Mom Dishes It Out


by Tim Mountain and Caroline Moscatello, Lead Satirist and Staff Writer

“You can tell your child when to go to bed, but you can’t force them to go to sleep. It’s the same with food. You can help them, but you can’t control them.”

These wise words echoed in the gym of Glen Rock’s Hamilton Elementary School on Friday, January 10th, as Laura Cipullo, (RD, CDE, CEDRD) instructed a congregation of Glen Rock moms of several tips and tricks for educating their children about how to eat more nutritiously and partake in a more healthy lifestyle.

Thirteen Glen Rock moms were in attendance as Cipullo, a registered dietitian, certified diabetes instructor, and certified eating disorder registered dietitian, came to Hamilton to “help parents and educators learn to feed and educate children about healthy, non-restrictive eating.”

Cipullo recommends to mothers that instead of micromanaging the eating habits of their children, they should learn to lead by example: “You can’t say ‘okay, this is it everybody, this is what we’re doing.’ You need to show them through changing yourself.” Cipullo then went on to say “It’s not us [the parents] controlling them. It’s us giving them the power to make the right decisions on their own.”

A belief that Cipullo asserted was that she is opposed to the BMI system (Body Mass Index,) and suggests instead that people wishing to track their or their child’s fitness should instead use the HAES (Health at Every Size) system. HAES is a system which promotes nutrition and health in all people of all sizes. “If you put a huge football player on a scale, their BMI may indicate that they are obese. Does that mean that they have an unhealthy lifestyle?” she commented in opposition to the BMI scale. “HAES defines a ‘healthy weight’ as the weight at which a person settles as they move toward a more fulfilling and meaningful lifestyle.”

In accordance with the HAES policy, Cipullo made sure that parents know that their children’s physical condition is not always going to be the same from day-to-day. “Their weight is not going to be consistent,” she said.

Over the course of the presentation, Cipullo talked a lot about “the gray area.” What she meant by this was that it is important not to be “black and white”: Defining both of the immoderate areas of eating habits, and only feeding your kids exceptionally healthy or unhealthy foods. “Consider both extremes; be gray.” Cipullo said. She then went on to say: “Don’t focus on making everything extremely healthy, because it will backfire.”

Cipullo stressed the importance of meeting your children where they are in relation to the gray area by “Planning small reasonable change and teaching flexibility within structure and boundaries.”


Cipullo says that teaching our kids to recognize hunger and fullness is the first essential step of getting our children to achieve self-control. One approach to attaining self-control is “Mindful intuitive eating, which may come down to simply asking your children exactly what they are feeling.” Cipullo says.

If your child struggles with how to answer these questions, one possible solution is to design a child-friendly Hunger/fullness chart consisting of a 0-10 system of numbers gauging how full you are. 0 would be starving and a 10 would be belly pains. Cipullo says, “This chart allows children to recognize what it means to self-regulate while leaning to rust your child’s intuitions as well.”

Overall, getting the chance to attend Laura Cipullo’s presentation was a pleasurable experience. Despite the presentation being geared towards moms and children, her philosophies about eating still have merit for high school students.

More information can be found on Cipullo’s website: