Fearless Feeding: The Book Every Parent Needs

I haven’t been as excited by a book as I am about Fearless Feeding since the fifth grade when I got my hands on Judy Blume’s tween classic Are you there God, it’s me, Margaret. The only downside of the fact that I’m giving away a copy is that I’ll no longer have one for myself, which means I’m going to have to go out and buy another.

Sure, I have expertise in family nutrition, a master’s degree in clinical nutrition, and three “test subjects” (aka children) of my own, but I still need this book. It’s the best thing to come along on the subject of raising healthy eaters in a very long time.

Best child nutrition book

Written by Jill Castle and Maryann Jacobsen, two pediatric dietitians who have six children between them, the book addresses a broad range of issues around feeding kids from infancy through the teen years.  The initial chapters give advice on everything from nutrition, to real life challenges, and recipes based on age and stage. The latter part of the book deals with additional issues such as food allergies, picky eaters, weight concerns, and eating disorders. Importantly, the authors also address the “baggage” we as parents bring to the dinner table in the excellent chapter titled, The Parent Trap: How to Break Free from Your Food History and Attitudes.

Feeding kids is one of the most challenging aspects of child rearing, right up there with sleep and discipline. Parents need support, ideas, trouble shooting, guidance, hand-holding, and cheerleading. This book has it all.  And while it’s based on sound research, the delivery never strikes a clinical note. It’s approachable, practical, and relatable.

I’m giving away one copy of Fearless Feeding as part of my Month of Mother’s Day Giveaways. To enter, leave a comment below saying one aspect of feeding kids that you find challenging. Deadline for entries is midnight PST on May 15.  You must be 18 years or older, live in the United States, and not be related to me to enter.

Check out the links below as these respected dietitians weigh in on Fearless Feeding and raising healthy eaters:

Meal Makeover Moms

Tribeca Nutrition


Elisa Zied


Disclosure: Mom’s Kitchen Handbook received a complimentary copy of the book for this giveaway. The opinions expressed are completely my own.



05.08.2013 at3:40 AM #


I strive to serve the same meal to all of us at dinner time. It is literally something I work on practically daily and I think it’s worth it. It’s much easier to give in, but I am always proud at restaurants when we never order off the kids menu! My daughter doesn’t even like chicken nuggets! She just started liking French fries (although, can you blame her?). However, I am still always interested in the subject and would love to read this book.

05.08.2013 at3:44 AM #

Emily S.

I struggle with how much unhealthy food comes into my daughter’s lives at school, sports practices or social events. This food becomes, at times, a larger part of their diet than I am comfortable with.

05.08.2013 at3:48 AM #

Jennifer Knaub

Would love to read this book. Getting my 3 kids to eat meat is so challenging.

05.08.2013 at3:49 AM #


Getting my child to actually sit through a meal.

05.08.2013 at4:22 AM #

robin wilson

my children were always good eaters and now enjoyed all types of foods. my oldest daughter though, is worried about how to start teaching her new baby (5 months old now) how to make his way through the wealth of healthy foods without feeling as if he is being deprived the goodies other kids eat.
my generation never worried to much about treats and such and now i am paying for not taking care. she would love to have a wonderful reference to thumb through when she needs help.
thank you

05.08.2013 at4:23 AM #


We are a family with food allergies and picky eaters. It is hard sometimes to make a meal to satisfy everyone and be nutritious.

05.08.2013 at4:59 AM #


I am frustrated that my kids refuse to try new things.

05.08.2013 at4:59 AM #


My most difficult challenge is deciding when a child truly doesn’t like a food or is just being stubborn and won’t try. I hate to push food and finding that fine balance is a challenge.

05.08.2013 at5:13 AM #


My 3-year-old is going through a phase where he won’t eat any vegetables or try anything new. I hope it’s just a phase, but it’s stressing me out.

05.08.2013 at5:27 AM #

Liz sorrentino

The preschool years when they are introduced to the concept they shouldn’t like vegetables and suddenly only eat their favorite comfort foods. I hate cooking two meals but my husband and I have good palates and like a variety of cuisines.

