I shared this post on Instagram a few weeks ago.  Yet it wasn’t until I woke up the next day – after seeing alllll the comments and “likes” -that I realized it wasn’t just another Instagram post (that sucked up 20 minutes of my life)!!

It touched people differently.

Here’s what happened…

My mother had strep throat during Thanksgiving, so we were having a belated family dinner at our place.

While everyone served themselves turkey and the typical Thanksgiving faves (mmm brussel sprouts) I asked my eldest daughter Sienna a question.  The question just rolled out of my mouth, without much thought.

I asked what she was grateful for. 

And I expected my 5 year old to say “my new L.O.L. doll” or “the pumpkin pie for dessert”.

But her response was “my pacemaker”.


Here’s the backstory:

Sienna had a heart condition requiring her to have heart surgery at 4 months old (when she was only 8 pounds!!).  Because she was too small to operate on, the conduction system in her heart was damaged during the surgery.  Hence why she has a pacemaker today, and will for life.

We asked her to explain why she picked that little machine inside her tummy (I didn’t think she understood the significance of it at 5 years old).

Her answer “because no one else has one…and it makes my heart beep”.

child with pacemaker

Some tears were shed during that meal. I’ll never forget it.

The other day, Sienna floored us again during dinner when she asked “are we lucky to be alive?”. It led to a 30 minute conversation about life and why people die. One of the deepest and most memorable conversations I’ve had….with my 5 year old!

Why am I telling you all this?

Because the dinner table has become so much more than just a place to eat for my family. It’s now a place where we are having important conversations with our kids.

Hard conversations.
Funny conversations.
Memorable conversations.

I’m passionate about nutrition (obviously), but raising healthy children who are kind to themselves, the planet, and other people (and GRATEFUL for all of the above), is what drives me everyday.  And as I’m learning too, it starts by asking them thoughtful questions.

child with pacemaker

This is what I want my kids to remember about mealtimes.

Sitting together, appreciating, learning and laughing (usually at my expense!).

It wasn’t always like this though!

I used to spend most of our mealtimes focused on what my kids were eating or rather NOT eating. That precious time together was being wasted away because all I wanted to talk about was the food – and getting that one more bite.

But now that I know how to feed my family (and my former picky eater), we use our time at the table differently.

positive mealtimes


Tonight, when your child is driving you crazy (because they won’t sit still or eat their soup), start a conversation.

Take the focus away from the food.  

Ask them a question :

  • what was the best part of their day?
  • what’s one nice thing they did for someone or for the planet today?
  • what could they do to make tomorrow even better?


Let’s use dinner time as an opportunity to learn something about our children and the way they think. Yet teach them at the same time.

Either way, we will be creating positive memories of mealtimes together.  And that you will ALL be grateful for right?