Congratulations on entering this next stage in your life and becoming a parent (or grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or caregiver in a little one ’s life). As with every new stage and phase of life, questions are bound to come up. Every parent I have ever met wants to do the best possible job nurturing her or his children, but wanting to do what ’s best can also bring great pressure. I found that becoming a parent brought me to a place of uncertainty and challenge like no other. My body instinctively knew what to do in growing, nourishing, and birthing my child, but when we got home from the hospital and it was my turn to take over, I suddenly became aware of all the choices I had —and all the things I didn’t know. It was scary and exciting at the same time!
Because of my nutrition training and because I grew up in a household where home cooking was modelled for me, making meals for my family just like my mum did for hers felt completely natural to me. Not only did my mum cook from scratch, but she canned, pickled, and bought half a cow many times, using every morsel of it (yes, tongue sandwiches in grade 5 was a real thing). I understood that food prep was normal, and that stuck with me. I believe that this is something we need to model for our kids so they don’t fall into the trap of not knowing how to cook and relying on processed and store-bought options.
Knowing that food is the most influential aspect of health is what made me choose to head back to school and become a nutritionist in the mid-1990s. I was living in England at the time and was fortunate to learn from forward thinkers at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION) in London and to embark on their three-year program. I graduated in 1999 and began my new journey of focusing on food. I moved back to Toronto in 2001 and discovered that organic food, nutrition, and health weren’t as much of a focus there as they were in England. After my first daughter was born in 2003, I started my company Sprout Right
, speaking with parents all over the city in workshops on how to feed their babies, themselves, and their growing families. I taught my Mommy Chef cooking classes for eight years and began working in television and radio.
Being approached to write the first edition of Sprout Right
in 2009 was a dream come true. I had always wanted to share what I had studied and taught in workshops and cooking classes with even more people across the country, and I certainly didn’t know how that would ever happen—until it did! After Sprout Right
was published, I received so many emails, comments, and messages from parents who told me that my book had become their “bible”—certainly not what I had been expecting, but incredibly humbling and thrilling to hear! I love teaching good eating practices and helping people introduce nutritional changes into their family life, whether through intimate to large speaking engagements, regular TV and radio segments, or interviews for print and online articles. Inspiring new parents to feed their babies well, and to see a change in their own eating and well-being as a result, is powerful. It makes me feel like I’m doing what I am meant to.
In large part, it’s thanks to the feedback from readers of the first edition of Sprout Right
that you’ll find a lot of new information in this edition. There’s also continual evolution in the scientific and medical research, which affects recommendations and trends in the diet and health arena. There’s always more to learn when it comes to nutrition. Because you could be reading this book years after it was published, I encourage you to take charge of and responsibility for your family’s health and decide if the recommendations here are right for you. If you don’t agree with some of my suggestions, that’s okay. Not everything is going to make sense for you and your family. But if I get you thinking, push you outside your comfort zone, and get you into the kitchen, then I have done my job. In some of the recipes you might encounter a food that you don’t like, and don’t think your baby will either. Try it—both of you! You never know when something unfamiliar will become your new favourite.
My daughters continue to be my inspiration, and now that they are teens and cook for themselves, they make many of the recipes in this book, including Apple Crumble (page 226), Go Faster Granola Bars (page 231), Chocolate Chip Cookies (page 311), and Sinless Chocolate Almond Brownies (page 228). Over the years, recipes like these have become classics in our home, but we’ve also developed some new favourites along the way. As my family grew and changed, our nutrition needs changed as well. Sprout Right Family Food
includes a chapter on Family Meals. As a working mom, I know the stress of packing school lunches and getting a healthy meal on the table for my family, and I wanted to share some of my foolproof recipes and nutrition tips with you. I hope some of the favourites from my recipe catalogue become yours as well.
As in Sprout Right
, I’ve included everything I know here. If you still feel like you need more information, you can find me at SproutRight.com. I’m grateful when parents reach out for additional support to deepen what they’ve learned, and I’m most grateful to teach, inspire, and support you through your food journey.
Bon Appetit!HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
My intention as I sat down to write this book, both in its first edition and in Sprout Right Family Food
, was to gather information about the most important aspects of health and combine that with the practical side of feeding your growing family. I believe that having a strong foundation of knowledge is like having a superpower. Once you know the basics, you can navigate your way through any situation with confidence. That’s one thing parents often lack—the confidence to make choices. When you’re unsure, doubt and worry can overrule common sense, and at times you may offer foods you never imagined you would, just to get a child to eat. Sprout Right Family Food
will give you the building blocks you need to understand what a good diet is, why it’s worth the effort, and how to make homemade food—with leftovers—that your kids will eat with ease.
Copyright © 2019 by Lianne Phillipson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.