05.08.2013 at5:34 AM #


I follow Ellen Satter’s recommendations that my job is to provide tasty and healthy meals, the kids job is to choose if they want to eat it or not. I have been doing this for a long time now and I find myself being very frustrated. What I notice is the kids will refuse to eat meal after meal until they get a meal they really like and then my son over eats. If my daughter doesn’t like it then she whines and moans until its snack time. If she doesn’t like the snack she whines about that. I’m tired of cooking and everyone complaining! I think eating whole foods is extremely important, but what they really want is fries, nuggets, pizza and sweets. I do make homemade versions of these foods which is what my son saves up for. We also have to avoid most common allergens and finger foods are somewhat important because my son has cerebral palsy and has a hard time using a spoon or fork. Not to mention all the media influence and junk my kids see other kids eat. I try to find a balance and find “cleaner” versions when we are around kids eating that stuff. Ugh…….why does this have to be so hard? So, yes if u think this is a great book I’m willing to try a new approach.

05.08.2013 at5:36 AM #


I admit I haven’t had the healthiest eating habits, which of course means my children haven’t either. I’ve been working on including healthier grain choices, adding more vegetables, and trying to eat more while and fewer processed foods. My 2 year old is open to trying most things, but my almost 5 year old is very resistant. I would love a book that addresses the issues you mentioned above, and hopefully set my kids up for healthier nutrition habits than I grew up with!

05.08.2013 at5:37 AM #


I am definitely struggling with allowing my own issues with food to unduly influence what I feed my kids. They are still quite young, so I want to get a handle on this now, before I cause bad habits that will stick with them. So much room for mommy guilt here!

05.08.2013 at5:37 AM #

Dina Krohne

This book sounds wonderful – esp because you have such an extensive background and find it relevant. I am a DTR, CDM, run a healthcare kitchen and still can’t get my 7 year old daughter to eat more veg than canned green beans!

05.08.2013 at5:47 AM #

Cindy Moritz

I have a daughter (12) and son (8) who have different palates, for sure. My challenge was feeling like a short-order cook, trying to accommodate their different tastes. Now that they are older, I usually prepare a meal for the family and if it is not pleasing to one or both of my children after several bites they are expected to make their own healthy dinner (i.e, soup, salad, sandwich, omelet). I tell my kids that although I don’t expect that they’ll like everything I make for them, I do expect them to respect the time and effort that I took preparing the meal.

05.08.2013 at5:58 AM #


I still have problems with portion sizes…especially in restaurants. My daughter will tell me her “mouth is still hungry” even when I know her stomach shouldn’t be.

05.08.2013 at6:02 AM #

Lisa Krausman

One challenge I have with my 10 year old is getting her to try and then eat vegetables. She has no interest whatsoever in eating them and I think it is all “in her head” why she doesn’t like them.

05.08.2013 at6:50 AM #


before we had kids, matt and i could just throw a jar of spaghetti sauce on pasta when we were short on time. but now i’m actually concerned about having a balanced meal, whole and fresh foods, etc. but as two working parents (and also because matt usually gets home later), it’s hard to find the time (not to mention trying to spend time with the little one as well, since those precious hours are few).

05.08.2013 at7:01 AM #


This does look like an incredible book. I have read several of the comments above and see that I have many of the same challenges when it comes to food and my kids. Unhealthy options are at every turn (friends’s houses, visiting relatives, school, parties, rewards given by teachers, etc…..dirty non organic fruits, meats and dairy, GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors,- YUK). I do my best to not get too uptight about it because I don’t want to be over controlling. My oldest often asks for a more healthy choice, when at school- or so he tells me. If that is really happening then I am thrilled! While my oldest is game to try anything that I put in front of him, my youngest has been a challenge to feed since his first bites at 6 months. I have tried a ton of things and will buy pretty much any book I can get my hands on to try to find tips that might help. This looks like a great book and if the authors have 6 kids between them then I would guess that they have some good tips! I think I need to add this one to my library. Thanks for highlighting it on your blog! 🙂

05.08.2013 at7:23 AM #

Mary Frances

My kids are fairly healthy eaters (both in balanced food choices and amounts), but the challenge I’m now having is with timing and finding things that all four of us like to eat. We’re two working parents with an 11 year old girl and a 15 year old boy (aka growing teenager). The 11 year old is famished at 4:00 – 5:00 pm – and makes herself a “snack” after school (peanut butter sandwich, fruit, cookies, milk) – and is not hungry at 6:30 pm when the family dinner is ready. My 15 year old son inhales dinner, and then is hungry again an hour or two later when he’s making his school lunch the next day (and sometimes ends up making two sandwiches – one for now, and one to pack). I just need to get more organized and have grab-and-go snacks at the front of the fridge at all times to combat the “there’s nothing in here to eat” comments!

05.08.2013 at7:45 AM #

April B

Our biggest challenge is getting both our kids (ages 5 & 2 1/2) to eat what we eat. Our 5 year old is getting much better but we still struggle with our 2 1/2 year old. There are definitely family favorites that everyone will eat but I love to cook and try new recipes so it would be lovely if I made it and everyone ate it :). Looks like a great book. Thanks!

05.08.2013 at7:45 AM #

Heather Brandt

Right now, food allergies/intolerances are the most challenging aspect of feeding my 2 children.

05.08.2013 at7:51 AM #


The most challenging thing I find about feeding my children at this time is keeping meat dishes on the table without hormones and antibiotics. I do not want this of affect my childrens growth or health.Thank you for giving away your only copy! That’s very sweet!

05.08.2013 at7:52 AM #


I work hard with the kids to teach healthy habits, and try to mitigate the “treats” and sometimes fail. Whether due to their incredibly persuasive faces, their manipulative tactics, or just me being tired of being “the bad guy”, I need as many resources in my back pocket as I can get! Thanks for bringing this book to my attention, I will be checking it out, for sure!

05.08.2013 at7:54 AM #


Getting her to eat anything green. Except grapes and lime Popsicles!

05.08.2013 at8:03 AM #


With my son having sensory issues, I would like to find new ways to get him to at least try new foods other than his safe foods.

05.08.2013 at8:06 AM #

Lisa C

Grandchildren that are picky eaters. Seems all they would like is fast food junk.

05.08.2013 at8:07 AM #

Kathryn M

I have a 15 month old and am in the early stages of table food. I understand that we have a unique window of opportunity while she is young to establish healthy eating habits. However our eating habits need some refining and I’m completely overwhelmed by all of the bad food out there. This book would be a great help for my family.

05.08.2013 at8:10 AM #

Amanda A.

I struggle with coming up with a variety of foods for dinner so that we are not repeating the same meals week after week. I also struggle with coming up with healthy side dishes so we don’t just eat a main dish and that is it.

05.08.2013 at8:13 AM #


Having the grandparent follow our “rules” like no gummy worms before lunch. And not 20 of them! Overall our daughter eats well and not overly picky but the habits of treats and snacks from the grandparents are starting to interfere. Does the book address that? I hope so!

05.08.2013 at8:18 AM #


My 2 year old likes to eat…..but she won’t try anything new. Especially fruit and veggies are a no no for her. She really likes foods that are white in color.
This book sounds like help is on the way…..

05.08.2013 at8:27 AM #

Debbie P

My kids love fruit, but they struggle with wanting to eat a lot of vegetables.

05.08.2013 at8:31 AM #


I try very hard to feed my children meals. I find it to be challenging at times because I have picky eater. I would love to read this book.

05.08.2013 at8:32 AM #


Oops! Healthy meals 🙂

05.08.2013 at9:05 AM #


My challenge is serving a variety of foods to my toddler. I get stuck in a routine of what works/is easiest and that she will eat.

05.08.2013 at9:19 AM #

Melissa Montoya

I am a mom of 2 very different kiddos..17 and 4 years old. I now work at WIC and have really seen just how many of us do struggle with providing healthy meals and knowing how to handle our kiddos without scarring them for life. I am always investigating and exploring new ideas and other recommendations. I would love to add your book to my shelf and very interested in what you have to offer us. I would share with as many as I could…Thank you

05.08.2013 at9:26 AM #


My 3 year toddler refuses to try new things and will only eat carrots for her vegetable repertoire. Sigh….

05.08.2013 at10:07 AM #

Jess MG

My daughter has a hard time trying new foods (especially vegetables) and I find it hard to not intervene and make sure she is eating enough (or what I deem is enough.)

05.08.2013 at10:13 AM #

Kathleen LG

Three teenage boys means lots of food to provide for growing bodies. Sometimes it’s difficult to make all options healthy, fresh, and cost efficient. They all are willing to try new foods. The challenge is providing enough variety.

05.08.2013 at10:13 AM #

Lisa | With Style and Grace

I’m fascinated by this book. We’re such a healthy, whole foods kind of family and hope that my little guy grows up wanting to eat like us. So far we haven’t had too many challenges, except learning he’d rather eat a puree of sweet potato and cauliflower over a banana. Thanks for sharing and will definitely add this to my book list!

05.08.2013 at10:28 AM #

Michele B

My 5-year-old used to eat everything until he was about 3-1/2. Now I can barely get him to try new things.I try to make sure that there is something that I know he likes and will incorporate new stuff as well. I have quit trying to “make” him at least try it, but without much success. Luckily we eat pretty healthy so it is not like he is just eating junk food, but I just wish I could find a way to get him to try more things like pork or even beef other than ground beef. He loves fruits and veggies so that is not much of an issue. Just would like to find easy meals that appeal to all of us!

05.08.2013 at11:01 AM #


The hardest thing for me is getting my 2yo daughter to eat veggies. It is especially hard since hubby does not like most veggies. But we are slowly making changes and improvements. Thank you so much, your blog has been so helpful.

05.08.2013 at11:43 AM #

barbara n

Packing nutritious lunches is a challenge for me as my daughter is bombarded in the lunchroom by other kids prepackaged junk foods that look a whole lot more inviting to her than what she has brought to school.

05.08.2013 at11:47 AM #


I am challenged by food allergies/intolerance/preference. Everyone in my family has a different requirement/preference for how they’d like to eat.

05.08.2013 at1:22 PM #


My challenge is finding language to use with my kids that won’t create food issues but will make them think about their food choices. Second biggest challenge is developing a dinner menu that is healthy and can be cooked under 40-ish minutes by the first adult to make it home at night!

05.08.2013 at5:15 PM #


I think that the hardest thing is the fact that once the children realize or find out that the food they are eating is good for them or healthy, they lose all interest in eating it! It is almost like a switch in their brain. “Oh, I just love those little orange things! They are so del…. what? They are carrots? CARROTS? Gross! I hate this dish…”

05.08.2013 at6:01 PM #


I never know when to offer “helpful suggestions” about sweets portions. When I see my girls add in 4 tablespoons of honey into their tea, my knee-jerk reaction is to jump in and cut them off immediately. But I’ve noticed that my reactions have caused some “sweets sneaking” which is not at all what I want either.

05.08.2013 at6:27 PM #

Kirsten W.

Sounds like a great book! I have a picky two year old. I know it’s probably just a phase, but I worry about her getting a balanced diet.

05.08.2013 at9:23 PM #

kim brady

This looks like a great book. With two small ones under 4, I would love another tool in my toolkit to keep them the wonderfully adventurous foodies they are already 🙂

05.08.2013 at9:38 PM #


It drives me nuts that kids are offered so much junk food outside of our house – at playdates, at my in-laws, school parties, birthday parties, street fairs, etc. I can’t stand that! Why can’t people offer healthy food to kids!

05.09.2013 at6:00 AM #

Holly mccormick

I struggle to get my twins to seat in there own chairs at dinner time and not on mommy. Also to get them to eat dinner and not want a snack immediately after dinner.

05.09.2013 at8:28 AM #

Dianna B.

I have a licensed home daycare, and do my best to make all the meals I serve the children from scratch. I use whole grains and non gmo foods whenever I can. I even grind my own wheat for all our breads:) I would love additional resources and information on healthy eating so that I can better explain the importance to the families. Some seem to think I’m wasting my time (one told me I need to get a hobby) or that I don’t know what I’m talking about (another told me that we need the preservatives in the foods we eat because..wait for it…that is what preserves our bodies!).

05.09.2013 at8:29 AM #

Becky B.

I’m pregnant with my first baby now, and feeding kids has kind of been my obsession for the last couple of years. I’m possibly most excited about seeing how my little one will eat, what he’ll enjoy, how much of a risk taker he’ll be with food, and I’m always always looking for good books on the subject!

05.09.2013 at8:44 AM #


The hardest part for me is consistency among family members. I have one son who loves most veggies. The other tolerates some and hates others. They both like different things. And my husband and I try to eat healthy with as many veggies as possible. So to try and get everyone the nutrition they need by giving them what they like, and not turning into a short order cook, is my challenge.

I also find that my younger son likes something one minute and then refuses to eat it the next time I make it.

05.09.2013 at8:52 AM #


My kids refuse to even eat if there is a green veggie on their plate. It needs to be removed before the rest of the food will even be touched

05.09.2013 at9:13 AM #


I raised a sensory processing disordered toddler who did not transition from breast milk to solids until close to age two. and there were efforts on sitting her at meal times 2 times a day every day, worked with occupational therapy, learned ellyn satter by heart, and got a RD degree and graduate studies in nutrition, lol! I do hope to get a free copy of your book. Now raising a second babe that’s an eager eater at age 7 months 🙂

05.09.2013 at11:15 AM #


My challenge is with my son he’s 11 and it’s o hrd to get him to eat noncarb food so I USA
Y try to make a salad of things like carrots apples and broccoli on a plate it’s so hard this book looks awesome thank you

05.09.2013 at2:05 PM #


I am a new mom trying to explore and learn stuffs for my lil one.
I just passed some tough time which is related to my lil ones digestive system and she is still a fussy eater.I then started to learn more about food and other activities to help my little one feel and enjoy what I cook for her.
Like any other mom I would like to learn and make things that will best suit her health and especially when it comes to food .I believe learning through books will definitely hit your mind to make some changes where you ought to make and move on .I would love to read your book in shaping my lil ones health.

