Why I Tossed the Gummy Vitamins

Parents make most, if not all, food and health choices for our young children: the pressure of that constant decision-making, plus our primal drive to ensure they survive and thrive, creates a potent stew of emotions that makes us particularly vulnerable both to magical thinking about food and to those who exploit it.

The Shared Joy of Holiday Cooking

A holiday meal has the benefit of allowing you to cook for an occasion that has two rare qualities—time and respect—built in.

Mothers, Daughters and Food

It seems especially cruel and strange that mothers often pass down a legacy of self-hatred, guilt and shame to the very children for whom they would otherwise lay down their own lives.

Why What Your Kids Eat Matters (and Why It Doesn't)

I want to pass on a legacy of truly healthy eating to my daughters. Owning my own mistakes along the way is part of this journey.

How to Support Adolescent Body Changes As a Parent

The pressure on parents to control or manage their child’s body shape is intense.

Seeking a Balance in Feeding Children

The ever-shifting winds of food trends make feeding children more complicated than ever. Parents' fears, nested in the poor state of Western food culture, have eroded competence at one of parents' most basic tasks: nourishing children into healthy, happy adulthood.

Should You Be a Stay-at-Home Parent?

A college friend wanted to know: would she be happy if she decided to leave her job right now to focus on, as we say these days, “staying home”?

Independence in Tweens' Eating Habits

As a parent, I get tested every day on how well I implement my strategy of moderate control over my kids' eating habits, and I’m happy to report that for ten years it has worked well for us. And then my daughter entered middle school.

Dyslexia in the Oscars Spotlight

I could never have imagined that the morning after the Oscars would find me thinking about dyslexia and its challenges.

What Parents Can and Can't Do About Their Children's Weight

While we don’t have as much influence as we might wish over our child’s body type and shape, we do have enormous power as parents in one related area: how our children feel about eating, weight, exercise, and so forth.

Parenting Children with Differences

It is so tempting to view our children as extensions or reflections of ourselves. But when, exactly, does it become not merely desirable but essential to accept how definitively our children are Not Us?

A Diet by Any Other Name

Too often, it takes having or knowing a child with an eating disorder to make parents understand how harmful many prevailing practices around food can be. One example of many is the current way we discuss and practice restrictive eating, once quaintly known as “dieting" but now rebranded as a healthy behavior.

Break Your Food Rules

One huge mistake parents make these days is trying to control their child’s health and body by imposing rules on what they can and can’t eat. These rules, however well-intentioned, send children absolutely the wrong messages.

Cooking Your Way Into a New Year

It’s far more pleasurable and sustainable to cook from a sense of tradition and for friends and family, feelings which are happily heightened at holiday meals, than from feelings of guilt or inadequacy.

Leave it on the Plate

Like many people my age, especially those with parents who grew up in post-war Europe, I was raised to feel that it is a sin—albeit a minor one—to leave food on my plate.

Tackling "Fat Talk" for Our Kids' Sakes

One of the apparent birthrights of American womanhood is our endless commiseration over how much we all hate our appearance.

It's How We Eat, Not What We Eat

At long last, attention is shifting to how we eat, with a new focus on the larger forces determining our consumption patterns, on what foods are available to most Americans, and on what kinds of food experiences we have—for example, meals eaten out versus meals cooked at home.

Toxic Bodies, Toxic Attitudes

As most of my friends know, I am not a fan of “cleanses.” The idea that we need to be cleansed is rooted in a guilt that is quintessentially American, and the result is a deep internal conflict.

Keep Calm and Carry On Eating

A child whose parents are constantly haranguing him about food, whether it’s to eat more vegetables or less sugar, is a child who grows up viewing eating as a battleground and a tool for manipulation.

The Art of Parenting

Having spent years in academia, and all my free time on the ephemeral art of performance, I realized that I couldn't remember the last time I produced something tangible to show for all my hard work.

Blowing Up Weight-Loss Myths, Part 2

For the first time in memory, a major media outlet is admitting that too many of what are presented as “scientifically proven facts” on weight loss—and concurrently, the effect of exercise, diets, and so forth—are actually unsubstantiated by any scientific standard.

Blowing Up Weight-Loss Myths, One Step at a Time

I often feel I’m swimming upstream when it comes to thinking about food, weight and health. That's why I was thrilled recently to discover a heartfelt, irreverent rant by filmmaker Michael Moore that vividly describes so many of the beliefs I hold.

The Perils of BMI Screening

Some twenty states require BMI or similar screening, and nine recommend either BMI screening or a formal fitness assessment that includes a body composition component. This decision may appear as innocuous as the principle of “healthy eating,” but it can be equally damaging.

Loving Your Appetite

We are so surrounded—even suffocated—by the abundance of food in the developed world that we often no longer appreciate the simple pleasure and gift of eating.

The Dessert Problem

The Dessert Problem is magnified with the arrival of children, many parents find. The precarious balance they may have discovered with dessert for themselves is turned topsy-turvy by the arrival of small people whose desire for sweets is, in the biblical sense, awesome.

Cooking with Gratitude

As the memory of that storm week recedes into the past—though not the devastation it wrought, which will be felt for months if not years to come—I find myself wanting to commemorate a surprising common thread that bound together the experience of many people around me: preparing and sharing food.

Confronting Mothers' Self-Hatred

Mothers, charged with teaching self-esteem to their children, are so unhappy with the way they look, the way they fail to meet some kind of impossible standard of appearance, that they are literally erasing themselves from the visual record.

The American Food Paradox

At a younger and younger age, American children, especially but not exclusively girls, are being taught to worry about food. With the best of intentions, parents are raising children who think of food in loaded terms—something to make us fat/healthy/skinny/smart—instead of as the combination of sustenance and pleasure that it is and is meant to be.

How to Raise a Child Without an Eating Disorder

If I were writing this for a glossy magazine, this would be a perfect title: what anxious parent wouldn’t want to read this? But it wouldn’t take long for reality to interfere with your optimism and resolve.

Mean Mothers

How many times in your adult life have you breathed a sigh of relief that your middle or high school days are well behind you? I’m learning not to celebrate prematurely, because having school age children throws you right back into the mix, engendering feelings sometimes even more painful than the wretched school-era ones you thought you’d exorcised forever.