Food. For some of us, it’s an extravagance – something we treat ourselves to as a reward for a job well done. For others, it’s a necessary evil – something we have to consume just to maintain enough energy to get things done throughout the day.
For children, food is a major component of their development and, unfortunately, far too often, many of these children are denied proper nutrition.
The Child Development Center knows this which is why, with CDC+, they offer nutrition services to individuals and families from birth to 21 years of age.
The Child Development Center understands the value and importance of nutrition. They know that proper nutrition plays a major role in supporting healthy growth and development in Casper’s children. Because of this, they have partnered with Abby Roich, a Registered Dietitian who has years of experience in providing individuals of all different ages and backgrounds the information and guidance necessary to live long, healthy lives.
“Sometimes a pediatrician will refer families to me,” Roich stated. “If a child has, for example, a high BMI, I work with those parents and discuss nutritional needs on an individual basis. Nutrition can be overwhelming and it’s easy to get confused about how much kids really need to eat. I’ll have a family complete a food record, which allows me to assess their child’s intake and calculate how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats they’re getting to make sure we’re not falling short in any of those macro or micronutrient needs.”
Additionally, Roich works with individuals and their families when it comes to food and sensory issues, growth and development milestones, food exploration, and more. Roich is able to help parents distinguish between picky eaters and problem feeders. She’s able to teach families adaptive approaches to feeding eaters with special needs as well.
In essence, she’s able to provide tips and tricks for making mealtimes enjoyable, while offering nutrition counseling and education to anyone who needs it.
“I think first-time parents are always kind of stressed about whether their kids are getting the right nutrition or not,” Roich said. “So I can help bring assurance and build confidence when feeding their kids. I also work with older kids with obesity as well. I do a lot of nutrition education with kids to help them grow into healthy eaters as well. I find it super rewarding to teach kids about nutrition and what food does in our bodies. I think they are often taught that there’s healthy food and unhealthy food, but truly food is food and I want to empower kids to make choices that are best for them.”
“I also work with eating disorders,” Roich revealed. “I follow what’s called the Intuitive Eating Approach. Which is a mindful, anti-diet eating practice that helps kids and young adults learn more about having a positive relationship with food. It touches a little bit on body image awareness and just being mindful about what they eat.”
Body image is a big topic these days. Maybe it’s always been, but with the advent of TikTok, and Snapchat, and other forms of social media, more and more young people are sharing their experiences, both good and bad, with eating disorders.
“Social media has had a huge influence on how we view ourselves and our bodies,” Roich stated. “I tell kids I work with that the most important thing is to have a healthy and positive mindset, because our brain will tell us the opposite at times. Our brain can tell us how we look isn’t how we should look. Our weight is always going to fluctuate, which is tricky no matter how old you are. My goal is to equip kids with the tools they need to combat all that surrounds the negative sides of body image. There are going to be times when the stars are all aligning and your nutrition is on point and you’re exercising and everything’s great. And there are going to be times when pieces of that fall apart; where maybe you’re not exercising like you want to, or maybe you’ve been sick and your nutrition isn’t as good. But the one thing that can help you through all of those times is to have consistency with a healthy mindset.”
In short, Abby Roich and the team at CDC+ provide tailored nutrition education to promote positive relationships with food for the whole family.
“We offer an opportunity for families to learn about nutrition and confidently feed their children so they grow into happy, healthy kids who have good relationships with food through all facets of their life. CDC+ is a great resource because we have a wealth of knowledge between all of the disciplines here – occupational therapists, speech therapists, and more. We have the knowledge to support and meet families where they are when it comes to making sure they have happy, healthy eaters.”
Interested in learning how to assist your child with food exploration? Starting in September of 2023 CDC+ will be offering 6-week feeding groups. CDC+ feeding groups are a time during in which your child will explore new and non-preferred foods in a fun, play-based and developmentally appropriate environment with peers. To learn more and sign up visit cdccasper.org/nutrition or call CDC+ at 307-237-4477.
For more information on the Child Development Center, and all of the services that CDC+ offers, visit their website.