05.09.2013 at2:09 PM #

Maria Leiva

Aloha from beautiful Hawaii. I have 3 kids (9, 6 & 4). I would love to have a copy of this book…sound amazing…we are a very active family. My son plays club soccer, and my girls do gymnastics, swimming and ballet. We try to eat as healthy as possible but it gets challenging with all the after school activities.

05.09.2013 at7:38 PM #


Oh how I need this book! I have 4 growing boys who are all the pickiest eaters on the planet!!

05.09.2013 at8:45 PM #


The biggest frustration I encounter is that one day my kids will gobble up a certain food, and the next day they won’t even touch it (or actually spit it out in the case of my 22 mo old). I hate wasting food 🙁

05.09.2013 at9:42 PM #


We have a 6 and 2 year old and are struggling with picky eaters and would appreciate healthy ideas for family meals. Thanks so much!

05.10.2013 at2:37 PM #

Bliss Tobin

My daughter was underweight at birth. She is not only a light eater, she is also fairly picky. I keep track of the veggies, fruits, and proteins that she likes, but with lack of novelty, she cycles through those pretty quickly as well. As much as I tried not to entangle myself in this, I have. I worry about her intake of balanced nutrition, as well as her attitudes about healthy eating and body image later in life. On the other hand, I was the pickiest eater when I was little, trying to limit my diet to sweets only. I have that same sweet-tooth now, but there is also almost no food that I won’t eat. So I hold out hope that Lily will broaden her taste palette. She does live in California, after all.

05.10.2013 at5:34 PM #


I have 2 boys, 13 and 3. My 13 y.o. only started being less picky at age 11. That’s a long time to struggle. He has since broadened his horizons, but still has a few issues. But I feel I can’t complain about him anymore b/c he has made such great strides. His little brother, however, is extremely picky. I can’t remember the last time he ate meat/poultry/fish. And he won’t eat vegetables or fruit, only on rare occasions will he have sliced apple, or maybe a 1/2 banana. Strangely enough, he *will* drink a Green Smoothie. But if the fruit vegetable is in its original form, then we hardly have a chance. My husband and I like to eat nutritiously, and strive for clean eating. My 3 y.o. needs to eat better, and it just kills me that he’s not eating well-rounded meals. If he follows in his brother’s footsteps, that will be another long unpleasant journey… 🙁

05.15.2013 at5:25 AM #


Only one aspect of feeding kids that’s challenging? Hmm, well everything is hard to feed my girlies, but I’ve started a tallying system. Here’s what I’ve done: supper is served and the “yucks” and “I don’t want this!” start. Then I write my girls’ names on a piece of paper, underline their names, and my husband and I start to eat. Nothing else is said. I don’t argue with them; I don’t try to coax them. I just write their names down, and start making a tally of how many bites they’ve taken. When I first started this (at age ~3) I included my name and my husband’s on the tally paper. It took some time before my littles understood what I was doing, but I never said I was going to record their bites. Better learning by example, no? Anyways, this has turned my one daughter into a broccoli fiend, and my other daughter will know at least take bites of her food (followed by water) and eat her supper w/o the drama that ensues. Last night the girls weren’t budging on eating, so I proceeded to draw a picture of them (terrible artist, btw) and a picture of their plates. My broccoli eater took the first bite, and I drew a small square on her plate to show she’d had one bite. That seemed to do the trick and before long, both my girls (and their stick figure drawings) had eaten nearly everthing on their plate!

05.15.2013 at8:04 AM #

Jane McKay

Dinner time is still our biggest challenge. We are weary at the end of the day, I’ve gone full out to make a quick nutritious meal, and they practically crawl to the table moaning before they’ve even sat down. That said, I focus on breakfast since it’s the most welcome meal of the day which my girls dive into with gusto and it’s easy to pack with fruit, whole grains and dairy (which is interesting because i’ve never been able to eat straight out of bed!)

05.15.2013 at2:40 PM #


My biggest challenge currently is the weeknight dinner hustle. My meal planning skills are woefully inadequate which leaves me scrambling at dinnertime to prepare a meal that is healthy and delicious.

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