MCHC: Building healthy eating habits for future generations

By Kalvin Valdillez

“Kids eat frequently because they have small stomachs, they digest food quickly and then they need a refill,” said Erika Queen, Child Health Educator at Tulalip Community Health.  “Kids, and adults really, should be eating every 2-3 hours, that helps their bodies realize that they’re going to get fed routinely and helps curb huge cravings”

At the beginning of the year, four Tulalip programs combined forces to bring teachings, provide resources and instill a sense of community for first time mothers and young families of Tulalip. The collective is known as the Maternal Child Health Committee (MCHC) and consists of Family Haven, Tulalip Community Health, the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy and beda?chelh. 

The MCHC’s goal is to bring once-a-month trainings, via Zoom, to the families while also providing a space for parents to discuss, relate, share and learn from each other’s personal experience with parenthood. The committee’s classes have already garnered much attention over the months, with Family Haven and TELA hosting the first of the online classes that focused on topics such infant care and early childhood brain development. 

For MCHC’s third Zoom get-together, Erika Queen lent her expertise to those who logged onto the virtual open-discussion seminar, which highlighted the eating habits of the future generation. 

Said Erika, “We focused on ages birth to kindergarten specifically but it definitely works for most kids. The broad topic was why kids want to eat all the time.”

Erika is a certified lactation educator and stated she is willing to share any information to mothers about infant feeding during their baby’s first journey around the sun. She also shared the Satter Division of Responsibility in Feeding (sDOR) with the group. This is a set of tested and proven guidelines that helps develop healthy eating habits in young children, that can actually be practiced all the way through adolescence. 

“The bottom line is, adults are responsible for what, when and where the kids eat and the kiddos are responsible for how much and if,” explained Erika. “Kids ask for snacks all the time because they see us snacking and want what we have. They are learning about how this world works and they see their parents and family grabbing a snack and they’re like, ‘hey, how come I don’t get one?’.”

She continued, “Generally, feed your kids what you’re eating. Kids learn to eat what you cook. Pretty much all you need is a little extra time to let the food cool-off and kids can eat pretty much anything as long as they’re not allergic to it and as long as it’s cut appropriately so they can’t choke on it.”

The MCHC is excited to continue offering trainings each month throughout the year. Stay tuned to Tulalip News to find out what the MCHC has in store for May. 

“Our long-term goal is to improve health outcome for children and families,” expressed Erika. “We are putting these on as a way to connect with parents, to engage with families who might have questions and who might be stuck home with kids and don’t have normal access to groups and friends since the pandemic. We are here to provide information, support and resources to those families so they can make the best decision for the situation that they are in. If any parents want us to focus on a specific topic, please reach out to any of our programs and let us know.”

For those who were unable to attend this month’s training, more information about the Satter Division of Responsibility in Feeding can be found at