUCH AS YOU WANT- Essential to eating's rich reward is having enough to eat. The irony, in this land of plenty, is that most of us fear hunger, not because we risk food insecurity, but because we obligate ourselves to undereat.

Ch 5- FEED YOURSELF FAITHFULLY- To develop the meal habit, priorityze pleasure. To keep up the day-in-day-out effort of regular meals, those meals must be richly rewarding to plan, prepare, and eat.

PART II- HOW TO RAISE GOOD EATERS

Prologue- Provided parents do their jobs with feeding, children eat as much or as little as they need and grow predictably in the way nature intended for them to grow. [Love this!]

Ch 6- THE FEEDING RELATIONSHIP- Effective feeding depnds on a division of responsibility. Parents do the what, when, and where of feeding; Children do the how much and whether of eating.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a must have if you are interested in feeding your children well. I think the style is friendly and easy to read and the ideas are terrific. I would recommend to anyone who has trouble knowing what to feed their family.
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By A Customer on October 11, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ellyn Satter understands kids, parents and the pressures of modern life, and shows us how to navigate our way to a healthier diet! No guilt here, either. Just common sense and good advice.
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Format: Paperback
If you've been grappling with the Food Pyramid for the past 20 years, this book will put the pleasure back in mealtime, eliminate guilt, and get you back in touch with your own feelings of hunger, satiety, and fullness. Have you ever noticed how people who are worried about their own health are no fun, and often less healthy than those with a more relaxed attitude? Read this book, relax, and enjoy your food!
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By A Customer on May 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent primer for parents (and maybe even just young singles or couples starting out on their own) who need help with basic feeding skills like cooking and grocery shopping.
Ellyn Satter's advice is always very down-to-earth and her attitude toward food is relaxed. Where else would you find a Registered Dietitian recommending a menu of hot dogs, potato chips, and ice cream?? (Of course, not ALL her menus are like this, because she really understands the concepts of balance and moderation, which are so sorely lacking in these diet-crazed times.)
An excellent companion to "How to Get Your Kid to Eat...But Not Too Much,' both of these books speak to nutritionally-challenged adults as much as they do to children.
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I wanted to like this book. Satter has been recommended by people who share my beliefs about child development and child rearing--ie. honoring autonomy, encouraging self regulation, authoritative not authoritarian parent-child relationship. However, the info on nutrition and food is so disappointingly poor and inaccurate. The menus, recipes, cooking info, nutrition advice come out of the 70s-- canned mushroom soup? bread and butter with every dinner? meal patterns based on fats, carbs and proteins? Margerine? Sugar is not harmful to the body? Instant Ramen? A hamburger, bun and fries are a decent meal?
I kept looking at the publish date to make sure this book wasn't written in 1977. It was actually in 2008.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In truth, I'd probably give the book a 2 or 3 if not for some seriously flawed logic and the annoying "if you aren't with me you are against me" tone. I'm a fairly healthy eater, probably score high on the eating competence model, but it took many years to get here. I'm not a vegetarian or vegan, but quinoa is not a foreign food to me (as Satter assumes it is for readers). My point is I'm not some health nut pushing diets on the world. I love the idea that diets are stupid and deprivation will lead to overcompensation. I love the approach to food that emphasizes enjoyment with some salt and butter and not fear. However, I can't stand some of her flawed logic. Just because kids will come into contact with soda and chips and hot dogs, does not mean you SHOULD keep them in the house to ensure they don't overindulge later. Also, she actually claims we are misinterpreting data and we as a society are in reality getting healthier and that portion sizes aren't a problem because the competent eater knows when to stop, yet then assumes her reader is not a competent eater. I understand the goal is to make us all competent eaters, but she completely disregards the multitude of emotional, environmental, and social factors that can lead to unhealth. We are not a fat nation because we diet, which seems to be much of her logic (she also claims we aren't fat at all, just the measurements are off). We diet because we are fat and this obviously just makes us fatter, but the diet didn't invent fat people.

Satter works with disordered eaters, so I imagine her advice is good for someone trying to overcome an eating disorder or an emotional relationship with food, but she extrapolates that experience to the rest of us, and frankly, the logic just doesn't hold enough water to make this a good book.
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